(Many thanks to Julie Sykes for this guest post. Julie will join us as a regular contributor on 26th April.)
It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Ally Carter. Her Gallagher Girls spy school series is top of my list of ‘things to take if ever stranded on a desert island’. I loved Heist Society too. So when I heard about Ally’s new series, Embassy Row, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the first book.
Note the word book!
For reasons to do with space and convenience I’ve turned to the dark side and buy most of my books on an e-reader. Real book buying is a luxury restricted to favourite authors or books with brilliant illustrations.
So, early one Saturday morning, after my weekly trolley dash around Waitrose, I ran into Waterstones with the sole aim of buying a copy of All Fall Down before my frozens melted in the boot of my car. But as I reached out to swipe a copy from the promo table I found myself drawing back.
What was that thing attached to the book with shrink wrap?
A mascara wand. Really?But I only wanted the book. I started to go through the pile to see if I could find a book without added mascara before I realised I was wasting my time. Disgruntled, I took the book (and free mascara) to the check out desk.
Driving home, I thought about the reasons why publishers feel the need to entice readers to buy a book with free gifts. Thousands of new books are published every year. Children and young adults all lead busy lives. There’s a whole other world out there in cyber space competing for their free time. It’s small wonder then that publishers, marketing gurus and authors too, have to be as creative in the promotion of their book as in the actual writing of it.
Then I remembered something! When my own Silver Dolphins series launched my publisher gave away a free silver dolphin necklace with book one, The Magic Charm.
Hadn’t I been thrilled at the time, wearing my necklace 24/7 for the first month? Didn’t I almost go into melt down when fans of the new series emailed to tell me how much they loved their free necklace because it made them feel as it they might be a Silver Dolphin too!