Link of the Week: BookReels

Book trailers and interactive visual media are become more and more popular with the increasing rise of the internet and digital platforms. Today, people do not necessarily have the patience to download and read book excerpts from publishers and authors. People want to know what something is about as quickly as possible. If it is told in a beautifully visual way, then that is even better.

Even though we read books to immerse ourselves in our own imaginations, book trailers are a helpful way to guide us to a book’s visual center. Book trailers can set the initial tone of a book, or even provide settings for books with complicated and complex worlds. Book trailers are also a great way to put many positive quotes about a book in one convenient place. Just add an appropriate song or soundtrack and you have yourself a book trailer.

Book trailers are great for using on social media as well. Instead of sharing a lengthy excerpt, readers can share the video. Their friends simply have to scroll down their social media news feed and hit play. What if there was one convenient place where readers could watch many book trailers? Introducing BookReels!

According to Publishers Weekly, BookReels is “a dedicated interactive website that allows publishers and authors to post multimedia visuals ranging from animated book covers to trailers…” Dan Rosen, founder and CEO of BookReels said,”What MTV did for music videos and record sales, BookReels wants to do for book trailers and book sales.” The website has over twenty book categories. Young adult fiction is the most popular and features hundreds of trailers, author interviews, and live readings. Adult fiction is the second most popular category.

The website also offers ways for members to connect and share their thoughts about the books. Users can rate trailers, post comments and reviews, join discussion groups, and share BookReel discoveries through a variety of social media sites. On the Recommend a Reel page, members can also submit their own book-related videos.

Will BookReels become an effective method of visually marketing books? The ease of having many trailers in one place should definitely reduce some of the headache. However, my only wish is that the categories were better organized, including a way to sort the categories by popularity, etc. Nonetheless, BookReels is quite an interesting tool!

Link of the Week: John Green – Social Media Master, Author Rockstar?

lownerdfighterI’ll be honest: my ultimate goal when attending Book Expo America and Bookcon this year was to see John Green. Yes, me and thousands of other people, most of which were teenage girls. Of course, when I read John Green’s first book, Looking for Alaska, it was 2006 and I was fifteen years old, a teenage girl. Then, I didn’t know who the author was, nor was it really important. I only wanted to read a story about a girl named Alaska. However, I think this is still the goal today, despite the fact that authors can share their personal stories with thousands of people. Nonetheless, an author’s strong social media presence can have a lasting impact on the amount of people who choose to read their book. You can’t say John Green without immediately thinking of his latest and most popular novel, The Fault in Our Stars, and vice versa. Although my parents still ask, “It’s what? We are at fault for the stars?” Close enough. With The Fault in Our Stars releasing as a major motion picture this Friday, June 6, there is not a better time than now to present this special edition of the Link of the Week.

When it comes to using social media, authors do not necessarily have to put themselves out there as personally as John Green has in order to garner success. This February 2013 Huffington Post article, “Does Social Media Sell Books? Gillian Flynn’s Agent Gives Her Perspective,” sheds some interesting insight on the topic. Gillian Flynn is the bestselling author of Gone Girl. Her agent said in the article, “There has certainly been a lot of social media chatter ABOUT Gillian’s books, although it’s true that for the most part she was not out there participating in or generating the conversation. I think a lot of this was ignited by media coverage of the book (online and off) and early on it was helped by a widespread galley distribution that the publisher executed for Gone Girl. The book itself really encourages discussion, so as more people read it, more people felt compelled to talk about it.”

However, I also do not believe that John Green’s success is solely determined by his use of social media. No matter how socially popular an author becomes, the books need to have readability. Like in the case of Gone Girl, they need to be good. If his books weren’t any good, why would hundreds of thousands of people continue to be interested in his social media presence? I suppose it is possible to follow Green’s updates and videos based only on curiosity and interest in him as a person, but what fun would that be? John Green is an author first, and it is his storytelling talent that keeps readers wanting more. Knowing about an author on a personal level is more like an added bonus.

Nevertheless, the combination of John Green’s charismatic social media presence and the exponential love of his books has truly escalated him to the title of an author rockstar. Well, I personally don’t like the word “rockstar” to describe John Green. “Celebrity” isn’t necessarily the right world either. “Popular person” might be the right words. With social media, Green has shown that he is indeed just a person like his readers. The symbiotic relationship of traditional book marketing on Penguin’s part and social media digital marketing has become the perfect pairing for Green’s success. I think it is important for each individual author to do only what he or she is comfortable with in terms of social media. Authors should not have to force themselves to participate in social media. However, if an author is good at it, like Green, then it can be very beneficial.

A meme of Green’s Tumblr icon

In a May 2013 post from John Green’s Tumblr, Fishing Boat Proceeds, Green gave his opinion on the success of The Fault in Our Stars. He said, “The Fault in Our Stars [2012] is NOT successful primarily because I am famous on the Internet. I know this because I was famous on the Internet when Paper Towns [2008] was published, and also when Will Grayson, Will Grayson [2010] was published. (TFiOS has almost a million copies in print; Paper Towns sold perhaps 4% as much in its first year.) Having the built-in audience of nerdfighteria is tremendously important to me and to my work, but both Paper Towns and WGWG sold less in hardcover than Looking for Alaska [2005], which was published when I was entirely unknown online.

For many reasons—partly because I’d built a readership over the past six years, partly because I signed the entire first print run—TFiOS had far more preorders than my previous novels. But when you have the kind of regular relationship with your audience that I do, pretty much 100% of that built-in fan base buys your book within the first month. It’s not something they find browsing at a bookstore three months later, as shown by the huge drop-off in sales for Paper Towns and WGWG. Why did this not happen with TFiOS? I think for a few reasons, which I’ll discuss below.”

Make sure to check out the entire Tumblr post for the rest.

Now, what is the “nerfighteria?” To me, it is the combination of fans from John and Hank Green’s, John’s brother, YouTube channel, Vlogbrothers, which they began in 2007, and the readers of John’s books. Nerdfighters are loyal fans who not only believe in John’s stories, but also in the positive messages that he and his brother convey on Vlogbrothers. They believe in decreasing the amount of “world suck” and increasing the amount of awesome. John and Hank began their YouTube channel in 2007 as a way to communicate with one another. Today, Vlogbrothers has over 2 million subscribers and over 1.5 billion views. Simply amazing. John Green has almost 2.5 million Twitter followers and announced in December 2012 that he had almost reached 200,000 Tumblr followers.

From a 2012 vlog, “Shaprie Face Question Tuesday”

These are great numbers. The majority, if not all, of these numbers represent not only his fans, but his readers. Millions of people are reading! That is one of the greatest treasures of all. Social media master, rockstar, popular person–no matter the title, John Green has shown that with a lot of determination and love for your fans, you can create readers too.

Learn more about John Green and his fans by watching this video from the CBS Sunday Morning show. Green also made it into this week’s The New Yorker. The article titled “The Teen Whisperer” gives an in-depth glimpse into Green’s past and present while reiterating that, indeed, Green is just a person. When using social media, he isn’t simply marketing his books or himself, but he is contributing his role model presence to a generation of young adults who only want to be believed in.

Link of the Week: Get Paid to Discover New Books?

It is a common practice today for companies and brands to team up with websites that pay users to take surveys, watch videos, and try their products or services in order to obtain more marketing information. Loyalty and rewards websites like these are usually hit and miss. Users often must spend hours taking surveys or watching videos to make any money at all. Sometimes that “money” is only a gift card. For many, money is money. As students, we can all understand that quarrel.

Would you ever imagine that a publishing company would team up with a website like this? According to Publishers Weekly, St. Martin’s Press has teamed up with Swagbucks to bring users a new way to discover their content with the “Read” earning channel.

As you might expect, Swagbucks is not giving users “bucks” to read entire books from St. Martin’s Press, or even half of a book. However, you can earn ten “bucks” by sharing your favorite recipe inspired by the book Ladies’ Night on Facebook. Watching a video clip to discover the characters Della and Tsang from the book Reborn will earn you two “bucks.” You can read an excerpt of The Witch of Belladonna Bay to earn five “bucks.” There are currently five offers on the “Read” channel, and users are still asking for more.

Jeff Dodes, Executive VP of Marketing and Digital Strategy at St. Martin’s Press, has been working with Swagbucks for some time to establish the Read earning channel. Dodes said, “Swagbucks is pretty big. We’ve worked with them on books before and got great engagement and click-through rates.” Dodes added that St. Martin’s Press’s social media campaigns with Swagbucks were “3 to 4 times better” than with other partners.

Drake Sutton-Shearer, Vice President of Brand Solutions and Strategy at Swagbucks, described the Swagbucks membership as “avid readers.” He said, “The Read channel brings a new and exciting product to our members, including a fast-growing group of our Facebook subscribers comprising the Swagbucks Book Club. Leveraging communities of interest around authors, genres, subjects and other content will draw in more Swagbucks members to discover new titles and ultimately drive engagement and sales for our publisher partners.”

Could using marketing tools like Swagbucks truly increase book visibility? Will other publishers team up with Swagbucks too? How do you feel about this type of book marketing?

Link of the Week: Uncanny Books for Unstoppable Grads

May is the month of graduation. In the Publishing program, this means saying goodbye–or hopefully just “see you later”–to many of our fellow students.

Graduation, whether from high school, college, or graduate school, is also the time of the book-giving tradition. Usually we end up with at least one copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by good ol’ Dr. Seuss. Don’t get me wrong, this classic picture book book has some wonderfully inspiring lines like, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

As lovers of words, literature, articles, and blogs, it might be the perfect time to receive a different kind of book for graduation.

Sticking with the child-like theme with a grown-up approach, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, may be just the book to inspire a graduating student to keep a warm heart for others while entering the competitive job world. What better kind and cuddly soul to teach us the practice of patience than Winnie the Pooh?

Learning about kindness shouldn’t stop with Winnie the Pooh. Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness is the transcription of author George Saunders’ convocation speech that he gave at Syracuse University. The New York Times posted the speech on its website, and within days, had been shared more than one million times. Sometimes what we need most before a frightening new experience is simply a reminder that the lives we lead are more fulfilling if we fill them with kindness.

Maybe the best way to learn about ourselves after graduation is to write our own book, well, sort of. Deciding what we want for our futures can be difficult to sort out. My Future Listography: All I Hope to Do in Lists could be the tool to expose what we really want, revealing the truths out of the thought-provoking prompts. Of course, we may just use it to write down all the new books we want to read. That wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Go forth and prosper my graduating friends. May the wisdom of your journey at Pace guide you to the next step in your life.

Link of the Week: Humble Bundle Teams Up with Image Comics

In the age of e-reading, we have grown close to the idea that digital content should be cheap, or better yet, free. We can’t seem to help this present mentality. It is even better when companies like Humble Bundle create opportunities for thrifty consumers to purchase quality content at a low price. Better yet, Humble Bundle allows us to decide how much we want to pay when it comes to their weekly bundles. So the content isn’t exactly free, but it is pretty close. What is even better than that is that we can choose how to divide up our purchase money. We can send a certain percentage to one publisher, and a different percentage to another publisher. We can even give a percentage to a nonprofit organization. Recently added to the list was the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Speaking of comics, this week’s bundle from Humble Bundle is four beautiful digital graphic novels from Image Comics. If you pay over the average price of $9.87 then you can unlock six more graphic novels.

Here are some of the details about the comic book bundle from their website:

“Over 60 issues of digital comics books contained within 12 captivating collections. The Humble Image Comics Bundle features twelve publications of panel based storytelling from talented authors and illustrators. Name your price for the first volumes of East of WestLazarusMorning Glories and Fatale. Contribute more than the average and also receive the first volumes of RevivalChewThe Manhattan Projects and Invincible, plus volumes one and two of Saga.

As an added bonus, we will also include Vol. 1 (issues 1 – 6) and Vol. 20 (issues 115 – 120) of The Walking Dead for those who pay $15 or more. Vol. 1 for those who never read the graphic novel before and the newly released Vol. 20 for you diehard fans.

Pay what you want. Purchased separately, this instant comic collection would cost over $106, but we are letting you set the price!

Compatible with computers and mobile devices. These comics are available in multiple formats including CBR, CBZ, PDF, and ePub, so they work on your computer, eBook readers, and a wide array of mobile devices! Instructions and a list of recommended reading programs can be found here.

Support charities, authors and illustrators. You choose where your money goes: between the authors and illustrators along with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. If you like this promotion, a tip to Humble Bundle would be greatly appreciated!”

Originally, Humble Bundle only offered video games, but now they have jumped into other e-territory. According to Publishers Weekly, the company will be launching a “Book Tab” section on May 13 which will be dedicated to e-book and audiobook promotions. Twice a month, Humble Bundle will offer two e-book/audiobook bundles. This is sure to be an instant success. Who knows how publishers will react to these types of promotions?