Buoyed by the success of their promotion of two novels on Facebook this past summer, the University of Michigan Press is launched another social media promotion Monday. This time, the publisher is promoting its trade and crossover scholarly titles on Twitter. #NewBooksIn5Words, a Twitter hashtag accompanying micro-previews of some of their new releases, is being described by the press as one of the “shortest marketing campaigns in the history of books.”
Five-word Tweets include: Annie Finch’s A Poet’s Craft: Be poet – now show it. #NewBooksIn5Words http://bit.ly/nguzLH; Christopher Bigsby’s Arthur Miller: 1962–2005: After Marilyn: Miller, Act Two. #NewBooksIn5Words http://bit.ly/oQbCER; and Theo Cateforis’ Are We Not New Wave? All Hail the Mighty Devo. #NewBooksIn5Words http://bit.ly/kz8qnw.
“We have 1200 -- a decent number of Twitter followers -- at @UofMPress, but there’s no way to thoroughly summarize a great book in 140 characters,” explained Heather Newman, the trade marketing manager. “So we’re not going to try. Instead, we’ll give readers the pithy, quirky, sometimes-funny headline and encourage them to click to find out more.” The press is encouraging its Twitter followers to add their own micro-reviews to the mix.
“The idea is to create a relationship between readers and the books,” Newman explained, “People don’t buy books because of the name of the press.”
Last summer, the University of Michigan Press serialized two novels -- A Spell on the Water by Marjorie Kowalski and Faithful Unto Death by Becky Thacker -- in eight weekly installments posted on their Facebook page. While declining to disclose sales figures, Newman said both novels “did really well,” with Faithful Unto Death, Thacker’s debut novel, selling 1,500-2,000 copies during the first month of its serialization on Facebook.
Newman also disclosed that the number of the press’s Facebook friends doubled within seven days of the two books being serialized, and that, by the end of the summer, the number of its Facebook friends had almost tripled, from 550 to more than 1,300.
“Every time we posted a new excerpt, our fans would jump,” she said.