The Wicked Game of Marketing – Day with Avon, Part 4
But congratulations to Christina, yesterday’s winner! Yay! Email me with your snail mail address, please.
So after my lunch at Saks, we returned to HarperCollins HQ, and I was introduced to Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP of Global Marketing Strategy and Operations (yeah, she had a nice office!) Carolyn talked to me about FanLit as a marketing tool – what they hoped to gain from the program, how the results matched their expectations, and what they have in mind for next time.
One in two paperbacks sold in the U.S. is a romance novel – as we all know, it’s a huge market. Through FanLit, Avon/HarperCollins wanted to reach out to romance readers and aspiring authors and create a community that allowed us, the end users, to feel connected to each other and the people who create the books (authors, editors, etc.). We all know that goal was achieved! Sites like Fanlit Forever and Romance Vagabonds and all our individual blogs bear witness to FanLit’s enduring esprit de corps.
It was really interesting to hear Carolyn talk about the HarperTeen event that followed the Avon FanLit, and how the two groups compared. HarperTeen drew more participants initially, but evidently teens are more fickle than we (ahem) more mature romance readers. Their participation dropped off sharply each week, and their individual visits to the site were in-and-out, while (to paraphrase Carolyn’s words) we Fanlitters “were on there all the time!” (My response: Um, you tracked that? Okay, I can explain. I was nursing an infant. That’s why I was up on the computer at 4 AM and all strange hours of the night. It wasn’t because I was addicted to FanLit or anything, you know. *g*)
She asked me how I found out about FanLit (the WSJ article), and what it has meant to me as a writer (uh, everything!). She also wanted my suggestions on how they could reach more people next time. She asked which Internet sites I use frequently, which media outlets I’m tuned into, where else they might place advertising … and by this point in the day, my brain was into overload, and my responses were, shall we say, less than inspired. But she gave me her card and told me to email her if I have any further ideas.
So, give me your ideas, so I can email her and redeem myself. Here’s your chance to talk back about FanLit and be heard.
Six months later, what are your lingering impressions of the FanLit experience? How could the next FanLit reach a wider audience? Where would you advertise or place press releases, if you were Carolyn? How could they build an even stronger spirit of community between the readers, writers, authors, and editors?
One commenter wins a prize package of one ARC, one book, (in both cases, I’ll give the winner a choice of what I’ve got left) and a blank journal.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk tea – my day ended with tea and cookies with everybody at Avon, and it began with tea with Ms. Eloisa. I’ll share Ms. Eloisa’s tips on pitching, and the answers to more questions you gave me about the publishing process.