HarperCollins launched Epic Reads in 2012 as a hub for original, shareable content – such as “shades of YA,” rainbow-hued stacks of young adult novels arranged by color,” or “10 fabulous YA book and shoe pairings,” such as Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth coupled with Jimmy Choo Tooth Stilettos” – that fans can share via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other platforms. The weekly “Like. Try. Why” series visually pairs a new release with an older, well-known book; booksellers and librarians often request printed versions of the pairings to use promotionally.
Little, Brown uses Tumblr, which has mushroomed in popularity among teens, to host its NOVL community. The site, which went live this past February, showcases book trailers (via a dedicated YouTube channel), excerpts, guest posts by authors, and previews of movies and TV shows based on titles by its authors, including Stephenie Meyer, Libba Bray, Chris Colfer, and Margaret Stohl.
Macmillan, via its dedicated Fierce Reads Facebook page and Twitter account, works with YA bloggers to build early buzz for key books, with title reveals, fan-voted tour cities, and giveaways. The publisher also creates a free, downloadable e-teaser featuring new titles each spring and fall, as a way to introduce new readers to ongoing series. Spring 2013 marks the third Fierce Reads campaign; authors include Jessica Brody, Anna Banks, Emmy Laybourne, and Leigh Bardugo.
Penguin hosts frequent Twitter chats with writers like Richelle Mead, Ally Condie, and Sarah Dessen, as well as group chats like a recent one in which Breathless Reads authors Jessica Khoury, Lili Peloquin, Morgan Rhodes, Fiona Paul, and Elizabeth Richards participated. On the Penguin Teen Tumblr, there are tags for twice-weekly author spotlights and staff recommendations, plus author-specific campaigns like Sarah Dessen Confessions (in which fans disclose how they relate to Dessen’s books and photoshop the “confessions” onto the covers) and Ask Gayle, a weekly advice column written by Gayle Forman.
Random House chooses Ambuzzadors – users with an active online presence on the publisher’s Random Buzzers YA social network – each season to help spread the word about select titles. For spring 2013, users organized their own blog tour featuring Elsie Chapman’s Dualed. The publisher has also used Twitter in unusual ways, with the New Year’s Eve account takeover by David Levithan’s Every Day character A, and with the ongoing James Dashner monthly chat https://twitter.com/search?q=%23dashnerchat leading up to the release of The Eye of Minds, first in a new series, due out this October, as well as the film version of The Maze Runner, due in February 2014.
Simon and Schuster recently relaunched its Pulse It site with an eye toward an expanding readership for YA books – while previously membership was limited to those ages 14 to 18, the site is now open to anyone 14 and older. Readers can read exclusive excerpts, “heart” content, post book reviews, discuss favorite titles, poll other users, and share content across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. The site also hosts frequent sweepstakes and giveaways.
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