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Campaign Spotlight: The Shadow Cabinet by Juno Dawson

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


Sunday Times bestselling author Juno Dawson has a prolific back catalogue of books spanning the young adult and children’s genres, but her adult debut Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, published in July 2022, satiated a brand-new audience of fantasy readers. The highly anticipated follow up, The Shadow Cabinet, published a year later by Harper Voyager on 8 June 2023, picks up the pieces following the cliffhanger ending of the first instalment, whilst also exploring the socio-political landscape of the United Kingdom. Aside from writing fiction, Dawson has also penned a number of impactful non-fiction titles, specifically accessible to her teenage audience, including This Book is Gay, What’s the T? and The Gender Games. Dawson is also a tireless activist for transgender and LGBTQIA+ rights.


For this issue, we take a look at the marketing campaign for The Shadow Cabinet, ranging from the extensive UK book tour through to the fabulous social media campaign and stunning exclusive editions.


The team at Harper Voyager have curated a brimming two-week book tour, beginning with a handful of literary festivals and covering many popular Waterstones, independent and LGBTQIA+ stores around the UK.


The Hay Festival is one of the world’s biggest literary festivals, taking place in the famous literary town of Hay-on-Wye, so it is a perfect event to get a book tour underway. Dawson appeared on a panel alongside ‘witch lit’ writers Anya Bergman and Emilia Hart, to discuss the popularity of ‘witcherature’ – witches in popular culture – and how their characters seek to reclaim what it is to be a witch. She also featured at the Bath and Charleston festivals.


Following on from her festival appearances, Dawson commenced her bookshop tour with a book signing at Waterstones Birmingham. Over the following two days, she embarked on a busy tour of book signings at Waterstones Liverpool and an event at Waterstones Leeds with Hannah Kaner in the evening, as well as signings at Wave of Nostalgia, Waterstones Deansgate, independent bookshop Queer Lit and Blackwell’s Manchester to celebrate the book’s publication day. The tour will continue with an event at Blackwell’s Edinburgh and Waterstones Piccadilly (which will include literary tarot readings), and conclude at Daunt Books in Oxford.


To accompany Dawson on her book tour, bookshops have been displaying The Shadow Cabinet, along with Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. Both covers are designed by Holly Macdonald, who is responsible for the covers of several notable books, including Babel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and the new editions of Agatha Christie’s novels. Furthermore, there is a special Waterstones limited edition, with bright-pink sprayed edges (evocative of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven), signed by Juno Dawson.


A book tour can be a great way to interact with readers. When done right, consumers can walk out of a book event, special edition hardback in hand, feeling pumped to dive into the magical world of their new novel. But what about those who weren’t in the room? Social media can be a fantastic way to allow the buzz created on a book tour to transcend the walls of Waterstones and reach those unable to attend. Juno Dawson’s campaign has been a great example of that this summer.


The author has created a highlight on her Instagram Stories documenting the book tour from her perspective. The stories feature personal messages from the author, behind-the-scenes snippets of her getting ready for book signings and shout-outs to the wonderfully decorated bookshops hosting them. Alongside this tour diary, Dawson has also been populating her grid with exciting posts announcing Nicola Coughlan as the returning audiobook narrator, reposting initial reviews of The Shadow Cabinet and promoting the Waterstones special editions.


As if that wasn’t enough, the marketing teams at Harper Voyager have also been using their own social channels on Twitter and Instagram, as well as the wide reach of the US channel Penguin Books, to promote the title. The US Penguin Books Instagram even organised a giveaway back in April 2023 to win a copy of both the first instalment in the series and the anticipated new release. Winning the competition involved following the account, liking the post and leaving a comment below telling everyone your favourite fantasy trope. With 128 comments on the post as of June 2023, this has proven to be a clever way to increase engagement and gain more followers to the channel – two key metrics for any marketing team.


And of course, TikTok is not to be left out of such a dynamic social media marketing plan! Behind-the-scenes TikTok videos allowed readers a sneak peek at the first copies being signed and have received hundreds of likes on the author’s account. All of which certainly helped build anticipation, with more than one commenter eager to see how the cliffhanger in the last book will play out, and some who had “already pre-ordered the @watertsones edition” encouraging others to do the same.



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