Advertising in literature continues to move at a snail's pace. The latest writer to try to change that is Michael T. Owens, who is using eBay to auction off one full page of ad space in his upcoming novel, A Dream Come True. Owens, a former advertising executive with one novel already under his belt, says he's just "brainstorming cost effective, out-of-the-box ways to market. By combining the captive audience and long shelf life of a book, I'm able to create a win-win situation for me and one lucky advertiser."
Owens says his "may be the first novel doing [this] on a national scale." He's wrong there, of course. Bulgari paid Fay Weldon handsomely for placement in The Bulgari Connection, and Bill Fitzhugh blames himself for the death of the novel after cutting a deal to feature Seagram's in Cross Dressing. But it's still rare—which may explain why the wailing and gnashing of teeth is limited among literary types when asked about the subject. Jessa Crispin from Bookslut.com was typically nonchalant. She suggests tucking the ads "in the back, where they used to have the ads to buy other books from the publisher." Throwing ads in indiscriminately, she admits, would be "awful."
The jostling for a spot in Owens book ends Thursday. If you're interested, it might not cost you much. At press time Friday, the high bid was $6.49.