The other week I got House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland (Penguin, 2021). The mesmerizing cover stares at me begging to be read. Yes, yes, I’ll get to you, first I have to rant about the marketing campaign for it. And the sad story of how I fell for all their tricks…
This year goodreads changed their advertising from ads provided by google – those weird ads for “you must know this hack” or whatever you just searched for. Now its ads are for a book. My aim on life is to ignore these books on principle, also they’re not what I enjoy reading or so I thought…
Horror of horrors, House of Hollow showed up in the ads. Firstly: its already on my goodreads TBR – they need to fix their algorithm. Secondly: how does an Australian author get the amazon-special-promo-campaign-with-extra-cherries? Oh, her first book sold in 20 countries. That would make her publisher throw a shit-ton of money at the marketing for House of Hollow.
When you see a book page on goodreads with the author at the top right instead of further down eg. House of Hollow, you know this author has a special place in their publisher’s heart and bank account.* Their books are must-read! auto buy! all the things! Except, 5 days after I posted this on goodreads, her author info has moved further down (coincidence?) Oh Krystal! your marketing campaign ran out of money.
While I wish goodreads was here for us readers, its reason for being is to sell books (that’s why amazon bought it). The most “important” books on goodreads have massive marketing campaigns from their publisher and a good shove from amazon. What a publisher (and amazon) throws money at, will be a bestseller.
How are these special chosen few selected? Publishers decide what will sell depending on book trends at the time and past sales. They ensure what they want to happen, will happen (Capitalism 101).
Big selling authors often have their name larger than the book title on the cover. You’re buying** the book because of the author, not because you might like that particular story. It’s why series sell and why books are made into movies. There’s a ready made audience on tap. We all love what we know and want more of the same (me included).
Back to Krystal Sutherland. The Aust edition doesn’t have her name bigger than the title. Try harder Krystal! I hated her first book, but oh shit, I just wrote about her on my socials. Mission accomplished.
*Good ol’ goodreads has a beta version of the book page that changes all this. Who knows what will happen with the extra cherries marketing campaigns.
**When I say “buying” the book, you might have paid money, borrowed from a library or friend, downloaded illegally, etc. It doesn’t affect the publisher or amazon how you got the book, it’s your subsequent talk on social media that leads to more sales.