No Review Required

Book Hauls; we’ve all stumbled upon one or two as we’re strolling through the BookTube-verse. But just in case you haven’t, a book haul is when a YouTuber goes through all the books they have purchased, been gifted, or sent in a video. That’s it.

These are relatively simple videos that require minimal editing and preparation on the creator’s side, apart from having a nice pile of books to show us. But these are some of the most influential videos BookTubers can put out. Which is why not only are audiences keeping a close eye on them but authors and publishers as well. Book Haul videos are some of the most viewed videos of any BookTube channel and because of this, publishers have started to see them as marketing opportunities.

You may have noticed how more book haul videos are now featuring ARCs or sometimes even finished copies of new titles sent to them by publishers. There’s a reason for that. Presenting the book in a haul gives the book exposure. It puts it on the radar of readers and sparks general curiosity about the story, which is key when it comes to selling books. This is why many publishers are adding BookTubers to their ARC list, all in the hopes of getting a few seconds on camera.

Having their books shown in a book haul is not only a safer bet for the book than a review, but it’s also a lot cheaper than a sponsorship. They are not paying the BookTuber for their time to read the book and share their opinion on it, they just provide them with the copies that are already being made for PR and marketing purposes and get further exposure for their book. It’s brilliant when you think about it.

If a BookTuber reads the book and has a negative experience with it, that would most likely result in a negative review; thus resulting in bad publicity. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but all publishers and authors like to avoid bad reviews whenever possible.

In a book haul, however, the only sentiments that a BookTuber will have towards the book are usually excitement and curiosity. This excitement carries over to the potential reader that subconsciously keeps those titles in mind when they go book shopping. There are many theories on how this works and the neuroscience behind it, which I won’t pretend to understand. But apparently, it has to do with their list article (or listicle, which is a horrible name really) style, which many websites like Buzzfeed and Book Riot use. This format helps your brain process this information faster, which allows for immediate understanding and later recall. Whatever the reason, these videos have a high influence on the market.

So, now you know. If sending BookTubers ARCs of your book is not in your marketing plan, you should consider adding it. Because even if a video only gets 500 views, that’s 500 possible readers that now know your book exists and are more inclined to purchase it if they see it in a store or online. Like anything in marketing, sales are not guaranteed, but this is another thing you can actively do to try and get those sales. Some bigger publishers have these connections and might be able to contact these BookTubers for you, but there are ways for indie published or even self-published authors to get their book out there and into a book haul.

A Beautiful Interior, a Well-Researched Contact List, and a Strategic Marketing Plan

Dedicated readers of the Ooligan Press blog already know that The Ocean in My Ears has an absolutely gorgeous cover (for those who are unfamiliar, click here). But did you know that—thanks to the keen and diligent eye of Maeko Bradshaw—we are soon to have an equally impressive interior? While the interior design of a book often doesn’t get the fanfare of the cover, a well designed interior creates a “cohesive product that enhances the entire experience,” as our own Justin Orendorff wisely points out in his post.

Speaking of reading experiences, our team has spent countless hours researching booksellers, print book columnists, bloggers, podcasters, Youtubers, and other media mavens to ensure The Ocean in My Ears makes its way into the hands (and hearts) of the “right people in the places that matter,” in the words of Ooligan’s former marketing lead, Dory Athey. The team is also busy developing a creative and clever book marketing campaign that we are anxious to implement.

Next, the manuscript will go through the proofreading stage to catch any remaining copyediting and design errors that may have slipped through the cracks, which is the last step before the manuscript transforms into a print galley. This means The Ocean in My Ears is just one short step from becoming the book we’ve been so patiently awaiting, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Now it’s time to mail galleys, select a printer, begin the ebook design process, and plan the book launch!

Cooking Up Something Good

With every week that goes by on this project, we add another pot to the stove. Soon I’ll be needing a commercial kitchen! Developmental edits are in process and should soon be done. An inchoate marketing plan is beginning to form. Permissions are lurching along nicely. Our tipsheet is almost ready to go. A brief for the cover design has been drafted, and we’ll be sending out a call for cover ideas soon—really soon. Hopefully everyone will be ready to dust off those InDesign skills before Fall Term even hits.

In other news, we recently made a decision that I personally am very excited about: adding Allison’s personal photos to the interior of the book. I think it will be really fun and interesting to have these glimpses into her past, her family, and her pilgrimage complementing her stories about those things. Plus, I know that she knows how to effectively deploy an old photo from reading her wonderful blog at allisongreen.org. I can’t wait to see what pictures she digs up for us.