The big books are here! The big books are here! It’s the fall and that means the big books are here! Why? Well, publishers like to release their strongest titles in the fall during the run-up to the December holidays. December is the single biggest month for book sales (by a long shot) so getting out in front of the holiday season is just good horse sense.
One of the most buzzed about books this fall is Libba Bray’s brand-new YA book The Diviners. You might know Libba from her Michael L. Printz Award-winning novel Going Bovine or from her New York Times Bestselling Gemma Doyle trilogy. She also wrote a book about a passel of pageant contestants trapped on a desert island called Beauty Queens. (That’s the proper collective noun, right? Passel?)
Libba’s new book The Diviners is set in New York City during the Roaring 20s. At the start of the novel, a strange murder takes place, and the main character Evie O’Neill realizes she can use her supernatural gift to help solve the mystery. Wait, here. The awesome book trailer explains it better than I could.
Dedicated In-World Site for The Series: Libba has an author site that follows many of the best practices for author site design, but she also created a stand-alone site for The Diviners. Since the book is the first in a new trilogy, this is a great choice. Plus, I suspect she wanted to bring the rich world of the 19020s to life.
The site has to be one of my favorite book/series sites of all time. Immediately when you land on the page, you are pulled into the world–a spooky, erie take on the Roaring 20s in New York City. The site organization is clean and easy to navigate. It features one of the best book trailers I’ve seen, an excerpt, about the author information, profiles of the characters, links to buy the book, and social media buttons.
Playlists for the Book: The site for the series is amazing but what I love most about it is the tab labeled Diviners Radio.Here, Libba has shared three period-perfect faux radio broadcasts that introduce readers to the book and plunge you into the world. They are very charming and effective.
On this tab, she also shares a playlist of 20s music that inspired her while she was writing the book. She could have taken this one step further and set it up as a Spotify playlist for fans to easily click through and enjoy. In fact, creating a Spotify playlist for your novel is becoming more and more common. For instance, Michael Chabon shared his Spotify playlist for Telegraph Avenue (though I love the hilarious aside in this article wherein Chabon didn’t know how to make it public.)
Now I know what you’re thinking. Alison, I’m not a New York Times Bestselling author with the magnificent engine of Little, Brown behind me. I can never create something this elaborate.
It’s true that a book site like this might be hard to do on your own. However, the radio broadcasts wouldn’t be hard to do on a budget. And anyone can create and share a Spotify playlist with songs that either inspired you to write the book or songs that put the reader in the world of the book. This is what I love about being an author in 2012. If you have an amazing idea, there’s usually a savvy way to do it on the cheap.
This also reminds me of one of the better tips I can give aspiring writers: make friends with talented people. It doesn’t matter if you live in Topeka, Kansas or Brooklyn, New York. If you surround yourself with other working artists, you will not only be inspired by them but you’ll also be able to tap their skills for creative book promotion.
Dedicated Facebook Page for the Series: In addition to the fabulous site, most of this content also lives on the dedicated Facebook page for the series. There, users can sign up for the fan club, learn more about the characters, read Libba’s bio, and read an excerpt. I really love the Facebook photo album she created of the different characters. Again, that’s something you could easily do as a self-published author.
And I really love the animated introduction to the excerpt. This one would definitely take some coding and design work so that’s where talented friends or freelance help might come into play! And don’t forget that BookPulse can help you do some of this for minimal cost.
Figment Page for the Book: The last piece I want to highlight is Libba’s page for the book on Figment. Figment is an online writing community geared at teens. Anyone can hop on and share original work for people in the community to read and give feedback on.
In Libba’s case, she has a paid feature on her book in the Spotlight section of the site. On her page, she’s shared an excerpt for her book, her book trailer, and links for how to buy the book. Obviously the Figment audience is a perfect fit for this series so this is a smart strategy.
(I’m going to write my next Book Campaigns I Love post about Figment and Wattpad–two online writing communities–so sit tight because we’ll go into these in more detail and how you can be using them.)