Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Social media boosts YA sales

With an unusually heavy spring for Young Adult débuts ahead in 2014, publishers are increasingly reliant on social media to deliver YA sales.
Platforms including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest and BookTubers are now “the best opportunity to build loyal readers, which then leads to sales,” said Sarah Benton, head of marketing at Hot Key Books.
“In terms of social media, there is definitely more of a route to directly target teenagers and get books talked about online than there was.”

At Orion, whose spring YA débuts include Tania Unsworth’s The One Safe Place, senior marketing executive Jennifer McMenemy said: “Social media plays an important role in all campaigns but particularly so for the teen and YA market, where the readers have such active presence and creativity.”
On Tumblr, for example, readers are sharing artwork, comic strips, quotes, reviews, home-made trailers, and videos about books and authors.

While teenagers might not be as active on Twitter, S&S marketing executive Kathryn McKenna said: “Every platform has its benefit in reaching teens. We use outlets like Twitter to get our books known in the book world; that gets a buzz going that will reach our teen audience.” S&S has four YA débuts in the spring, including The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis and The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss.
Digital campaigns are also becoming more innovative. S&S will use a rock-star “selfie” competition to launch Paige Toon’s The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson in January, while HarperCollins’ February launch of multimedia teen début Tape, by spoken word poet Steven Camden, will comprise a “digital package” including author videos, and book trailers created by Camden available on Spotify.

HarperCollins is set to launch a new digital platform that will help it integrate social platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. Further details and a precise launch date are yet to be divulged, but fiction publishing director Nick Lake described the project as “one of the most innovative things done in the digital space”. Meanwhile Orion will shortly announce a new community-based project that will look to engage with and promote discussion with readers of YA, according to publicity director Nina Douglas.

Annie Eaton, fiction publisher at Random House Children’s Publishers, said that while reaching teenagers is very important, the publisher is using more traditional approaches such as cover design to appeal to adults. A good proportion of readers of its five teen débuts launching in the spring—including Simon Mason’s Running Girl and Helen Grant’s Silent Saturday—are expected to be over 18, Eaton added.
And while social media campaigning can help deliver sales, Lake claimed: “You will only get reactions from readers on sites like Instagram—i.e. pictures with a poignant quote on the top—if they have that ‘hair standing up on the back of their neck’ moment. It all comes back to the book.”

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