Friday, August 13, 2010

Teasers That Don't Deliver

My “Books To Be Read” has taken over the top of my dresser and the floor space on either side. And, my “Magazines To Be Read” pile has taken over the armoire. I won’t mention what’s pending in my Nook.

When those precious moments of personal reading time become available, I dive into whatever tickles my interest at that time. This week, I grabbed a popular women’s magazine because the cover mentioned an article on ways to improve memory. Not just a couple of ways, 23 ways. Since I have a background in psychology, I was eager to glean as much as I could from the article.

I only had a few minutes to devote to the article and spent 95% of my time looking for it. I checked the table of contents. Hmmm…not there. I did find an article entitled “Memory Lame.” A play on words, but ironically accurate. I don’t know if the cover was a misprint or if the wrong article was published or if they forgot to print the article in its entirety. But the write-up certainly did not a address 23 ways to improve memory. I counted 8, and that was a generous count. Maybe they expected people to forget that they had promised 23 techniques.

Now, I’m annoyed. I chose this magazine based on the front cover teaser. The magazine failed to deliver the goods. Isn’t there supposed to be truth in advertising?

Building up a reader’s expectation and failing to fulfill them is a critical mistake for anyone trying to build a readership or maintain one. Such a shortfall undermines the reader’s trust. She is more hesitant to invest time or money in the author’s next project.

Lesson learned and filed in my writer’s rolodex. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and always deliver what you promise.

~Kristal Lee

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Anonymous said...

Rebecca Lynn says:
Maybe they figured if you wanted to read the article, you were already having memory problems, and you would forget how many they promised you by the time you got to it.

August 13, 2010

Anonymous said...

Nancy Lennea says:
That is horrible? How dare they bait-&-switch?

August 13, 2010

Anonymous said...

Dawn Marie Hamilton says:
One time I picked up a famous author’s book and the back cover blurb didn’t quite match the story inside. At the time, I guessed that the blurb was written from an early version of the synopsis and not updated when the author changed the plot. Since I enjoyed the book, I didn’t mind, but still.

August 18, 2010

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