Free books, free publicity
The folks at humor publisher TOW books are tired of marketing new releases through the media, where competition is stiff. As creative director John Warner said on the Maud Newton blog, "I have an image of editors and producers ... getting crushed under toppling towers of books — but they aren’t getting assigned for reviews, they’re not getting coverage, and I have not earned the down payment on my summer home, so we’re not going to do that anymore."
TOW's solution: giving away books as electronic files or on paper. Other publishers are making similar moves, putting some books online for free or offering advance copies to bloggers and other readers to generate buzz. HarperCollins, for example, has the First Look program. Nancy and I will be discussing this and related trends on Sept. 28 with blogger Heather Johnson at the Baltimore Book Festival.
Warner has one request for those who get books from TOW's giveaway website: "All that I ask in return for the free books is that you say something somewhere about them, even if it’s along the lines of 'U think ur funny, but u suck.' "