If you were to ask me what one romance author on the planet least needed to have a heavy-duty viral marketing campaign launched for her, I’m pretty sure I’d have said Nora Roberts. I think most everyone would say Nora Roberts. I mean, this is the woman who has four shelves all to herself in every bookstore in America. And whose backlist you can find half of in Wal-mart, when it’s impossible to find but a small, tiny percentage of new releases.

But it appears that Nora, writing as JD Robb, is the focal point of a current viral marketing campaign.

I belong to a site called BzzAgent, the focus of which is what they call “Word of Mouth” marketing. AKA Viral marketing. I’ve belonged for a few years now. Sometimes, the site sends out free product for each “campaign” (I’ve gotten everything from jeans to power toothbrushes to automatic shower cleaners). The idea is that you use the product and then tell as many people as possible if you like the product. Then, you’re supposed to report your “Bzzing” or word of mouth to the “hive” (the website).

Penguin Publishing partnered with BzzAgent a while back and does campaigns for different release periods throughout the year (for example: spring releases). They provide the “agent” with pdf downloads of four or so books that they think will be hot that spring and encourage them to read the clips, and then spread the word about the books. I rarely participate in these because the books are not ones I’d read normally, though Julie Kenner’s California Demon was one of the selections last spring. But the key here is that these books aren’t featured on their own and the Penguin section is seperated from the main area of BzzAgent. Books have been featured on their own on the main site in the past, but they’re almost always obscure, non-fiction books.

Until now. Several weeks ago I got an invitation to join the “Innocent in Death” campaign. BzzAgent is viral marketing JD Robb’s latest book.

Are you looking for a book packed with suspense? Have you been waiting to find a character you can get attached to?

Then do we have the BzzCampaign for you!

Innocent in Death is the next installment of J.D. Robb’s best-selling “In Death” series where Eve Dallas fiinds herself investigating the shocking murder of a seemingly well-liked history teacher and beloved husband.

The “In Death” series is known for its unique blend of hardcore police drama and romance, with a sprinkle of science fiction thrown in. You can be sure that Innocent in Death does not disappoint — we couldn’t put it down!

If you can’t wait to start reading, be sure to visit your Agent Home page and look for the Innocent in Death Campaign invite.

Remember that spaces are limited, so don’t miss out!

BzzAgent Jono

Now, to be clear, they don’t just decide to choose something, the product companies set this up with them. So I’m assuming JD Robb’s publisher is behind this. But am I the only one thinking…what about the mid-list author who doesn’t have her sales? Why not push THEM? Don’t get me wrong, if you read this blog you know I’m a huge JD Robb fangirl. I’ve sent copies of Naked in Death to anyone who will take one. It’s probably one of my favorite books ever. I would give up a limb to be on the ARC list for JD Robb. But I’m not really getting the need for viral marketing for such a huge name author. Except. Read the email sent out last week and then the one from yesterday about the Amazon top ten list:

Greetings BzzAgent,
We hope you’re enjoying being a part of the Innocent in Death Campaign!

If you’re a big Nora Roberts fan (who isn’t?) then you won’t want to miss Blue Smoke, a Lifetime Original Movie based on her best selling book. It’s airing tonight, February 12th at 9 pm – check it out!

And if you’ve checked out Amazon’s sales list for books you’ll see Innocent in Death at #14, but we think it’s definitely top ten material! But, no worries, a little word of mouth should do the trick. Let’s get the Bzz out there and Innocent in Death up where it belongs!

Keep up the great Bzz!

Greetings BzzAgent,
We hope you had a chance to watch Blue Smoke, the Lifetime Original Movie based on Nora Robert’s book this past Monday. Be sure to catch the last movie in the series, Carolina Moon, airing this Monday, 2/19 at 9 PM EST/PST.

And don’t forget to spread the Bzz about the latest novel, Innocent in Death, by downloading the free excerpt off of the Campaign Homepage and sharing it with others.

While this Campaign doesn’t have reporting, if you have any feedback – we’d love to hear about it! Let us know what the Bzz is by logging onto the Innocent in Death Campaign Homepage and clicking on the “How to Participate” tab.

And have you seen Amazon.com lately? Let’s help Innocent in Death break into the top three Top Sellers in Books!

Thanks and happy Bzzing!

I don’t know where JD Robb’s books get to without the concentrated viral marketing, but I would have imagined they got to the top ten on Amazon all on their own? I’d be really interested to know what results the publisher (Putnam Adult) was hoping to see. In Death is the only series I buy in hardcover (and I’ve heard other readers say the same–someone said it in the comments of my Thursday Thirteen yesterday, even). I have my copy pre-ordered from Amazon (thank you Amazon Prime). JD Robb/Nora Roberts fans seem to me to be pretty hardcore. So why choose JD Robb as the focus of a viral marketing campaign? Is it to get some attention for the Lifetime movies, as well?

And btw, Innocent in Death releases on Tuesday. You can read the first three chapters provided by the BzzCampaign here.

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