Thursday, May 18, 2006

Would Desperate Housewives want to read your book?

Here's a book promotion scenario to make television show addicts squirm. Your publisher realizes that buying a commercial for your book during Desperate Housewives (or another TV show) will be ineffective because so many viewers use the latest technology to skip commercials. Therefore, your publisher instead pays the producer of the TV show to incorporate your book into the plot. Your book then becomes the reason Gabrielle is so unhappy, or Susan chases the wrong man. Your book wins, but the show suffers, and let's face it. Which do you care more about: book promotion or your favorite television show?

Okay, never mind that question. Still, you might want to check out's article about product placement on television shows. The practice has been going on nearly as long as television has existed. I can still hear Lawrence Welk interrupting his show to explain why the benefits that viewers would derive from taking Geritol, or the goofiness of watching members of the original Star Trek crew acting oddly excited about some of their props that were being marketed as toys that season.

But that was before TiVo and other technologies have made commercials a difficult way to sell things, and have inadvertently encouraged soda companies and other vendors to get creative in their promotion efforts. Could the next product sold on a network television program be your book? Stay tuned.