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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Campaign Spotlight: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

By Amy Greensmith, Danielle Hernandez, Emily Lavin, Georgia Rees and Leah Murphy


This year marks the tenth anniversary of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and readers are being spoilt with a reimagined edition of the first instalment in the series. This special edition, published by Bloomsbury on 22 August 2023, features rewritten sections, bonus content and even an extra essay from Shannon in the Waterstones exclusive edition. The Bone Season has faced major success, with the television rights for an eight-episode series having been acquired by Lunar Park.


Set in the year 2059, the novel follows Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant in Scion, a republic determined to oppress unnaturalness. When she is arrested for murder, Paige must use every skill she possesses in order to escape and finds herself trusting those who ought to be enemies.


In this issue, we explore how the Bloomsbury marketing team has built up excitement for the beautiful new edition of The Bone Season, which is sure to be a must-have for fans both old and new.


Social Media


On 11 November 2022, Samantha Shannon announced on her Instagram (the only social media platform she is active on) that she would be releasing a tenth anniversary edition of her debut novel. The author expressed a long desire to revisit and edit the novel, to create a “stronger and leaner version” of the first book in The Bone Season series. For the remainder of November, Shannon teased new dialogue in several Instagram posts, as well as regularly updating her fans on the progress of the new edits. Whilst there has not been an orchestrated social media campaign for this book – possibly because Samantha Shannon already has a large fan base – the personal and creative insights from the author is an effective marketing strategy to make devoted fans feel like they are a part of the process.


In addition to updating fans on new edits, Shannon revisited locations that inspired some of the settings in the book. Starting with Magdalen College in Oxford, the author shared how the building helped to shape the main setting in the book. She also shared a glimpse into the living quarters of the characters Warden, inspired by the rooms in the Founders Tower.


On top of insights to the new edition, Samanth Shannon shared behind the scenes of signed hardbacks and the new cover design.


Events


With a week to go until publication, Samantha joined a host of other authors at Waterstones Piccadilly’s second ever Book Fest on 16 August . For book lovers around London this was an all-day event, with publisher stalls opening at 11:00 a.m. for exclusive merch giveaways, crafting activities, workshops and unique photobooth opportunities. Those who stuck around had the chance to meet their favourite authors who joined their publishers on the shop floor at 2:00 p.m. Samantha Shannon was in good company alongside authors such as Saara El-Arifi, Juno Dawson, Bex Hogan, Sarah Underwood and Lex Croucher among many others.


The tenth anniversary tour kicked off the day before publication on 21 August at Waterstones Oxford, where Shannon was joined in conversation by Kate Dylan, author of new sci-fi release Mindwalker. Shannon then went on to events in Waterstones Piccadilly, Waterstones York, Waterstones Manchester and Waterstones Cardiff, where she was joined in conversation by Cari Thomas, author of Threadneedle, as well as Topping & Company in Bath. The week concluded on Sunday 27 August with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where Shannon was joined in conversation by bestselling fantasy author V.E. Schwab.


Shannon also appeared on two fantasy panels. Hosted by Waterstones Peterborough on 15 September, she appeared at the University Centre Peterborough to discuss LGBTQIA+ writing, fantasy writing and writing inspirations with fellow panellists Laura Steve, Kat Dunn and Saara El-Arifi. On 11 October, Shannon appeared at St Mary’s Parish Church in St Neots for a panel hosted by Waterstones St Neots. Chaired by Laura Sebastian, other panellists included Saara El-Arifi, Tasha Suri and C.L. Clark. Both panels were followed by an audience Q+A and a signing.


Bookseller Marketing


Along with social media marketing and in person events, eye-catching bookshop displays play an important role within an effective marketing campaign. Displays are a unique marketing tool as they help a release stand out from the sea of other titles. Overall, bookshop displays serve as a dynamic and engaging marketing tool, driving awareness, sales and reader engagement.


The marketing team for the tenth anniversary release of The Bone Season certainly understands the importance of bookseller marketing. They have ensured that well-designed and eye-catching displays are in place in bookshops throughout the UK, capturing the attention of customers as they search for their new favourite book. Displays for The Bone Season take centre stage in large chains like Waterstones, as well as independent stores such as Fox Lane Books in North Yorkshire. Designed by Carmen R. Balit and illustrated by Ivan Belikov, the gorgeous cover for The Bone Season captures both the mysterious atmosphere of the first book, as well as the settings of London and Oxford. As such, it is no surprise that displays featuring this striking cover are capturing the attention of readers.


By combining social media marketing, events and bookseller displays, this stellar campaign has created further buzz for the highly anticipated re-release of Samantha Shannon’s dystopia.


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