For most people, fall means apple picking, foliage, and pumpkin-spice everything. For the young adult literature community, it usually means something else: the YA Scavenger Hunt is starting.
Held in the spring and fall, the hunt (or YASH) is an online event that lasts only 72 hours. But in those three short days, readers have the chance to win dozens of books, special prizes and read exclusive content from their favorite authors. The best part? There are no publishing houses in sight. This is an event created by authors for readers and it’s designed to expose audiences to as many new YA novels as possible.
YASH is the brainchild of YA authors Colleen Houck and Beth Revis, who came up with the idea when they were both on separate book tours in 2011. Back then, Houck had suggested combining one of their events to draw a bigger crowd. “I thought it would be great to introduce my fans to Beth and her books and vice versa,” Houck recently told BookTrib.
But when she proposed the idea, it was rejected by the publisher sponsoring the event. “I understood the publisher’s reasoning. They’d paid for the promotion and their marketing team worked with the bookstore and planned the event. [But] how many of my fans would have been exposed to their books and how many of their fans could have met me if we’d combined them?” That’s when the idea for YASH was born, as a way to cross-promote authors regardless of their publishing house, and as a way for readers to discover new and upcoming books.
The way YASH works might sound a bit complicated, but the payoff is worth it. Participating authors are put on different teams (I’m on the Gold Team this year!), where they host another writer, including a bio, photo and exclusive content from their books. They then link to a third writer to continue the hunt. When YASH goes live, readers travel from blog to blog reading exclusive content and collecting secret numbers.
After they’ve hit every blog, they add up all the numbers, submit the final tally, and become eligible to win the authors’ books. Which means one lucky winner will walk away with 20-25 signed books. And did I mention that this year there are six different teams, with a total of 125 books to win? It’s the largest YASH ever, and—if it’s anything like the previous hunts—guaranteed to be a success.
While winning books is the ultimate prize, one of the cornerstones of YASH is the exclusive content that authors share on each other’s sites. “It could come in the form of a cover reveal, a deleted scene, a teaser from a new book, or an entirely new bonus piece set in the world of their books,” Houck says. YA readers are known for their passion and dedication, and the exclusive content is a way to reward their readership and to expose them to new books. According to Houck, “We did a poll in the spring asking fans what was the number one reason they joined the hunt and the answer was to find new books to read.”
Whether you’re looking to win books or trying to discover new authors, this is an event you won’t want to miss. This fall’s hunt starts on Thursday, October 2at noon PST, and ends Sunday, October 5 at noon PST. Check out their homepage for more info on how to participate both as an author and as a reader. And know that when you join the hunt, you’re not just winning books; you’re becoming part of the fabric of the online YA culture.
“I think the Hunt really showcases what it means to be part of the YA community,” Houck says. “It is a comfortable place where authors can get to know one another and interact with fellow authors who live on the other side of the world. It’s a way to connect, not only with readers but with each other.”