HarperCollins Taps SMS to Promote Children’s Novels

HarperCollins has begun an aggressive text messaging program to promote upcoming children’s novels by The Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot.

The publisher will send a variety of content and promotions via SMS to Cabot fans who join the Meg Cabot Mobile Club via the author’s Web site. The club is promoted via an extensive online media buy.

Mobile marketing enabler Flytxt will support the program, which includes text-based sweepstakes, trivia, screensavers and “voicetones” from the author.

Harper Collins will market the program on the big five carrier decks and via display ads on sites including thewb.com, seventeen.com, teenpeople.com, ellegirl.com and cosmogirl.com. Ads will appear during August and September.

“We’re hoping for a big pass-along when teens go back to school,” said James McKenzie, director of online marketing for HarperCollins Children’s Books.

MegCabot.com gets 50,000 unique visitors a month, and the Cabot author tracker email newsletter, a service that notifies opt-in users when favorite authors publish new titles, has 30,000 subscribers. In addition to The Princess Diaries, Cabot writes the All American Girl series and the upcoming Avalon High. She also authors books for the adult market.

Depending on the success of the program, the publisher may expand its mobile content buffet to include deeper content, including snippets from the books or an outgoing message from Cabot. HarperCollins is aggressively experimenting with mobile marketing, McKenzie said, and is even considering delivering original content to mobile phones.

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