Sitting on the train from Liverpool Street to Norwich for the last time before I move to France next Monday, I sip my expensive Costa hot chocolate and nibble at an almond croissant. I look out of the window and there is that poster again, the one I’ve been seeing all weekend. A Beautiful blond girl in white is staring at me confidently defiant, the rest of her band, dressed in black, lurk behind with equally defiant looks. It’s classic album art. I raise myself out of my seat to look for the name of the band, maybe I’ll download a vidoe of this beautiful girl dancing, like I did with Alizee. But wait! What’s this? …
It’s not a band; it’s a book!
Winner of The British Book Awards: Crime Thriller of the Year.
What have I learned from this piece of advertising? Someone called Martina Cole has written a thrilling novel about crime. Moreover, there exists a contest for the best Crime Thriller of the year. It seems a very specific category or genre in which to have a competition. I imagine a time when someone might announce that such-and-such an author has written a new novel; a thrilling one with a crime story. Now, I guess, Martina Cole cranks out one Crime Thriller after another and finally won a prize for her efforts (bravo!).
From the British Book Awards web site, I learn that there are several catetories and that each one is sponsored by book companies. Crime Thrillers still seems the most specific. You can’t actually click through to Amazon frrom that site and orde the short-listed books directly,but the word promotion seems to be lurking under every part of the site.
The CrimethInc book I’m reading tells me that the only thing we* can think of to do with a thing of value is to market it. Winning a national award increases the perceived value of a book, and of its author — next time they get to write Award winning author, or Author of The Take, depending on how well this one sells — but what is it’s value to me? The advertising clearly works (although it might have missfired a bit this time) if I belonged to the I-like-a-good-crime-thriller set of the population, I might buy it.
* The we in question is our Market Liberal, Capitalist, western society.
Somehow, when I was on the train scribbling this blog into my sketchbook, I had a strong feeling (that seems to have died down now that I am at Penny’s house in front of a computer) that it’s a shame that so much of what we do, say and participate in in the City these days asserts the value of things because of their marketability.