"Original" Branding Books

16 Dec 2005|Steve Diller

When you write a book, you pay a little more attention to what other people are writing. You also pay attention to the way their books are being promoted.

We just received notice of a new book on “cult” brands that claiimed it was “the most original book on the subject ever written.” That’s a pretty questionable claim, of course. And even if it’s true, you have to wonder about the originality of a book that’s promoted using old-style, hype-oriented language to get and keep one’s attention. But what’s actually happening here?

I have a feeling the author didn’t have anything to do with the claim. After all, “hype” isn’t exactly well-respected among marketing theorists. They would generally argue that it creates a sense of insincerity, or inauthentic “sales-oriented” communication. So we have a contradiction- a writer makes a claim on all of our time, saying he’s got a valuable way of thinking about marketing that will change the way we think. But his book is promoted in a crass, outdated way. What does the poor reader do?

As someone who has at times felt at the mercy of his publisher, I’d say, don’t just judge the book by its marketing- read the reviews, too. It may, actually, be shockingly original, even if its marketing isn’t. It’s one of the ironies of the book publishing business that a book about dazzling new techniques won’t in fact be marketed using any of those approaches. Business book publishers do a serious disservice to their writers when they disregard the contents of what they’re publishing.

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