Egmont USA closed its doors at the end of January, but with the loss of the company came the announcement that the books scheduled for publication over the next few months would still be released. With only the former managing director and publisher Andrea Cascardi and former sales and marketing manager Margaret Coffee staying short-term to help with the publication, the authors had to do something to showcase their books.
The spark for the #LastListEgmont campaign started with Sarah McGuire, whose fairy tale retelling of “The Brave Little Tailor” will release in April.
“You go from having a whole team behind you to having to promote more or less on your own – unless you create a new team. Sarah McGuire brought the authors of the Spring ’15 list together and I’m so glad she did. We’re bonded by being in the same unfortunate situation, and we all want to do whatever we can to help the others succeed,” said Egmont USA author Sarah Cross.
Egmont USA’s last YA titles include Cross’ Tear You Apart, Ilsa J. Bick’s The Dickens Mirror, Kristi Helvig’s Strange Skies, and Bree Despain’s The Eternity Key. The last list also includes paperback editions of Bree Despain’s The Shadow Prince, Kristi Helvig’s Burn Out, and Ilsa J. Bick’s White Space.
“I suddenly feel like I’m relying on the kindness of strangers – and friends. It’s kind of like being a debut author all over again in that I feel like I need to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way. Over the years, I had to learn how to say no and pace myself, and sit back a little and let my publisher handle promotional things so I wouldn’t run myself into the ground,” said Bree Despain. “Now I feel like I’ve got to jump back into that mindset of saying ‘yes, yes, yes,’ as much as possible, but hopefully I know more about pacing myself now. The biggest promotional issue comes down to reach. I’ve always used social media and had good relationships with many wonderful bloggers that I can rely on, but without a publisher’s purse, my books won’t be featured in magazines, advertised in places like Publisher’s Weekly, and featured at the big conventions and festivals. That’s a big blow!”
The authors aren’t the only ones driving the campaign. The bloggers at Cuddlebuggery created a blog hop for the #LastListEgmont campaign, where book bloggers can sign up to share guest posts and interviews with #LastListEgmont authors, as well as other materials.
The campaign started after These Broken Stars co-author Amie Kaufman reached out to Cuddlebuggery blogger Kat Kennedy about Egmont’s closing. Kennedy loved Kaufman’s own plans, but didn’t feel like there was much Cuddlebuggery could do on its own. But if enough bloggers wanted to support Egmont USA’s authors like Kennedy did, a blog hop to connect them would be helpful.
“I’m basically hoping that we can get enough bloggers together to make a difference for Egmont[‘s] Last List. The support has been amazing and so many bloggers have already joined up. Most importantly, I wanted [the authors]to feel supported and cared for in this tough time, and that’s definitely a goal we’ve achieved already thanks to the generous support of all you wonderful bloggers,” said Kennedy.
But readers – bloggers or not – can do plenty to help with the authors with the #LastListEgmont campaign.
“Preorders and word of mouth are the two most important things to any author. They are gold,” said Despain. “Large publishers have big marketing departments that can create buzz for a book that many smaller publishers just can’t come close to touching. And us orphaned authors are in even worse shape. Posting reviews on Goodreads and Amazon is very helpful and appreciated. I’ve heard that a book needs at least 20 reviews on Amazon before it is entered into an algorithm that will make it more visible to potential buyers on the site. If you want to see more from any author you love, preordering their book is one of the best things you can do. As us orphaned authors start looking for new publishers, having strong numbers will help us make the transition. If you aren’t in the position to buy a book, that’s totally okay. Requesting the book at your local library or giving the book a shout out is also very helpful.”
“Name your cat Hissy Fitz and turn him into an Internet sensation – whatever you’re comfortable with. That goes for any smaller press books you want to support,” said Cross. “Except for the cat thing; that’s Egmont-specific.”
“Basically, get creative,” said Kennedy. “There are heaps of ways to support Last List, not just our blog hop.”
No matter what readers do, every little bit keeps the authors inspired to keep going despite their fallen publisher.
“Every little mention really does make a difference,” said Despain. “Knowing that people out there actually care about me and my books is giving me the strength I need to keep pushing forward. I have so many more stories I want to share with the world.”
“When your publisher closes, you feel like your book is going to be lost, and now here are a bunch of people coming together and saying, ‘We’re not going to let that happen.’ I feel like I need a mushy gif or a teary-eyed manga panel – with sparkles – to express how grateful I am for that support. This community is amazing, and so generous,” said Cross.
For more on the #LastListEgmont campaign, visit their official Tumblr page.