Sometimes it can be a struggle coming up with original and inventive ways to market new books, create a buzz around their publication, and form some kind of connection between authors and their readers. There are lots of established methods – online advertising, Netgalley releases, blog tours, and author appearances – which all have their advantages and disadvantages, but the industry is definitely ready for some disruptive solutions to this recurring marketing dilemma.
A place at the table
Over the past 12-18 months, we at The Pigeonhole, a digital reading and conversation platform, have progressed from running predominantly small-scale serialisations for independent publishers and self-published authors looking to make the most out of their marketing budget, to larger and increasingly global campaigns for some of the biggest publishing houses and authors in the industry. Some of the most recognizable names we have hosted include Jeffrey Archer, Sophie Kinsella, Anthony Horowitz, Paolo Coelho, Karin Slaughter, Jane Casey, Jeffery Deaver, Alison Weir, Ken Follett, and Minette Walters.
How we work
Our goal is simple: to give publishers and authors an alternative way of driving reader engagement through pre-publication serialisations. Our users are given the chance to read books before they are released, on our digital app, alongside the author, leaving comments as they go. By the time the book is published, hundreds of people have read the book and formed a bond with the author, and dozens of Amazon and Goodreads reviews are already on the board.
Through our paragraph-by-paragraph data metrics, publishers can find out where readers tend to stop reading the book, how many people finish the book and have the option to market an author’s backlist titles in the digital margins of the book – capitalising on the anticipation harnessed by the serialised format.
The Hard Sell
Convincing publishers that giving away access to books for free is an innovative and effective way of driving sales, brand loyalty, and social media buzz isn’t always easy. But thanks to months and months of hard work and a string of successful campaigns, the conversation is now less about telling publishers what we can do, and more about showing them.
So many books suffer from being published to almost zero fanfare. Publication date arrives and the young book is then left to fend for itself with the author doing everything they can to give it some oomph.
With a Pigeonhole launch, you have hundreds of engaged readers posting comments, sharing remarks publicly with a hashtag, and leaving reviews. We like to think it brings the book to life. And while these readers haven’t paid to read the book, the immersive experience acts as the strongest discovery tool imaginable, with readers becoming brand ambassadors overnight.
We’ve had lots of success with plot-driven psychological thrillers, women’s fiction, commercial fiction, and even books at the more literary end of the spectrum, but our favourite genre is probably historical fiction. Following in the ground-breaking footsteps of Ken Follett and Minette Walters, Victoria Hislop is the latest member of historical fiction royalty to grace The Pigeonhole.
It’s a daunting task sending books out into the world to compete with thousands of their peers, but sometimes you have to take the counterintuitive option to set your books apart from the crowd.
We work with the whole gamut of the publishing world: from global brand authors to self-published first timers. Everyone with a book has something to gain from being on The Pigeonhole.
If you think this sounds like a good fit for you, please check out our website (www.thepigeonhole.com) or reach out to Laurence@ThePigeonhole.com and find out in more detail how we can work together to make your book fly.