Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to borrow a fan base

A college senior about to graduate posted an article on The Daily Aztec back at the end of March. It was titled "How I feel about graduation in 11 The Princess Bride gifs".  To say the article was successful is a bit of an understatement. Upon discovering this animated cult classic love fest,  The Princess Bride fans crashed the page. It was fixed, but when The Princess Bride FB page announced it was fixed, fans crashed it again.

The author of the article tapped into a powerful market of fans who love all things The Princess Bride and here's the best part. His original topic, graduation, doesn't have anything to do with the movie. No one is graduating, no once is moving on into the next phase of their lives. None of that. He simply recognized that the movie has a lot of great lines and that they expressed some of the emotions he was feeling.

Honestly, the author probably didn't think about the immediate draw of thousands of fans of the movie. So what if you tapped into this intentionally. As part of the A to Z challenge, I threw out the idea of using Buzzfeed. So what if you used a free site like Buzzfeed or The Daily Aztec to post an article that utilizes an existing fan base to create excitement for your own work.

I can almost see you itching to start writing, imagining the millions of fans who will soon flock to your post. But first, here are a few points to keep in mind:

1. Some fandoms are already overused (Harry Potter, Dr. Who come to mind) so these fans are accustomed to seeing GIFs and meme pictures. It's not a big deal to them anymore. That's not to say these fans won't enjoy your article, but don't expect them to crash the server the way a lesser served fandom (say Sailor Moon) would.

2. While the original content doesn't need to match the fandom, you'll get better results if the fandom is made up of your potential readers. Don't try to top into the X-Files fandom if you write YA contemporary romance. Generally speaking, the people who enjoy X-files and contemporary romance are not the same people. Instead, consider using a classic movie like Gone with the Wind or Casablanca.

3. None of this will mean anything if you can't tie your work to it someone. If you can come up with a clever way to include your book into the article that doesn't feel like spam, go for it. But if it's not a natural fit, don't force it. Instead, write a clever bio with plenty of links to the book page on your website and your cover image as your picture.

4. An great article with a perfect reader tie in won't do you any good if no one ever sees it. If you want to really get a buzz going, I suggest searching out these fan bases and letting them know about the article. In this case, you aren't advertising your book, just letting them know about a great article that features their favorite show/movie/comic etc. You'll find that most of the bigger fandoms will have groups all over the internet, including fanfic pages. Those will be your best bet for finding viewers for your article and, hopefully, new readers for your book.

4 comments:

  1. I never thought about trying this or appealing to people like the college student did. Thanks for sharing about it.

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  2. Very, very clever. I'm going to think more on this...

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  3. Fascinating. But I agree with you, just getting a thousand hits one post because you reach a particular fanbase won't help any, unless they're really interested in what you write about all the time. Thanks for the marketing tip, though.

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  4. This is genius! My mind is spinning trying to see how I can make use of this. :)

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