By Caitlin Davies, Danielle Hernandez and Georgia Rees
Published on 14 July, the new novel, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, written by bestselling author Gabrielle Zevin, follows two friends on their exhilarating journey from childhood gamers to video game creators. It examines the challenges of collaboration as the pair design imaginative quests for their players to complete. Inspired by thrilling adventures within the novel, the team at Vintage Books has created some dazzling games of their own, in one of the largest marketing campaigns of the summer so far. From recreating the actual video game featured in the book, to designing unique proof copies to look like retro PC games, as well as hosting competitions for the best bookshop window display, every gamified aspect of this campaign entices the reader to immerse themselves in Zevin’s world.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow has already captured the attention of booksellers nationwide, by becoming bookshop.org's July Book of The Month and a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick, all while reeling in glowing reviews from a variety of readers and creating a buzz on social media. This week we take a look at some of the eccentric marketing techniques Vintage have employed to gain reader's attention and discuss how thinking outside the box can help a novel stand out in the tough summer season.
Book Clubs and Events
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow has firmly cemented itself as July’s must-read novel, dominating book club picks across the UK. As a novel focusing on a shared connection in the virtual world of gaming, it makes a perfect pick for the BBC 2 Book Club, a long-running virtual book club which brings together readers from across the country. Their book club submissions are analysed, then selected, by a panel in collaboration with The Reading Agency, an organisation that strives to make reading accessible to all. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was also front and centre on Bookshop.org as their July Book of the Month, with a large graphic banner sharing critical acclaim on the homepage. What’s more, customers received free shipping by purchasing this novel across July, and an opportunity to win a National Art Pass, limited edition badge set and bookmark.
Gabrielle Zevin has also been busy touring across the USA and the UK to promote her latest book. Arriving in the UK, following an exciting launch day, she visited Waterstones Liverpool One and Waterstones Piccadilly, before travelling to Blackwell’s Oxford. Zevin also visited the ever-popular BookBar, in conjunction with their BookBar Summer Time event series. The ‘In Conversation’ event even featured a pop-up video games cave and pizza available for attendees. Also featuring as their July Book of the Month, the BookBar Instagram account has been sharing the excitement and reactions from their booksellers, as the “WhatsApp group has been going crazy with love for this novel.” As an incentive for pre-ordering the novel, BookBar also offered Yard Sale Pizza vouchers and exclusive gadget stickers to their first lucky customers. These accolades, combined with a busy events schedule, have succeeded in creating a conversation about Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Yet by using unconventional, gaming-themed marketing tools, the conversation hasn’t stopped there.
Setting apart Zevin’s latest novel from other similar releases, the marketing team, headed by Katrina Northern, used a unique style of immersive marketing to bring the themes of the book to life. Waterstones’ flagship branch in Piccadilly played host to a real-life replica of the game “Emily Blaster” which is featured prominently in the book. The installation, in place for a week from publication on 14 July, allowed readers to transport themselves back in time to video games of the 1980s. Those who could not make it to the pop-up were instead treated to an online version, playable from their own devices.
Carrying on the video game theme, the team partnered with Penguin to launch an online tool to create your own video game avatar, which could then be posted under the #Tomorrowx3 tag on social media. Gabrielle Zevin even created and shared her own avatar on her Instagram account, and also drew her followers’ attention to the specially created Tomorrowx3 Instagram filter.
Bookshops have really been encouraged to get behind this release with Waterstones promoting their own holographic exclusive edition, and many stores creating fantastic window displays. Booksellers and bloggers also received a gorgeously designed proof copy made to look like an old VCR tape. Getting bookshops and booksellers excited is a key technique to reaching those high sales numbers, and Zevin and her team are masters at feeding the hype.
The success continues for Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, receiving favourable reviews from authors and critics alike. The excitement for readers doesn’t have to end quite so soon however, as Penguin has already reported that a film adaptation is in the works, set to be produced by Temple Hill and Paramount Studios. This has been a powerhouse of a book launch campaign, matching an exciting novel with marketing techniques that are equally immersive and have thrived in connecting with readers.