As digital becomes increasingly important to spread the word about a new book, Simon & Schuster has successfully found two new techniques to reach their younger audiences.
Unveiling the Cover
On July 10, the cover for Cassandra Clare’s new novel, Clockwork Princess, was posted to the book’s website behind a veil that users could remove by tweeting with the hashtag #clockworkprincess. Within two hours, there were 30,000 tweets and #clockworkprincess was trending worldwide. Tweets continued for hours after, and there are now at least 160,000 tweets about the book.
Matt Pantoliano, the senior digital marketing manager of S&S’s Books for Young Readers, came up with the idea. From Publisher’s Weekly, “to his knowledge, this reader-driven reveal is a first for book publishing, [and] he explains that the promotion was somewhat inspired by the reveal procedure of a poster for a Batman movie several years ago.
What helped was that the author had a big following on Twitter already, as well as 12 million copies of her other two novels in print. Timing is also key, in addition to a large fan base. When this cover was revealed, the poster art for the movie for one of the author’s books was just revealed, so according to Matt, “there was already a Cassie Clare frenzy in the works. This cover reveal added fuel to the fire, and fans rallied together with so many calls to action. It was kind of a perfect storm of Cassie Clare.”
You can watch the progression of the cover reveal on YouTube.
Last weekend at Comic-Con, Simon & Schuster Children’s and Mobile Commons launched a texting campaign. Readers could text best-selling author Scott Westerfeld for a chance to have coffee with him, and people unable to attend Comic-Con were able to receive text updates of the event. According to Publisher’s Weekly, the texting platform may be expanded in the future: “Potential examples include having readers text a code to receive sample chapters of a forthcoming book, or having conference attendees at such shows as BEA, ALA or NCTE text a code to enter contests or receive promotions or content.”
Both of these campaigns relied on big name authors tied with big events to help create buzz. But that doesn’t mean smaller authors can’t learn from these techniques. I think it all starts with building a platform.