Campaign Spotlight: Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons
By Danielle Hernandez, Leah Murphy, Georgia Rees, Amy Greensmith and Emily Lavin
In the most anticipated historical retelling of 2023, Natasha Solomons, acclaimed author of I, Mona Lisa, takes readers on a thrilling journey to Verona to reimagine Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Before the famous story of star-crossed lovers began, Romeo fell for Rosaline. As their story unfolds Rosaline discovers the unsettling truth about Romeo's history with younger girls, leading her on a critical mission to save her cousin Juliet from a tragic fate. Fair Rosaline is a talented retelling of a timeless tale. Solomons' bold and chillingly relevant revision challenges the very essence of love and power, weaving a feminist narrative into the renowned classic to expose a dark undertone never revealed before.
In this issue, we explore how the Manilla Press marketing team under Bonnier Books UK built excitement for this subversive novel, which was published on 3 August 2023 and has already gained enthusiastic reviews.
The team made great use of social media to promote the release of Fair Rosaline, with the publisher’s regular Instagram posts including the book’s intriguing tagline, “Was the greatest love story of all time a lie?” a quote which also features on the stunning proof cover. Advanced review copies are a great way to generate early excitement through reader reviews, and so both physical and digital proofs were sent out, with reviewers on Instagram posting pictures of the book surrounded by roses. The proof’s pale pink cover perfectly contrasts the trademark red roses, and the tagline’s text has been given a gloss laminate finish – making these proofs a must-have!
Getting closer to the release date, the Manilla Press team posted an Instagram reel featuring author reviews from Jennifer Saint and Elodie Harper; reviews by authors within the same genre of an upcoming release will encourage fans of these authors to check out Solomons’ latest, especially with the use of quotes like “irresistible” and “spellbinding” to drive excitement for the book.
An author’s social media presence leading up to a book’s release can also result in effective marketing and Solomons has been instrumental in promoting Fair Rosaline, with her posts taking her followers along for the journey up to publication, from the announcement of the collaboration with Manilla Press, to receiving a parcel from the publisher including bookplates for her to sign and advertising the book’s launch event.
Promotional events for Fair Rosaline kicked off months before the novel’s release.
At the prestigious Stratford Literary Festival, Natasha Solomons shared the spotlight with Isabelle Schuler, another stalworth author in the historical fiction genre. This event was a fantastic way to secure early exposure and give readers a sneak peek of Fair Rosaline’s themes. In July, the marketing team behind Fair Rosaline organised the “Fair Fourteen Influencer Tea” event. Complete with a beautiful wall of roses that made the perfect backdrop for Insta posts, this event seamlessly combined experiential marketing with influencer promotion.
To keep up the momentum that was built prior to Fair Rosaline’s release, the team at Manilla Press have organised an array of exciting events post-publication day. The jam-packed book tour includes stops at Max Minerva's Books in Portishead and the Accidental Book Festival. These events offer readers the chance to have their books signed and burning questions answered by the author. Perhaps the highlight of this book tour takes place in Edinburgh at an event hosted by Topping & Company Booksellers. Solomons will join forces with Jennifer Saint. Respectively, both authors breathe new life into old stories, meaning this event is sure to provide a fascinating insight into the process of writing feminist retellings.
With social media and digital marketing contributing to a large portion of the marketing behind new book releases, in-person marketing, a strategy where the marketer promotes directly to the customer, can create some fun and unique campaigns. In person marketing is a useful way to create connection with the author, who will typically attend these stunts and keep the book at the forefront of a consumer's mind the next time they enter a bookshop.
The Manilla Press marketing team teamed up with creative billboard masterminds, Build Hollywood, to install a gigantic rose emblazoned billboard at Borough Market. The pastel pink board, features an advertisement for Fair Rosaline and the tagline that has been repeated all over social media. To mark publication of Fair Rosaline, author Natasha Solomons, joined the marketing team to hand out roses and a promotional flyer to share Rosaline’s story with passersby.
Fair Rosaline has been feeling the love from bookshops as well. To celebrate publication on 3 August, Booka Bookshop in Shropshire installed a dedicated window and selected the novel as their “Fiction Book of the Month.” The Rabbit Hole in North Lincolnshire also had a dedicated window display complete with tissue paper roses and signed indie editions of the book to promote their visit from Natasha Solomons herself on 7 August.