The Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference 2015

Last Tuesday I attended the annual Bookseller Marketing and Publicity Conference, hosted on the Southbank. It was the first time I’d attended the conference and it was a great opportunity to meet other marketing and publicity publishing professionals, exchange ideas and learn about new developments in the industry. I was impressed by the range of topics which were discussed as well as the speakers brought in from outside the industry, from companies such as Pinterest, Sports Interactive and Unruly Media.


The day was split into 5 sections, which I’ve summarised below:

The Rules of Engagement

Will Francis, founder of digital agency Harkable, kicked off the day with a talk about “full stack” authors who are multidisciplinary and excel in using social media. Next up was Zoe Pearson, Marketing Manager at Pinterest, who showed how publishers should be using Pinterest to successfully market their books. This was followed by Matt Haslum, Consumer Marketing Director at Faber and Faber who spoke about how publishers should adopt a start-up mentality and write love letters to their customers, instead of newsletters. Next up was Ciaran Brennan, Communications Director at Sports Interactive, the creative studio behind Football Manager. He gave a really interesting talk on the Digital Fanscape and how publishers should engage with their fans. Caroline Maddison, Head of Consumer Marketing & PR at Collins, finished with The Scrabble Week study. This was an inspiring example of how Collins turned the marketing of their Official Scrabble Words Dictionary into a major event on a small budget.

Under Pressure

Toby Hartwell, Director of Forward Thinking inc and Phil Rumbol, Founding Partner at 101 Agency, began by discussing the problems of too many books, channels and competitors. This was followed by Rohan Gunatillake, Director of Mindfulness Everywhere who spoke about user driven products and PR. Next came Sarah Benton Fiction Marketing Director at HarperCollins and Niamh Murray, Head of Marketing at Profile Books/Serpent’s tail who discussed how publishers should effectively allocate limited resources to achieve results. Natalie Ramm, Marketing Consultant at Pushkin Press, then spoke about the power of brand partnerships. This section was rounded up by a fascinating panel discussion about the possibilities and perils of author led marketing and how sending a lamb chop into space can really help sell books!

Influencer Afternoon

The post-lunch section began with a panel discussion about exploring alternative ways to generate publicity and the importance of being proactive and having a personal approach. This was followed by advice from Sandra Taylor, publicist turned bookseller, who shared her tips for using the retail environment to promote books. Vicky Palmer, Head of Marketing & Digital at Headline and Georgina Moore, Communications Director at Headline and Tinder Press concluded this section by talking about their savvy Lemon Grove campaign and the 8 questions that all marketers and publicists should ask themselves to ensure success.


5 x 5’s: 5 experts for 5 minutes on 5 rules

Timur Cetin, VP Business Development (EMEA) at Unruly Media, gave his 5 rules for creating viral video (cats are overrated!) Next was Jo Henry, VP of Insight and Analytics at Nielsen, who spoke about making the most of your consumer insight. She was followed by Liz Vater, Director of Stoke Newington Literature Festival, who gave her 5 rules for pitching to literature festivals. Freelancer Stephanie Martin then gave her 5 rules for email marketing. This section was rounded up by Iain Miller, Co-founder of Canelo, who spoke about his 5 rules for successful e-book marketing.

Brand Ambitions

The final section of the day was opened by Claire Wilshaw, Brand Director of Vintage and Zeljka Marosevic, Managing Director of Melville House UK, who discussed how to successfully build a distinct publishing brand. This was followed by Sarah Patel and Fergus Edmondson, both from Pan Macmillan, who discussed how to launch a non-fiction brand. James Spackman, Managing Director of DBP Watkins, closed the conference with a really interesting presentation about how publishers can enhance the reader experience through the physical design of a book.

Thanks to all the speakers and the Bookseller for organising. We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s conference!

Full programme and PowerPoint slides for the conference can be found here.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Industry News & Events

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *