Thanks to this Marketing Week article sent on Twitter by Sarah Weinman, I’m having a massive case of horrified giggles. WH Smith has released an exclusive edition of Simon Kernick’s book “Deadline” with a new cover… with Dan Brown’s name on it. Ruth Mortimer saw the ad and realized, to her horror:
…Brown had not written this book at all. And Kernick is not the detective hero of the piece. The front cover, which proudly boasted that it was “exclusive” to WH Smith, bears the legend: “Dan Brown. If you like your thrillers as fast, furious and unputdownable as Dan Brown, then we thought you’d enjoy…Simon Kernick. Deadline.”
I had got it entirely wrong. Kernick is, in fact, the author of Deadline. Brown is not.
This is selling one author’s book with the name of another author as the hook to draw in the shopper. Rather than simply referring to Dan Brown on the cover notes, suggesting similarities between the authors’ styles, at first sight it seems that Brown is the main writer.
Yes. That’s a brilliant idea! How did no one else think of that sooner: using one author’s name to sell another author’s book… by making that more famous-er name
HOLY SHIT HUGE
on the cover.
It’s so brilliant, I’ve hatched a contest. It’s been awhile since we did a Photoshop competition, but it’s time to break out the graphics editing software.
It’s the Simon Kernick Is Awesome Photoshop Contest!
Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to rebrand a romance novel cover, any romance cover, with another author’s name that would sell that book better than, you know, the ACTUAL author’s name. Bonus points for inside jokes.
Mirror Image is about a woman who, due to mistaken identity after a plane crash, ends up with another woman’s face. Hence, this is totally a book Hannah Montana would endorse, right?
So, allez Photoshop! Take a romance novel cover, and doctor that shit up.
Entries are due Friday 24 July, midnight EST. Please make sure the images are 300 pixels wide or LESS. Email them to sarahATsmartbitchestrashybooksDOTcom with SIMON KERNICK in the subject line.
I’ll post the covers over the weekend, and you can judge them on Monday. WOO!
The Grand Prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore of their choosing. 2nd Place will win a $25 gift certificate. And all of us will win a crucial lesson in marketing: it’s not the author’s name that matters. It’s how well some other author’s brand name can be used to market that author.