If you’ve been keeping a close eye on our events page lately, you may have noticed a bit of a literary streak. We’ve been working hard to build relationships with publishers — big and small — and get their books into the hands of our million-plus community members (and their friends, and family, and followers, and…). We’ve executed campaigns for established authors like Nicholas Sparks and first-timers like Stephanie Evanovich, for steamy reads (Afterburn | Aftershock) and practical guides (Financially Fearless and EAT IT TO BEAT IT).
Why are book campaigns such a natural fit for House Party? Like all of our clients, publishers benefit from the intensely immersive experience of a House Party or Chatterbox campaign and the authentic advocacy it drives, which research has shown to be more positive, credible and likely to lead to purchase than any other word of mouth. There are two things about book campaigns in particular that make them extra special, though.
First of all, the behaviors a House Party encourages are completely familiar to many readers. A group of friends gathered together to talk about a book, have some snacks and drinks, maybe read some passages? That’s a book club, and people have been doing variations of that for centuries. A House Party isn’t just any old book club, though: party favors, our digital platform and, of course, the Party Pack provide a unique experience that lasts for hours and is remembered for years. And people can’t wait to talk about it: a typical House Party campaign reaches millions of people, online and off, driving sales not only for the promoted book, but for the author’s other titles as well. These campaigns are designed to create lifelong fans.
Second, a House Party or Chatterbox campaign provides a unique opportunity for writers to speak to and develop relationships with fans on an individual level. Many of the authors we’ve worked with have recorded video messages for hosts, guests and applicants — check out the video below for a few examples. Others, like Joanne Fluke and Debbie Macomber, have signed books for hosts and guests. Fluke also held a Q&A session with participants on the party site, while Macomber threw an official House Party of her own, posting numerous times on her social channels throughout the campaign. Fans often feel intense personal connections with their favorite authors; House Party helps make those connections even more real and tangible.
At last week’s BookExpo America (BEA), there was more attention than ever paid to the ways in which today’s digital environment allows publishers to precisely target readers through social media, book forums, sweepstakes and more. Perhaps even more important, though, are all the ways readers can find one another. In one BEA session, Entangled Publishing’s Liz Pelletier claimed that 80% of their sales come from word of mouth; certainly Entangled is not alone in this regard.
For something that we often experience by ourselves, in quiet moments before bed or in waiting rooms, books have always served as a remarkable form of social currency: when one moves us, we can’t wait to pass it on to friends and family, to talk about it with strangers on the train or in the coffee shop. With House Party, publishers can make the experience of reading their books more social and dynamic than ever, bringing together fans, their friends and authors themselves in a setting that’s unique, intimate — and fun. As anyone who’s ever been to a publishing House Party will tell you, it was the best of times, it was…well, it was just the best of times.