Winter Is Coming raises its banners!

You all have no doubt heard of me talking about a way for us fans to increase the possibility of this series getting picked up. A few ideas have been tossed around, such as mail-in or call-in campaigns to HBO. Personally I feel it is too early for these ideas, let us at least wait until the pilot is produced before initiating these ambitious projects. What we can do now is less daunting but it uses the most powerful tool at our disposal: the Internet.

You see, HBO is all about buzz. More buzz and interest and anticipation around their projects translates into more subscribers. So what is the best way of getting Thrones on air? Build buzz! With electronic media becoming more prevalent these days it is easier then ever to build buzz for something.

The Facebook group is a good start. With close to 1,000 members now, it is growing fast. We need to keep spreading the word. You have a Twitter account? Twitter about Thrones. Blog? Blog about Thrones. Post about Thrones in any forums you frequent. Submit all the big news to Digg or Reddit or Delicious. Leave comments on any articles about Thrones on Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Ain’t It Cool News, IGN, TV Squad, etc. The Dinklage casting announcement article was one of the most commented articles on THR and was one of their Most Viewed stories for almost a week. That is a great start. Let’s comment up the next casting announcement we get and keep it in the Most Viewed for two weeks!

HBO is going to be watching this project closely, evaluating it not only from a production stand-point, but also evaluating how it will be received by the general TV-watching public. A surprising amount of people, even ASOIAF fans, aren’t even aware of this project and the more we can educate, the more the buzz will spread. And HBO will take notice.

So I’m raising the banners. Let’s work together to spread the word about this initiative. The more people we have building buzz, the more buzz we can build. Link them to this website and this post. Get them excited about the series and enlist them in the cause to get Thrones on air!

UPDATE: Looks like someone added this post to Digg. Let’s Digg it up to help get the word out about this project!


  • Lately it feels as if I have been doing nothing but 1) stressing over school and 2) trying to spread the buzz about my hero worships.

  • Cool :) I’ve got one concrete proposal for Facebook awareness raising. Admins of FB Groups and Fan Pages have the options to send a message to all members. Now, some of these related to ASOIAF are really big as far as membership is concerned (as mentioned in the comment to the previos post) and Winter has good relations developed with a couple, too. I propose we draw up a nice informative news-like message and kindly ask the admins to forward it to their users. This way we can reach a good number of people.

  • Ashli: I like that idea. I am not very familiar with Twitter, so how would we go about doing that?

    Marko: Yes, this is something I had in mind as well. The general ASOIAF fan group on FB has over 8,000 members. I will ask one of the admins of that group to send a message out to everyone about this.

  • I think the really big opportunity to expand and generate buzz is going to be when Dance comes out. Putting up displays in the various bookstores that connect ASOIAF with HBO would be a big deal. They have been doing this with Charlaine Harris.

    HBO, D&D and Martin should also have some sort of presence at the ComicCon in San Diego this year. That would be a sure fire way to get the bases attention. I think even just a unmanned booth with maybe some production artwork, and HBO logo and some flyers would be a tremendous help. But I think someone ought to be there selling the books. And they definatly need to have a presence next year, if this goes to series.

    As far as what we can do? I know I have spread the good word quite a bit.

    But like with Charlaine Harris' books, I think the big growth would come when people see it on the screen.

  • Regarding Comicon, I know that last year there was a TON of flyers, banners, signs, comics, and all around propaganda that HBO put out for True Blood. The series started up in the fall, so that was a few months before the show aired. I don’t recall if there was a booth there or not for HBO. I can almost garuntee that its too soon for HBO to be putting out material for this project.
    Something that could easily be looked into is the “Freebie tables”. First thing people do when they roll in the doors at comicon, is grab a bag and hit up these long tables of flyers, post cards, etc depicting different projects, comics, websites, you name it as an effort to get people to check out something new. Could be an easy way to get people to check out this site, or other sites devoted to the project.

    We need to take this to the streets… Obama style! In this digital age, anything can be a medium for getting the word out.

    Excellent topic, Winter!

  • Like anon said, the next book is the necessary kick-restart. I agree with Michael that it’s too soon to market a series that hasn’t been green lighted yet. Unfortunately that’s also the reason I won’t be preaching on the street when it’s too soon for even myself to get too excited. Who knows, if HBO doesn’t sign, maybe they are right. They already know the books are good, it’s not like the books, story, even our happiness depend on a sub-par HBO show. ‘Course, if HBO decides to sign based purely on the quality and not overstated fan buzz, I’ll probably get HBO.

    You can’t get much better buzz than a Grade A actor getting on board (for Tyrion). Personally, I hope the remaining 50% of the green light decision will depend on how the script transfers on film in the pilot production. The other 50% has probably already been decided: split between how HBO believes target audiences (including new subscribers) will respond to a well-made medieval soap opera based on a best-selling story with plenty of cliffhangers.

    But, there’s not much to buzz about at the moment, once you get past the geek-love and Dinklage. At this point it’s like putting all your money on a pre-production project in the Hollywood Stock Market: lots of waiting, no action.

    PS I’m very negative about internet fan support’s effectiveness for a few reasons, one of them is it has never saved a show in danger of being canceled. (Veronica Mars) ::shakes fists to the sky::

    But having said that, wow that sounds great! Good luck!

  • I wouldn’t dismiss fan support. Wallet vote does work if you make a lot of noise as well. It’s been said that Dollhouse wasn’t renewed on the basis of fan buzz so much as fan buying-lots-of-DVDs, for example.

  • bardamu: To be fair, network shows really operate on a different level than HBO. Not to mention you are comparing a show that was canceled due to low ratings versus a show that hasn’t even been picked up yet. These two things are totally different.

    It doesn’t matter how much internet buzz you stir up if the ratings just aren’t there. For a project still in the pilot phase though, buzz can make the difference between it being picked up or not. If the network senses that there is a large fan base anticipating the project, that may be enough to sway them towards a series pick up.

    Also, as I mentioned, HBO works differently since they are have a subscriber based model. Certainly they will evaluate the pilot based on its merits and will probably also have focus groups and other testing to determine if the series will be viable commercially. However, I believe that fan support and overall buzz will be factored into the decision. So getting the hype train rolling early can only help.

    Like I said, it isn’t the most drastic measure us fans can take, but I think for right now, it is the best option.

  • I think the idea of building up some pre-transmission buzz is great, but we are the better part of two years from transmission at the moment, so going overboard and peaking early is not the best of ideas. My suggestion would be to try and hit a peak of activity to HBO around Christmas to January 2010, which is when they will be viewing the pilot and making a decision whether to go to series. If they like what they see of the pilot and if they are getting lots of letters, emails and forum posts about the show around the same time, that will be very encouraging to them. We can then target other outlets and get would-be viewers interested in the months leading up to transmission (but again you don’t want to start going on about it months and months ahead of time and overhyping it).

    One very simple thing to do would be for people to register on the official HBO forum and join in the couple of GoT discussions going on there. I bet you any money that if HBO do take notice of any online discussions and activities, they’ll start looking at home :-)

  • Adam: I agree that we don’t want to flame out on hyping the project. Mainly I wanted to get this out there now because within the next couple months there should be quite a few articles on Thrones, mainly relating to casting, and if we can raise awareness for this project by being proactive in spreading this news (Blogging it, Tweeting it, Digging it, etc.) then when late 09/early 10 rolls around we should have a nice large fan base filled with excitement for the project and anticipating a series order.

    That was my thinking anyway.

  • I guess I confused my point with the whole Veronica Mars paragraph. But anyway, Adam’s post is probably more to the point. To anon, Veronica Mars rocked! In contrast, I didn’t really care for Firefly, or understand any of it. It made me pity Joss Whedon, and I hate that. Joss made a cameo on Veronica Mars, as did Kevin Smith, and other cool kids.

  • bardamu, clearly you are living on a different planet than me. Or maybe when you say it rocked you actually mean… “i don’t care how bad the show is but that leading chick is sooo fine i’ll watch it anyway!!” and droolling all that time. Yeaaah … but really grow some taste buds buddy. :)

  • Dude, what’s with the offtopic personal bashing? I’m a Firefly fan myself, but seriously, keep it courteous.

  • I drooled a little sure, even though that girl has the tiniest eyes imaginable. But yeah I’m guessing different planets too.

  • Aoede-dude, I’m high as a kite. What your excuse for being such a pussy? :)

  • Anyone should know that Veronica Mars was fantastic- the two first seasons anyway. Smartly written, good acting and plots for the episode, the season and the series that held such quality it absolutley stunned me. The third season missed both the season and the series plot- therefore it deserved to be destroyed, but still its greatly underestimated.

    bardamu, you should seriously watch Firefly again. Maybe you saw it on tv ( fox fucked it over so bad, airng the third epi first and so on…). Firefly watched in the right order makes for one of the best series ever made.

    As for thrones, it might simply come down to how much HBO wants this. They have both kept series that should have been killed (based on ratings) alive and killed many series that though bad ratings, had so much quality its insane to let it die.

  • Though I haven’t made any blog nor am I twittering, I have been spreading the word to almost all of my friends who love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, etc … now I have a lot of friends and relatives who don’t like to read but really like the genre so I’ve been informing them about ASOIAF, how its a great series, how HBO is creating the show, I’ve explained the concept without giving them too much info and alot of them have showed general interest in it ( some have been coming on here and other websites to get more info ) so I’m glad to say that I’m doing my part, though not electronically but word of mouth is good!!!!!!

  • There’s a group now on facebook. As for Myspace I think if someone is down for the work it’s a great idea. Someone can create banners and such for fans to put on their pages. Hell even banners for here to put on any page would be fantastic. Sorry I’m just not computer savy otherwise I’d do it. Getting on HBO’s forums would work well I believe. I’ve been passing the word by mouth as well. Plus myspace has a fan group for GRRM as it is…getting them hyped up would be the way to go as well.

    As for Firefly…best show ever. Very true that you have to watch it in order and I feel that yes the ratings were not there but the fan base continues to grow. That’s the problem…the fan base wasn’t big enough while it was being aired unfortunately.

  • I guess Firefly wasn’t based on a best-selling novel, and was too different from Beefy the Valley Girl.

  • As far as Twitter goes, all you have to do would be to put #AGOT in a Tweet about the series. Can be at the beginning, middle or end. If enough people use the hashtag, it has the potential to pop up on the “Trending Topics” sidebar.

    Here’s an example of a random hashtag that I grabbed off the Trending Topics bar:

  • interesting coincidence that a day or two ago grrm posted that someone was impersonating him on Twitter. Does anyone know details about that?

  • I try to spread the word about this upcoming project as best I can. I e-mail my friends, I post on IMDB as often as I can, and though not directly related to ASOIF, I try to mention and include in my postings the HBO project as best I can.

    Every time I go to check any news abourt "A Dance With Dragons" in any bookstore in my city, I always talk to other people about this, especially the employees at the bookstores. Some are aware of the potential HBO/BBC production, but some are not. A couple of weeks ago I talked for about 10-20 minutes with one guy at a bookstore. Even though he worked there and loved the books, he had no idea about the pilot, the casting etc. He seemed quite pleased at the news. So that there is my small contribution.

    I hope it helps! Word-of-mouth is still quite potent, even though the internet is a lot more practical, faster and more organized.

    Oh and by the way the date of September 29, 2009 as date of publication for the latest ASOIF installment is gone, from the bookstores in my city. The date showing is now December 13, 2035, meaning, as one manager explained, that they got burned several times by different authors and publishers who promised such and such delivery date for a particular book, the stores started advertising and placing orders, only for the date to come and pass without the book materializing.

    I must also tell you that a lot of the people I talked to, where understandably frustrated and not very pleased (to say the least, few had even very choice words) with George RR Martin. I had to defend him and his work on several ocassions, trying to explain to them that he is not a machine and you can't force or rush someone, especially a writer who needs his/her creative freedom and space. I do however understand their POV, since they not only have to promote books but also sell them, it is a business after all too…

    I hust hope good'ol George is doing well and makes some headway…especially with this profject looming large!

  • I was wondering, as far as fan-made advertisements (internet banners and so forth) go, would we be allowed to put HBO on it? Like "coming soon to HBO" for example. Or is there some legal issue that forbids that?