Do Publishing Stunts Sell Books?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at how Chilean artist collective Casagrande, along with Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, dropped 100,000 poems over Berlin as a protest against war and a statement in favor of forgiveness.

This was a case of “literature as protest,” but more often than not, publishing stunts are being used to promote specific titles.

Yesterday came the news that Tor Books, the American sci-fi and fantasy publisher, is creating a campaign for fans of Robert Jordan’s the Wheel of Time series to promote Brandon Sanderson’s latest stand-alone book, The Way of Kings. Sanderson, who is writing a trilogy to complete Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series (which has sold some 44 million copies) is offering a sneak-peek at the next volume in the series on his website. The catch is: the page is encrypted and can only by unlocked by finding codes that are printed on the back of Wheel of Time bumper stickers that Sanderson will hide inside copies of The Way of Kings along each stop on his tour. (The bumper sticker can be seen on the right.)

It’s wonderful to see creativity being poured into marketing books — who would argue against it — but the question is: Do they work? Jennifer Belle says it does. She wrote about the Laughter Project, her unique campaign to generate interest in her novel The Seven Year Bitch, for us earlier this summer.

In this age of Twitter, blogs and massive distraction, stunts can’t hurt. Or can they? Tell us what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.