Stephen King has never really played by a traditional set of rules, it shows in his books and in the way he markets his products. I must be perfectly transparent, I am a huge King fan and enjoy his writing more than any other author, I own over 60 of his books and have at least 10 more about the writer.
One important thing to point out, Stephen King has always been involved in the user’s experience. He hasn’t written for the critics and has always held his relationship with his readers the paramount of his career. Refering to them as “Constant Reader,” King knows that for his books to be successful, he needed to know his audience, and it shows.
That being said, here is a quick run down of some things that he has done to stand out that quickly come to mind:
- The Stand
King’s 6th published novel (5th as himself), was republished in 1992 with an additional 75,000 words.
- The Dark Tower Series
A never ending series that has had 8 books spanning some 22 years from publishing the first book to the seventh (including a short story in a collection).
- The Plant
A “little book” that was written via email and sent in installments to his friends.
- The Green Mile Series
Released over 6 monthly installments, this serial novel was published as paperbacks with around 125 pages a month.
- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Pop-Up Book
I think that the title says it all.
- The Dark Tower Graphic Novels
Reaching out to a new audience, one of King’s most popular stories is being adapted by Marvel comics as a graphic novel, released in monthly comic book format and retelling the many stories contained within the original series in chronological order (which the books didn’t adhere to).
And now, “N!”
N is a new short story that is part of a new collection of short stories called Just After Sunset available November 11, 2008.
What sets N apart is the method of exposure. Stephen King, Simon & Schuster, Marvel, CBS and iTunes have all teamed up to present a 25 episode video series, Message Board to bring the story to life.
To build it further, they offered the series via a widget, seen below, so you can share with others.
OK Steve, what’s the point?
The point is that you don’t always have to fit within the predefined box with your marketing efforts. Stephen King is a great author, however, some people can’t get through many of his novels because they aren’t as engaged with his writing as I am, however, Stephen King hasn’t lost them, because he delivers in different ways, not just as a new media, but also in a format that will appeal to a new or different audience that he hasn’t reached.
My questions to online marketers:
What are you doing to engage your existing audience and reach new ones?
Are you only succeeding because someone else hasn’t done it better?
Are you constantly trying to reach other markets?