At this very moment precisely, according to my personal Eclipse web counter, one hour, ten minutes, and thirteen seconds remain until publication … and I have just learned that the book will not appear in the UK until 4 October. OMG!!!!! Confused? If so, you are clearly not one of the hordes of teenage girls

(and a significant number of their mothers) participating in the hysteria surrounding the publication on 7 August 2007 of the third book in Stephenie Meyer’s hugely successful vampire romance saga, the ‘Twilight’ series. As I write this, only two books have been published, Twilight (2005) and New Moon (2006). Combined, they have sold well over a million copies and have both been on the New York Times bestseller list for young adult fiction for over thirty weeks. With an initial print run of one million copies in the USA, the publishers are clearly expecting, and ensuring through their marketing strategies, even more of a demand for Eclipse. An Eclipse quotation of the day is displayed on Meyer’s official website, and the first chapter of the novel is available for reading on Meyer’s official website, working fans into a frenzy of anticipation. Discussion forums on the numerous ‘Twilight’ websites are full of anxious speculation about the future of Bella Swan, the vampire she loves, Edward Cullen, and her best friend, Jacob Black, a werewolf and consequently ancient enemy of the ‘cold ones’. Two other books are well underway: Breaking Dawn, to be published in the autumn of 2008, and Midnight Sun, the story of Twilight from Edward’s perspective. As J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series comes to its end, Meyer’s ‘Twilight’

books seem set to slide into place as the most popular fiction among adolescents. Unlike Rowling, however, Meyer appeals specifically to a female fan base, young girls from about age thirteen up, and she is promoted as a kind of combination of Anne Rice and prom queen (Twilight concludes with Edward taking Bella to the prom). The personal web counter available for download, counting off the moments until the publication of

Eclipse, is just one of the many strokes of genius in the marketing of Meyer’s series, marketing directed very specifically at this young female audience. To celebrate a special edition of her second book, New Moon, and promote the coming Eclipse, for example, Meyer held a ‘prom’ in Arizona in July 2007, attended by hundreds of teenage girls, all dressed in prom outfits, and Meyer herself, looking notably vampiric in the photographs, in a huge red dress (Irwin 2007).1 With the publication of Eclipse imminent, various websites, including those of a number of bookshops and Amazon.com, carry video interviews with Meyer, some with just Meyer speaking, others with her responding to questions from groups of fans. While young girls often identify with Bella, it is Edward that is of pri-

mary interest. ‘I love Edward Cullen’ T-shirts, thongs and barbeque aprons are available for sale through various websites. A selection of comments from one of many discussion forums suggests that what Bella desires is precisely what they desire:

‘omg omg omg i looooooooooooove edward’; ‘so sad how guys arent realy like that … i love edward!!!!!!! i cant wait for eclipse or midnight sun’; ‘Edward Cullen aww if only all guys were like that..’; omg startrekkin said it was her favorite book and an obbsessiopn MINEE TOO omg I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE … now i m obsses with having the perfect fairytale … just like the book’; ‘OMG i absloutly LOVE edward cullen! Im OBBSESSED w/that book & new moon!’ ‘holy crap lve that book i wanna marry edward!!! lol he is my love..’2