Monday, May 19, 2008

Books You Can Visit

The old debate of whether the book or the movie made from the book is best might someday be replaced by one asking whether the book's website is better than the book itself.

NPR has an article about debut novelists who are using websites to interact with readers and add to the story they've told in their books. Both of the imaginative sites highlighted in the article offer enough fun to entice those who have already read the novels and those who may be thinking about reading them into making return visits.
Avideh Bashirrad, deputy director of marketing at Random House, says that a book Web site has to be dynamic and attractive and should deliver information that isn't in the book.

"A letter from the author, for instance, directly to the readers, or even an invitation to e-mail the author directly, that kind of thing is really important to readers," says Bashirrad. "To be able to reach out to them makes readers feel really special and also builds loyalty."
Marisha Pessl has a site for Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Charles Bock has one for Beautiful Children. I haven't read Beautiful Children but enjoyed wandering around the site so it must be working. As for Calamity Physics, I didn't take to the book at all and really had to work to finish it but the website was lots of fun. It's starting to look as if authors are definitely going to have to put a webmaster on the payroll in order to keep up in the changing world of publishing.

The article sidebar also has these book website links:

Mergers and Acquisitions - Dana Vachon

Last Last Chance - Fiona Maazel

Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill


  1. Here's the perfect example, Jon Clinch's Finn website sponsored through Random House. A tad more upbeat than the book.

  2. Considering how many litbloggers are out there alone, I think authors/publishers that don't take advantage of the Internet are fools.

  3. Hey, Maggie, thanks for the "Finn" link. That was one of my favorite books from last year and I still have vivid impressions of what I read there.

  4. I agree, John. It's another tool that authors need to have in the old toolbox; anything that helps keep their names in front of the public has to help.

    The more outgoing authors that enjoy "talking" with their readers should do well on the internet...

  5. Sam, nothing is one thing anymore. You need to market through every channel imaginable -- so a book becomes book, web site, movie, YouTube video, audio book, blog posts, video game, etc.

    Some writers are even releasing soundtracks to the books they have written.

  6. Very true, and it makes me wonder about some of the older writers who aren't into this new technology and how they will continue to compete for book sales...possibly they are so established already that they don't have to worry about it.

    Authors are taking more responsibility for their own marketing than ever before and that has to be a good thing for more depending on others who don't always make the effort to do it right. If I had something to market, I think I'd prefer doing it myself.