By Caitlin Davies, Danielle Hernandez and Georgia Rees
A hotly anticipated release this summer is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest addition to her multiverse, Carrie Soto Is Back, charting the return of legendary retired tennis star Carrie Soto as she vies to reclaim her grand slam-winning record. As expected, this has been a large campaign and will almost certainly continue past publication on the 30 August. This issue, we dive into the exciting in-person and virtual events, as well as Carrie Soto’s impactful social media campaign.
For a long time, live book events, in-person book tours and spontaneous pop ups seemed like a distant memory. But as we slowly crawl out of this COVID-19 pandemic and put lockdowns and social distancing in the rear-view mirror, one of the greatest gains for book lovers and the publishing industry alike has been the return of book events. This summer marks the first in two years without restrictions and publishing houses have been making the most of it to creatively market their summer releases face to face. And the marketing campaign Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is no exception.
The marketing team behind the release have packed the summer full of in person, hybrid and virtual events with the bestselling author to promote her latest title. Balancing the virtual with the physical, the Carrie Soto is Back tour kicks off with a big virtual launch event on 29 August followed by a sold out tour across the US with appearances in nine bookstores in nine states, before coming over to Europe in person later in the year to get back in touch with her British readers and continue the joyous celebration of Carrie Soto.
But luckily readers won’t have to wait that long to get involved in the Carrie Soto buzz. After remotely calling in to the Waterstones in Piccadilly to chat with fans during BookTok Festival, Londoners at Wimbledon station, Coal Drops Yard, or Canary Wharf were further surprised when they came across a surprise pop up in their local area organised by the marketing team at from UK publisher Hutchinson Heinemann. The pop up involved people dressed in tennis whites handing out samplers of Carrie Soto and bottles of lemonade.
Meanwhile, US and Canadian readers have had the chance to receive an audio clip of a special bonus scene when they pre-order their copy of Carrie Soto. This extra scene covers Carrie Soto’s 1976 career defining match against rival Paulina Stepanova and is performed by sports casters and former tennis pros Mary Carillo and Patrick McEnroe.
The work of Taylor Jenkins Reid is also a prime example of how using social media can gather the attention of readers. Her novels are BookTok sensations, causing a resurgence in popularity and sharp rise in backlist sales. She found her audience, and they’re not going anywhere. They are an integral element of Carrie Soto’s marketing campaign.
Less than a year after the success of Malibu Rising, Reid’s next novel, Carrie Soto is Back was announced across social media on the 17 February. Teasing the tennis setting in the launch video, the synopsis was shared on the Hutch Heinemann Instagram account. On the 13 April, the publication month was confirmed with a colourful cover reveal. Coherent with Reid’s previous book covers and recent backlist revamps, Carrie Soto’s ombre-rainbow cover with retro font is unmistakably Reid. Reid’s Twitter and Instagram accounts have been active in promoting the novel’s publication, events and tour dates. She also shared exclusive author notes on Goodreads for her bestseller The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, perhaps coinciding with the drop of the Blonde trailer, Netflix’s upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic, but certainly appealing to readers by sharing her personal insights. Carrie Soto features on several recommended lists, including Waterstones’ ‘The Best Books to Look Out for in August’.
Proof copies are a great way of generating interest around a new title and ensuring that the latest publications are on our radar. For Carrie Soto, this was no exception, as bloggers received proof copies a month prior to publication. Book blogger Marcela (@marcereads) was selected to receive a proof. She told us that, “I was so happy and felt so honoured to be able to read Carrie Soto before it was out! I usually love getting proof copies but even more so if they’re from one of my favourite authors.” Having read Daisy Jones and the Six along with Malibu Rising after establishing her successful account, she shows how finding the right reader is important when promoting a new title.
A big thank you to Marcela of @marcereads for sharing her excitement with us. Carrie Soto Is Back will be on sale on 30 August. With her ever-expanding multiverse of incredible characters, we can’t wait to see what Taylor Jenkins Reid and her marketing team think of next.