Mrs Hinch: Sweeping Up Book Sales
The power of influence hasn’t gone unnoticed by the publishing industry. With the influencer marketing industry set to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, publishers have jumped at the chance to publish books by social media stars.
Influencers have already engaged audiences and numerous brand partnerships leaving publishers with endless possibilities. Among them is the opportunity to attract an untapped pool of new readers without the need to heavily market the book, saving both time and money. Influencer book deals are becoming more commonplace and we are already seeing a trend among ‘clean-fluencers’ with the rise of Mrs Hinch’s popularity as well as others, namely Lynsey Crombie and Gemma Bray with their own book deals.
Sophie Hinchliffe, known more widely as Mrs Hinch, had already passed the 1 million followers mark when her first book and audiobook, Hinch Yourself Happy, was published by Michael Joseph in April 2019. Fenella Bates, publisher at the Penguin imprint, made a clean sweep of the heated 11-way auction last year resulting in Hinch Yourself Happy becoming the second fastest-selling non-fiction title of all time with 160,302 copies bought in three days. Combining the powerful force of a Big Five publisher with the immense popularity of Mrs Hinch, it’s unsurprising that such formidable waves were made in the publishing world.
Bringing with her a legion of 3 million readymade and passionate followers, Mrs Hinch’s acclaim as a household name has created a stream of bestsellers in the space of a year releasing not just one, but four books ranked number 1 on the Sunday Times Bestsellers’ list. Her latest offering, This Is Me, isn’t far behind its predecessors by heading straight into the top spot of the UK Official Top 50, selling over 90,000 copies in its first week.
While much of the book market remains unaware of Mrs Hinch, the opportunity to attract new followers to her account through her book is no doubt an advantageous position for her to be in. However, the converse is equally true. For publishers, an influencer with as many fans as Mrs Hinch is an advantage, creating long-standing, and even new admirers of her works.
It’s one of the ways the influencer culture has, for want of a better word, influenced the publishing industry. It’s no surprise, however, that the publishing industry has taken this step. After all, Mrs Hinch’s appeal is so unique that she’s been able to sell out 65 bottles of Zoflora within 15 minutes of a store opening its doors just because she posted about it on Instagram. The Minky cleaning pad (or Minkeh, as she affectionately calls it) was out of stock for months until Minky could adjust their production line to make it more efficient with the new demand for its products. It’s little wonder, therefore, that the auction for her book was so heated given the possibilities and financial projections it could create.
With a platform as visual as Instagram, she has managed to make the most mundane of chores a fun and relatable activity. Her home is the epitome of ‘instagrammable’ with its gleaming silver and grey tones, spotless surfaces and organised cupboards. Introducing her own lexicon, Mrs Hinch has ensured cleaning is no longer a repetitive chore; it’s ‘hinching’ as a collective with millions of other people, also known as her Hinch Army. The visual aesthetic of her Instagram account combined with her bubbly personality has her followers captivated and her books in demand. A book deal adds another dimension of credibility to her brand as a cleaning sensation.
Lockdown presented an unlikely opportunity as Mrs Hinch’s Little Book Of Lists appeared to beat Mantel and Walliams to the top spot, according to Nielsen Book International. As we were told to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many Britons sought to get their homes in order with the handy notebook of tick lists for a cleaning routine.
For Michael Joseph, Mrs Hinch opening up about anxiety presents a new opportunity. In a time where books about mindfulness and self-care are filling our shelves and becoming increasingly relevant to our fast-paced and stressful lives, a household name displaying her vulnerable side on social media will naturally pique her followers’ interest. People want to learn more about Mrs Hinch as a person they can relate to, someone who has the same struggles, regardless of the perfection she outwardly displays. This Is Me offers a glimpse into the past and present of Mrs Hinch, evolving from offering cleaning tips through her humorous videos to baring her soul on social media. Michael Joseph have certainly broadened their portfolio through This Is Me, which charts Mrs Hinch’s ups and downs, including weight loss, meeting her husband and how she found out she was pregnant.
A memoir by a celebrity or influencer is generally well-received and the numbers from the first week of This Is Me’s publication indicate that this has most certainly been the case. However, there will always be some scepticism around the longevity of books by social media stars and influencers, especially as there appears to be a time limit to their relevance.
It seems Mrs Hinch and her book success may surpass that time limit, although that remains to be seen. It is, however, far more important to note that the bigger picture in all of this is the positive role Mrs Hinch’s influence has had to play in bolstering the publishing industry. The results have been interesting and the upsurge in sales of non-fiction in the home care and interiors category is evidence that publishers should continue to keep a keen eye on the influencer marketing industry.