I wish I could say that I’ve already read Robert Pobi’s horror / thriller novel Bloodman so that I can give a proper review of the work and say whether or not it warrants a purchase, but I only saw the advertisement a few minutes ago.
And what an ad it is. It’s there on the side if you want to check it out, which you kind of have no choice to if you’re already viewing this page and reading this sentence. Straightforward, stark, witty and well-placed, this ad worked well enough to at least entice me to click and investigate. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be buying this book in the near future. I’m not averse to serial killer crime thrillers, but I don’t go out of my way to read from that particular sub-genre. Just not a personal preference of mine. That said, the preview I read was promising and I’m a sucker for any story that can work a hurricane into the mix. But all of that is immaterial to the purpose of this post.
This post is about an interesting advertisement for a novel that proves you don’t have to overthink the process to snare a potentially interested consumer.
The ad is assisted by an eye-catching cover and easy-to-remember title. Neither is perfect, but they don’t have to be. The (presumed) Bloodman’s streaked face looks like an advant-garde Halloween mask inspired by Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, and the fact that the novel’s title sounds like it could be the name of an “edgy” 90’s Rob Liefeld character doesn’t help to dispel that association. But honestly, who cares? The title works because I’d have to go out of my way to forget the name “Bloodman” even if I wasn’t already interested, and the face is intimidating enough to be memorable but not so horrific as to be off-putting.
The actual ad is an example of how simplicity is often the best option. The white lettering on a red backdrop drew my attention. The amusing little cliche storm is an easy, brilliant touch. It’s sly, self-deprecating, yet informative. “Here’s a book,” it essentially says, “that’s meant to scare and entertain you. If you’re a fan of that sort of thing, you’ll probably enjoy it.” Well hell, what more does a fan of horror fiction need to know? Reading more about the novel itself, it’s clear that Mr. Pobi takes his work seriously, as he should. Writing can be a damned difficult process, particularly if you are trying to do it well. But the ad makes the right move in not over-selling the product in a manner that’s too serious. The book’s blurb claims that it “redefines the genre.” Again, having not read the book (yet?), I can’t speak to whether it does or doesn’t live up to such a lofty claim. However, had I read that in the advertisement, I’d have been less inclined (though not wholly disinclined) to click on the ad. Apart from further description of the novel and the brief, thoughtful interview with the author on the book’s Amazon page, it might have come off as bombastic.
More points in the ad’s favor: no flash or gif or other unnecessary moving parts. I’ve nothing against flash or gif ads, but if it takes seven seconds for you to finally get around to displaying the name of your book, you might discover that your potential consumer lost interest in your ad six seconds ago unless you lead off with something rather remarkable. No need to get too cute here.
Lastly, the ad happened to pop up on one of the Horror Fiction pages on TV Tropes. Given the vast volume of horror fiction catalogued on the TV Tropes wiki, I’m pretty damn confident I’m hardly the only person who frequents those pages. I’ve read, re-read and re-re-read everything of passing interest related to horror on TV Tropes, to the point that I’m venturing into categories I’d never previously found interesting (such as Visual Novels and Tabletop Games) in search of something to catch my fancy, and in all the time I’ve spent in that area of the site I’ve never seen an ad for a horror novel. Or if I did, it was so vapid or otherwise unappealing it came and went unnoticed. I’ve seen ads for cars, car insurance, health insurance, satellite TV services, online colleges, all kinds of software, and so much more, but never an ad for a horror novel. Granted, the site runs on google ads, which can be a cipher even to the advertisee. Still, the paucity of horror fiction related ads appearing on a horror fiction related site before a web surfer whose history shows ample evidence that he’s a horror junkie is startling. Fortunately, Bloodman managed to sneak through. Would love to see more of the same.