On Friday, May 31st the Women’s National Book Association – NYC Chapter had the honor of hosting their first ever panel at Book Expo America. The panel was entitled, “A Conversation on Digital Strategies for Tapping the YA Market.” We had a fantastic line-up of panelists, all offering a different perspective on how to effectively create, maintain, and develop digital communities in the YA world. We heard from 2 authors, 2 editors, 1 marketer and 1 librarian who all agree that connecting in the digital space is now more important than ever as that is where the YA readership is – whether they are tweens who explore various sites and platforms on their own, parents who are acting a filter and sharing with their children, or adults who truly enjoy reading YA on its own merits. Digital communities must also involve participation from the libraries and booksellers as they are on the frontlines of putting books into readers’ hands. All of this is to say that digital marketing is just another component of the tried-and-true Word of Mouth campaigns that publishers have been enacting for decades.
Moderated by WNBA-NYC’s very own Manuela Soares, who is also a Pace University MS in Publishing Professor, she and the six panelists discussed how participating in the digital space is not dissimilar from the writing process itself: it needs to be honest, it needs to be cultivated like any other talent, and it should have a niche.