What about advertising your books on TV? by David Craig

Even just a few years ago, the idea of trying to advertise your books on TV would have seemed ridiculous. For a start, you’d probably have had to pay an advertising agency over £30,000 just to produce a 30-second TV-quality ad. Then the cost of running the ad would have been in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. But things have changed.

Producing a TV ad

Now you can make a TV ad for just a few hundred pounds. For example, you could choose a popular song and buy the karaoke musical version for less than £2. You could then write new words to the song promoting your book and, from a freelancers’ website like PeoplePerHour, find an excellent singer to record your version for about £80. For my ad promoting my book There is no Climate Crisis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlbUB4YqLrU I took Bob Dylan’s song “The Times they are a changin’” and challenged the doom-mongering of the climate catastrophists with the following much more positive message:

In fact we’ve never Had it so good The Earth has never Produced so much food Poverty has fallen More than we thought that it would And we’re all living longer Than our grandparents could So chill out, relax and lighten your mood For the climate it isn’t changing

After that you’ll need some visuals. Again, using a freelancers’ website like PeoplePerHour, you can find a experienced graphic artist who, for a couple of hundred pounds, can put together 30 seconds of visuals telling viewers about your book and why they should buy it.

Buying advertising spots

Previously there were two main problems with buying TV advertising spots. Firstly, they were hugely expensive costing thousands of pounds for each spot. And secondly, most were a waste of money as the majority of viewers wouldn’t have been in the target market for buying your book. As one business executive famously said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.

But now there are so many TV channels, you can choose one that is much more likely to reach your target market than traditional mainstream TV stations. So, whether your subject is history or nature or geography or current affairs or arts and crafts or whatever, it should be possible to find a TV channel that is likely to attract viewers interested in that subject. Moreover, running a 30-second TV ad on some of these specialist channels can often cost only a couple of hundred pounds. So you can now reach a better-targeted group of potential customers at a much lower cost. In fact, a TV ad may now be much cheaper and more cost-effective than a newspaper or magazine ad.

Does it work?

This all brings us to the key question: does it sell books? Let me answer this in two parts: – given the low costs of producing an ad and buying a couple of TV spots on a specialist TV channel, for less than a thousand pounds your publisher can produce a TV ad and run it a couple of times to test whether this works for your book. Your biggest challenge will be getting your publisher to put up the money to try this – as to whether my TV ad worked, I’ll never know. The Advertising Standards Authority have decided that it is “socially irresponsible” to question whether mankind’s burning of fossil fuels really is causing catastrophic climate change. So my ad has been banned. Still, it was fun producing it.

David Craig is the author of There is no Climate Crisis and 10 other current affairs books.

About article author

David Craig

David Craig

For over 20 years, David Craig has worked for and competed against some of the world's best and worst management consultancies. He has sold consulting in 15 countries in Europe, US and Asia to almost 100 organizations, including Disney, Mobil, Dupont, Roche, Air France, Eurotunnel, The NHS, CapGe...More about David Craig