Young Adult Fiction Author Turns to Giphy for His Book Launch

A new way forward to market literature?


Launching and promoting a book can be less Lord of the Rings and more Lord of the Flies. The landscape is competitive and cluttered, so authors are increasingly helping to market their own books and build a steady following. Taking a page from how brands successful use GIFs, Mayfly author Jeff Sweat sensed an opportunity to get on the front foot for the launch of his new young adult novel.

Unlike film or TV, there are no visual reference points to directly tell the story that’s set in a dystopian Los Angeles and follows characters in a society where no one lives past the age of 17 and children have had to become adults. Instead of trying to recreate scenes from the book, and to stand out in a crowded field, Sweat collaborated with Giphy to create a series of GIFs and stickers that are more evocative and designed to be sharable.

The novel’s moods and themes anchor the approach and were developed knowing what people search for and share on the Giphy platform. Reaction GIFs, with a unique haze, which illustrates the protagonist’s vision of the future, showcase emotional responses of actors reading the book.

Additionally, sticker packs that can be used on user-generated platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Slack include a series that feels like a post-apocalyptic QVC channel with nods to some of the most important items that drive the story.

“We’ve always wanted the challenge of promoting a work of fiction, but hadn’t found the right project,” said Samantha Scharff, former CEO of Giphy Studios and current creative advisor to the company. “Mayfly provided a great visual backdrop to work with and an opportunity to create original creative for the young adult reading community to use and share.”

The current collection includes 72 GIFs and, so far, netted close to 37 million views and could very well be a new approach for authors to make an impact to excite an audience.

“The best book marketing centers around word of mouth—if you can get people talking about your book, they start thinking about buying it,” said Sweat, owner of advertising industry PR firm Mister Sweat. “Giphy lets us explore a whole new way of talking about books.”


Client: Jeff Sweat Books
Agency: Giphy, Inc.
Advisor to Giphy and Former CEO of Giphy Studios: Samantha Scharff
Head of Studios: Sadie Novello
Creative Director: Henry Agyekum
Art Director: Parker Jackson, Natalie James, Josh Freydkis, Nicky Rojo
Executive Producer: Ben Loescher
Producer: Stephanie Weber
Head of Audience: Simon Gibson
Content Partnerships: Becky Dole
Photography: Chris Vavra
Editors: Leroy Patterson, Natalie James

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.