By Amy Greensmith, Danielle Hernandez, Emily Lavin and Georgia Rees
Every year, as we approach the summer cycle, publishing houses prepare their new releases for publication with captivating campaigns to launch them into the right markets. This issue we will be highlighting a few new releases and their corresponding marketing campaigns for you to compare how different marketing teams have chosen to shine the spotlight on their books during this congested season.
Penguin have constructed an interesting campaign for Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Small World. Following the standout debut novel that led the author straight to critical acclaim and bestseller status, this new campaign presents an exciting challenge for the team as they continue to grow a budding author brand. Meanwhile, Faber is stirring up fresh anticipation for an old classic with their reissue of Termush by Sven Holm, published on 4 May 2023. Originally published in 1967, this dystopian novel explores themes of morality and capitalism that remain relevant today and are the foundation of the marketing campaign targeting a modern generation.
This article will further investigate each of these unique campaigns as they strive to be contenders for the hottest new release.
Termush by Sven Holm
As part of the Faber Editions series, dedicated to the rediscovery of novels from the past that speak urgently to contemporary issues, Sven Holm’s Termush was rereleased on 4 May 2023. Originally published in 1967, Holm’s novel is a disturbing examination of societal collapse and wealth disparity further exacerbated in the wake of catastrophe. Re-published in light of the recent pandemic and impending climate crisis, Termush feels especially timely. The novel lays bare the disturbing moral code of an elite class seeking refuge from an apocalyptic nuclear attack in a luxury hotel. Initially, the privileged are shielded from the disastrous impacts of nuclear war faced by the working class. Before long, the hotel begins to inflict tyranny on its elite residents.
The Faber Editions marketing team were faced with the challenging task of piquing contemporary readers' interest in this Cold War era novel. In an effort to achieve this goal, Faber crafted an impressive social media marketing stunt. Across all social media platforms, Faber announced the grand opening of ‘Hotel Termush’ and directed readers to a landing page for a faux luxury hotel. Visitors are welcomed to Hotel Termush, an idyllic resort that will fulfil their every need. The website provides ominous hints to the dark reality lurking behind the luxurious exterior. warning that while “Hotel Termush will do everything possible to ensure the safety of our guests, we cannot guarantee survival.” Faber’s clever marketing tactic has proven to be a hit, with many users commenting that the ploy forced them to do a double take and investigate further. Undoubtedly, this unique campaign draws attention, gets people talking and probes readers to return to a classic novel to uncover the truth behind Hotel Termush.
Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Caleb Azumah Nelson’s highly anticipated second novel, Small Worlds, has been on our radars since it was announced, especially after the huge success of his debut novel, Open Water, certifying Nelson as a number one bestselling and award-winning author. The team at Viking (an imprint of Penguin Random House) had the fun and intriguing task of ensuring the author’s next novel would be as far-reaching as his first.
Teaming up with the people at Dark Matter Marketing, Penguin Random House have curated a jam-packed book tour spanning the majority of May. Beginning in Kent, Nelson is taking his book around Britain, holding events in both Waterstones shops (including Waterstones Piccadilly) and a variety of book festivals.
On 4 May 2023, Nelson hosted a bustling launch event at Brixton Village ahead of the book’s release on 11 May 2023. The event included multiple photo opportunities with the roaming polaroid cameras, a book signing, a live reading from the author himself and Nigerian food courtesy of Chuku’s.
Perhaps the most interesting marketing idea was a trailer to introduce the book. Whilst book trailers are an impactful strategy to use, it is not a common marketing technique. The decision to include this in the campaign may have been influenced by Brock Media (UK-based production company) acquiring the screen rights for Small Worlds earlier this year.