8 Things to Know About Marketing Books in the UK
by the Midas PR team, a leading publishing, arts and cultural PR agency in the UK
Smith Publicity and Midas PR, two leaders in the book publicity industry, regularly partner on book marketing and publicity campaigns to ensure a book launch extends into key book buying and influential markets. Below, they share eight insights from the UK publishing and book marketing space, many of which run parallel with those in the U.S.
No.1 The U.S. is an extremely important market for the UK publishing industry. It is a huge market for both sales of physical books and rights sales for UK authors. In total, 60% of UK publisher revenue comes from overseas sales.
No.2 The UK publishes the most new titles in the world, per capita, and is second only to the U.S. and China in absolute terms, according to the IPA. Over 500 new titles are published each week.
No.3 However, the UK isn’t even in the top ten for populations that spend the most time reading per week, a good thing we export so much!
No.4 This makes the book sales market within the UK extremely competitive. The huge number of titles published combined with the decline in traditional book review space – fast contracting as space for books gets smaller. Many publications are closing – authors, marketers, and publicists have had to be increasingly nimble, creative, and savvy to get their books noticed. Authors need to have angles or hooks to get coverage outside of the book’s pages. The media love a personal story, so one of the things we spend time doing is working with our authors to find out what personal stories they are willing to share.
No. 5 Year-round brand building and social marketing has become crucial for authors and publishers. It is advantageous for an author to build a year-round platform that helps with pre-orders when the book is ready and helps build a community for their author events.
No.6 The UK’s publishing community is very connected and “Publishing Twitter” is a thing. It’s definitely the first place to go if you are looking to take the temperature of UK publishing. Midas’s Twitter is @midaspr. You can also check out the UK’s two leading industry outlets: The Bookseller and Book Brunch.
No.7 But even in our connected world, shoe leather can still count. Bookshops are resurgent in the UK and many run innovative events, book clubs and festivals. We also have Bookshop Day, part of the industry-wide Books Are My Bag campaign, which takes place in October, and we always encourage authors to show their support for bookshops, whether in-store or socially. Connecting face to face with booksellers can be invaluable: there are countless stories of authors hand-selling and charming their way around the country, particularly as debut authors.
No. 8 Not to mention the myriad standalone festivals and events themselves, there are over 400 book festivals in the UK and counting. There are so many opportunities for authors to meet their readers, and these days, most authors really have to get out and meet their public. The UK’s biggest literary festivals are Hay, Cheltenham, Edinburgh and Oxford, but you’ll find brilliantly run events taking place all across the country.
About Midas PR:
Midas PR: Bringing Your Work to the World
Midas PR represents some of the biggest names in arts and publishing, some of the country’s best-loved consumer brands, major awards, festivals, and trade fairs. Clients include Audible, Windham-Campbell, The London Book Fair, and Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Our expertise makes us stand out among UK PR agencies. We work right across the publishing supply chain, from book launches and literary prizes, to advising national governments on market access to the publishing industry. Our integrated UK and international campaigns combine extensive expertise in traditional PR, digital, and social media in the arts, cultural, and heritage sectors.