What it Feels Like to Have a Post Go Viral

About a week ago I gave BuzzFeed content from one of my assigned books to put in an article. I’ve given BuzzFeed content before and the articles get a couple hundred or a couple thousand views. It might not do a whole lot for book sales, but it looks good to get a spot on a national website that will continue to generate interest. The post went up on BuzzFeed on a Wednesday evening. By the middle of Thursday, I got an email from the writer saying that the post went viral. At that point, there were about 500,000 views on the post, and it was trending in that day’s top articles. I started to get requests from other websites wanting to feature the same content and interview the author of the book. Emails started pouring in asking for images and quotes to use. As I continued to check the original article, it just got more and more popular. The sales rankings on Amazon and B&N went up into the top 100 (from a lowly spot somewhere in the 100,000s). Amazon went out of stock very early, probably because they were not anticipating such widespread sales.

I went home from work on Thursday and people were seeing the article on Facebook and other social media sites. When I would tell my friends about it, they would say that they had seen the article circulating already. Another publicist saw it all over Facebook before I told her about the viral post. On Friday morning, I got an email from the author saying that she didn’t sleep because she was up all night writing answers to interview questions. In another office, publishers were panicking because they would have to reprint the book quickly as our stock was dwindling. I read through the thousands of comments on the article and found that readers thought the post was hilarious (it was a humor book) and they would want to give the book to their friends. The post was continuing to gain speed and went up to 1.7 million views by the time I left work on Friday.

It was an incredibly exhilarating experience to have a post (originating from me) go viral. I’ve only experience something like it one other time, when a celebrity author retweeted a tweet from the company. The tweet gained a lot of traction and the page was gaining followers by the second. But that was nothing compared to this. Requests from major sites were pouring in, all trying to jump on the trend and get their readers to interact with their websites. The visible spike in sales was also very encouraging and actually just pretty amazing. Many times, when there is an article, blog post, or social media post about one of our books, it’s hard to tell whether it made a difference in sales. With this, we can say that it definitely made a difference. All this being said, I will definitely start to think differently about the importance of BuzzFeed articles from now on.

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