The Author Effect: Betty White, Book Sales, and Author Shawn Klomparens

        Shawnk1  Norain 

How can the power of social media be focused to achieve a specific goal? It’s a question a lot of people are asking themselves these days, including Canadian author Catherine McKenzie (Spin, HarperCollins Canada, 2010.) Her curiosity was piqued by the successful Facebook campaign to get Betty White to host Saturday Night Live.

“When I heard about that movement, it got me wondering how much can be accomplished in the book world in terms of sales generated through the use of social media.”

McKenzie’s goal is to see if a Facebook group can be used to turn a book into a bestseller, and accordingly named her group “I bet we can make these books bestsellers” (the Author Effect for short). Just joining the group is great, but “Members of the group are encouraged to put their money where their click is,” and buy the books. Since starting the group in mid-May, it has grown to over 700 members, and a related group on Goodreads has over 150 members. Members of the group include authors James Frey and Tom Perrotta, among many other bestselling authors.

The first two books chosen in McKenzie’s experiment are Wyoming author Shawn KlomparensJessica Z. and Two Years, No Rain. She chose these books because “they were the best two books I’d read in the last six months that were relatively unknown.”

I featured Jessica Z. here on Omnivoracious and reviewed the book for the Huffington Post, where I wrote that it “combines the concerns of literary fiction about sex and relationships with the kind of paralyzing sense of dread fueled by the continuing erosion of civil liberties. (…) Klomparens’s particular gift is to embed the details of our self-induced dissolution into an erotic coming-of-age story that’s not only slyly funny at times but has aspects of a thriller.”

Having enjoyed this book, I’m curious to see how this experiment will work out--and here's all the additional information you might need.

Facebook group

Goodreads group

Shawn Klomparens’ website

Catherine McKenzie’s website 

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