Sunday, July 23, 2023

$1 M To Be Wasted On Promoting A Book With Likely Few Readers

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? 

Who cares? 

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 IKEA 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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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  



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