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Campaign Spotlight: The Ministry of Time

By Leah Murphy, Emily Lavin, Georgia Rees, Chante-Marie Dante and Annamária Rátki


The Ministry of Time is a soaring debut novel by British-Cambodian writer Kaliane Bradley. This genre-defying book focuses on a civil servant who gets recruited to a mysterious new ministry of the government, rescuing “expats” from across time and testing the limits of time travel. Our hero’s task is to serve as the “bridge” for the expat 1847, Commander Graham Gore, assisting and monitoring him in the present.


Slowly a friendship forms between the two, which might even blossom into something more. But as the true nature of the experiment bubbles to the surface, they must confront their past choices and imagined futures. Can history be defied and love triumph?


This charming, witty and funny debut is capturing the hearts of readers and reviewers nationwide, launched into space and time with a great marketing campaign.


Social Media


As a lead publication for Sceptre in 2024 and a focus title across Hodder, The Ministry of Time was the subject of a large-scale marketing and publicity campaign. Over a year before publication, Sceptre announced the forthcoming debut by Bradley with a blockbuster-style advertisement reel on their Instagram. The response was hugely positive with buzz about the novel starting almost right away.


By October, stunning holographic proof copies were being sent out to lucky booksellers and bloggers and the official cover reveal coming in early January with endorsements from literary staples such as Kate Mosse, Max Porter and Emily Henry. Buzz over the novel is set to continue as prior to publication A24 were the successors in a 21-way auction to produce a BBC series with Alice Birch, the screenwriter of Normal People, and it will be interesting to see if The Ministry of Time sees an equally meteoric rise.


Events


With Kaliane Bradley being an offline author, readers have been given plenty of opportunities to engage with the author during her extensive book tour. Beginning in Charing Cross Road alongside two other debut writers, Bradley attended Foyles’ Spring Debuts Panel, chaired by fellow author Julia Armfield.


The writer then embarked on a grand tour of several Waterstones bookshops across the UK, sitting in conversation with a number of authors, including Jessica Andrews (Milk Teeth), Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Starling Days) and Octavia Bright (This Ragged Grace: A Memoir of Recovery and Renewal). Appearances at independent bookstores were interwoven with Bradley’s Waterstones events, including Phlox Books, West Kirby - chaired by Alice Slater (Death of a Bookseller) and Review Bookshop.


To end her tour, Kaliane Bradley attended a handful of literary festivals. At the Charleston Literary Festival, the author spoke at the panel Real Love, joined by David Nicholls (One Day) to discuss how they write about love. Bath Festival showcased the year’s best first novels at a panel entitled “Read Them Here First” with Bradley appearing alongside Fiona Williams (The House of Broken Bricks) and Vanessa Walters (The Lagos Wife). At the final festival (and the author’s final stop on her sweeping tour), Hay-on-Wye Festival, Kaliane Bradley was in conversation with Francis Spufford (Cahokia Jazz) as a Debut Discoveries feature.


Bookshops


Bookshops around the country have been embracing the hype for The Ministry of Time through posters displaying glowing endorsements from authors like Max Porter. Displays like this are a really effective way to grab the attention of readers in-store.


The Sceptre Books marketing team have also designed some great point-of-sale materials. At Waterstones branches, readers can pick up bookmarks featuring the expats brought from history to test the limits of time travel, including Commander Graham Gore, Margaret “Maggie” Kemble and Captain Arthur Reginald-Smyth; with each bookmark featuring a different character and interesting facts about them. This is a great collector’s item for readers.


Similarly, readers can also pick up iron-on patches sporting phrases related to the novel in the title’s signature font and colour palette. The blue patch reading “Expat from another century” is exclusive to Indie bookshops, while the readers can grab a pink patch reading “My secret crush is a polar explorer” exclusively at Waterstones stores. Perfect for sewing onto tote bags, the Sceptre Books marketing team have done a great job of ensuring readers are able to display their love for The Ministry of Time wherever they go!

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