Off To Work We Dodo: The Marketer

By Naomi Berwin

Posted on June 23, 2014 in Books with tags Life in Publishing, Off To Work We Dodo

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we… dodo!

We’re taking you on a behind-the-scenes tour of Hodderscape HQ – every fortnight a member of the team is giving you an insight into what they do on a daily basis. This week: marketing.

Today, dear Hodderscapers, I will be giving you a quick introduction to the dark art of book marketing, revealing the ways in which we evil* marketers persuade you all to buy our wares…

naomi devil

*We are totally not evil. We’re selling books, after all – that can only ever be a good thing.

Essentially, my job is to manage the promotion of a book, making sure that you, the readers, know about it and (hopefully) choose to read it. How we do that can vary massively depending on the book and our target audience – the campaign for an epic fantasy series is not going to be the same as for a women’s fiction novel, for instance! – but there are a few staples.

One of the first things I’ll do for a book is produce materials to help our sales and publicity teams pitch the book to retailers and the media. This is often a book proof – you can read more about the proof process here – but can also include anything from brochures and samplers to tea towels, badges or even paper planes…


Next, I turn my attention to the consumers. Even a few years ago, the majority of our consumer marketing would happen on publication, but these days, with the rise and rise of social media, we’ll often start promoting a book online weeks or even months prior to publication. Fortunately I’m not alone on this side of things – I work closely with our amazing social media assistant Fleur to manage an array of channels and campaigns. (You’ll be hearing from Fleur in a few weeks’ time, so I won’t steal her thunder by going into any more details about social media here!)

In some cases, we’ll run advertising for books and it’s my job to coordinate this. I’ll generally work with our media agency to decide on the best places to place our advertising in order to reach our target audience, and with a designer – and sometimes a copywriter or a creative agency – on the ad creative. Whilst most of our advertising used to just be static for posters or print, now we frequently produce much richer, animated creatives for use online, sometimes even leading with video content.

On the subject of video content, producing that also falls under my remit. We don’t by any means do this for every book, but sometimes it’s appropriate either to film the author or to make a trailer, in which case I will work with our Creative Manager and a film production company to create the best piece of content possible.

This was the trailer we produced last year for Red Moon by Benjamin Percy.

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I also regularly work on setting up partnerships in various forms, developing websites, running stunt activity, direct (usually ‘e’ these days) mail, and much, much more. What I love about working in marketing is the variety, and the constant combination of project management and strategy with creative thinking and – for want of a better description – ‘making stuff’. No day is the same, no campaign is the same, and whilst I am always incredibly busy and frequently doing 17 things all at the same time, I am certainly never bored!


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