Dear HS Self: #Gimme A Call

211881056 Dear HS Self: #Gimme A Call Dear HS Self: #Gimme A Call

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!

  4 comments for “Dear HS Self: #Gimme A Call

  1. April 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

    What would you say to your younger self if you could?

    That really gets a person thinking, and certainly I had some thoughts.

    My tweet was: “Hey, 14-year-old self… That dream? Now a book about a kid who made a difference! It’s dedicated to you.”

    The book I’m referring to is A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS (The eBook is now Free). That was my first published book, and the ideas and dreams that have followed are the inspiration for my other books.

    With that simple tweet, the stats for my site took a surprising jump. Did it translate into more downloads of my book? Yes, although not that many; but that hadn’t been my intent of my tweet. I just wanted to get in on #gimmeacall.

    Will it work for Sarah Mlynowski? We have to admit that she got a lot of attention, and even if most people didn’t know about her book. The fact is that she now has some additional publicity, and it’s certainly not bad. That will almost certainly make a different to her book sales.

    As you say, Melissa, most campaigns fall dead in the water, but we still need to try, right?

    It’s like looking for something: we find it in the last place we look. What campaign will be the ‘last’ and best one? I, for one, will keep trying to find out.


  2. April 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks for the comment Wil! I know exactly what you mean when you say that your intention wasn’t to get more downloads for your book. As I mentioned in my post, I had no idea what #gimmeacall was about when I first say it Tuesday evening. However, I couldn’t help but think up things I’d say to my high school self to get in on the buzz.

    I think that it has worked for Sarah Mlynowski. As you say, she definitely had extra publicity for free as a result, which is always a good thing. However, I think that (at least for myself), what really pushed Mlynowski’s idea into a successful campaign was her ability/decision to write the article on The Huffington Post that I mentioned above. The tweets got the necessary participatory levels for a great social media campaign, but what really pushed it from great participation to something “that will almost certainly make a difference to her book sales” is in my opinion the fact that she drew the connections between the tweets and her book again for those who missed it.

    We definitely need to keep trying as you say – I’m just wondering what other people’s ideas are about making a great campaign with maybe a lost message into the publicity powerhouse that will help create the hype necessary for a new project like Mlynowski’s new book Gimme A Call. We definitely all need to keep trying. :)


  3. May 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Great insights, Melissa. I loved this campaign and I think you’re right–it’s about engaging the audience with something fun they can participate in!

    6 Word Memoirs by Smith magazine work the same way, I’ve found. I LOVE thinking of those!

  4. May 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for your comment and positive feedback, Melissa.

    I checked out the 6 word memoirs by SMITH briefly last summer. I think it’s time to revisit it – thanks for the reminder. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: