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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Revisiting Our Favourite Campaigns

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

To celebrate the 100th issue of The Publishing Post, we have been reflecting on some of our favourite campaigns over the years and considering how these campaigns impacted these books' successes. The marketing campaigns team began working on the magazine in 2021 in its 29th issue. Having started as a team of two, we have since expanded to five members and enjoy dissecting a broad range of marketing techniques from social media to digital to events tours and interactive living billboards! We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as we look back at some of our favourite campaigns.

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Released in 2022, Honey & Spice centres on the life of a young woman who was the host of a successful student radio show. Her life mission was to ensure that the women of African-Caribbean society weren’t swayed by ‘situationships’, players, and inevitable heartbreaks. However, once she ends up kissing what she deemed “The Wasteman of Whitewell,” she becomes embroiled in a fake relationship that changes her perspective on relationships forever.

Since its brilliant marketing campaign, which involved a wave of proof copies that were sent to a list of lucky readers, as well as an official reveal of the cover by talented illustrator @Jovilee_Illustrations, the book has made impressive feats over the last two years. For example, in August 2023, Bola Babalola received the 2023 TikTok Book Award after being voted by the BookTok community, where huge names were shortlisted in the literary industry and representatives from popular publishers. 

In April 2024, on her Instagram page, Babalola teased a glimpse of her upcoming sequel, Sun Under Skin, showcasing a title snippet alongside quotes from works by Lauryn Hill, Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez. Elsewhere, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Babalola was asked about her writing process and the inspirations behind her upcoming sequel. She said,  “They're kids in the first book! And as much as their love is very much real, I wanted it to be grounded in reality — they're going to grow up, mature, and figure out who they are apart from each other, and I really wanted to see how their romance and love would fare in that context.” 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin’s breakout novel Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, dominated the book world in the Summer of 2022. The novel spans several decades, following best friends Sam and Sadie as they navigate successes, failures and heartache, all while doing what they love: making video games. Spurred by the novel’s gaming themes, friendship and love, the Vintage marketing team created an incredibly immersive campaign, from an installation of the book’s game, "Emily Blaster" at Waterstones Piccadilly, to encourage readers to create their own video game avatar. 

As a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller with over one million copies sold as of February 2024, stellar reviews across social media platforms and features on over thirty highlight lists, the initial marketing campaign for Zevin’s novel more than paid off. Since its publication in July 2022, the Vintage team have capitalised on the popularity of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow with their post-publication campaign. Following the novel’s paperback release, Vintage announced in December 2023 that a Winter edition would be released to celebrate Sam and Sadie’s train station reunion taking place at Christmas. In the same month, FairyLoot announced their special edition, featuring endpaper artwork, a foil hardcover design and beautiful sprayed edges, a must-have for any fan of Zevin’s book. 

In case that wasn’t enough excitement for readers, it was announced in May 2024 that Best Picture winner Siân Heder would direct the film adaptation of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. The release of an adaptation can often see a resurgence in a book’s marketing, and it will be exciting to see what the Vintage team comes up with next!

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Richard Osman’s iconic Thursday Murder Club series has been featured on our campaign highlights multiple times since the first book was published in 2020. The sequel The Man Who Died Twice was one of the 2021 campaign highlights. It built on the success of the first book and the ever-growing popularity of Richard Osman, establishing the series as a must-read. Where are our four retired detectives now, you might ask. Let’s have a look.

The Thursday Murder Club series now boasts four titles, with one published each year since 2020. The four books have sold over 5.5 million copies, with The Thursday Murder Club selling 2.2 million copies alone. Readers have been buying it, and it has continuously landed Osman on the Top 50 UK charts more than thirty-nine times. Another wave of book sales can be expected as the first movie based on books has been announced this year. The star-studded cast includes Helen Mirren, Sir Ben Kingsley, Pierce Brosnan, Celia Imrie and many other familiar faces.

And by the looks of it, Richard Osman never rests as only last year Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House, signed a four-book deal with the author for two more Thursday Murder Club books and the start of a new series. We Solve Murders is coming to bookshops worldwide on 12 September this year. This latest campaign builds a lot of its marketing on the success of The Thursday Murder Club. We can’t wait to see what other exciting campaigns Osman and Penguin have in store for us!



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