As a growing number of consumers read e-books, authors have had to change the way they reach their readers.
The e-reader and the tablet have taken the world by storm, particularly among teens and the millennial generation, and these mobile trends are driving authors – particularly those of novels and e-books geared toward those age groups – to have to alter their strategies in engaging their readers by way of careful social media marketing.
Upon publishing the first novel in the young adult fiction Perspective book series, “Love at First Plight”, co-authors Amanda Giasson and Julie B. Campbell, rapidly discovered that marketing to their key demographic also meant that they would be joining forces with other YA authors.
Nearly half (47 percent) of all internet users aged 16-64 years own tablets.
This figure was tallied by GlobalWebIndex in its most recent GWI Device mobile trends research. That percentage didn’t include the number of people who also have dedicated e-readers, a figure that is continually growing. It was based on a survey of adults across 32 different global markets. What this means to the writing community is that if they want to reach the largest possible number of readers, then they need to not only publish their works in e-book format, but they also need to know how to spread the word via social media marketing.
Selling an e-book can be very different from marketing a traditional print novel. This is especially true when attempting to reach readers in the young adult fiction market, where the majority of the demographic is very comfortable with mobile devices.
Mobile trends require most writers to join a social media marketing e-author culture, to reach their readers.
In the case of authors Amanda Giasson and Julie B. Campbell, they decided to be prepared and researched their market and marketing in advance. They recognized that they would need to publish the novels of the Perspective book series in both paperback format, and as e-books, to appeal to both types of readers.
However, as they marketed their first novel in the young adult fantasy fiction series, “Love at First Plight”, both before it was released and following its addition to store shelves such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they quickly came to recognize that reaching readers has a great deal to do with joining the e-author community and joining forces with other writers.
The community of e-authors connects primarily over social media. These are people who may never communicate with each other in any other way, but who are integral to the successful launch of thousands of publications every year. That said, these writers often follow each other not only over one platform, but several. This can help them to exchange tweets and posts, celebrate their victories, and spread the word of new publications, events, giveaways, and discounts, to the readers that they have each managed to accumulate among their own lists of followers.
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Amanda Giasson and Julie B. Campbell made a concerted effort to start early with a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but recognized that the mobile trends among young adult readers also involved participation on other platforms such as Tumblr and YouTube. More recently, they also joined Goodreads for a more direct connection with potential readers, having even created their own “Closet YA Fiction Readers” book club, there.
Over social media, they came across a broad range of other authors who were all making the same genuine effort to spread the word about their novels. Among the first that they came across was Tianna Holley (@holley_tianna), author of the young adult Alissia Rosswell book series. Having followed Holley over Twitter and then Facebook and Goodreads they came to discover the value of regular tweeting and retweeting, as well as broadening the number of book club events that could be attended by using Skype to be able to hold real-time discussions with book club members, regardless of where they happen to be in the world.
Soon after, they followed John Darryl Winston (@johndwinston), who has released the first book in his series, entitled “IA: Initiate”. From Winston, Giasson and Campbell learned the value of being friendly and accessible to fans and other authors, alike. Rapid replies to requests for communication and a willingness to “like” and “follow” in return set a positive example for other debut writers who are new to mobile and social media marketing. It is also a style that is greatly appealing to readers who are now interested in a more personal connection with the authors they enjoy the most.
In the same light, Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles and its highly successful first book “Cinder” added a QR code to the back of the novels in that series in order to share an exclusive message with the readers. This is a direct acknowledgement of the ubiquitous use of mobile devices among young adult readers, and of the opportunity that this, multimedia offerings, and social media provide to enhance the reading experience.
While the social media marketing component of the e-author culture does require writers of young adult fiction to have a much more ongoing and direct relationship with their potential readers and with other YA book writers on a day-to-day basis, it also opens up a chance for those writers to speak directly with their market, to engage their readers by way of additional features and communication, to improve the overall experience associated with their novels, and to reach out to readers in parts of the globe to which they may never otherwise have had access, regardless of the marketing budget of their publishers.
Though technology has certainly opened up a world of opportunity for writers to reach readers, it is by way of the culture of e-authors that the prospects of these artists become truly great.