On the heels of last fall’s vampire-focused Pitch Black promotion and tour, HarperCollins is gathering a group of writers for a campaign that’s equally at home with the darker side of YA fiction. The Supernatural Summer promotion will bring together a cross-section of Harper’s authors in the genre: established YA writers Melissa Marr (Fragile Eternity) and Claudia Gray (Stargazer), debut author Aprilynne Pike (Wings), and two crossover writers with adult followings: Kelley Armstrong (The Awakening) and Kim Harrison (Once Dead, Twice Shy).
HarperTeen's Supernatural Summer widget.
Starting Tuesday, June 2 with an event at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Ill., the authors will embark on a five-city tour that will also visit Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, Portland, Ore., and Redmond, Wash. (not all of the authors will appear at each store). “It’s really allowing us to have a more extensive tour,” says Diane Naughton, v-p of marketing at HarperCollins Children’s Books. “Putting this overarching strategic campaign with the still extremely popular paranormal genre has allowed them to get more exposure.”
Anderson's hosted the authors who participated in the Pitch Black tour, which co-owner Becky Anderson says was a "great event." She says she has been getting calls from customers interested in Supernatural Summer, and that readers are already picking up copies of the featured books. "I think this is a great trend, bundling authors like this," she says. "I think it helps the authors, but it's also exciting for a teen reader."
Harper has created a dedicated Web site, a hub for the online component of the campaign. In addition to offering information about the books and tour, the site connects visitors with other Web sites where HarperTeen has a presence (Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), and is home to a sweepstakes for readers. Visitors can also download a Supernatural Summer widget, which can be emailed to friends or posted to social networking profiles and Web sites.
The launch event at Anderson’s will be recorded and video will be posted on the Supernatural Summer Web site. Additionally, the authors are being given Flip video camcorders to record their own tour videos (which will also be posted online). “We are going to make the events as interactive as possible,” says Naughton. “The authors are going to be blogging about their individual experiences as well as their collective experiences. Each [author] speaks to different element of the paranormal, which we think will address and attract a broad audience.”
Anderson, who cross-shelves many of these supernatural titles in her store's adult and teen sections, agrees. "We have a lot of younger women, even book groups, who read this genre," she says. "I know we'll get a lot of moms coming [to the event] with their daughters, because they're reading the books together."
According to Naughton, this campaign builds on what the house started with Pitch Black and “raise[s] it up a level or two. We’re moving Supernatural Summer out of our own pages and letting teens share it with other teens.” No concrete plans for future interactive tours/campaigns are set, though Naughton hints that a “tween interactive event” could be in the works.