Bristol, CT- Rusty Razor Press, a small publisher of music magazines and cult fiction, has announced a new marketing strategy to boost sales among their core audience. Rusty Razor Press will start printing negative reviews received from readers of advance review copies of their books.
Zwan Berkley, the editor and publisher, said that the negative press makes a better strategy to reach the disaffected youth that buy the books he published.
"Nowadays the mainstream media is looking for ways to push their books through AstroTurf viral campaigns. Our customers are savvy to spotting and laughing at their attempts. Our core also has low self esteem and if we show them our authors are being ragged by the mainstream that just doesn't get it we'll be able to show them we're legit. If we show them negative reviews they'll stand by our authors and their books," Berkley said.
Berkley has expanded his list of free reviewer copies from a network of indie presses and blogs to mainstream newspapers and literary presses. The result has been many negative reviews from established critics, which has fueled sales of several books.
Rusty Razor's latest book "Little Red Drops of Love" by Annie Banner, a series of interconnected suicide stories, was roundly panned by most of the main newspapers that reviewed the book.
"This book shows a narcissistic cast of immature characters seeking suicide as relief from minor pains such a parental disapproval, rejection in love and a bad grade on a test. These characters are wholly annoying and instead of feeling commiseration as the author intends, you almost feel like the choice was right," said Hank Ready of the Hartford Argus.
Rusty Razor printed the review on the front cover, and the book has sold twice as many books as Banner's previous "Little Clear Tear of Blood".
"We have decided to increase the number of books published in order to hook into the trend we have gotten into," Berkly said.
The strategy hasn't been without its critics. Chocolate Pistol Press, a rival press in New York, has called the press a sell out by trying to get the attention of the mainstream media, even for negative reviews.
"If there is one thing worse than a poseur trying to get the mainstream to like him, it's one that tries to get them to hate them in order to sell more books. In either case you pin your identity on the opinion or others. We suggest Rusty Razor takes our advise and go back to their emo roots," Chocolate Pistol said in an unsigned editorial in their monthly zine.