Transmedia Marketing for Book Publishers

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REGISTER for WR 410/510 here.

Students in my fall 2015 Transmedia class built this Instagram post to promote the Ooligan Press launch of A Series of Small Maneuvers.

Students in my fall 2015 Transmedia class built this Instagram post to promote the Ooligan Press launch of A Series of Small Maneuvers.

What is Transmedia Marketing?

“Transmedia” typically refers to “world building” across media platforms: imagine the Marvel Comics movies, games, action figures, fan fiction, apparel, toys, books, graphic novels and comics.

“Transmedia Marketing” is the use of cross-channel promotion across media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube) to build grassroots support for one’s campaign. It creates social media presence where fans can seize the opportunity to express their passion for (in our case) a book. Transmedia Marketing reaches a broad audience of “lurkers” who see the posts but don’t leave a trace of their consumption (that is, they may not “like” or share the post, but they read it nonetheless).

Learn more about the class by watching this 90-second video overview.

Course Description

“Transmedia Marketing for Book Publishers” is a graduate level practicum in which students design, build and execute a transmedia campaign for an Ooligan Press book. In addition to our textbook Spreadable Media, we’ll read many articles and presentations from Publisher’s Weekly and experts in social media marketing. We’ll examine best practices among book authors, publishers and sellers and learn how to scale them for the specific context of a small press.

This fall’s book project is Siblings and Other Disappointments, a short story collection by Kait Heacock, which Ooligan Press launches in October.

Students in my previous classes have built successful social media campaigns for the U.S. Library of Congress, the U.S.C. Sports Information Department, the U.S.C. Annenberg Office of Admission, and Ooligan Press, such as this social media primer by the gifted Ooligan marketing director (and my former student) Dory Athey.

Our main textbook will be Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford and Joshua Green.

Fall Quarter Modules

Unit 1: Media Watch

Students dive into book marketing in digital platforms, and track an author or publisher’s best book marketing practices. Students study best practices in publishing and adjacent media (TV, movies, games). They present findings to the class.

Unit 2: Social Media Literacies

Students engage in hands-on lab work where we build digital assets and emulate best practices across platforms.

Unit 3: Spreadable Media: theory and application

Students study grassroots sharing, remix, and “astroturfing” (when corporations impersonate fans or community members to create favorable buzz). Students evaluate commercial and gift economies as they interoperate in social media settings.

Unit 4: Build and Execute a Social Media Campaign

Students define target audiences and where they congregate; students research adjacent communities and learn how to spark live “eventness” in a campaign. Students learn how to scale a campaign based on variables like budget, partners, and author willingness to participate in digital marketing.

Unit 5: Students Assess the Reach of Their Social Media Campaign and Reflect

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