Publishers Push Through Promo Participation
New York, NY -- Major publishers wrapped up final negotiations today with the Authorial Guild on new industry standards for mandatory author promotional participation guidelines, to be included in all past, present and future publishing contracts.
The new guidelines, which cover some innovative and untried forms of promotion that all authors will be required to perform, include:
Bookstore Handsales: Authors will spend two nights per week working the aisle where their latest release is located at the nearest large chain bookstore. When a browser enters the aisle, the author will immediately engage them in conversation, show them the release and advise them that it is the best book they have ever read. If there is more than one author in an aisle, they will work together to handsell copies to the unaware. If the author has a highly visible book jacket photo, the author will of course wear a clever disguise, or at least not so much makeup.
Carnival Book Games: Authors will purchase gaming vendor space at every circus, carnival, RenFaire or other outdoor event in their area to sell their latest release. Books will only be awarded to event patrons who play until they have covered the purchase price of the book; all other patrons will be awarded bookmarks and widgets (to be provided by the author.) The publishers suggest using such classic exciting games as Penny Pitch-A-Novel, Guess the Author's Age/Weight/Real Name, Bio Photo Darts or everyone's favorite, The Novelist Dunk.
Home Book Parties: Authors will purchase ads to invite the general public into their homes at least once a month for "Home Book Parties." These parties will include a buffet, readings, clothespin games, free bookmarks, and the chance to purchase signed copies of their latest release and whatever is on their backlist that hasn't gone out of print (all food and party supplies to be provided by the author.) The consumer who purchases the largest number of copies will be invited to spend the weekend as a pampered guest at the author's home.
Intersection Sales: Every Sunday authors will dress up as one of their characters, travel to the nearest large town or city and sell books from the median of a major intersection to passing motorists (initially there was concern about competition from newspaper vendors, but since no one reads newspapers anymore, the publishers aren't worried.)
Mall Samples: For the two-week period before every major shopping holiday, or three times per month (whichever is more frequent) authors will station themselves at appropriate points in mall food courts with their latest release, and rip out pages from the best parts to hand out to passing consumers while informing them they can have the rest of the book and two book marks (provided by author) for a special low price.
Park Performances: Twice a month authors will give readings from their books in well-attended public parks. An empty, open laptop case or tote bag will be placed in front of the author in order to collect donations. Authors are advised to bring their children or young family members to help pass around the case or bag in the event donations are not voluntarily offered by the end of the reading (all donations will turned over to the publisher to offset production costs, loss of profits and misc. expenses.) The author's spouse or older family member will maintain a book cart nearby to sell copies of the author's latest release to interested park patrons.
Remainder Garage Sales: Authors whose books have been remaindered will be expected to purchase all remaining stock from the publisher and sell them out of their garages on weekends until the stock is completely sold. A special addendum was negotiated on payments of remainder profits, requiring authors to forward 94% to publisher, and 15% of the remaining 6% to the author's agent. The balance will then be turned over to the publisher's accountant, who will keep indefinitely 30% in the event of returns at the next garage sale, and hang onto the rest until Christmas, or he feels the author deserves their share, whichever takes the longest.
All books involved in these new promotional events must first be purchased by the author at a convenient retail outlet, as publishers can no longer afford to offer authors discounted copies, and are discontinuing the practice of providing "free" or "author" copies of new releases.
"We feel these guidelines provide many wonderful opportunities for authors to become more accessible and interact with their readers in positive, fun ways," one publisher's attorney stated firmly. "After all, Publishing is a partnership between us and them, and everyone agrees that they really haven't been doing their part, so they should be thrilled and happy to step up to the plate. And if they don't like it, they can go try to make a living selling homemade chapbooks online and how-to articles to Writer's Digest."
"We feel this is the best deal we could get for our members," Authorial Guild Prez Bic Kurwhyne told reporters. "Way better than that dumbass Google thing, obviously. I have no doubt that authors will respond to it in a positive manner, because if they don't they'll be in violation of paragraph four hundred and seven of the Appropriate Author Behavior While Self-Promoting section."