Tweeting from a La-Z-Boy, An Unfinished Book Hits No. 1

July 12, 2011 at 7:00 am

In a feat that even the best-selling writers might envy, young-adult author John Green’s latest novel is No. 1 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com even though he’s still working on it from his comfy La-Z-Boy in Indianapolis.

With “The Fault in Our Stars,” the author has overtaken hot books by Suzanne Collins and Laura Hillenbrand. His book won’t be published until the spring of next year.

It helped that Mr. Green, a 33-year-old who first gained attention in 2005 with his debut novel “Looking for Alaska,” has more than 1.1 million Twitter followers. Mr. Green is published by Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group (USA), but he does his own thing on the Web. “I don’t take direction from Penguin,” he says.

In only a few short years, the ability to use social networking as a literary megaphone has gone from an afterthought to the focus of most marketing and image shaping by publishers. “Everyone is now focused on it, because when it works, it can be a runaway train,” says Tim Duggan, executive editor of Harper, an imprint of News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers Inc. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Green’s runaway train started like this: On Tuesday afternoon, he posted the title of his new book on Twitter, Tumblr and the community forum YourPants.org. An hour later, he upped the stakes by promising to sign all pre-orders and the entire first-print run, while also launching a YouTube live show. Mr. Green discussed his plans for signing the book and also read a section to give viewers a sense of what “The Fault in Our Stars” would be about. (It’s a story of two young cancer survivors.)  Read more.

J. Trachtenberg, Wallstreet Journal, JULY 1, 2011

 

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