Since its launch in October 2016, Sweek, a global social platform for free reading and writing, has run over 100 writing competitions in 9 languages, ranging from flash fiction to complete 100k word novels. Publishers like Penguin Random House, Ravensburger, Arena Verlag and Piper Verlag have partnered with Sweek to discover new talent.
Here Sweek lists their four main reasons why publishers should consider using mobile and social platforms…
1) The younger ‘smartphone’ generation is social and mobile
Reading has become a social activity in the last couple of years. Booktubers and book bloggers, for instance, are quickly gaining influence worldwide. As social reading and writing can be done on mobile-first platforms like Sweek, with following, sharing and messaging functionalities, this is where you’ll find millennials (of which a large part doesn’t go to the bookstore anymore). If you want to engage this younger audience with your brand and books – you will find them online.
2) Serialization is key
Some researchers state that millennials look on their smartphone over 150 times a day and have an attention span of just a few seconds! Netflix is here to stay for a reason: it gets the viewers hooked on original content, and they can’t wait for the next episode to be released. The same can be said for stories. When a new chapter is uploaded, followers immediately get a push notification and fans become hooked on the story. If you discover a writer who wrote their story in a serialized manner, they often already have a fan base.
3) Authors build their fan base right from the start
Often publishers don’t know how well a new book will sell or who exactly the readers are. With social reading and writing platforms, the situation is different. First, the author already has a large fan base, so you do know that the chance of the book being a success is higher. More importantly, this fan base, that actively gives feedback and helps to shape the story, is eager to purchase the winning book once it is published. Also, since there is a social component involved (e.g. the top 5 most voted stories get into the jury shortlist), the participants are eager to share their stories with their entire community, thereby creating PR for the publisher as well. Lastly, data on reading behaviour (time spent reading, retention per chapter, interaction etc.) from the app will be a great asset in deciding on the winner of the contest. Let the reading community help you choose the rock stars of writing!
4) A proven concept
Last spring, Ravensburger, a well-known German publisher, launched #SchreibMitRavensburger (‘Write with Ravensburger’) together with Sweek and discovered 16-year-old Samira Bosshard, their youngest YA author ever published.
Ravensburger publisher, Anuschka Albertz says, “The creativity of the stories, the high level of interaction and the role of the community have positively surprised us: this is an excellent way to scout talent.” Samira’s book was published in March 2018. Penguin Random House and several other publishers are currently running talent scouting competitions on Sweek, ranging from general fiction to crime & thriller.
All in all, social platforms enable publishers to discover potential bestsellers, attract new readers as well as writers to their brand with relatively small effort from their side.
Sweet has recently announced a new competition with Grasindo, part of Gramedia (Indonesia) – #GrasindoFictionSweek. Find out more here.