On Election Day, Little, Brown released Days of Blood & Starlight, Laini Taylor’s sequel to Daughter of Smoke & Bone, with significant fanfare. That day, Taylor began a seven-city tour in her hometown of Portland, Ore., which will include an appearance at the Miami Book Fair on November 11. Her simultaneous blog tour is designed to drum up interest in her new romantic fantasy while keeping the plot a mystery and providing insight into the author’s writing process. Taylor built pre-pub buzz for Days of Blood & Starlight as a featured speaker at the PNBA trade show’s author breakfast in October, and the sequel was a key focus of Little, Brown’s booth at Comic-Con in July, where the publisher gave out chapter samplers.
“The early response to Days of Blood & Starlight has been amazing,” says Andrew Smith, v-p and deputy publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. “The people who attend Comic-Con are an especially verbal group, and they’ve become ambassadors for the book, spreading word about it. It helps that Laini gave Daughter of Smoke & Bone a cliffhanger ending, and that novel has sold well over 100,000 copies since it came out last fall.” To promote the sequel, which has an announced 250,000-copy first printing, to the trade, the publisher sent out review easels and shelf talkers to 800 independent accounts through the IndieBound Red Box mailing.
Little, Brown’s marketing campaign for Days of Blood & Starlight includes promotion on Figment.com and ads on People.com and Teen.com. The novel was named a Best Book for November by Amazon, and received shout-outs in Wired and on Redbook.com, where its crossover appeal was touted. In addition, Entertainment Weekly ran an excerpt from the novel in its “Shelf Life” blog. Digital initiatives to promote Taylor’s trilogy include the author’s participation in the publisher’s “Live at the Lounge” online author video series on November 13 and in the “Sony Readers” online book club on November 28.
Taylor, who says she is “very excited, but also a little anxious,” about the release of Days of Blood & Starlight, is looking forward to both her blog tour and live tour. The unusual format of the former entails each blogger selecting a random page from the novel, after which the author chooses a quote from each selected page. Taylor then provides insight into what is going on in the story at that point, as well as her writing process.
“We didn’t want to reveal too much of the novel on the blog tour—we wanted readers to discover it organically,” Taylor explains. “It’s fun to do it this way, as opposed to answering interview questions, which can be repetitive. Talking about the book in a way that isn’t full of spoilers is definitely a creative challenge, and I love writing about the process of writing. I’ve found in the past, when I get stuck with my own writing, I can always write about writing.”
A novel aspect of Taylor’s live tour is a raffle, at each event, of a piece of jewelry based on the books, designed and manufactured by Cadsawan. “This was the idea of my wonderful agent and business partner, Jane Putch,” says Taylor. “The jewelry is more elegant and incredible than I ever imagined.” Taylor will donate 100% of her proceeds on sales of the jewelry collection (sold online here) through January 31, 2013, to the Red Cross’s Hurricane Sandy relief effort.
Taylor—who is now writing the conclusion to her trilogy, scheduled for April 2014 release—is pleased that her current tour, which also touches down in Texas, Arizona, California, and Missouri, will bring her to a few states she’s never been to. “I’m visiting completely different markets than I did on my Daughter of Smoke & Bone tour last year, which is great,” she says. “I find it very gratifying to meet readers, and it’s also wonderful to meet bloggers in person. When I meet face-to-face people I’ve already met online, it feels like we’re already friends.”
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. Little, Brown, $18.99 Nov. ISBN 978-0-316-13397-5