I stumbled across this article on Publishers Weekly this morning. It talks about a major publisher — Berkley, an imprint of Penguin — testing out two book covers for the same book. The goal is to see which one gets a better response.
As part of the testing process, they are posting photos of both covers (right) on Facebook and asking people to vote on which one they like better.
According to PW, “The ‘V’ cover seemed to gain traction on Penguin’s ‘Love Always’ Facebook page, whose followers are being asked to vote on their cover preference. Among 29 comments posted as of Monday morning, 21 endorsed the red V, and 20 of those endorsements came from women. There were six votes for the image, three of them by men.”
It’s a “great way to make everyone part of the experience,” said Cindy Hwang, Virgin’s editor.
And this got me thinking … what’s to stop other authors — even those who are self-publishing — from doing the same thing?
Utilizing this type of polling/commenting is certainly a good way to make readers feel involved in the site (and in the production of the book).
It’s especially helpful for authors who have one book published already (and a fanbase in place) and want to build some buzz for their second book.
Best of all, website visitors are really likely to share a fun poll or conversation like this one. Which means that not only will you be strengthening your own fanbase, you’ll actually be expanding your fanbase. It’s a win-win.
How to Make It Work
So what can you do on your author website? Here are a few ideas that I’ve seen work…
- Let readers vote on — and comment on — their favorite book cover
- Let readers choose the name of a character in the book
- Ask readers which two characters from your first book should become a couple in the second
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Think outside the box, and come up with your own ideas for how to make your author website a truly interactive place. Then share them with us!