Launching Faultland With a Scavenger Hunt

Faultland has finally been released! As a Powell’s Pick of the Month, Faultland was abundantly displayed throughout the bookstore. Through the excellent work of Cole Bowman, the previous project manager for this book, regional Barnes & Noble stores featured the book on tables and end caps, accompanied by shelf-talkers. While the team finally let out a sigh of relief, our work was not yet complete.

After launch, the project team was hard at work conducting social media marketing and spreading the word about Faultland. While Suzy was busy visiting multiple podcasts and giving interviews, Ooligan was not quite ready to hand over the full weight of the marketing just yet. We still had one more trick up our sleeve: a Portland scavenger hunt.

After months of preparation, the scavenger hunt was finally here. Within a week, the team launched a series of posts that urged people to explore the beautiful sights of Portland. While this marketing strategy wasn’t as luxurious as let’s say Ready Player Two’s digital scavenger hunt when they partnered with Robolox, it still took a lot of brainstorming to make ours affordable, engaging, and viable for such a small press.

Here’s the rundown on how we pulled off our scavenger hunt:

  1. We scouted five locations that were safe and accessible to all attendees. These locations were in some way related to the novel since Faultland takes place in Portland during an earthquake. The five locations we chose were Pioneer Square, Providence Park, Tilikum Crossing, Council Crest Park, and Fulton House.
  2. Next we came up with riddles that were related to each location. We didn’t just want attendees to scour the book for all the plausible locations, we wanted the riddles themselves to have the answer so people who hadn’t read the book could also participate. We researched each location and came up with a riddle based on trivia and the history of that location. Here is an example of one: “In Chinook Wawa this word carries meaning across the Willamette.” The answer was Tilikum Crossing.
  3. How would we know when an attendee solved the riddle? We posted a flyer at each location. The flyer itself also required some brainstorming. The flyer needed to market the book, give detailed instructions on how to participate, and be aesthetically pleasing.
  4. After our launch, we released the riddles on social media, one at a time. We provided a launch post, which detailed the proper instructions on how to participate and provided the rules. We kept it simple: each attendee had to take a picture with the flyer at the location and share it via social media using a specific hashtag.
  5. Whoever found all five locations was asked to share their pictures with the proper hashtag so that they could receive a free signed copy of Faultland.

All of this was completely new to Ooligan, so we were both excited and nervous to see how it would go. We found that it helped spread the word about Faultland with a bang before diving in to our next title.

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