Book Discussions – Viral Marketing, PR Stunts or Just a really good book?

book descussions

viral marketing


Ok this post may get me in trouble with some of you, but I am hoping that we can debate in an adult way.   


You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard the latest controversy surrounding author J.K Rowling and her book The Cuckoos Calling.  Now I would like to state this is my opinion only, and I would like to hear what everyone else thinks about this Subject.

I first noticed Viral Marketing for a book when Twilight by Stephenie Meyer was released, actually it was the movie not the book, although I have always been a reader I lost touch with my reading while I was having a tough time bringing up two monsters  darling toddlers.  I was caught up in the Twilight Storm soon after, A vampire book, I love Vampire books! I have to read this, because obviously everyone was reading it.  Everywhere I looked it was advertised on Television, Youtube, Facebook and even people reading it in the streets.  I enjoyed Twilight series, I thought I loved it but after re-reading it again a few years later I wasn’t so impressed, Edward is just downright creepy and what is with the sparkling?  but I was caught up in the Viral marketing, which was so well done that I never noticed how the publicity was playing me.

This brings me to the P.R stunt that was delivered by Stephanie Myers, with Midnight Sun and it’s pirated release.  I don’t stand for pirating and don’t condone it. But what really got me upset was that Stephanie Myers blamed her fans and punished them by refusing to finish her book.  Everything Stephanie Myers touches is gold by the Twihards.   When you think about it, would you really like Midnight Sun? could you really read Twilight again except from Edwards view? Isn’t it just re releasing her book again and taking the easy way to make money instead of writing something unique and amazing?

I was a bit more wary when the Viral marketing hit “mummy porn” book Fifty Shades of Grey,  I read reviews first and everyone was loving it, again everywhere I turned I saw 50 shades, which I am not saying viral marketing is a bad thing, but when books are less than stellar they really annoy me.  Eventually I succumbed again to marketing and brought all three books.  The first book was nearly a DNF for me, I didn’t like Christian I thought he was a creep he got of on belittling Ana and controlling everything she did.  This is not a healthy relationship.  The second and third books I enjoyed a bit more.  Then came the P.R Stunts,  It was revealed that E.L James wrote Fifty Shades as a twilight fanfic, and then the Twihards jumped on board, She didn’t like her book being referred to as “Mummy Porn” and lets not forget the article that accused fifty shades as being pedophilia propaganda.  I am not saying that these instances are all the author’s fault or the publishers but they keep the book in the news and add hype to them.

Now back to the latest Viral Marketing and P.R Stunt,  The Cuckoos Calling by J.K Rowling.  In April this year a book was released called the Cuckoos calling by Robert Galbraith, it was a low seller.  Then someone lets the cat out of the bag and tells everyone that Robert Galbraith is J.K Rowling.  Rowling insists that it isn’t a publicity stunt, but what she can’t deny is now everywhere we turn we see the Cuckoos Calling advertised it has gone viral.  So whether it is a Publicity stunt or J.K Rowling wanted anonymity for her writing The Cuckoos Calling is now number one on New York Times Bestseller list.

Let me know what you think about Viral Marketing,  have you ever got swept up in the storm?


11 thoughts on “Book Discussions – Viral Marketing, PR Stunts or Just a really good book?

  1. To be honest I think a lot of the viral marketing turns me off. I started reading Twilight back before the second book had come out. When the cover was this creepy girl standing in front of lockers. As a first book I quite enjoyed it. It was something different. By the time the last book came out I was so over it. There were little girls coming into the store where I worked with all of the books, posters, the movie soundtracks.
    I didn’t even bother with fifty shades. I wasnt interested in the stoyline and the fact that everywhere you went it was thrown in your face really annoyed me.
    I’m not saying I don’t like viral marketing. I think it is good to encourage reading, what I don’t agree with is the fact that we end up with one book that gets all the lime light while other absolutely fantastic books get forgotten about. Not to mention has anyone been to a book store lately? The young adult section is FILLED with books that are imitating twilight. Please get some originality people.

    • OOh great points. Yes i hate it when a book says if you liked twilight then you will love this. Books should get hype because they are awesome not because they have a great marketing team. Some of my favourite books are Indie books, and I always make time to support Indie Authors, because really how can they compete with viral marketing? And it is funny how one book makes it big, then a billion of the same topic follow. but I can never get sick of zombies. But yes the love triangle between the human and two different types of paranormals is getting a bit old. thanks for weighing in.

  2. Who wouldn’t want their book to go viral? On the other hand, no one likes to be played. I can’t decide. I guess we’ll never know for sure why JK Rowling chose a pseudonym.

  3. I don’t have all the details, but my understanding is that Rowling’s identity wasn’t supposed to be revealed–at least not “so soon.” But, if the publisher had any idea it was Rowling’s book (and it’s hard to believe they didn’t, since she had to work with them, and the same publisher was working with her on The Casual Vacancy and someone should have recognized her writing style), then I have to believe that revealing her identity eventually was part of the agreement. Or the publisher knew her name would get out eventually, without it being “officially” planned. There’s no way a publisher (publishers are businesses, after all) would willingly lose the type of profits they’d get from attaching Rowling’s name to a book.

    I do think there’s a difference between planned viral marketing and a book’s getting tons of hype. Publishers, for instance, might plan a blog tour, but they can’t necessarily get hundreds of other bloggers to read, like, and review the book–that part is a bit more out of their control.

    And hype can definitely be disappointing. You see everyone else loving a book and you start to think you’re supposed to love it, too, which can lead to various results: you think more highly of it than you would have without the marketing, or you’re disappointed it’s not as good as the hype, or you start questioning whether you’re “wrong” because you don’t like the book and everyone else does. As we grow as readers and reviewers though, I think we get better at separating the hype from the book.

    • yes I was wondering too if the publisher was disappointed in the sales and let the cat out of the bag. It was a wife of someone who worked with Rowling. And as I read more and more books I am definately starting to notice when a book is getting hyped up. And really everyone has their own tastes when it comes to books, just because a billion people loved 50 shades doesn’t mean that that one person that didn’t is wrong, I understand the pressure to like it though. Now I go with my heart if I am not into a book thats ok, But If I love it I will tell everyone lol. Thanks for weighing in on the discussion it is great to see other people’s views.

  4. This is a great discussion post, Jodi! I’ve been living under a rock because I didn’t know about The Cuckoos Calling, but I just looked it up. From an author’s standpoint, I’d say Rowling probably wishes she were still hidden away. I think she truly enjoyed the freedom of starting from scratch but with her wealth of knowledge. I could just see her going and going and finding pleasure in the slow rise to success her new identity experiences.

    I did ask for Gameboard of the Gods without knowing much about it. I think that was a combination of hype and loving the author so much. I think the book business is like Vegas, up all night, the house always wins (when they spin like they spun for 50 Shades), and the hard light of day doesn’t always look as shiny as the night life.

    • thats a great analogy Robyn, 50 shades was definitely a bit tarnished. lol. It’s great that you can see it from the authors point of view, it could have been the publisher wanting to sell more copies. I was the same with Gameboard Richelle mead is one of those authors I don’t need to read the blurb to buy the book, I think that is why It was a bit disappointing, I could imagine when you want to break away from one genre to another it could be a bit nerve racking.

  5. I read Twilight just about the time when the first movie was released, and I loved it then – I haven’t done a re-read, though, because I don’t want to not love it. As you, I actually stopped reading for a while when I had young children running around (and running me ragged!) and Twilight re-introduced me to my love of reading.
    I haven’t read 50 Shades, I have looked at the pdf from the fanfic, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy Christian at all, so that’s a no-go for me.
    I read an article about the JKR issue, and it seems that a lawyer in the firm she used to make sure she could use a pseudonym told his wife’s best friend about the pseudonym / real author, and within minutes of leaving their house, she had tweeted about it. I think the lawyer lost his job, and JKR has said she’ll not use that firm anymore. Of course, that could be part of the stunt as well.
    I hate it when I see publicity for stuff everywhere, and I always have. It is more likely to make me NOT want to buy something than actually helping me to buy it. I never watched the batman movies, for example – because the publicity was everywhere when the first movie was released in the late 80s. I just figured I didn’t want to be like everybody else and stayed far away from all of the movies after that.
    Have a great day! Excellent discussion points 🙂

    • Star wars and star trek everyone assumes you have seen them, I have seen star wars but I didn’t like them. they are huge for publicity too.

      Thanks for clearing up the lawyer/publisher thing, I knew it was a wife that gave it away, he should have known women can’t keep secrets lol.

      but yes viral marketing can become very annoying. but yes don’t re-read twilight enjoy it as it was. once you think to hard about it, it is spoiled. lol. thanks for joining in the discussion I love hearing everyone’s opinions. 🙂

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