Women In Publishing – Meeting on Marketing

What a week of Marketing?! On Monday we had Byte the Book #bytethebook and Wednesday we had Women In Publishing where the fantastic Sophia Blackwell and Vicky Hartley shared with us their approach to marketing, their reflections on its evolution and their predictions on its future. The power of marketing has truly taken the publishing industry by a storm but what is it about marketing that makes it so fascinating to us?


From hearing the speakers’ stories, their successes and lessons over a career of campaigns, it initially seems that the same model or marketing strategy cannot be replicated, we can’t rely on it time and time again and sometimes we just don’t know why a campaign works so well. Which can be frustrating but also fascinating – it’s an enigma! Sometimes a campaign just clicks with the public and it gives us such a sense of brilliance that we want to try again and again to make that happen and slowly but surely we are totally consumed by author tours and direct campaigns.

Well that’s one view. It’s a valid view too but perhaps a, how do I say…. traditional view? As publishers we love books and stories so much that we want to believe that the magic of the tale captures the heart of the public so very much that it’s like a spell has been cast over us and we realise that we were all born with one true aim – to read Gone Girl.

Vicky Hartley certainly believes in story telling but her stories are marketing narratives. Does she need to even read the book she’s marketing? Not necessarily, she is gripped by her own plot. The content, not the book, drives the campaign and is the main character. Other characters could include social media, other products, re-purposed versions of the content, emails, above the line advertising…. They are all functioning for the purpose of the main character’s development and success, to get the content to its denouement as a top seller.

Sophia Blackwell positively “facepalms” at her former self, a budding marketer ready to tackle the publishing industry one campaign at a time, innocently oblivious to the importance of data. This was right at the beginning of her career of course and now we have before us a marketing data evangelist. With data you can know why campaigns work and why they don’t and you can make them work better. With data you can link sales figures with customer behaviour, surely the very essence of marketing. Information is power and marketing intelligence is the faculty of our industry.

Whether you are creating your own story through marketing or interrogating data, it seems that marketing isn’t such an enigma. It actually is a tool of control for us which used by the right hands can construct an efficient and strong bridge between book and reader.


Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.


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