Hop Onto Hot Topics

The erotica novel Fifty Shades of Grey has been a publishing sensation. And a satirist who came up with a parody has quickly landed a publishing deal and, for the publishing industry, a quick release date.

Andrew Shaffer, a writer, reviewer, blogger and parodist, started running his own take-down of the novel on his website and quickly Da Capo has bought a novel-length send-up, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, which Shaffer said he wrote in about 10 days. The book will be published in a couple of months, as a paperback and e-title.

This is an example of a new publishing paradigm: hop onto a hot topic through digital means (in this case, the author’s blog), attract the interest of publishers and get a lucrative book contract.

The thing here is the digital component. Had Shaffer not been an avid blogger, with an avid audience, his parody might not have attracted such immediate attention. But he has built a following for himself through his platform, as any writer should be doing.

Because his was a quick parody of a hot title, he was more likely to find a publisher than perhaps someone who’s writing on a more arcane subject. Nevertheless, he was smart enough to capitalize on the opportunity that the subject matter presented. And he had built up enough of an audience so that when he began his project, his audience was there with him.

Although your subject matter may not lend itself to creating parodies – which sell well, but tend not to have long shelf lives – at the same time you should be aware of the mood, of topics, of conversational shifts, by interacting with your audience. You’ll find plenty of material, and you’ll continue to build your audience

That’s what a platform does. Whether you’re a humor writer or a thought leader: you want people to hear your message.

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One Response to “Hop Onto Hot Topics”

  1. Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Great tips. Keeping an ear to the ground for what’s hot is a great way to create content readers are interested in.

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