Friday, June 24, 2011

WTF?! Be A Sucker And Publicize A Book...For Free.

The pre-ordained order of my posts was upended!

It's been a while I haven't ranted, and I was a little worried I had lost my acerbity. But the gods of mean answered my prayers, and the provocation for ranting appeared in the form of an email...perhaps not as good as a live real event, but close enough.

And since nothing turns me on as much as an opportunity for a juicy rant, here's the story in some detail...

A few days ago, I got an email from a book publisher (its website claims it's the world’s leading publisher of books on visual arts) asking me to feature a just published book of images by a photographer, enclosing a bunch of pictures of the book, and some background material.

Now, I occasionally receive such requests from book publishers who inquire whether I'd like to receive a book, review it and then post comments. This time...nothing of the book to review, no freebie of any type...just do it because it would make the corporate publisher and photographer happy. Truth be told, I've seen the work of the photographer ad nauseam, and if I had been sent the book, it would end up being a door stop...or prop a rickety desk...if not worse.

That being said, I figured that it was perhaps an opportunity to make money....and with whatever paid, I'd sponsor a deserving photographer to attend the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop. So I drafted a sweet short email that went like this...

"thank you for the email. i'd be glad to consider it against payment for ad space. you can choose either a post about the book, or a side bar advert. Let me know if you want me to send you my rates."
The response came in rather promptly, and it said that the world’s leading publisher of books on the visual arts didn't have any budget for advertising at the moment. 

Funny, huh? No, not funny at all. They ought to be ashamed of themselves....because they do and must have the budget. If not, they wouldn't be the world’s leading publisher of books on the visual arts.

For those who love analogies as I do, here's one that seems perfectly suited for the situation. I own a small modest building, and a large for profit conglomerate asks me to stick an enormous billboard for one of its products on the side of my building, and wants me to tell my tenants what a great product it is...and wants me to do it for free....and perhaps because they think I'm a sucker,  or because they believe they're entitled to exploit others, they won't pay for the privilege of using this space and for my time. An apt analogy, I think.

I should have suggested an alternative to the world’s leading publisher of books on the visual arts. In consideration of my hyping its book on my blog, it could market my own books, and peddle them on its own website and online stores. You see, it's because The Travel Photographer has no budget for advertising...just like you.

For all other buyers who are interested, my two books Bali: Island of Gods and Darshan can be found here. By the way, sales of these two books have exceeded my expectations (and were achieved without the support of the world’s leading publisher of books on the visual arts).

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