Monday, February 18, 2013

Is Your Book Marketed As Attractively As The SI Swimsuit Issue?

The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition always makes a big splash. It gets huge media coverage. It gets lots of chatter through social media channels. It seems every model wants to be featured the publication, almost every woman wants their bathing suit to look as good on them as it does on these supermodels, and most that most guys fantasize about being with a woman that looks like she belongs in the magazine. But it is amazing that after all of these years with free 24-7 porn, mainstream publications like Maxim and Playboy declining in popularity, and show-it-all programs on HBO and Showtime, that people will still pay for what amounts to be a catalog for Victoria’s Secret.

How does SI still sell a zillion copies of its swimsuit issue – and garner scores of advertisers to pay big bucks? It could just live off of its reputation but instead it chooses to live up to it and seems to make each year’s issue more special than expected.

Here is what it does well. See if this model works for your book marketing:

1.      It feeds on pre-publication buzz and anticipation, by slowly leaking images in advance of the issue’s release.
2.      It offers additional content online to cross promote the publication.
3.      It makes a free DVD available – about the making of the special issue – for those who agree to sign up for a year-long subscription.
4.      It uses youth and beauty to attract fans.
5.      It pushes the envelope on what is socially acceptable for a family magazine.
6.      It redefines what is considered to be a part of sports.
7.      It uses beautiful locations and backgrounds  to support the main attraction - -the models.
8.      It presents itself as high class. By coming off as a legitimate publication, it makes it acceptable for people to read the magazine in public, for teens to read it as well as seniors.
9.      It combines images of sex with fashion, something that appeals to both men and women, straight and gay.
10.  It uses quality photography to support beautiful subjects, not merely relying on the natural visual appeal of the models to sell it.

Now, SI is one of the nation’s most respected and best-known brands. Could it coast on its name for a few more years without doing anything special? Sure, but that is not how you grow and expand. SI wisely invested in making its issue a huge success. Can authors or publishers repeat what SI has done when for its magazine when it comes to their books?

To some degree, yes. You may not have a million-dollar PR budget or world-class models to splash across your book cover, but that is not the lesson here. What SI did was pay attention to details and made sure it did not just do the obvious or the expected. It went the extra mile and creatively put together something that made even ardent fans step back and marvel.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

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