Sunday, November 06, 2005

Dreaming of Diamonds … or Chocolate

This weekend several writers' loops pointed me toward a press release announcing a new licensing agreement between Harlequin Enterprises and NASCAR. In case there is any reader who doesn't know -- and let me quote the joint press release -- Harlequin is "one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction and the global leader of series romance" and NASCAR is "the largest sanctioning body of motorsports in the United States."

"Under the agreement, Harlequin will publish a variety of women's fiction titles that will be included in the NASCAR Library Collection… The novels, by some of Harlequin's bestselling authors, will have plotlines centering on NASCAR and will bear the NASCAR brand on their covers. The debut title in the new program, IN THE GROOVE by award-winning author Pamela Britton, will be published on January 31, 2006 to coincide with the Daytona 500.

"We are thrilled to be NASCAR's first partner in fiction publishing and to bring our entertaining and enriching editorial to its audience," said Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises. "NASCAR has one of the largest and most loyal bases of female fans of any sport in the United States and we are delighted to publish novels that will appeal specifically to them."

Read more here, or if you want the editorial perspective here.

I should point out that my interest here is purely academic. I am not a motor-racing fan and I know this (picture my index finger and thumb one millimetre apart) much about NASCAR, but the idea caught my attention. I spent some time wondering if other collaborations were possible ... and couldn’t think of anything on the same scale of possible readership.

My daydreaming shifted, as it tends to do on a lazy Sunday morning, to product placement in books. I remember reading something a year or two back about a product placement deal between, from memory, Faye Weldon and a jewellery company. Wouldn't it be nice if the deal were paid in diamonds?

That thought led me to consider the specific products mentioned in my books. Yes, there are diamonds in A RICH STRANGER as well as some upmarket designer names and a specific model of Jaguar. We are talking a RICH guy, after all! Wouldn't some of those free products be nice? *g* But, hey, I'm not greedy (and only slightly delusional.) I'll settle for a carton of Tim Tams, my heroine's chocolate of choice in THE RUTHLESS GROOM.

How about you? What product would you place in your book on the promise of free goodies? Or what organization would you love to collaborate with to produce books for a specific market?


Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...

Hah, Bronwyn, the only 'thing' in my books that I really and truly would sell my soul to have is Scotland! But somehow I think I shall have to continue relying on myself re spending time over there! But if a fairy godmother would grant me a wish based on what can be found in my books - Scotland wins hands down. More than any diamonds, more than a mountain of chocolate, more than fast cars and flashy clothes, even hot men. Well, that last might have a chance - if they speak with a burr and wear a kilt!

Candice Gilmer said...

I have one book I am working on, and the heroine is a hairdresser, and part of the book takes place at a hairdresser's conference. In the book, I plugged one product line, and I'm hoping when the book is finished, that I might be able to get a mention or somethign with that company in their news letter, or even be able to mention something about it in some salon magazines...

Allison Brennan said...

Bronwyn, I absolutely LOVE your cover. Love it love it love it!!!! *g*

Oh, your question . . . hmmm, I'd have to give this some thought. I mention a lot of specific guns -- I have my favorites -- and I like setting (my first book takes place in Malibu), but I haven't "consciously" product placed. It's worth thinking about though!

Alfie said...

My husband has always wanted to go to a Nascar race so I took him for his birthday several years ago. At the time, I wished I had brought bookmarks or some type of promo materials since I looked around, saw the (surprising to me) number of normal, average looking women in an interesting age range and thought "This has to be the audience we're aiming for."

I'm glad Harlequin has realized what a perfect target audience this is.


Bronwyn Jameson said...

Oh, Sue-Ellen, a little piece of Scotland would be nice, wouldn't it?

Candice, what a great promo idea. Love it!

Allison, I'm pretty fond of that cover myself.

Alfie -- I agree. And today I saw another similar example in RT: The Red Hat Society books which Warner has scheduled for 2006. I had heard about those a while back, but then it slipped my mind (as happens way too often!) Putting RHS on the cover will draw an instant audience of members, I should think.


Monkey Migraine said...

I have a sample of what I think a NASCAR novel would look like. I call it "Left Turn Lovers":

When Billy Bob's racecar pulled up to her house and he stepped out, Mary Lou caught her breath. The way the sweat on his jiggling belly caught the sun made Mary Lou shiver. She wished she had taken the time to brush her tooth, but she knew you didn't keep a man like Billy Bob waiting.

"Oh Mary Lou," Billy Bob whispered. "You're the purtiest lady I ever done seen. I won me ten dollars at the last race, more money than I ever had in my whole life. Would you do me the honor o' bein' my wife? We can git married and spend the honeymoon at Wal-Mart."

"Sure as shootin'," Mary Lou said shyly. "Why don't you put down that beer, come over here, and kiss me with them big cold sore-riddled lips."

Just then, their mother called out, "Kids, it's time for supper! Go get your Pa and scrape up some roadkill for the stewpot!" said...

Bron, this is such a timely post for me! In my most recent book, COME OCTOBER (Harlequin NeXT 10/05) I have one of the main characters having a glass of Messina Hof port after a meal. Messina Hof winery is located in Bryan, Texas, and my husband and I toured the place some years back when I was doing research for winery scenes in a book. Anyway, the publicist for Messina Hof read an excerpt of COME OCTOBER at her local Curves and contacted me through my website. She was thrilled about the mention of their wine and sent me a complimentary bottle. I, in turn, sent her and the owner of the winery an autographed copy of the book. Then the owner contacted me and has now asked me to speak at a big reception/wine tasting gala they are having in February -- a combination Valentine's/Mardi Gras celebration. I will also be selling and signing copies of the book. So mentioning Messina Hof definitely paid off in a very nice way, although that is not why I mentioned them. Interesting how this worked, isn't it?