Saturday, August 12, 2006

Free with Every Novel

I've been seeing advertising all over the place for Chocolate, the new Verizon phone/MP3 player. I don't need another phone -- I don't use the ones I already own -- but if it were an MP3 player and, say, an M&M dispenser or mini s'mores maker, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

Interesting trademark move, too. Whoever thought up the slogan "Everybody loves chocolate" ignored the fact that lots of people including my daughter loathe chocolate, but as an easily-remembered tag line it works well. Now I wonder, does this mean I have to ask permission of Verizon every time I want to use the word chocolate? That's going to be a bit of a pain. Doesn't Hershey's already own it? (Where is Bill Peschel when I need him?)

I'm not a phone person, but I do like items that serve more than one purpose, because they save space and time. I love my handheld organizer, which doubles as an MP3 player and does just about everything else but shop for groceries for me. My DVD player, which also plays my old VHS tapes and records them on DVDs and downloads stuff from my digital and video cameras, is probably secretly realigning the Hubble telescope right now.

I like bonuses and extras, too -- I recently gushed about Paste magazine because they send me free music CDs and sometimes video DVDs in every issue. We need some of that in publishing.

Nonfiction books often include CDs, especially any computer or techno ref books, but an excerpt or preview of the author's next book is about the best freebie that most fiction books offer now. Yet if Elle can put eye-watering perfume sample strips and little packets of liquid pancake makeup in every issue, then why can't we figure out a way to add a little extra bonus for our readers?

Harlequin has been great about giving their subscription service readers something extra over the years; everything from wineglasses to crystal pendants. They're currently offering three free books if you buy six (see ad in the back of Harlequin Presents novels out this month) or one free book online with Free Book Fridays on their shopping page (if you buy two books on Friday, you get their weekly featured title free.)

If the Publishing Fairy gave me carte blanche to add something free to my novels, I'd include a CD of the music that inspired me, or an e-book set in the same universe, or a poster of a painting or other artwork I love (the fold lines of the print would, of course, magically disappear the minute the reader unfolded it.) If I could get a bag of M&Ms or a Hershey you-know-what bar in there without it melting on the pages, that would be cool, too. Or a quilt, magically packed into one of those tiny sponge-animal capsules you drop into hot water for one minute. A queen size wedding ring quilt beats a green sponge T-Rex or blue sponge Raptor every time, right? You might want to drop the magic quilt capsule in the bathtub instead of a glass of water, though . . .

How about you -- if you could get freebies with any novel, or add one or more to your own, what would you like to give or receive?

29 comments:

  1. I'd go for a free book with purchase, but I know it's costly to publishers as well as authors. Maybe a limited amount available?
    I do like the idea of a cd of the music used when an author was writing the book. A few of the books I've read have had a page dedicated to this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shelves.

    Realistically... Access to a proofread, PDA version of the same book in a reasonable format. (Meaning I didn't have to jump through 17 hoops, take the bus to Mexico, dig under a rock, and discover the cure for cancer is licorice ice cream, just to read the book in a more convenient format.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Carte Blanche? *rubs hands together*. I'd probably attach an animated version (computer or Manga) of the book, with accompanying inspiring music. Hmm... that's it really. Any chocolate would have to be Cadbury's - I've tasted chocolate all over the world, and it's simply the best.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just stumbled across your blog and was wondering if I could leave a link to it on mine? I love your posts and want to become a regular reader.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with the extra free book. HarperCollins did that in Australia, selling a shrink-wrapped bundle of three Fantasy titles, each the first in a different series and all by different authors.
    Way to clear the warehouse, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mary wrote: I'd go for a free book with purchase, but I know it's costly to publishers as well as authors. Maybe a limited amount available?

    Mary, I love you. :) It would be great to give away a free book, even in limited quantities. Maybe give the freebie away during the novel's first month on the shelf, to help get the first print run to sell-through a little better on the publishing side, and to make a release more of an event and a draw on the reader's side.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Shawna wrote: Shelves.

    Yes! Publishers, I will buy any book that comes with a bookcase attached.

    Realistically... Access to a proofread, PDA version of the same book in a reasonable format. (Meaning I didn't have to jump through 17 hoops, take the bus to Mexico, dig under a rock, and discover the cure for cancer is licorice ice cream, just to read the book in a more convenient format.)

    Lol. I stopped shopping at one e-book site because they required me to download their reader, access my purchase online and even after all that I couldn't print out the e-book. I understand protecting the e-book is important, but with my eyes, I have to be able to print them out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shawna wrote: Shelves.

    PBW said: Yes! Publishers, I will buy any book that comes with a bookcase attached.


    LOL. Also? If they provide shelving, will they magically find a way to expand my house so I can fit said shelving? Heh.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jaye wrote: I'd probably attach an animated version (computer or Manga) of the book, with accompanying inspiring music. Hmm... that's it really.

    The music industry has been doing a variation of your idea by releasing special edition music CDs that either have concert or music videos on them or a concert DVD in the album package.

    If anyone with give away free copies of Naruto with their novels, my kid would be first in line to buy them. :)

    Any chocolate would have to be Cadbury's - I've tasted chocolate all over the world, and it's simply the best.

    Cadbury is excellent (their fruit and nut bar is my favorite), and I think they have the best caramel bar in existence, but I have to remain loyal to Hershey's for plain chocolate. My blood is 75% Hershey's chocolate, I think. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nikki wrote: I just stumbled across your blog and was wondering if I could leave a link to it on mine?

    Welcome, and absolutely on the link. This place can be a bit of a madhouse at times, but we're all friendly and the discussions are always fun.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Simon wrote: HarperCollins did that in Australia, selling a shrink-wrapped bundle of three Fantasy titles, each the first in a different series and all by different authors.
    Way to clear the warehouse, eh?


    Brilliant. Adding this as reason #989 to move to Australia.

    I wish some of the books that go to the pulp machines could be given away to readers instead. I know it's not financially possible to do it with all of them, but even 10% would be wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Joy wrote: LOL. Also? If they provide shelving, will they magically find a way to expand my house so I can fit said shelving?

    Free book room with purchase! Lol.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Would love to give away a pewter pin of a falchion, but that sort of doo-dad could only be done individually I suppose.
    Not a bookstore-friendly idea.
    Like the idea of a free book.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Since I write, and edit, with music blaring all the time I would LOVE the idea of the CD with music that inspired the author. What a copyright headache, though, I imagine. It sure would be a great little extra though.

    I'm trying really hard to even imagine what whacked out joints you might listen to while penning the Darkyn series. LOL (Still my all time fav.--I can't wait for the novella tidbit.)

    ReplyDelete
  15. And all this time I thought my son was the only child in the universe that collects those magic capsules that turn into dinosaurs and sea creatures…what a hoot!

    I’d include the music I listened to while writing the book. Usually there’s one that sets the tone that I listen to over and over. Don’t know why, but this works for me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the idea of the music that reminds you of people in the book or the novel itself. Or drawings/photoshop art of how you saw the characters/settings.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A photo booklet showing some of the historical sites, landscapes and artefacts (esp. if they play role in the book like Alamir's dagger, from Endangered Frontiers). That would require me to travel more places and take pics - anyone got some spare money to donate, lol? - and getting permission to use a few pics from museums.

    If I manage to finish that novelette about the adventures of the Saxon outlaw Ricmar during the time of Charlemagne in time for PBW's ebook challenge, you'll get some pics with it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Baen books has been including cd-roms full of e-books (one my father bought had the enitire backlist of David Weber's Honor Harrington series on it over ten books) with thier hardcover releases and what's more they encourage readers to burn copies and give them away. Your allowed to do anything you want with discs as long you don't sell them.
    -Gail L

    ReplyDelete
  19. For now, I use pics I or my father have made as icing for my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. If the book had a really nice cover, it would be neat to get a print or a postcard of the coverart in the book

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love Shawna's idea of the free ebook with every paperback version. I think free anything is appealing to me as a consumer. I even like a free bookmark or a free magnet or a free vinyl sticker with a cool slogan. Maybe a free pen.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You know, the free ebook with paperback wouldn't be that hard to do. Either include a CD in the book, or give a code for free download.

    I also love the idea of a free print book with purchase, especially one bound for the pulp machine. (It makes me weep to think of books being pulped.)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I like the idea of the music CD or an ebook version of the book being included with the purchase of the paperback. I tend to get far more read on e-book lately than I do in paperback format.

    ReplyDelete
  24. cherylp10:48 PM

    It's funny you should mention the Hershey bar in the book. I once heard a very entertaining story from an editor/publisher---someone sent him a ms. with a Hershey bar thoughtfully slipped between the pages. Since it was the middle of summer and he lived in Georgia....well, you get the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous2:03 AM

    The cd of music that inspired the author, or was reminiscent of the book would be a wonderful idea. Also loved the idea of ebook being included.

    LLL

    ReplyDelete
  26. I loved how Baen would include cds with ebooks in with some of their hardcovers.

    It would be great if the ebook version was given away with the paperback. Or just a code to get any ebook from a site with a paperback.

    ReplyDelete
  27. A coupon for two free perfume samples from BPAL with relevant themes, i.e. Nosferatu and Blood Kiss for a vampire book.

    I'd also dig a CD--whether music, related artwork, or bonus material like author interviews or deleted scenes.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm sorry, I'm still stuck on the loathing chocolate thing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. If I could get anything I want it would be a time machine so that I could have the time to read all the books.

    More realistically a book mark, a page of stickers or a pen might be doable. Or buy three books and get one for free. The problem with different authors is that people don't like the same writers.

    ReplyDelete