In addition, many publishers are incorporating video into their Web sites in order to draw in younger, more “YouTube-oriented” readers. In June 2007, Simon & Schuster and Internet video company TurnHere Inc. unveiled the first wave of online videos showcasing Simon & Schuster authors and sneak previews of new book releases. The videos are featured on a Simon & Schusterbranded YouTube platform (www.YouTube.com/bookvideostv) and on www.BookVideos. tv, a social media video site dedicated to books and authors.
Naefe explains that Avon A is taking a similar route to reach its readers. “We recently developed a series of video blogs with best-selling author Meg Cabot for [her book] ‘Big Boned,’” she says. “Rather than subscribing to the ubiquitous (and precarious) book-trailer trend, we created a series of two-minute video blogs filming Meg just being Meg—riffing on celebrities, giving beauty tips, reinterpreting ‘Little Women’ and so on. Because of their authenticity, the videos really reached viral proportion— and online sales for ‘Big Boned’ nearly doubled the previous book in the series.”
Tart points out that consumers have always wanted to know about authors, “where their creative process comes from, why their characters do what they do,” and now they finally have the opportunity to break down that wall.
One initiative, HarperCollins’ Author Assistant program, does just that. “Because online campaigns work best when authors are involved, we’re always providing quick-and-easy training and how-to sheets for our authors. Now they can man their own pages and ‘micro-sites’ on the HarperCollins Web site,” says Naefe. “We [also] have a visual ‘Author Connections’ map that recommends other authors based on the preferences of fans of a particular [author].” She adds, “Fans can sign up for an author’s ‘Author Tracker’ to receive e-mail alerts of upcoming books and events online and/or offline.” (Read more about the marketing goals behind the “Author Tracker” and other HarperCollins initiatives on page 18.)