I look forward to the day when I read that headline in a newspaper.
Since my last post when I wondered whether Pilot might like to sponsor an emerging author with a lifetime of her favourite pens I have thought about this a bit more.
Why can’t authors be sponsored like swimmers or tennis players? We could get clothes sporting brand names like Pilot or Apple or Dell (terribly fashionable and tasteful of course… not like the sweat bands the tennis stars get!!). We could have holidays from hotels and resorts that would like to be featured in a novel. We could be given laptops and printers and training all courtesy of our sponsor. In return we would credit them in the acknowledgements pages or even feature them within the book.
I know this change has already begun. Some novelists have agreed to put people’s names into their books and use them as minor characters. They do this either for straight payments or for donations to their favourite charities (as Marian Keyes did in This Charming Man).
It could be a form of product placement just as they do in movies.
Besides which loads of writing contests already restrict their entries to certain themes that are designed to promote their agenda. You could say that about One Book Many Brisbanes (of which I am a winner and therefore declare my interest in the comp) and I was happy to write about a city I love and bank the prize cheque thanks very much. Why not??
Do I think this type of sponsorship is open to corruption of a story? Quite frankly no. An author’s first responsibility is to her characters and storyline. Any ‘product placement’ that interferes with a story is likely to turn off the reader and the whole point of sponsorship like this is that company’s want readers. Non-fiction material could be a completely different matter (and would fall into the same ethical dilemmas as journalism). But fiction… I say go for it.
Now if I could just get Pilot onboard with this I would never again have to throw a teeny tiny tantrum because I can’t find my favourite pen.