Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

10/24/2010

The Making of a Viral Book Promotion


Here’s a thought: Engaging with a story character in advance of the book publication date!

Why? To create and churn buzz and interest about the book. Now, let’s also make this book character interactive by creating web videos featuring the character (via casting and an actor), a Facebook fanpage and a blog of his/her own…Talk about “digital extension” of a book and it’s characters!

This is great stuff!…And, I must admit, humbles my imaginative prowess (such as it is) to no end. Why can’t I think up ideas like this?

Writing for Publishers Weekly, Sally Lodge, paints the details of such an innovative and interactive book marketing campaign:

‘Nightshade’ Viral Promotion Campaign Snags Fans

To build a fan base for first-time author Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade well before it went on sale this week, Penguin Young Readers Group sought out potential YA readers where they were sure to be: online. The publisher enlisted the aid of Cremer and marketing agency Campfire to create a multi-platform viral campaign to build early buzz for this first installment of a paranormal romance trilogy, released by Philomel with an announced 200,000-copy first printing.

The promotional strategy involved a crafty meshing of fiction and fact by bringing one of Nightshade’s main characters to life—sort of. Shay Doran, human love interest of werewolf narrator Calla, was given a Facebook page and a blog, which enabled him (i.e. Cremer) to interact with fans. In addition, eight webisodes, videos allegedly created by Shay shortly before the plot of Nightshade kicks in, fashioned a back story for this character and invited viewer participation to help Shay solve some mysteries. The webisodes can be viewed on the Nightshade Web site and are also posted on YouTube.

And there’s yet another dimension to this digital extension of Cremer’s book. The author used the plots she wrote for the webisodes to create an e-book prequel to Nightshade. Entitled Shadow Days, this 80-page novella is available on Amazon for free download and as of November 1 will also be available on Nightshade’s Web site. To give fans extra incentive to maintain contact with Shay through Facebook and his blog, Cremer wrote a handful of his most engaged and enthusiastic friends into Shadow Days.

All of this has kept Cremer extremely busy for the past few months. “My publisher asked if I would be willing to create the Facebook and blog’s real-time content as the backbone of this campaign, and I was very excited to do it,” she says. “It gave me an opportunity to write part of the story from a different character’s perspective. I do love the character of Shay, and it was fun to spend time in his life and get into the depth of his back story.”

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