books · Publishing

Book Marketing That is Grand, Extraterrestrial, and Bloody

I hate advertising, but I love gimmicks. Not all of them of course – I’m not a huge fan of book giveaways (though those may not be gimmicks precisely) – but every once in a while a book marketing campaign will resonate with me. One such promotion just hit that sweet spot.


In honor of her upcoming young adult fantasy novel Roar, Cora Carmack released the PDF of a map of her invented world and encouraged people to color it. As you may recall, there are few things in this world that I love as foolishly as I love maps. This means that I am perhaps a little too excited about this particular marketing campaign. My colored pencils and I are very ready for this.

In addition to seeing some examples of the map below via the wonderful folks on Twitter, you can download your own copy of the map to color here. (And shout out to Melanie and Flavia for having great blogs in addition to fabulous artistic skills.)

But campaigns that make me as excited as this map are rare. Sometimes, or perhaps oftentimes, publishers can go a little overboard.

Taschen Books sold special editions of its photography book on the lunar landing with actual pieces of the moon. (All for the low, low price of only $112,500.) Similarly Kraken Opus published a book about Sachin Tendulkar, an Indian cricket star, and sold 10 limited editions for $75,000 each. The book is so expensive because, as the Wall Street Journal has reported, the publisher mixed Tendulkar’s blood with the paper pulp needed to create the signature page. The moon is cool, and blood is…bloody, but I don’t necessarily need either one of them with my reading material.

Regardless I find it fascinating to see what kinds of promotional material authors and publishers create. It makes receiving information about up and coming novels interesting if nothing else.

17 thoughts on “Book Marketing That is Grand, Extraterrestrial, and Bloody

    1. It definitely depends! I’ll be honest that I don’t click through a lot of book tour promotions, but I do read reviews. I think book tours probably are best for increasing author/cover recognition. (Assuming the tours stop at the right blogs of course!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a special places in my heart for more personalized recommendations too. I receive a lot of general marketing from book promoters, and a lot of it isn’t relevant to my interests. Hearing a recommendation from a friend though…that is a different thing entirely.


  1. First off beautiful maps. Very nicely done. Creativity in general is a wonderful thing, but I think it’s also nice to have a second form that has no agenda or expectation. For many writing has become the dream, but that’s also a lot of weight to carry. Something like this is nice because there is no grand purpose behind it, which brings us back to that simple, purposeless creativity that we knew and loved as children.

    I think you’re right that this is a uniquely strong promotional idea. Most I’ve seen involve some form of giveaway, and while schwag is nice, it’s also passive. This actively engages audiences. “What do you think? How would you complete this?” And it gives audiences something to start with, while still leaving room for multiple answers. The creations themselves foster a dialogue between fans as they compare their work.
    I can’t help but think of how the TV series The Walking Dead showcases fan art, cosplay, and dioramas. It’s a great way to promote the story, but also showcase the talent and creativity of the fans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Walking Dead has done a great job of cultivating its fandom. In fact, I think a lot of TV shows have been successful at that. Maybe events like Comicon help, or maybe they just have stellar marketing teams. I just don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you liked our idea!! Our street team for Roar has a lot of fun stuff coming up still, so stay tuned!! 😊
    I’ll be sharing this on Twitter with my fellow Stormlings bc we are glad so many people are enjoying our #MapMonday promo!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Bahahaha! Me? Artistic? 😂 You must be thinking of another blogger. 😉 Because I am the worst artist in the world. It’s a good thing that screenshot isn’t very close up because I SOOO did not manage to color inside the lines, but thank you for the shoutout. I am quite enjoying the promotions going on for ROAR and I hope to participate in more of them. The map was quite a fun addition to make people aware and for people who are already excited about the book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! If you say so. :p

        And I’m glad people noticed my posts. I’m always afraid they will not see them and my promotions will not help the book. So, it’s good to know they are offering some awareness. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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