8 Comments

  1. Hmm… serious food for thought, and not something I had considered before.

    • Yeah, the wild popularity of the stories got me thinking, especially since I was feeling so down after reading them and I couldn’t forget about it because HG stuff was EVERYWHERE (the first movie had just come out). And I don’t think Collins wrote them to specifically to be commercially successful – I think it was the nature of the story that begged this iconography – but I think a lot of stories have the same elements that just aren’t being emphasized.

      • It’s very astute, and something your marketing bent probably helped you notice. And now you’ve helped me notice and think about it! It’s definitely not something that can, or should, be forced, but I don’t think it hurts to keep it in mind.

  2. Good point, but I’d rather not create a story just so it could be marketed. I write to tell stories, not to sell makeup or softdrinks.

    • Oh, very good point, Jen – and I hope this post didn’t sound like I advocated commercialism over good work! That’s why I opened by pointing out the emotional and moral strength of the stories.

      Our first mission should always be to tell a story that needs to be told. But if there are ways to help that story stick in people’s minds, we should think about using them (more to be memorable than to sell swag). I do have some issues with some of the marketing around The Hunger Games – too much of it seems to be a celebration of the Capitol, rather than the rebellion – but that is another matter altogether.

    • I don’t think she’s advocating writing for marketing. I think she’s pointing out that a good story still needs good marketing if it is to be read by more than a handful of people.

  3. I definitely see your point and find this analytic post very interesting! There is more marketing in Hunger Games and other series than I realized. Wow!

    The overall message I got from your post is that it’s really about making the novel and parts of it memorable, with easily quotable phrases and recognizable symbols. This is great advice and a useful strategy to use in writing.

    Although, there are many classics such as Lord of the Rings, North and South, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, etc. and contemporary novels such as The Time Traveler’s Wife that have also been wildly popular without the aid of explicit marketing tactics in their stories, and still are popular to this day. It makes me wonder how many marketing tactics are really necessary… (Not totally against marketing techniques in series like The Hunger Games; just not overly fond of them) 🙂 My only concern with marketing techniques/tactics in novels is that it may take value away from the story itself and quality.

    • You’re right: marketing should never take precedence over story itself; if there is any iconography it must be organic to the story!

      But some of the classics you mention also make great use of iconography – Lord of the Rings, for instance, covers most of the points mentioned above. J.R.R. Tolkien himself had a logo: that combination of his initials that looks like a rune and appears on most, if not all, of his books. The Ring is iconic; so is the white hand of Sarumon, the eye of Sauron (which I believe was invented in the movies), the white tree of Gondor – all visual icons. And there are plenty of catchphrases: one ring to rule them all, my precious, not all who wander are lost (I see that one on bumper stickers). He has different people groups with which different fans can identify: elves, dwarves, men, hobbits, ents, etc. Or, on a more personal level, the members of the Fellowship themselves. For iconic weapons, the sword Narsil/Andruil was a big player in the stories. Not to mention Sting! Even fire was used, especially in the movies – wreathing the eye of Sauron, and as a visual effect when Frodo put on the Ring.

      Are these explicit marketing tactics? No. They are organic. And that’s why they work, just like they work in the Hunger Games.

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