An abundance of Nerdfighters (a.k.a. John Green fans) are casting their votes in a Tumblr contest in order to get the YA author to make their state one of four that he will visit during a tour promoting the movie adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton), due out May 6.
From May 6–10, the author – along with actors Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff – will participate in events in locations determined by the winners of the joint Tumblr/20th Century Fox promotion, called Demand Our Stars.
The contest instructions advise fans to “Find the GIF that represents your state (or D.C. – we didn’t leave you guys out), and then like, reblog, and spread the word: each note on Tumblr equals one vote for that state. The states that get the most votes by April 25 will receive a visit from The Fault in Our Stars tour.”
What state does Green want to win? “I’m secretly hoping for Indiana so I can spend a day with my family, but I don't think Indiana has a chance!” he told PW. In other words, that means he is going solo (with the actors). “No kids, no wife, no brother,” he said. He also can’t do any big reveals. “I haven’t heard much about what’s going to happen on the tour,” he said.
This will be the first movie tour powered by a Tumblr vote, according to George Dewey, senior v-p of domestic digital marketing for Fox Films. The name of the contest, said Dewey, is “a double entendre of ‘fault in our stars’ and the stars in the movie – you get to demand them.”
Winners will be announced in a press conference in New York City about a week after the contest ends. Fans can see the tallies – at press time, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Illinois were in the lead – on the author’s favorite social media platform.
Outside of the voting tallies, though, few details on the tour are available. Fox is not announcing the towns that Green & company will visit until the first week of May. For now, Dewey will only reveal that the author will visit “at least one city per state.”
Fox is keeping mum about planned activities, too, though Dewey is not ruling out autographs. “We expect John to participate at each stop with signings,” he said. “He will have a pen!” (Green is a signing legend: he autographed 150,000 books before his 2012 tour.)
How long Green and the actors will visit each stop remains an intentional mystery, too. “It’s not going to be a 15-minute thing for sure,” Dewey said. “We’re still working out some of the timing. Some of this will be dependent on which state they go to and what they’re doing. It’s not going to be a super-quick thing.”
No word, either, on whether the stops will be at bookstores, libraries, malls, or anywhere else. “We don’t know yet,” said Dewey. “It will depend on the state.” Even Green’s mode of transportation, he added, is up in the air. “I’m sure there will be a plane involved if the states are far apart.”
Looking Good on Paper
According to figures supplied by Penguin Young Readers, more than seven million copies of the novel – about two teens with cancer who meet at a support group and fall in love – are in print. And many of those fans are talking about the book and film on social media. More than 15 million people have viewed the movie trailer on YouTube. “It looks like it’s going to be pretty faithful,” said Nerdfighter Paige Finch, 18, a high school senior in Knoxville who cast her Tumblr vote for Tennessee. She takes it as a good sign that Green played a big part in making the movie. “I’m a big fan of John Green, outside of his book,” she said. “I’m happy to see this happen for him.”
“Tumblr obviously is a platform where a lot of our Fault fanatics live, so we were looking to do something really big with them,” Dewey said. “We also wanted to give our fans control over some of our campaigns.”
Tumblr and Fox developed the contest together. “[Green] didn’t come up with the idea, but when you have John Green behind your effort on Tumblr, you have a megaphone,” Dewey said. “Fans love and respect John Green, so we’re eager to use him, and he’s happy to oblige, because this is a passion project for him.”
Why hold the vote for fans? “It acknowledges from the beginning that the fans are so important,” said Rachel Fershleiser, director of publisher outreach for the social-media platform and a Green fan since she read the author’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, when it came out in 2005. “He is a major, major celebrity on Tumblr.” And, she added, “The people who love the books are who we should be listening to.”
That reader enthusiasm will be visible, literally, on the campaign’s giant moveable poster wall decorated with fan art. “Our fan base is so creative and so passionate; the traveling fan art is a recognition that we have a really special community,” Dewey said. Dozens of people have already posted fan-reaction videos to the movie trailer.
Some fans, ineligible for the U.S.-based contest, implored the author to visit them anyway. “Since part of the movie is in Amsterdam, you should promote the movie there for all the Dutch fans,” one wrote in a comment on Green’s VlogBrothers YouTube channel, which he created with Hank, his younger brother. (Alas, 20th Century Fox told PW that Amsterdam is not on the list as of now.)
Another snag with the Tumblr promotion, noted by another of the nearly two million VlogBrothers subscribers: “What if you don’t have a Tumblr?” And indeed, non-Tumblr users are out of luck: they can’t vote. Will the contest motivate them to start using the social media platform? “I hope so!” Fershleiser said. “I hope they’re starting Tumblrs because it looks like a fun place to talk to people about what you’re passionate about.”