We all know that advertisers pay movie producers to get their products on the big screen. But what about in the pages of a book?
Recently, I finished a story (don’t ask…I won’t tell) wherein a character shops for a new car. Now, most authors do try to choose a car that reflects the character’s personality. Lots of heroines buy Miatas for some reason while heroes gravitate toward the big SUV, truck, or high-end, high-speed engine revvers. That in itself doesn’t bother me. But in this particular case, the car’s make, model, and special features were mentioned time and time again. For no real reason. Paragraphs like (and I’m paraphrasing here…to protect the innocent): “He drove the xxx, with its xxx of trunk space and roomy leather seats to the meeting place. The whole family loved riding in the xxx. It was roomier than a sedan and smoother than an SUV…” Now, one scene like this I can handle, especially while the character is shopping. But a dozen? Throughout the course of the book? The book began to read more like a brochure for this particular car company than a story.

Has this particular author sold out? Or am I behind the latest craze–marketing your story with a product? Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?