Super Thursday, as its known within the publishing industry, is the busiest day in the publishing calendar – the day that more books come out than on any other. With only around 300 published on October 14 2021, Super Thursday was the lightest in years. But while fewer titles were released, last year’s line-up was extremely strong, with the likes of Billy Connolly’s first full memoir, John le Carre’s final novel, a raft of cookery titles from household names such as Jamie Oliver, Nigel Slater (and not forgetting Peter Sawkins and The Hebridean Baker, which we at Muckle Media successfully launched) competing for best seller status.
With so many high-profile books jostling for position at the top of the charts, it is the job of the publishing PR to create clever, creative campaigns to cut through the noise and ensure that the book and author receive as much publicity as possible, in turn creating all important sales.
PR has always had a large role to play in the promotion of books. Once, publishers used to pay for space in bookshops (such as 3 for 2 offers), but there are fewer opportunities like these nowadays. And as books tend to have a small target audience compared to a mass public audience which some brands enjoy, advertising isn’t an option which many publishers invest in. Authors need a competitive edge which gets them in front of their target audience, so PR is an extremely effective tool for increasing awareness and therefore sales.
An average of 180,000 books a year are published in the UK making the competition for review space in newspapers and magazines fierce. The publicist therefore has to look for effective and imaginative ways in which to promote the book and the author and ensure that the correct audience is being targeted. Interviews, podcasts, events, competitions, opinion pieces, Q&As, social media… the ways in which a PR can promote an author and their new book are vast.
TV and Radio are hugely important when it comes to increasing book sales. We at Muckle Media experienced this first-hand when we were promoting Great British Bake Off 2020 winner, Peter Sawkins’ new book, Peter Bakes, this summer. After securing Peter an interview on the much-coveted BBC Radio 2 Zoe Ball show, Peter Bakes jumped from number 44 to number 3 in Amazon’s Baking Best seller list and whizzed down to number 49 on Amazon’s overall best selling book chart. And after securing The Hebridean Baker a baking demonstration spot on This Morning, we were thrilled to see his book leap from number 27 to number 4 on Amazon’s best selling charts, demonstrating again that the proof is certainly in the pudding that PR is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to book sales.
Here are our essentials for a successful book campaign:
1. Ensure you have the right collateral ready before you reach out to media – an AI (advance information) sheet, images of the author and the book cover, advance copies (digital versions are fine), and importantly – have you read the book?!
2. Know who your target audience is and identify the best media to reach that audience. Be creative and think outside the box!
3. Be available for interviews and events – even the most successful authors go on book tours. In the year before his death, Charles Dickens gave a series of readings around Britain.
4. Be active on social media and connect with relevant followers