Books Marketing Society: Q4 Awards Roundup
By Caitlin Davies, Danielle Hernandez and Georgia Rees
This week we’re rounding up a few of our favourite campaigns from the quarterly Book Marketing Society Awards. The Q4 October-December awards were held on 26 January, with guest speakers including Emma Bradshaw from BA and Jaclyn Swope from Nielsen. There were some excellent campaigns nominated, but we’ve selected just a few to highlight in this issue.
The Satsuma Complex by Bob Mortimer
Our bookshops were bursting with the colour orange during October. Autumn had truly arrived, along with Bob Mortimer’s debut novel The Satsuma Complex. With his memoir And Away… selling over half a million copies, highly popular both in print and audiobook formats, Mortimer’s next book was much anticipated.
The judging panel praised marketers Amy Fulwood and Rich Vlietstra for their “joyful, determined campaign which captured the spirit of its author and their fanbase, centred and celebrated independent booksellers, and segmented the novel’s readership by considering each target audience’s relationship with retail” (BMS). The retailer-focused campaign clearly struck a chord with the judges, as the team worked hard to devise eye-catching window displays and point of sale accessories that would engage with shoppers. Along with a cohesive social media campaign and a successful sell-out book tour, Fulwood and Vlietstra’s campaign both highlighted and celebrated the quirkiness and originality of The Satsuma Complex, propelling it to success.
Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
Tom Felton’s memoir, Beyond the Wand was the recipient of one of the four spotlight awards, recognised for Audience Development. His memoir focused upon his experiences and memories of being a child actor in the Harry Potter series, where he played school bully Draco Malfoy. As a fan favourite in the franchise, there was much excitement surrounding Felton’s debut, whilst also recognising the controversy of JK Rowling’s transphobia and extreme views on gender.
Led by Ebury’s Shelise Robertson and Patsy O'Neill, Felton was also actively involved with the campaign, regularly sharing updates with his large following. The campaign included a mixture of elements, including spray painted street art and a trail set in London, reminiscent of the Marauder’s Map. Landmarks included The Palace Theatre, home of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The judges “loved the responsive nature of this campaign – they [Robertson and O’Neill] created new social content when they realised the title might be confusing for a stretch audience. Evidently creating magic can be a lot of hard work’” (BMS).
The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho by Paterson Joseph
The Spotlight Award for Innovation went to the team behind Paterson Joseph’s The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho. Judges billed the campaign as “bursting with creative activity, beautiful visuals and standout shareable moments.” Set in 1746 Georgian London, the book is based on the true story of British writer and abolitionist, Charles Ignatius Sancho. The campaigns team at Dialogue Books, headed up by Emily Moran, have done a fantastic job in bringing Sancho’s story to life through a truly imaginative campaign. Release day on 6 October was celebrated with an immersive event at Waterstones Piccadilly. Hosted by Sancho himself (Joseph in costume), guests were invited to a bespoke Georgian salon complete with period costumes and a band, to watch a free performance, which was followed up by a Q&A session between Joseph and historical fiction author Louise Hare. Another really unique feature of this campaign was the partnership with VoiceMap to create a walking tour narrated by Sancho (again Joseph in character) to discover eighteenth century Georgian London. Accessed by scanning a QR code at the back of the book, Sancho’s tour takes a look at his favourite haunts, as well as sharing anecdotes from the book.
The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
Callie Robertson at Hodder & Stoughton has received one of the highly commended awards, recognised for their brilliant guerrilla marketing campaign for The Ballad of Never After. The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Once Upon A Broken Heart, this enchanting fantasy fairy-tale already had a huge readership to consider when making a strategic plan for the new release. To launch the first print run of the hardback, the publishers created special editions with four individually stunning foil designs adorning the hardcover case beneath the dust jackets. Waterstones, Forbidden Planet and some selected retailers had signed editions available as well, while Goldsboro, the independent bookshop in London, created special editions with colourful sprayed edges and FairyLoot sold their own gorgeous editions through their Fairy Shop. These stunning collectible hardbacks were only guaranteed when readers pre-ordered the book and this encouraged readers to drive sales to a truly impressive height – landing the sequel on the Sunday Times bestseller list early. Not only did these editions build organic anticipation for the publication amongst fans, but also provided fantastic content across retail and social media with the author’s posts about these beautiful editions receiving high levels of engagement across channels. The perfect build up for the virtual events and book tours that the author would later attend.