Yakkety Yak, Let’s Chat … For Fans Of: A Marketing Fable

Yakkety Yak Let's Chat

 

In this unforgettable novel for fans of One Day and The Time Traveler’s Wife, a young Isaac Newton falls in love with a girl living in modern-day San Francisco, defying the laws of physics to forge a seemingly impossible connection.

GoodReads book synopsis sampling 

Or

Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the first installment in a deliciously erotic trilogy, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court by –.

Back cover blurb sampling

Or

“Fifty Shades of Tudor Sex” Sunday Times

Front cover quote sampling

Or

“A cross between Friday Night Lights and Pride and Prejudice”

Back Cover blurb quote

Marketing statements like this have been around for a long time.  I noticed, but being the contrary critter I am didn’t give them much thought or credence because I’m just not a good target for this sort of marketing ploy.  I’m a mood reader so I may like any and all of those, but not be in the mood at the time.  I actually get leery of books that are held up beside another one as part of a promotion.

More often than not, a statement on a book’s cover or in it’s backcover blurb or in the synopsis on a book site do not do the book or me (the potential reader) any favors.  I have chosen for the heart of my discussion to make a list of cons to what I shall call The Comparison Marketing Strategy.

What are these cons?

  1. I do not like the book being held up for comparison.  Let’s take the ‘Fifty Shades of Tudor Sex’ quote up there.  I let a book sit on my shelf for two years without touching it because of that quote.  I only had the book because it was an unsolicited review copy.  Upon reading it, I discovered it was nothing like Fifty Shades.  This leads to my second point.
  2. I get frustrated because I don’t see the similarities for myself. I can recall three books recently that had the comparisons on their covers and I never noticed more than surface similarities.
  3. Similar to the first con, is a recent trend in publishers or author’s assistants sending me emails to the tune of ‘you recently reviewed such and such so you’ll probably like this latest such and such’ or ‘you reviewed x so you’ll probably love y, here’s a Net Galley invitation.’ And the funny part is, again, I didn’t like the original book which they would have seen if they read my review they mention and so the comparison does not inspire me to snag the new book.
  4. This last one is due to the second above quote as an example. I have not read either Hilary Martel or Sylvia Day so I am unmoved by the whimsical x meets y example.  This has happened more than once to me (apparently I have limited reading experiences, LOL).  I take full responsibility for this con as likely as not many readers have read those authors and this quote will mean something to them.

While I can see how this seems a viable and victorious marketing campaign strategy (and is, more than likely) because book comparisons are how a lot of us find our next favorite authors or books, I think there is a big difference between the publisher or author slapping it on their new release versus letting someone else discover the comparison and share it.  Incidentally, I don’t mind seeing a blogger review or a book venue review where the reviewer states a book reminded them of another book or movie because they generally explain why they think this.

So, as you can tell, I got a wild hair up my nose about Comparison Marketing and had to have a sit-down with you guys about it.  But now I’m curious about your thoughts on it.  Do you like it?  Indifferent to it?  Hate it?  Got any fun examples of how it worked or didn’t work on you?  Do Tell!

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Braine Supie

    I agree with all your points and it has its pros and cons and my statement below is kinda double edged lol.

    Personally I want to know what I’m getting into so if I see that it’s like 50Shades, I’ll skip it because it’s not for me. The downside is what if it’s just a little bit like 50 so I’m totally missing out on something I’ll possibly like because of it.

    Or what if it compares with a huge hit like say “for fan of Game of Thrones” and you read it and it doesn’t compare but maybe without that initial recommendation the book would’ve stood great on its own.

    It’s a slippery slope. I do want to be informed what the book is about like if it’s a retelling or something but I prefer the absence of comparisons. Give the author his/her fair shot and let the reader make the comparisons themselves and maybe you can blurb amazing reviews when the next edition or sequel comes out.

    Happy weekend!

    • This is true. There are two sides to it. The marketing does work because it grabs my attention and there have actually been a few I tried because of a comparison- if you liked type. But its usually the other way for me. I think it just means I need to keep relying on blurb reading and gut instinct. 🙂

      Loved getting your thoughts. Thanks, Braine.

  • I agree, I don’t like books being compared to others either. I do like a book blurb on the back cover but that’s where it should end.

    • Yes, that is the conclusion I arrived at, too, Mary. I just need to continue relying on blurbs and other hints that I’ll like or not like the book.

  • oh what a great discussion post you have here and I agree with everything that you have said. I do think that it is frustrating to see some of these marketing ploys. Especially when I get an email from NG, telling me I should read this book since it compares to another book that I didn’t necessarily like very much. Its never a book I actually loved hehe How is that suppose to appeal to me?! And the whole “this book is for fifty shades fans” when the book is nothing like it, is pretty annoying. Because these appeals never work for me, merely because I am a mood reader. And most of these books they try to promote I have zero interest in and tend to get turned off by these marketing ploys.

    • Oh, lucky you, to get those emails, too. It is funny, but also sad because a book I may have actually picked up now I’m allergic too because I didn’t like the book I’m being told it is like.

      And yeah, it gets irritating to be told a book is like another, but its not just in an attempt to sell it.

      Thanks for weighing in, Renee.

  • I think that this kind of marketing doesn’t work on me. I am more likely to pick up a book that is compared to one I didn’t like but a comparison doesn’t make feel like I need to get my hands on a book. I do get those netgalley invitations and I don’t think that I have ever accepted them. I also love it when goodreads recommends books to me based on my dnf shelf…ummm, no.

    • A recommendation based on your DNF shelf? What a hoot. I have one of those on GoodReads. I wonder when I’ll notice that one get a recommendation.

      I’ve accepted a few NetGalley invites, but it was for books I was already planning to read or the blurb grabbed me, but I don’t think I picked one up just on the ‘you liked this one’ bit.

      Thanks, Carole!

  • On the one hand I can totally see why authors would make these comparisons and on the other hand I also see the cons of them. I actually did a post about this topic a while back as well.

    And exactly if you didn’t like the original book the comparison is made off, you might be more hesitant to try the new book even though you might like that one. The trickiest part I always have with those comparisons is finding out what gets compared and I like it when the comparison are a bit more specific, like say “with the magics of book X and the subtle romance of book Y”. Then at least it’s a bit more clear what to expect and why the comparison is being made.

    I also have read books with the comparisons in the description and then when I read the book I can’t see the similarities. Or some times I can see them, but the book si still so different that the comparison doesn’t seem to do it justice.

    The Hocus Pocus series I’ve been reading recently got compared to harry Potter and while yes I can see sort of why, that’s also not to mean that people who don’t like HP won’t like this one, as it’s very different too. or even the other way around, just because you like Hp, might not mean you like this series too as it has even more differences than similarities. Even so I would say it’s a decent comparison.

    And that’s a good point too, if you don’t know the books a book gets compared to, the comparison tells you nothing as you don’t know those books. Although I do feel like books try to compare to the more popular books, but then the downfall of that is that a lot of sci-fi book is like Star wars or Star Trek and many fantasy books gets compared to Harry Potter.

    Greta post Sophia! I can definitely see the issues with this type of marketing strategies, although I also think they can be effective too and I guess if it wasn’t effective they would eventually stop doing that? Or maybe not.

    • I like how you are seeing both sides of the coin. I agree that it can work if you like the book in the comparison quote or at least curious about it or in the other style that they explain why the book is like such and such. And yes, it must work or why do it. 🙂

      It is funny how most sci-fi is compared to the pop sci-fi and magic to Harry Potter. What did we do to compare before those came along. LOL.

      Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy your thoughts on a discussion, Lola!

  • This kind of marketing is a bit out of control. I’m like you, in that I’m not a fan. It feels like someone is just trying to jump on the bandwagon of a popular book. Now, if a friend or trusted reviewer gives me that kind of comparison, it is completely different. I trust that they actually mean that the book is similar to another and just trying to piggyback on the other book’s success. Great post.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Yes exactly. If I read you writing a review and comparing a book to another, I’d be okay because you’d probably tell me why you thought that and you’re not a marketing person, but a reader like me. I feel its a gimmick when the publisher or author says it. Just a perspective, I suppose.

      Thanks for weighing in, Melanie!

  • I try not to give much consideration to it when they do that, because there are so many times it’s wildly off. I think it does a disservice too, because some people get seriously pissed when a book isn’t similar enough to the comparison.

    • Yep. It really does set the book up to either achieve the high standard of the book in comparison and fail making the reader mad or its so different it feels like a betrayal of sorts.

  • The 50 Shades of Tudor Sex is just crazy. You know it drives me bonkers when they use this marketing. If I notice it before taking on a book for review or buying it I’m not likely to do either and will just ignore it. It’s all rather ridiculous.

    • It really is. Whether its because I don’t like Fifty Shades or whether maybe I like it and set my expectations that the book will be just like it, either are a set up for the reader to disappointment.