The general idea of “give a book and take a book” draws people in to browse the little wooden box’s contents. Imagine the excitement if a curious wanderer happened upon a brand-new, freshly published book from a local press! This is a great way to gain free local support and exposure for new independent titles or even self-published authors.
As a culture, we are growing more inclusive every day, but not all young readers grow up in the same environment. Not every town offers good examples, not every family is understanding, and not every book teaches the same thing. When you’re marketing a novel to a young adult readership, it is important to understand that while the internet is a map to nearly every young reader, it can also be the thing that destroys a novel.
The LGBTQ community has historically functioned outside of mainstream culture, but now it is slowly becoming more visible. This is also reflected in the publishing industry: we are slowly starting to see more queer themes and characters in books, especially in young adult fiction. However, the LGBTQ community is still an untapped audience for many large publishers and independent presses. By excluding this group from their marketing and promotion strategies, publishers lose out on a valuable and loyal audience.
We all know books are categorized into different genres. There is an official committee that essentially helps publishers categorize their titles. It’s called the Book Industry Study Group, and it creates, activates, and deactivates the current BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) codes. These are exactly what they say they are: codes that define industry standards.
Book-marketing language, particularly copywriting, is a critical part of how publishers reach their readers, and the predicted gender of a target audience has long been a particularly important consideration when determining the most effective language to use. But with readers increasingly expressing frustration with overtly gendered language in book-marketing copy, it’s clear that such methods are outdated, and book marketers and copywriters should look to gender-neutral language to describe their titles.
While it is important to respect our consumer base of the past, the consumer base of the future will no doubt be born out of the marriage between brands and social activism.