It’s me

I had a very exciting day yesterday at the Bookseller #MPConf16 and now I’m going to tell you all about it, as we’re not all lucky enough to have employers to pay for us to go!

Firstly and most importantly they had the greatest snack selection there. Muffins, fruit, cookies, cake, scones, brownies, mushroom pie and bean casserole for lunch, it was amazing.

Secondly and probably most importantly to you guys, it was really great and I learnt loads and now I’m going to share it with you! My notes are an absolute mess so rather than going through each session and discussing it with you (which would be much better) I’m just going to throw a whole load of shit at you all at once. Soz about that.

The very first note I’ve written simply says “current vs future”. No explanation of that but I’m sure it’s helpful to you all.

  • When dealing with a book, what brands can you align with? What kind of charities might be interested? What other companies might have a similar message as to the one in the book? We had a talk from the folk at Canongate about Reasons to Stay Alive, and how they worked with various mental health charities. Obviously this isn’t applicable to, say, a book we’re about to republish on Tony Blair. Charities probably aren’t too interested in him.
  • Find out your authors backgrounds early on, and use this to target alternative PR routes. If your author used to have a fun job like a pirate or a keytar player, bang, whole new story angle.
  • Publishers, PRs and marketers should be working with reading initiatives in order to promote reading as a whole. All we are doing at the moment is working to promote our particular books, but if a person is not going to buy any books full stop, they definitely won’t get yours. We’re working towards a reader audience, whereas we need to target everyone in the world ever because they all need books.
  • I also learnt that my PR campaigns are ridiculously short and rubbish (partly because it’s just me working on 8 books a month but whatever) so now I have to REPLAN EVERYTHING
  • With emails, it is more about quality than quantity. An inbox is a private space, unlike Twitter or something which is for everyone. Therefore emails need to be targeted (but not necessarily personal). Email subscribers are the best engagers in a marketers tool box, so make the most of them!
  • Be inspired by other book campaigns. Find a similar book to one you have coming out, look up what press they got and what marketing campaigns they had. Find their readers and target your books to them.
  • SPORTS BOOK MARKETING (which can also be applied to other books obvi) – care as much about this book as the fans will do. Show passion, tell them facts and stats, do Q&As, polling on games etc. Always be present and relevant (easier said than done my friend). Produce content for specific platforms rather than sharing the same old shit on all of them. Make your readers feel the way Wayne Rooney makes this kid feel. Celebrate the fans with user generated content, engagement, prizes etc.
  • Schedule your shit! Schedule emails, schedule social media posts, schedule what time you’re going to go for a wee in the morning. Schedule it all.
  • Then there was a whole bit about how paid social is great and I wasn’t really making many notes because I’m not allowed to do any but basically it’s cool and awesome.
  • Create a reading list from your titles. Which of your backlist are similar to this new book? Can you find readers of that book and show them this new one? Can you give people discounts?
  • Who can you get endorsements from? Authors/historians/actors etc. Don’t just go to the obvious.
  • At this point I got a bit stressed about how much work I was missing and wrote a press release for a book, and then we had another tea break and then after that there were a few panels which I didn’t take any notes from, and then I made some great new friends and spoke with THE Sam Missingham and it was all superb. And that’s it!! If any of you want to see the program, or the articles in the special M&PConf edition of the Bookseller then hit me up and I can send you a photocopy.


  1. Love your blog, it has helped so much! I did a two week work experience at Penguin Random House (PRH!!) and loved every bit of it.
    Are you still updating the blog or are you just using Twitter?


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