YA literature is big business, and is a well loved and essential segment of the book market. But in the mass of today’s online world, how do you target teenagers and young adults in order to sell them books?
I don’t need to tell you that these people spend their time online, using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I’m sure I also don’t need to tell you of the huge interaction rates associated with video on social media. We know who the audience is. We know where they hang out. THEY HANG OUT ONLINE. They share, they talk, they rave, they critisise. This is where the young adult audiences need to be targeted.
Think Zoella, Pewdiepie, BuzzFeed eats….. Video is a huge tool in getting this audience to engage.
Yet book trailers are still seen as a huge taboo, despite the big players including Penguin and Hodder and Stoughton using them. Crude, poorly made and often pegged with “giving the game away”, book trailers have a rep for being well, awful.
But hold on for just a moment, what if we made YA book trailers that weren’t awful?
Though young adult books are hugely popular, it is still a divided age group, many choosing not to read for pleasure and avoiding it all together once they have left school or college. By using book trailers, based on cinematic trailers for movies, reading could be sold to this audience in a new way.
Themes in YA
Dystopia / Fantasy – Strange The Dreamer
Dystopian and fantastical novels are a really huge part of YA literature. Though this genre thrives on the imagination of the reader, it is still imperative to build a world and a brand which ties in with it, and video can be a really great way to do this.
With the trio of Strange The Dreamer trailers, the task was to focus on the poetry of the prose, and to create visuals to emphasise the beauty of the words and story.
Romance – Caraval
Though also a tale of fantasy and magic, Caraval is at its core, a love story. We worked on a detailed campaign for this book, including cover reveals of each of the four images hidden beneath the dust jackets, as well as trailers introducing the topics and themes within the story. Building on the beautiful style of the cover, we designed striking animations for each genre covered within the story, producing an elegant and striking animation.
Coming of age and identity – The Cruelty
As the readers themselves try to figure out who they are, as do the characters they read about. Often, this is in a typical setting – school or college or example. Sometimes though, this story is told through something a little more unusual.
In The Cruelty, teenager Gwendolyn must learn who she is and what she is capable of, as she travels through Europe on a mission to save her father. The story is really dark, and we created a Tarantino-esque trailer using live action clips mixed with animation for an almost comic book feel. Think James Bond meets Sin City.
LGBT – Release
LGBT issues are a hot topic for teens and young adults, and Release is a sparkling example of this. A poetic novel about personal acceptance, we once again used the existing cover art to create a minimalist and contemporary trailer that fitted the style of the book.
Thriller / Spy – Alex Rider
An old favourite, teenage spy Alex Rider recently came back for more with the release of new installment, Never Say Die. We needed a fast paced action trailer that sold the thriller nature of this book. Focusing on a big action scene from the story, we used tropes from thriller film trailers to make something that would engage younger and predominantly male audiences.
Online – Oli White
YA stories often reflect an online lifestyle – and so should be targeted thusly. As teens and young adult audiences live and breathe social media, it only makes sense that this should be the platform used to reach out to them. With a surge of YouTubers releasing books and novels; Twitter and Instagram (and of course YouTube itself!) are obvious places to release content.
The work we did on the campaign for Oli White’s Generation Next took them through a whole campaign and we created not only animated book covers, but other digital content. Our animations announced book tours, book signings and competitions.
Younger generations are always something of a mystery (Bae was on fleek last night – jk, we stayed in and got the fomo tbh. The struggle is real.), but ignoring the way the younger generation thinks, feels and behaves because we are too stuck in our ways is a huge mistake within marketing.
But you knew that, didn’t you?