Saturday, April 12, 2008

book promotion story 3: "Up, up, and away"—literally

When Superman debuted in 1938, he couldn't fly. He could only leap tall buildings in a single bound. Well, I suppose that's something, too.

Yet when you've written a picture book about Superman (more specifically, his co-creators), the marketing possibilities are sky-high.

In September 2007, I met a very nice man who happens to run a very cool company: it operates airships. I made a mental (actually digital—in my Palm) note about him.
In February 2008, by which time the book had been announced, I e-mailed him. After reminding him who I was and briefly introducing Boys of Steel, I wrote this:

I'm looking for creative ways to promote it. What I would LOVE would be to have a launch party for the book on an airshipafter all, airships are the coolest things in the sky next to Superman himself.

I figured the cost would be astronomical, meaning the airship idea wouldn't fly with my publisher. But hoping I would happily be proven wrong, I asked how much it would be.

His response was a phone call. He said he'd love to do it. He'd not heard of any other book party that had taken place aboard an airship. And the only issue would be whether he'd have an airship in the right location in August, when the book releases. The launch site he mentioned was Coney Island.

No mention of cost.

So we met for French toast.

I learned that this is how it would work: companies pay to advertise on the balloon of airships. So since an airship would be going up anyway, he would let us use the cabin for the launch party for no charge. (Of course, any amenities we'd want at the party would be our financial responsible.)

Since then, while the idea is still afloat, we've hit turbulence in two ways:

1. Random House may not want to do it since an unrelated product would be shilled on the balloon itself. (I figure it's okay as long as there is no a moral conflict
—tobacco, soda, a new movie directed by Mel Gibson. In fact, maybe we'd happen upon some non-offensive—even squeaky cleansynergy, such as Super Vac, or Super Sweep, or Super Soap.)

2. The airship interior does not look like this:

from We the People: The Hindenburg by Marc Tyler Nobleman

Or this:

from We the People: The Hindenburg by Marc Tyler Nobleman

The interior looks like a miniature version of airplane coach class and can seat no more than twelve.

So if we get use of an airship in the New York area in August, and if Random House approves it, I am now thinking we make it a raffle launch party. We'd invite a group larger than twelve with the promise that twelve lucky attendees will be randomly drawn during the party to go up in the airship during the party. Right over the party, in fact.

Of course, I'd prefer to take the whole group. But I suppose my Plan B is something, too.

Besides, Superman wouldn't be as special as he is if everyone could fly.

1 comment:

rob! said...

what a neat idea!