Friday, April 18, 2008

Selling Out or Selling On?

I was going to bemoan the fact that the results of the comp I entered haven't been posted yet (and I just couldn't spend all weekend waiting!), but I was distracted by the post that the agent had put there today (smart move, people!). She questioned whether or not we as authors would accept payment for product placement in our books, and as readers, would it annoy us if our favorite authors started doing it, and basically any other thoughts we might have on the issue.
It is quite an interesting thing to consider.
I can see how a character liking one particular product could be a quirk, and if the book is going to be a true reflection of society, then it's hard not to mention specific products. Like just recently I wrote a scene where one of the characters wanted to have a double malt vanilla latte and some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Everyone knows that Krispy Kreme doughnuts aren't like a usual doughnut, and that's part of the reason why she specifically wanted them. If a company wanted to pay me to mention their product, I'd have to honestly say I'd seriously consider it (since I earn exactly $0 from my writing at the moment, it's hard to think I'd turn down any money. Maybe when I'm a successful, multi-published, New York Times Best-selling author I'll have the luxury of refusing money). But in saying that, I would draw the line if they had clauses such as I had to mention the product every chapter or something.
However, I don't agree at all with product placement in children's or young adult books. Kids these days are already bombarded with enough advertising and peer pressure, it doesn't need to be in their literature as well.
Well, now that I've had a think about that, I can get back to wishing they'd hurry up and post the comp results already.


lynn said...

I think it comes down to whether the product placement adds or detracts from the novel: if it's a way to bring the world or character to life, then it's fine, but if it's intrusive and jolts the reader from the story, it's not ok. Like all aspects of writing, it depends on HOW it's done.

And I totally agree with you on the children/YA issue.

Also, Krispy Kreme doughnuts are delish!

BookInTheOven said...

I saw this on another blog and think it's a really interesting topic. I think most people have brand loyalty and if it fits with the charector, it would only add to the story and why not pick up a little extra on the side for it.

I agree about the YA books, though. Kids don't have the same level of developed executive functions as adults. They are much more easily swayed and affected by ads. I wouldn't put it in a YA book.

Jennifer Roland said...

I'm actually very interested in this topic. How do the agreements get negotiated? What sort of compensation is involved?

I'm reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood books right now, and the product placement is 90% organic and character driven, 10% blatant and ridculous.