Sunday, 7 August 2011

Ultimate Marketing Ploy

Forget social networking, blogging, book tours etc. I've hit upon the ultimate book selling ploy of all. Get banned.

Think about it. Doesn't a ban make you automatically want to read something? In the Sixties and Seventies, when Radio One had the monopoly of airtime for pop music, a ban meant a single wouldn't be played anywhere and yet every song the BBC banned - and there were quite a few - made number one in the charts overnight EVEN WHEN NO ONE HAD HEARD THEM.

And who among you remember Peter Wright's 1987 memoir Spycatcher, famously banned by Margaret Thatcher for compromising national security? In spite of being illegal in the UK - or was it because of - it became an international bestseller despite being deadly dull. I bought a copy myself just to annoy the Tory government.

People hate censorship. (At least most people do - there are no absolutes in life, and there will always be some saps who think the authorities know best.) So banning something makes it much cooler, much more interesting, even daring, than the run of the mill pulp fodder we usually snack on. If They don't want me to read it, I'm damn well going to read it.

Which is why I have just ordered a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's WW2 memoir Slaughterhouse Five, banned by a high school in Missouri.

And I'm now trying to figure a way of making my next book bannable? (Is that a word? It is now)

Suggestions, folks?

1 comment:

Jen said...

I didn't realise Slaughterhouse Five had been banned anywhere. Seriously? Why?

I have a whole shelf of books that were banned at one time. Love them! And you're right, sometimes I buy them just to make a point. I'm doing that a lot at the moment with YA books, in response to the recent Wall Street Journal articale about how YA was too dark.