New Marketing Tactics in YA

I've recently run across two marketing tactics worth discussing, and both happened to be for YA books. Is it that I pay closer attention to this segment, or is YA the most innovative bit of the publishing market at the moment? (Either could be true.)

The Chunky Preview

Now that readers are used to downloading sample chapters of e-books, the idea of a preview from the comfort of your home isn't so strange. But when A.S. King's new book REALITY BOY was a month away from publication, Little, Brown & Co. made a special preview edition, pricing it at $0.00. The preview edition contained the first 14 chapters of the book, which meant 70 pages out of 350, or 20%.

That's a pretty chunky preview. And it totally worked as far as this reader was concerned. After I read those 14 chapters, I knew I needed to finish the book. The timing, though, was risky. I read the preview a couple of weeks before the pub date, and had to wait. A reader could forget, or move on. I suppose the publisher was hoping that I would pre-order the title immediately after reaching the end of the segment.

The Gift With Purchase

For YA author Miranda Kenneally, Sourcebooks is offering readers a gift for pre-ordering the book. Readers who email proof of pre-order to the publicity department will receive a horse-shoe shaped key chain which is themed to match the equestrian plot line. With this idea, I believe the publisher is trying to lean on pub date purchases to give the book some momentum right out of the gate. (Wait...I made another horse reference! What do I win?)

For fans of the author, it may be a welcome incentive. The risk here seems to be cost. How did they estimate how many key chains to order? It sounds tricky to me. And it would take up the publicist's time, time that she might spend drumming up other sorts of interest in the book.

On balance, I love to see publicity departments thinking shiny new thoughts. I hope both of these ideas paid off for the publishers.