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Behind the Author Awareness Challenge

Updated on August 13, 2015

In late April of this year a challenge started circling around social media. It was called the Author Awareness Challenge, shortened to the AAChallenge and was shared on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Inspired by the ice bucket challenge, American author Laney Smith created the challenge to give authors a different way to promote their work.

A screenshot from Laney Smith's first video, used with Laney's permission.
A screenshot from Laney Smith's first video, used with Laney's permission. | Source

"I came up with the idea after reading various comments on blogs," Laney Smith said when asked how she got the idea.

"Readers hate being asked to write reviews. The only thing they hate worse is seeing a flooded market, shoving another "read my book" link down their throats. Some of the readers felt it was very self serving and impersonal for authors to drop links and the reader never gets to "know" the author. Authors are a faceless existence. They talked about enjoying readings authors do. So, I thought that maybe if I merged all of those things into one, I could offer readers a new, fun way to learn about the books that are out there. The challenge came with finding a way to encourage other authors to offer potential readers the same thing. So, since the ice bucket challenge seemed to be fun (granted, watching people react to ice water dumped on their heads is fun), I thought it would be cool to challenge other authors to read from their work to share with readers," said Smith.

"It was my hopes that the Author Awareness Challenge would give authors a face, as well as a sneak peek into the author's personality. I want people to see me as a simple, goofy, fun loving person, rather than another boring book link. After you've stared at 15,000 book links, they all look the same. That does seem impersonal to me.So, I can see the reader's points. I want to give them something new, and fun! I want fellow authors to have the opportunity to do the same."

The Rules of the AA Challenge

When challenged, an author has to read one page from any of their published works. Which book they read from and which page they choose to read aloud is up to the author, depending on which part they find will help them attract more readers. The most important part is that whatever the author reads must be published.

After reading their page the author is allowed to nominate three to five other people to do the same thing. All of this must be recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube. When sharing the video it is important to use the hashtag #AAChallenge so that the video is easier to find.

An author who has already done the challenge can still be challenged again as there is no limit to how many times an author can participate. The more you participate in this challenge the more exposure you'll get.

The Video that Started it All

Though the challenge didn't get as big as the ice bucket challenge it did get its fair share of participants, attracting not only American authors but also authors from other parts of the world. Authors from all over uploaded videos of themselves reading from their books and introducing themselves to their readers, attracting the attention of well-known and professional authors as well.

The challenge was well received and Laney Smith was praised for the initiative.

About Laney Smith

Laney Smith (1974- ) was born in Little Rock, AR and raised in Texarkana, TX until her early teen years when she moved to Aurora, CO. As an adult, she has lived in Walls, MS and currently resides in southern California. She is the oldest of 3 kids and is the mother of two sons. She also has 5 nieces and 1 nephew. She has always had a passion for writing and first contributed poetry to an anthology in 1993-1994. She, later, wrote multiple articles for a local newspaper known as the City News Group. Her current passion is writing fiction - romantic mystery - specifically and is currently working on completing the Time Capsule Series. There is another work in progress for a stand-alone book (untitled at the time of this update). In addition, she has also contributed two pieces to "Tenants of Building 38," an anthology to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, and contributed one piece to "The Roses," an anthology raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

This video includes one of the responses to Laney Smith's challenge, from author C. Michael Powers.

Do you think the AAChallenge was a good initiative?

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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      This is definitely an interesting way to get your name and works our there in a way that may be more fun and less intrusive.


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