Riding Coattails: Clever or a Cop out?

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While wasting time on Goodreads recently, I saw a sidebar ad for a book called 50 Ways to Play: BDSM for Nice People.  Firstly, the title annoys me. Why add the “for Nice People”? Are they insinuating that it’s typically “MeanPeople” who are involved? I don’t know. That’s a topic for another time I suppose…

When I saw it, I shook my head. I couldn’t decide if these authors were clever for riding on the coattails of the 50 Shades of Grey success or if they were just lazy and greedy to try and cash in on the success of others.

From the book information and the couple of reviews I saw on Amazon and Goodreads, I think I have to say this was probably more about them being lazy and doing a half-hearted job to put something out there to try and latch onto the E.L James star, so to speak.  The book is fairly short and it looks like it’s missing out on some important information that shouldn’t be ignored when getting into that kind of play. Which I think is pretty irresponsible of the authors. Anywho…

I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with smart marketing and using what’s out there to give yourself and your sales a boost, but you need to be putting out a quality product of your own. Not something thrown together in a couple of weeks. Not something that blatantly steals the story of others and just changes character and location names.  It needs to be your own. How can you be proud of your work if you don’t put time and energy into it? How can you call yourself a writer if you’re using someone else’s ideas without inserting any of your own originality and creativity? You really can’t. I think then we get to call you a hack and there’s no pride in that.

If you want to say your work is comparable to  Twilight or Hunger Games, that’s all fine and dandy. That helps readers to know if they might enjoy your book if they liked the comparisons.  If they’re reading it and getting that deja vu sense of “I’ve read this before”, then it’s an issue.

Be smart about your marketing. If you can find a way to tie into something that is big at the moment, awesome! Just be sure your product can stand on its own as well. That way people will hopefully make good comparisons with your work and the work you’re latching onto.

4 responses »

  1. You know just yesterday I was doing some research on Amazon and came across an author who’s name is only one letter different than a famous author – in fact the last name is the same, he’s added one extra letter to his first name. Coincidence? Well, I was curious so I checked the tags for this author’s books and he is in fact using the ‘famous’ author’s name in his tags. As an author myself I appreciate it’s tough to sell books, but I found this to be unethical to the point I’d never buy or recommend his books simply for that reason.

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