What would you do if your phone ended up in the fountain and instead of being broken, you were able to make a phone call to your high school self? What would you say to the young woman or man that you once were to make getting through the awkward stage that much easier? This was the question that Sarah Mlynowski posed for the character Devi Banks from her novel Gimme A Call. However, it was also posed to fellow YA novelists and YA book bloggers on Twitter in a viral marketing campaign that exploded with new #GimmeACall tweets being bandied about at least once a minute for a time.
In ‘YA Authors Tweet About ‘Gimme A Call': What Would You Tell Your High School Self?, Mlynowski says “I wanted to do something unique to promote my new book. Something fun. Something free.” She can rest assured that her outside of the box marketing strategy had a far reach, with even the celebrated writer Neil Gaiman getting in on the #GimmeACall action. I remember when I first began seeing the tweets on Tuesday, April 20th, I honestly had no idea that they were in relation to a Mlynowski’s novel. Nevertheless, there was an electric energy that seemed to be coming from Twitter through computer hardware to me and hundreds of other people.
This spark and energy IS what viral marketing is all about. It’s something that gets people excited, even people like me and others who were completely unaware that Gimme A Call is the name of a book that is set to come out on April 27th, 2010. I believe whole-heartedly in viral marketing strategies, but you never know – not unless you try – how people will respond to what you’re offering. Most viral campaigns fall dead in the water, usually because the post just doesn’t catch on with the members of the viewing public.
However, there is always another danger – that your post does catch on, but those who view it are unaware of what it’s about. Some might wonder what is the point of sending out a message, if it just gets lost in the Interweb. Others will say that you always have the chance to rectify the situation with a press release or a blog post (and hopefully) you’ll get the word out that way. I’m wondering, when do you consider a viral book marketing campaign successful?. Is it enough that people in the blogosphere or twitterverse participate in it or do they need to understand the message as well? What would you do if the levels of participation were great, but the message got lost in the mix? Write in to say what you’d tell your high school self or have your say on what makes marketing buzz about books a success!