THE PENGUIN DIGITAL Marketing team has joined forces with MySpace to discuss ways of effectively promoting new authors on the social networking site. The first novelist to be marketed through this medium is Joe Dunthorne, the 26- year-old UEA Creative Writing graduate who caused a bidding war over his debut novel, Submarine, which will be published in hardback by Hamish Hamilton on 7 February.It will be interesting to see how MySpace enhances its marketing of authors — many YA authors have already cottoned onto the fact that MySpace is a good place to get close to their readers.
Dunthorne and Penguin Digital Marketing Director Anna Rafferty met with the MySpace team earlier this month to explore raising his MySpace profile.
Plans include adding film content of Dunthorne reading 'off-cuts' - passages he wrote for the novel that didn't make it in - and video diaries,including footage of the Submarine launch party, along with personal recordings of his thoughts and feelings on becoming a published author. The revamped page, which will run under Dunthorne's name, will be live in time for publication.
Rafferty said Dunthorne had “exactly the right demographic for a project like this; he already had lots of material as well as his own profile, and we'll be building on that. This isn't just a microsite for Submarine or about Oliver [the novel's teenage protagonist], it's about Joe and the story behind the book. MySpace can help us get the message to the right people and amplify it to their audience.”
A spokesperson for MySpace, which has 10 million unique users in the UK alone and 110 million worldwide, said: “We have the potential to specifically promote artists and Joe is the first author we're trying it with. There are editorial areas of MySpace where we can highlight interesting content - we are a social networking site but we're also a content platform, always looking for things that will interest our users. We see ourselves as being a place where things start, so it's a great place for Joe to promote himself.”
Dunthorne has already been hailed a 'Rising Star of 2008' by the Observer despite the novel not yet being published.
Some in fact have become very good at using MySpace to this end. There's the self-published fantasy author Steven Oliverez who used MySpace to drive sales of his book The Elder Staves to no. 25 on the Amazon bestseller list. Oliverez says:
Buzz creates more buzz. Since there's no marketing or publishing company behind teh book, it really helps to be online, able to connect with readers directly. Being on MySpace makes you seem more approachable, and that makes it a great tool for authors.Searching MySpace for Joe Dunthorne's page, all I found was a 15 year old with the status tag: "I am very, very bored". Could it be my spelling? You can view Steven's MySpace page here. Warning: if you have sensitive hearing, turn the volume down first.