Going viral

There is a new novel, not yet published, popping up in the letterboxes of bloggers and reviewers all over the place. Or popping may be a little optimistic, seeing as it’s a brick of a book. It’s going to be the next big thing in the adult book world.

I don’t think it will be, but it’s not for want of trying. I’m searching my mind for a recent novel that has been pushed like this and which actually delivered by becoming a million seller. Harry Potter went quite slowly to begin with, and it was successful more by word-of-mouth for the first three.

Personally I only heard of Stephenie Meyer when she had three books out, and I don’t know why I missed Twilight before that. But I’m guessing that it owes much of its success to girl readers who just happened to discover it and then told all their friends.

Stieg Larsson came to my attention just before publication of the first Millenium book. That was mostly journalists musing on the bad luck of their colleague who died just as his books were accepted, and maybe some surprise that he had actually written all three by the time he died. I’m sure his publishers knew they had some good books on their hands and hoped they’d do well, but no one could have imagined the worldwide sales the books have had. It happened. It wasn’t forced.

This new large brick in my life ticks so many boxes you can barely believe it. It’s not trying to be one, or even two, recently popular genres. It’s trying to be all things to all men. Or more likely women.

I googled it to see if I could find out more, and worked out that most book bloggers in the English-speaking world probably have a copy by now. Many have already blogged about it (I think the American ARCs were sent out earlier) and all are so enthusiastic. I wonder if they are feeling flattered. Many are only repeating what the press release says, but it makes for a massive online presence.

Despite this, I don’t believe in the book.

I was tempted to blog about it, mentioning the title and naming the author, but felt it would mean me adding to the buzz and I was hoping not to. Hence the anonymity. The book has even been personalised for me, which I took to mean they were hoping to prevent me selling it, until I noticed they also suggest I pass it on after reading, so they really are thinking viral.

So not only are we readers only given what the publishers feel safe publishing, but they have the nerve to tell us what will sell well. Surely that is what happens when we find we really really love their book?

13 responses to “Going viral

  1. This not fair. Which book?

  2. Not fair at all.

  3. Yes, I want to know too!!!!

  4. C’mon! I gotta know now! Off-list?

  5. Want to know? What’s it worth?

    Have just realised I never did any evil cackling yesterday…

  6. I have a couple of pots of eye-of-newt-and-blackberry jam I could be persuaded to send your way . . .

  7. Very intriguing. How do we know you’re not in on the marketing scheme?

  8. Because you know and trust me. You do, don’t you?

    But maybe I’d better hang on to that personalised copy in case the book makes it big? Except, it’s so large.

  9. Could it be a brick in disguise?

  10. Too light. In more ways than one.

  11. You can’t manufacture viral marketing. If it’s not spontaneous, it ain’t viral. It’s just marketing.

  12. Really, Mr Green?
    http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-principles.htm
    I checked out lots, and most seem to agree. It’s artificial, I’ll grant you that. But they sent me the ‘virus’ and if I tell you about it you may then tell someone else. Which is as good as sneezing.

    And Linda S, it might have quality. It didn’t in my eyes. It’s not just another vampire book. It’s got witches and magic and goodness knows what else. History. Culture. Romance.

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