Dystopian fiction, customised Fangirl jewellery and romance win amongst bumper crop of May-August 2014 campaigns

POSTED ON: 04/11/14 TAGS: Adult fiction Awards Children's fiction Guerrilla marketing Non-fiction

by BMS

The marketing campaign for M.R. Carey’s debut dystopian novel was awarded the BMS Best Adult Marketing Campaign Award, at a packed meeting held in the London offices of Nielsen Book on Wednesday 29th october. The Girl with All the Gifts campaign, orchestrated by Felice Howden & Emily Rowland at Orbit, was picked from a record number of more than 40 campaigns submitted for the period May-August 2014, whilst the winner in the Children’s section was the UK tour partnership with Tatty Devine for Fangirl (Kat McKenna at Macmillan Children’s Books). The joint shoestring winners were the campaigns for The Lemon Grove by Vicky Palmer at Tinder Press/Headline and the Virtual Romance Festival from Sam Missingham, Kimberley Young and Charlotte Ledger at HarperCollins.



The Girl with all the Gifts bookThe Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
Marketers:  Felice Howden and Emily Rowland, Orbit / Little, Brown

  • Cover test helped identify most appropriate way to reach target audience (readers of commercial, emotional fiction)
  • Identified supermarkets (Tescos) as key – but also provided assets for other retailers; book became Waterstones Book of Month
  • Targeted premium entertainment websites, in line with the best media suggested by audience profiling
  • Majored on lead character as way to engage audience most effectively – and used other authors to help spread the word
  • Pay with a Tweet campaign gave people incentives to engage
  • Extraordinary ROI for debut (and genre) novel


FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Marketer: Kat McKenna, Macmillan Children’s Books

  • Partnered with Tatty Devine to produce a ‘fangirl’ necklace on sale June to September to tie in with July author tour
  • Exclusive edition necklace produced as competition prize
  • #fangirlselfie competition so fans would share news about the necklace and be further excited by the collaboration
  • Raised awareness for the book beyond bookstores and hardcore fans to whole new audience
  • On very small budget achieved 50% more sales than previous books
  • Also raised interaction with and views of MyKindaBook platform


JOINT SHOESTRING WINNERSThe Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh

Lemon GroveMarketer: Vicky Palmer, Tinder Press/Headline

  • Great feedback from the trade and glowing lead review in Good Housekeeping but…
  • … it failed the Good Housekeeping ‘Reader Recommendation’ test
  • A definite marmite book polarizing audiences
  • So, refocused target audience and got the discussion going via social media
  • Promoted as the perfect summer read: ‘Temperatures are rising. But it’s not the weather causing it
  • Plus incentivised promotion via Toni & Guy salons resulted in a huge increase in her previous sales


Campaign Title:  Virtual Romance Festival
Marketer:  Sam Missingham, Kimberley Young, Charlotte Ledger, HarperCollinsRomance-Festival

  • Genuine first – publisher-agnostic Festival organised by a publisher!
  • Clear set of objectives including direct engagement with audience and attracting authors: both fans & writers targeted
  • Survey to find 100 top romance books of all times; Spotify list of the authors’ favourite romantic songs
  • Competitions to win a year with an editor, a year’s worth of books, and join authors in a Hangout
  • Strong branding and Festival poster mimicking eg Latitude
  • Delivered on three online platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Google hangouts

A number of campaigns were also awarded as ‘Highly Commended’



We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Marketers: Flora Willis, Victoria Beddows, Diana Broccardo, Serpent’s Tail

  • A small company really getting behind a book – and making it very big indeed
  • Twitter campaign #page77 for people to share their experiences of reading the book and the twist
  • Moved into paperback quickly to take full advantage of the Booker news
  • Targeted outside London with flyposting in Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester
  • Collaborations with LoveReading and Mumsnet fired up support and generated more reviews

The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
Marketer: Stephen Dumughn, Little, Brown

  • Strong messaging to target audience: ‘Read it this summer. Remember it forever’
  • Taken out of the literary fiction ‘box’ with mass market campaign through Tescos and Blinkbox
  • Tesco twitter account asked: ‘Where will you be reading The Goldfinch this summer?’
  • Competition for private viewing of the Goldfinch in Amsterdam with ASOS
  • Gelupo provided free ice-cream for publication day stunt
  • Sales up over 30% on previous book



A Puffin Book
Marketers: Andrea Bowie, Nicola Chapman, Natasha Collie,  Puffin Books

  • 20 classic Puffins given beautiful new covers and Extra! Extra! Read All About it! pages at the end, including rare archive material, quizzes and unexpected tidbits
  • Virtual timeline for nostalgic audience but also a useful resource for schools
  • Teachers sent a ribbon wrapped gift
  • National Trust ‘Name a Puffin’ vote
  • Librarians, bloggers, bookstores sent postcards: ‘What’s your favourite? Tell us, take a photo and…tweet tweet @puffinbooks’
  • International sales of all titles up +250%



The Gollancz Festival
Marketers: Jennifer McMenemy (Marketing), Sophie Calder (Publicity), Gollancz

  • Persuaded participating authors to read their one-star reviews on camera – genius!
  • Timed when sci-fi fans and authors in London – but delivered internationally too
  • Very well organised, throughout the day virtual and real activities, starting with a tweet-up on what people had for breakfast…
  • Sold out in three weeks with no paid-for media at all
  • Partnered new authors with established names


Judges for this campaign round included: Jo Henry and Alastair Giles of the Book Marketing Society, Orna O’Brien of the London Book Fair, Sheila O’Reilly of the Dulwich Bookshop, Sara Mulryan of Nielsen BookScan and Liz Thomson of BookBrunch

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