"It's our first multi-platform, multi-author, multi-city tour," explained Elizabeth Fithian, director of marketing at Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, discussing the Fierce Reads campaign. With its $250,000 budget--and that's in addition to the individual budget for each of the four books--Fithian said they hope to establish the brand and build anticipation for subsequent Fierce Reads lists. "Our national advertising campaign includes branded print, online and movie theater advertising. This will be amplified by exciting Fierce Reads sweepstakes events and third-party promotions paired with enticing teen products for each new season."
A Fierce Sell-In
A prepub buzz campaign will roll out with tiered mailings and a trade ad campaign. Macmillan's network of teens (through its InGroup and MacTeenBooks sites) will be invited to give feedback on and create build-up for the campaign. The blogger the Story Siren, for instance, did the cover reveal for Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone. And temporary tattoos are a key element. "What better way to start branding than tattooing our readers and having them carry the message wherever they go?" said Fithian.
Fierce Social Media
A 30-second Fierce Reads book trailer will introduce all four of the debut titles, and each of the four books will also have its own book trailer. A sampler with chapters of all four books will be available for teens to download to their e-readers or iPads. "We'll be doing promotions on Twitter and on Tor.com," added Karen Frangipane, director of digital marketing for Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. "We think there's some crossover appeal, and we can leverage the Tor.com connection." Fierce Reads will also have a dedicated YouTube channel, where teens can view book trailers, author interviews and footage from bookstore events. "Maybe they've heard of one author or one book, but here they can learn about our other great titles," Frangipane said.
The Fierce Reads Facebook page will serve as a way for teens to stay up on the authors' tour, and converse about the books and the authors. "We'll work with booksellers to livestream the events so that other teens can attend virtually," said Frangipane. Someone from Milwaukee watching an event in Chicago can tweet a question, and the author can answer it. The idea is to create a community for teens where they can learn about the books, talk about the books, talk to us and talk to the authors."
A Fierce Party
A two-pronged blog tour will tie in with the Fierce Reads author tour, as Allison Verost, director of publicity for Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, explained. "Each of those authors will do her own blog tour in the weeks leading up to publication," Verost said. That will involve guest posts, giveaways and character blogs. The tour itself will cover 10 cities over two weeks.
A few authors will do some events on their own in their hometowns. Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder, will be joining the authors the first leg of the tour. "This is an ongoing program for us," according to Verost. "We see these four writers on our first Fierce Reads tour becoming future guest stars for our next Fierce Reads tours."
The second component of the blog tour will be bloggers interacting with the actual Fierce Reads author tour. "Each bookstore will have a designated blogger," Verost explained. The blogger will get a half-hour meet-and-greet with the authors before the event. The Fierce Reads bloggers will be a mix of teens and those who blog about teen fiction. During the event, the bloggers will tweet live, shoot video and livestream the event, when possible. After the event, they'll post the details. "The genesis for this tour is that teens want their events to be more like parties," said Verost, "so it's a party for everyone involved, including fans that can't be there."
The Fierce Tour Schedule:
June 5, 7 p.m.: Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Bookshop (LaVerne, Calif.)
June 6, 7 p.m.: Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego, Calif.)
June 7, 7 p.m.: Books, Inc. (Opera Plaza, San Francisco, Calif.)
June 8, 3 p.m.: Copperfields (Petaluma, Calif.)
June 8, 7 p.m.: Kepler's Books (Menlo Park, Calif.)
June 9, 6:30 p.m.: Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park, Wash.)
June 10, 4 p.m.: Village Books (Bellingham, Wash.)
June 11, 7 p.m.: Kings English (Salt Lake City, Utah)
June 12, 7 p.m.: Provo Library (Provo, Utah)
June 13, 7 p.m.: Blue Willow (Houston, Tex.)
June 14, 7 p.m.: Anderson's Bookstore (Naperville, Ill.)
June 15, 6 p.m.: Schuler Books & Music (Lansing, Mich.)
June 16: Time TBD: Barnes & Noble (Pensacola, Fla.)
June 17, 4 p.m.: Oblong Books (Rhinebeck, N.Y.)
June 18, 6 p.m.: Books of Wonder (New York City)
Photo: Marissa Meyer by Julia Scott