HarperCollins has announced the launch of Epic Reads, an interactive platform that will connect readers with HarperTeen authors and books. The network has three channels: Epic Reads, the comprehensive landing page, which features all HarperTeen titles and authors; Pitch Dark, which focuses on dystopian and paranormal stories; and Story Crush, the home of contemporary, realistic fiction and romance.
“We felt we needed to create a community where readers of teen books could get in front of our authors and books, and have a relationship with them,” says Diane Naughton, v-p integrated marketing for HarperCollins Children’s Books. “We’re making it as easy as we can for readers to connect.” Users can sign in directly, or through Facebook or Google, and upload art, photos, and videos to the site, plus create lists, enter sweepstakes, and take polls and quizzes. They’ll also be able to interact directly with one another, as well as with the authors. “We’re looking to have ongoing live chats,” Naughton says. “We’ll set them up on moderated forums, and an author can answer questions during the week, whenever is convenient. We’ll stockpile a bunch and continue to roll them out, so there’s always something fresh for the fans.”
For the authors, she says, Epic Reads will be “a seamless extension of their own social media presence. On all of the author accounts, pages will link to their own blogs, Twitter, excerpts from their books. And we’re making customizable pages so authors can edit existing content, create playlists, and link to articles.”
Though the network has just launched this week, Naughton says that Harper is reaching out to all of its teen authors for inclusion in Epic Reads; down the road plans call for each title to have a blog attached to it. “There’s going to be a lot of conversation around the books,” she says.