The Publishing Post
Campaign Spotlight: Atalanta by Jennifer Saint
By Amy Greensmith, Emily Lavin and Georgia Rees
Jennifer Saint, The Sunday Times bestselling author of Ariadne and Elektra, returns with her highly anticipated third novel, Atalanta. To some, it would appear that there are few women left from Greek mythology that have not found themselves at the centre of a re-imagining, but Saint – who is quickly securing herself as the queen of Greek mythology retellings – pulls the adventurous story of the only female Argonaut out of the margins and onto our bookshelves. While many know the story of Jason and his Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece, Jennifer Saint brings forth the overlooked narrative of the formidable Atalanta to the centre of this famous tale.
With the success and huge following of her previous novels, it is no surprise that the team at Headline have created a marketing campaign and a packed book tour. In this article, we look at how the campaign unfolded on social media and in bookshops across the country.
Following off the back of the huge success of Ariadne and Elektra, a new release from Jennifer Saint was always going to be highly anticipated and highly marketable. The surety of Atalanta’s success secured its spots on many hotly anticipated lists for April 2023, including those at Cosmopolitan, Red Magazine and the Waterstones blog.
These spaces have a dedicated readership and a mention on high-traffic sites will in almost all cases guarantee an increase in sales as well as raising the author profile. For example, in 2022, cosmopolitan.com had 18 million monthly users to their site, and 6 million followers across their social media platforms.
Saint’s social media presence during Atalanta’s promotional period is another example of really effective marketing. A cover reveal posted to Instagram reels on 13 July 2023 and endorsements from contemporaries such as Elodie Harper and Sue Lynn Tan, really whet appetites for what was to come. A smart decision was made to keep the original cover designer of Saint’s previous books. Micaela Alcaino’s foiled designs instantly mark a book as belonging to Saint and the consistency across all three covers – including the end papers and naked hardcover – appeal to the collectors among her readership. Saint really seems to understand her readers love for academia and mythology and in the lead-up to publication she posted a series of character introductions to her Instagram, explaining their context within Greek mythology as well as how she herself felt about writing them.
If anyone needed an incentive to pre-order Atalanta, bookshop.org held a competition offering readers the chance to win a goodie-box featuring enamel pins from The Literary Emporium, Grek tea, and an Atalanta tote bag and bookmark. Publishers Headline also offered a pre-order incentive, sending the first few pre-orders a box of Grek Tea’s peppermint infusion to enjoy with the book.
In addition to a well-crafted digital campaign, the marketing and publicity team for Atalanta have coordinated a jam-packed book tour that will see Jennifer Saint traverse the UK and engage with readers. On 13 April 2023, the launch of Atalanta was marked by an exciting event taking place in the Waterstones store in Leeds. Much like the marketing campaigns for many recent high-profile releases, the book tour for Atalanta will include a series of ‘In Conversation' events at Waterstones stores throughout the UK. During these events, Jennifer Saint will appear alongside esteemed authors such as Elodie Harper, Laura Shepperson and Claire North. While in conversation, the authors will provide attendees with fascinating insight into their feminist Greek retellings. By pairing Jennifer Saint with other authors who are influential within the mythological retelling sub-genre, the marketing team for Atalanta are astutely crafting a book tour that will pique the interest of their target audience.
Certain events in Atalanta’s book tour will be livestreamed or online only, ensuring that all readers can enjoy the evening’s conversation. While it has been wonderful to welcome the return of in-person events, it is nevertheless admirable to see that marketing teams still value the inclusivity and accessibility offered by online events. It is also notable that the marketing team has made an effort to hold events at independent bookshops, such as David’s Bookshop in Letchworth and Rare Birds Books in Edinburgh. A particularly interesting promotional event for Atalanta will take place at the British Museum where Jennifer Saint will be joined by Elodie Harper. Both authors will discuss their inspiration and process for retelling Greek myths from women’s perspectives. For Greek mythology devotees, this is sure to be an unmissable event. With such an extensive marketing campaign and glowing early reviews, we can certainly understand how Atalanta has become a hotly anticipated release.