An author is allegedly spending one million dollars to promote his book. Either this number, in my opinion, is a complete lie or the author is an idiot. In the case of Jan Ryde, CEO of a 170-year-old Swedish-based mattress company, it could be a little of both.
In case you are not familiar with Mr. Ryde— I was not until I saw a full-page ad in Publishers Weekly touting an upcoming book from Forefront Books, When Business Is Love— he runs a family business that was handed to him. Upon searching his name I found information regarding a lawsuit filed against him and his company, Hastens.
The lawsuit, according to The New York Post, alleges unfair hiring practices, brainwashing trainings, and sexist practices take place at the company offices.
The Post said: “A Swedish mattress maker to the stars is led by a kooky CEO who hires employees based on their “vibrations” and subjects underlings to obscene training videos, a new lawsuit alleges.”
So, who is Ryde aside from what the lawsuit outlines?
He inherited a successful company. Yawn. He is a fifth-generation owner. He accomplished waking up with millions in the bank before he could walk or talk. He is not popular in America.
By 1952, a century after its foundation, Hastens had become the official bedding supplier of Sweden's royal court, a title they share with since 1984. They made beds for Tom Cruise and Vladimir Putin. Their beds can cost up to $400,000. Does the average American really want to know what Ryde has to share in his book when all of the heavy lifting was done prior to him running the company that most people never heard of?
In the book world, very few books have one million dollars spent on ads and
promotions. If a book is really a big book or one written by a famous or
best-selling author, there is little need to spend a lot of money on it.
Traditional media will naturally cover it and social media will follow. The
laws of diminishing returns kick in if you just throw a ton of money at a book.
An old rule of thumb in the book publishing industry is to spend a dollar per printed book on promotions. Print 10,000 copies, have a budget of $10,000. So, if Ryde is really dumping a million bucks on a book, one would expect a million books are being printed. They are not doing that.
A book like this likely won’t sell more than 50,000 copies, and could easily sell one-tenth of that number. Memoirs by foreign-owned corporate CEOs who are not so well-known nor embraced by consumers just don’t generate tons of book sales.
He may, due to his obscene wealth, manipulate
best-seller lists with company buybacks of books in rigged campaigns where
employees buy books — so it is registered as sales — but they get secretly
reimbursed by the company.
Don’t believe me? Ask publishers and literary agents. Look at bestseller lists. Most memoirs, even of big politicians or stars often fall short of justifying the lofty advances publishers paid to the underachieving authors.
Ryde may end up spending a million dollars but it will be on ads to promote his company. He sells expensive beds and will recoup his investment on that, not the book. He is supposedly paying for a Times Square NASDAQ ad on publication day. That is not what authors normally do — and that ad of tens of thousands of dollars won’t sell enough books to compensate for it.
It is time we had truth in advertising. This is not the first time publishers or authors made outlandish claims on marketing budgets. This goes on all of the time. There should be truth in accountability. Let’s see the outlay of funds on how much was spent on what.
I am not sure what one could even spend a million bucks on when it comes to books. Paid book reviews could cost a few thousand. A savvy digital marketer is five thousand a month. The rest will not pay for itself at a large scale — events, ads, and influencers.
A most telling sign that this book doesn’t warrant a million-dollar campaign is the fact that it was not released by a major publisher. Forefront is a hybrid — this means Ryde had to pay to get published and invest in his book. If there were true merit and demand for his book, real publishers would have been in a bidding war for it.
So, don’t believe the hype. He may spend a
million bucks on his book — but relatively few legit sales will be generated in
the US. The book launches in October. See if my prediction holds true.
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