Monday, April 13, 2009

Marketing Research: Teens' Methods to Combat Stress

The Top 12 Ways Young People Relieve Stress

Posted by anastasia on 04-08-2009

The folks over at MTV Sticky (i.e. Viacom Brand Solutions International) sent me their very cool Teen Age Clicks: Understanding Global Youth Culture report, which is packed with interesting info and stats. They gave me permission to excerpt a few sections for you on Ypulse. We all know that youth are busier and more stressed than ever before — according to the report, "stress is the invisible global constant afflicting youth of all ages in all markets." Here's how they're managing around the world….

1. Music Rules. The number one way young people cope with stress is to listen to music — 65% of all youth globally do this.

2. The Sun Always Shines On TV. In at number two, 48% of kids watch TV to relieve stress. 60% of youth globally lie down to watch TV. But….don't watch CNN. MTV's research proves the more news kids watch, the more stressed they become.

3. Talk To Me. Third is talking to friends (not face to face). The explosion in the new tools available to connect to friends has seemingly come at just the right time for a generation seeking moral support. That said, it is existing friends that provide the most support, rather than strangers, the only nation likely to turn to help from online strangers in significant numbers are the Chinese.

4. Sleep On It. Fourth most popular method is sleeping. However the quality of modern teens' sleep in question, "junk sleep" caused by over stimulated minds fueled by in-room gadgetry is the new "junk food." 40 percent of teens claim to be tired during the day.

5. Just Like A Prayer. Prayer is only the 14th most popular form of stress relief globally, but MTV has it at number 5 because statistically, young people who pray more are less stressed. Stressed youth on average pray 3.7 times per week. Relaxed youth pray 8.8 times a week.

6. Family Affair. Family represents a key source of love and self esteem. 43% of kids in the U.S. consult family when stressed. Generally young people in developing markets are more likely to turn to family. However, they are also the markets where parents are often the most absent. The average Mexican 8-15 year old spends 2.9 hours at home alone, compared to British kids who spend less than 45 minutes.

7. Big Boys Do Cry. Americans are the most likely nation to cry when stressed. They are also the most likely to play computer games (39%).

8. Thrills, Pills & Bellyaches. British are the most likely nation of youths to drink (43%) when stressed…They also eat a lot of junk food (40%) and do drugs (11%).

9. C'est a moi que tu paries? French are the most likely youth to get aggressive (42%) and have sex (16%).

10. Worried Sick. Swedish youth are the most likely to deal with stress through eating disorders. 23% make themselves sick after eating whilst 18% claim to diet or stop eating.

11. Shop Hard. Play Hard. The Chinese are most likely to shop to relieve stress (42%), exercise/play to relieve stress (46%) and are the most likely to write a journal/blog (27%).

12. Pass The Kleenex Henrik. Danish are the most likely to masturbate.

For more coverage of youth marketing, go to the Ypulse Youth Marketing Channel sponsored by Youth Marketing Connection.

So what do you think of that? Do you think young adult literature properly reflect these habits? Most novels revolve around a stressful situation for the protagonists (and antagonists, too, for that matter). But have you ever read a book where the main character masturbates to deal with stress?

Sunday, April 12, 2009 Removal of Sales Ranks from "Adult" Material. has found itself in a world of trouble based on its latest enterprising action back into censorship.

Mark Probst recently discovered his novel had been stripped of its sales rank. Curious, he e-mailed Amazon to find out why this had occurred. Amazon responded:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D
Member Services Advantage
Apparently, gay and lesbian material falls under the "adult" category, even if published as a young adult novel. But how does Amazon justify their sales ranks still affixed to vibrators, hard core porn, and other adult entertainment products?

Here is a list from listing some books that currently are and are not missing sales ranks:

Books Stripped Of Amazon Sales Rankings:
Ellen DeGeneres: A Biography
Outing Yourself: How To Come Out As Lesbian Or Gay To Your Family, Friends, And Co-Workers
Gay Life And Culture: A World History
Homosexuality And Civilization
The Way Out: The Gay Man's Guide to Freedom No Matter if You're in Denial, Closeted, Half In, Half Out, Just Out or Been Around the Block
The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World
Coming Out Of Shame: Transforming Gay And Lesbian Lives
The Gay And Lesbian Self-Esteem Book
Heather Has Two Mommies
Dude, You're A Fag: Masculinity And Sexuality In High School
Sexing The Body: Gender Politics And The Construction Of Sexuality
Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life: A Collection Of One Night Stands
Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown
Full Frontal Feminism by Feministing's Jessica Valenti
Lady Chatterley's Lover
For Yourself: The Fulfillment Of Female Sexuality
Queer Theory: An Introduction
Out In Theory: The Emergence Of Gay And Lesbian Anthropology

Books NOT Stripped Of Amazon Sales Rankings
Fear Of Flying
Belligerence and Debauchery: The Tucker Max Stories
The Complete A**hole's Guide To Handling Chicks
Lesbian Couples: A Guide To Creating Healthy Relationships
How To Be A Happy Lesbian, A Coming Out Guide
Ron Jeremy: The Hardest Working Man In Showbiz
Traci Lords: Underneath It All
I'm With The Band: Confessions Of A Groupie
Emma And Meesha My Boy: A Two Mom Story
Boy Meets Boy (YA)
She's Not There: A Life In Two Genders
How To Be A Super Hot Woman
The Complete Idiot's Guide To Amazing Sex
Female Chauvinist Pigs
Getting Off: Pornography And the End Of Masculinity
A Parent's Guide To Preventing Homosexuality
Gay Children, Straight Parents: A Plan For Family Healing
Confessions of a Video Vixen
The Vixen Diaries
Candy Girl: A Year In The Life Of An Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody

Really Amazon? Really?

A petition has already been set up for those who wish to protest. Twitter is aflame at #amazonfail, including best-selling authors Meg Cabot and Lilith Saintcrow.

As I type this, search restrictions on some of these banned books have been lifted, for books such as Brokeback Mountain. The LA Times has picked up on the story in their blogs section.

The rumour is that Amazon has done this to the book portion of their site so that gay and lesbian books do not rank on their new Kindle search and downloading systems. Why? I'm sure we can all come up with different presumptions. Some reasons include wanting to have a "mainstream friendly" search engine or guarding against bigot customer complaints about not filtering books.

The most profound impact of this situation? The number one book under the topic homosexuality is now A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. This is a very sad day, indeed.

As a result, many twitterers (tweeters? Seriously, someone needs to make dictionary of terms to use and people need to agree on it) are resolving not to buy books from Amazon any longer. Some authors, including Sherwood Smith, are resolving to remove links from their websites to not endorse such an act.

What do you think of this? What do you think of the backlash? That is something every author needs to consider right now. Where do you stand when it comes to corporate involvement? Do you not mind policy changes that intercede on others intellectual babies or do you believe it is part of the author's role in publishing to voice opinions over a part of the consumer's process to receiving the book?

ETA: Indie bookstores are also taking a hit with this policy change. They are stuck in the crossfire between people boycotting Amazon while indie bookstores use Amazon as a mediator agent.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Article - Headlines speeding up Publishing Schedules

"You’ve Read the Headlines. Now, Quick, Read the Book" by MOTOKO RICH
As the metabolism of the culture has sped up in the digital age, pockets of the publishing industry are prodding themselves out of their Paleolithic ways and joining the rush, with more books on current events coming out faster than ever before.

For generations the publishing industry has worked on a fairly standard schedule, taking nine months to a year after an author delivered a manuscript to put finished books in stores. Now, enabled in part by e-book technology and fueled by a convergence of spectacularly dramatic news events, publishers are hitting the fast-forward button.


Of course many publishers and authors suggest that taking time to produce a reflective work is what books are about, and that they should not succumb to the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle.


Publishers have released so-called instant books for decades, focusing on political campaigns, sports events and true crime. Most of Bob Woodward’s books are released on a tight schedule; his publisher, Simon & Schuster, calls it “extreme publishing.”

But the unprecedented pileup of historic news is motivating a broader industry speedup. Hoping to capture the public interest while it is still ripe — and to beat out competition — publishers are rushing out a cavalcade of books tied to the election of the first African-American president, a spiraling economic crisis and eye-popping financial scandals.


Industry insiders say more publishers should expedite their processes to keep pace with the modern media age.

Even books of high quality, if they “come out so late that they’re either obsolete or redundant, are going to lose out,” said Todd Shuster, a literary agent.

For now the quick-turnaround books represent only about 5 percent of all titles, said Kathryn Popoff, vice president for the trade division at Borders Books. But she added that there were more now than ever before, in part, “because of the news cycle.”

Many publishers maintain that books are not meant to chase headlines. “What we need to do on the book side is to do the most thorough, the best and most contextualized” work, said Ann Godoff, president and publisher of the Penguin Press.


Booksellers say that the closer books hew to the news, the shorter the shelf life. “They peak, and they are over,” said Antoinette Ercolano, vice president of trade book buying at Barnes & Noble. “If the consumer feels they aren’t getting anything new, it’s not going to work.”

Only a book that “has instant media appeal” is worth doing quickly, said Jamie Raab, publisher of Grand Central Publishing, a unit of Hachette Book Group. Most books, she and others in the industry said, require time for the publisher to edit and market the book, line up blurbs or secure reviews in magazines with long lead times.


“If this book had gone through the normal publishing procedures,” Mr. Kiyosaki said, “it wouldn’t be worth writing.”

So I pulled out the meaty bits for you.

The question this quick-to-press trends asks is: with digital media evolving the marketplace and speeding up trends, will publishers rush novels through to take advantage of pressing market trends?

Yes, this article talks about books focusing on non-fiction topics. But could you imagine the renovation of the publishing industry if the process were to speed up as an ongoing standard?

There are risks: a lesser quality book and a shorter shelf life given the piggybacking on trends.

What do you think? Is publishing heading in this direction for fiction? Or do you think the traditional cycle will remain?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Web Trend Map

The Web Trend Map is a visual representation of the most influential online websites used in 2008 mapped against the Tokyo subway lines.

You have to admit, it's pretty darn neat. And you can look at it for ages.

What should you be looking for as a writer? Look at the Creative, Publishing, and Identity lines

All the social networking sites. Are you on them in some form or another? Maybe you should look into them if you aren't.

Specifically, look at the prominence of the following domains:
  1. Kindle
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. eHarmony (just kidding!)
  5. Wordpress
  6. Blogger
  7. iTunes (podcasts, e-books, and audio-books, folks!)
  8. deviantArt (it's not just for visual art. And, yes, it is on the map twice)
  9. Any torrent site (NOT your friend. Piracy central)
  10. flickr (expanding your creative brand reach)
  11. YouTube (book trailers, recorded readings, Q&A, witty/witless author adventures)
Well, what do you think about this year's map? Do you think it's an adequate representation of where the web is going?

A Mobile Device? You mean a car, right?

Nissan has introduced a brand new product! It's called a "Mobile Device".

I know what you're thinking. "That's a car, isn't it?"

Why, yes, it is, and an ugly one at that. Not to mention it would be interesting to break into the hatchback trunk.

 According to this New York Times article, Nissan is introducing the Nissan Cube in the midst of an economic downturn and marketing it not as a car, but a "mobile device". Feature descriptions include terms like "'search engine', 'browse', 'storage capacity', 'add friends' and 'set preferences' to describe features of the Cube." This vehicle is clearly being marketed to tech-savvy youths and young adults who presumable have credit enough to purchase an ugly unique vehicle (Nissan is making sure their payment programs accommodate this type of purchaser).

With product placements set up (in the Heroes online graphic novel), you'd think Nissan in on the right route, especially while hiring TBWA/Chiat/Day, which also markets the iPhone (you know, a real mobile device).

Ridiculous? Probably. But you have to recall Dentyne's advertisements using similar features.

Kind of heart-warming, isn't it? So why does it work for Dentyne but not for Cube?

Simple: the Nissan Cube is a big-budget, highly visible item; Dentyne gum is a small, regular, routine purchase with the potential for repeat purchases and more brand loyalty than a car mobile device. There isn't as much risk involved with purchasing gum as there is a car.

So how, pray tell, does this apply to writing?

Well, I'm glad you asked, you sly creature!

Books, while a huge investment on behalf of the author, are a small purchase for consumers. When you're marketing, you want to work to create a brand loyalty. What is your brand? Vaguely, it's books as a leisure activity. More specifically, it's your genre, whether it be romance or mystery, adult or young adult. Then, it's your publisher. Even more specifically, it's you, the author.

By building an interactive appeal to your novels and networking opportunities, especially if your readers are tech savvy (which, for example, young adults and urban fantasy readers typically are). 

How do you build interactive appeal, such as Dentyne is trying to do?

Make a commercial to tug at the heart strings.

Use gimmicky language.

The best thing to do is have a website with "bonus features". This doesn't simply mean posting a sample chapter--while that helps those who haven't purchased yet, it doesn't benefit those who have purchased and want more out of the product they purchased and the brand (you) they are trying to get acquainted with. Readers want that little bit of extra, perhaps a deleted scene or a character blog where they can interact with their favourite character. Branch out to interact on popular mediums, like Twitter, blogs, chatrooms, message boards, Facebook, MySpace (if this applies to your audience--personally, I hate it). Host contests of items of added value - signed books, posters, cover flats, t-shirts/mugs/other merchandise you invested in. What does this do? It has the potential to bring in friends and family brought by the holy grail of all marketing--word of mouth.

The purpose of this blog

Hi y'all,

My name is Kate Larking and I am graduating in about two weeks with a Commerce degree in Marketing with a minor in English. What does this mean? I actually have some idea what I'm talking about!

The purpose of this blog is to be an educational marketing tool for writers, particularly writers of young adult and adult commercial fiction. There won't be any denying it in the subsequent posts that my favourite genre is urban fantasy.

If there is anything that requires more explanation or a topic that you would like to see, please feel free to comment or e-mail! My e-mail address is larkingk at shaw dot ca.