Hodder steps up online communities

Hodder is stepping up its online consumer engagement programme. Three new community hubs are planned while Hodder’s first site, Hodderscape, will relaunch next month.

Marketing director Jessica Killingley said the company was focusing on building a family of online hubs in order to better understand readers and deliver a space where authors and fans can engage, no matter the genre.

Each online community will include forums, reviews, extra content and author involvement, with social media built in. Hodder is also looking to create “real-world” partnerships in order to have a physical presence at events.

CrimeFest this weekend saw the launch of crime fan-site Crime Lines, with more activity planned to attract new followers at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in July.

HistoryLives will launch over the summer with a mix of fiction and non-fiction history titles. Killingley said the focus would be on historical fiction, but said the mix “allows us to present some really great content as authors of both fiction and non-fiction alike can share interesting facts about their research, what drew them to a period, who the real people behind the stories are, and so on.”

Currently at the planning stage is a community around creative writing, based around Hodder Consumer Learning content. Killingley said: “I think that people who are writing love talking to others about writing; we have a lot of content already, and it seems like there are some really nice things we could do.”

Hodderscape, which focuses on sci-fi and fantasy, was the first site to launch; it has gathered 1,000 followers since the beginning of the year. The community will be relaunched on 10th June with a new logo and blog featuring book news, information on authors and a review section.

Killingley said: “Every survey that we ever see about how people find out what to read says it is through recommendations, so it’s about becoming that trusted place.”
Also already running is the women’s fiction community project Wish List, with plans to extend its reach through partnerships and appearances—a presence is planned for the National Wedding Show in the autumn.

You Are, a community around personal development, has launched with a Q&A with Ruby Wax, author of Sane New World (Hodder, 6th June), set up through its Facebook page.

Killingley said the sites reflected a need for interest to be maintained in authors year-round, rather than only around publication dates.