Monday, 6 October 2008

A passing thought

You know how musicians often have deals with the manufacturers of their instruments/microphones/sound equipment of choice, whereby they declare their love for said brand in exchange for money and free kit? ("So-and-so uses Whataracket drums!") Well, I wonder whether it would work for writers and our tools? To a certain extent it has been done - the late Douglas Adams was a big advocate of Apple Mac computers, while Moleskine claim that their notebooks were used by Hemingway (although there are some quibbles over the accuracy of this statement) - but never on the same scale as with musicians and instruments.

Saying that writers would never go for something as vulgar as a commercial endorsement simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny: for one thing, we don't all have the same personality and sense of what is and isn't appropriate, and secondly music is also a field in which artistic integrity often plays a large part in determining one's credibility (witness the contempt for major labels frequently displayed by indie bands), and that hasn't done the guitar endorsements any harm. Ultimately, as long as you don't turn into Krusty the Klown and start endorsing a load of random tat that you've never actually seen in person, never mind used, aren't these endorsements just word of mouth with benefits?

So what I propose (with tongue only partly in cheek), is that stationers and computer and software companies could run similar ads in the pages of, say, Writing Magazine or Writers' Forum, parading a particular author's fondness for their products; assuming they can find a willing author who does use their gear of course, and in exchange for money and free samples. I imagine there are plenty of authors who will be willing to skewer me if they lay eyes on this post, but I also believe that there will be a considerable number of others who think that there is a smidgen of method in my madness. And hey, there might be a computer company out there who likes my idea (a girl can dream), so just in case, I'll flutter my cyber-eyelashes at Advent and Microsoft in case they want to give me stuff. You never know.

15 comments:

Aliya Whiteley said...

I'm with you. I always use the same 'lucky' pen. It's a Parker something or other. I should be getting these free considering my slavish devotion to them.

Love your tag for this. Let's face it, we're all corporate whores really. We're just asking for something back, Goddammit!

Eliza Graham said...

I would be more than happy to be sponsored by Mont Blanc...

David Isaak said...

It's a great idea! And Moliere insisted long ago that writing follows exactly the same course as prostitution: "First you do it for love. Then you do it for a few friends. Finally you do it for money."

But why limit ourselves to actual writing implements? Why not endorse brands of coffee, or tea, or gin, or aspirin, or psychotherapists, or any of the other necessities of the writing life?

Tim Stretton said...

Personally I've no objection to being Krusty the Klown if it gets me some freebies...

Alis said...

I could just do with a new, lightweight laptop like the one I am almost physically attached to but will not go on for ever, gulp. Hello Toshiba, here I am!!! (imagine manic cyber-waves)

Faye L. Booth said...

I'm glad I'm not the only filthy capitalist in here. David's suggestion of endorsements for products not directly related to writing is a good one, and since I get so many of my ideas while washing, I suppose I should really be trying to score a deal with Lush. Excuses, excuses...

Tim Stretton said...

Ah, the mystical power of ablutions... I get lots of my ideas in the shower (no sniggering, please) and blocked out the twin narrative structure of The Dog of the North on bath tiles while having a soak...

Matt Curran said...

I've been hoping that Asus have seen my blog, as I've certainly been pimping the Eee PC (actually I've been pimping it on other blogs too). A nice fat corporate deal with Asus to provide all my laptop needs would be fab... but then how many laptops does a writer need?

Brian McGilloway said...

I'm afraid I get most of my ideas when I'm cutting the grass or out driving. Happy enough to pass on a new Qualcast, to be honest, but an Aston Martin wouldn't be refused... ok a Citroen C3 if I'm honest.

That said, as I've followed the whole new baby per book thing - with number 3, David making his entrance a few weeks ago, just ahead of the proofs for Bleed a River Deep, I should really be getting sponsored by Pampers.

David Isaak said...

Good choice in name!

Encourage him to stick with "David" rather than "Dave." I discovered "David" is a good name to have in elementary school, as it doesn't rhyme with anything, and therefore can't be used in effective singsong taunts.

Len Tyler said...

Congratulations to Brian - and, I agree, a good choice of name. If it's a baby per book, you could end up with quite a big family ...

As for the product placement, I did plug Peckham's Celebration Sausages (not available outside West Sussex) in Herring Seller and there is a mention for Goldsboro Books in Ten Little Herrings - no bribes received in either case, unfortunately.

Faye L. said...

Just another congratulatory comment for Brian!

One thought occurs: if you have a very prolific career, it will probably be just as well if the current trend holds. Many mouths and all that...

Frances said...

Yes - many congratulations, Brian, and nice peaceful nights. Perhaps Pampers with enticing little exerpts from your books..?

Brian McGilloway said...

Thanks folks

Peaceful nights? Yes, it can be very quiet at 4 am when you're sitting feeding a baby...

Matt Curran said...

Congratulations, Brian (our first is due in April - so any tips on writing through insomnia would be appreciated!)