In only a few short years, Netflix has changed the way we consume media. Since its addition of streaming capabilities in 2007, media culture has not been the same. This revolution affected the way we watch television and movies, but Netflix’s streaming ability has influenced something else, as well—the book industry. When a book is adapted into a television series, it is given an opportunity. Presented to an entirely different audience base, one that may never have come across the title in any other setting, a book being adapted for television has a chance at a second life.
Let’s take a look at what can be done once a book has been adapted for Netflix to more effectively promote the book to this enlarged audience base.
A Bigger—and Very Devoted—Fan Base Yields New Potential Book Buyers
The emergence of the engagement-based model of media consumption and the unique way Netflix creates a pool of viewers who have access to every season of thousands of television shows makes Netflix a particularly powerful tool for book marketing. Three titles that spiked in sales after their show streamed on Netflix were Orange is the New Black, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Th1rteen R3asons Why. There is potential for any book to see an increase in sales if they have a corresponding show on Netflix. Those that do not are simply failing to benefit from effective marketing targeted toward Netflix users.
Social Media Engagement and “Reciprocal Exchange”
Published in 2016, Lauren Graham’s book Talking As Fast As I Can has sold 172,707 hardcover copies and 1,787 audiobooks to date. In promoting her book, Graham was very active on Twitter, executing #FreeBookFridays, a giveaway contest where a fan received a free signed copy every Friday if they tweeted using the hashtag. This was a great way to spur hundreds or thousands of fans to tweet about her book. These grassroots intermediaries were creating good publicity, and they were essentially advertising for her; this type of behavior is known as a “reciprocal exchange,” or a give-and-take “of social worth within an ongoing relationship” between the author and fans.
Reprint the Cover to Feature Actors
Another step all publishers seem to agree on in the wake of a Netflix version of their book is to reprint an edition of the book with the cover featuring actors from the show. This action speaks to the publisher’s awareness of their target audience: readers who are also dedicated Netflix viewers.
Nurture the Target Audience
Because Netflix users are the main target audience for a book’s republication, it is necessary to analyze those viewers, their actions, and how Netflix markets their shows to them. The first step in marketing any book is to identify a target audience.
When a book is adapted for a television show on Netflix, that new target becomes Netflix users. This type of audience is largely made up of people who crave and respond to behind-the-scenes information and who long to be noticed, or have the hope of being noticed, by the author or publisher. To that end, both authors and publishers should craft a marketing strategy aimed at reaching grassroots intermediaries and engaging in a reciprocal exchange with consumers. Locating these grassroots intermediaries and utilizing them is key.