It is with great pleasure that we announce the quarterly award-winning and highly commended publicists for our third quarterly award of 2020. Q3 is for campaigns carried out in June, July and August. Caroline Sanderson is our judge on behalf of The Bookseller.
Judging the quarterly awards is always fiendishly difficult. But given the particularly exacting challenges that this year has presented us all with, both personally and professionally, I would sincerely love to reward each and every one of you. Throughout Q3 I witnessed the results of publicists doing remarkable work to keep books at the forefront of a crazy news agenda, and at the forefront of readers’ minds too. That the book market has held up so well is partly due to all of you.
But, dammit, there can only be one winner.
WINNER: Millie Seaward (Dialogue Books) for The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
“I canpersonally testify to the effectiveness of Millie’s campaign, having gone out to buy the book in hardback myself, so intrigued was I by all the noise surrounding it. Yes, we were all focused on reading more black voices at this time due to Black Lives Matter, but the publicity surrounding this title raised it to another level entirely. Actually I was impressed by the way Millie actually managed to separate this book from all the news pieces (noting that the author was unable to write pieces herself) to make publication an event in itself, even after the author’s UK author visit was cancelled. Her best laid plans over many months prior to publication had to be swiftly rethought, particularly her strategy with regard to online events.
Whilst some may argue that the success of The Vanishing Half was BLM assisted, I actually think this campaign was highly astute over a long period of time, in order to launch an unknown but utterly brilliant US fiction writer in the UK market. No mean feat.”
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Sophie Calder (HQ) for Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie & Carolyn Durand
“I felt slightly sick reading about the media feeding frenzy which surrounded publication of this book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And full of admiration for how astutely Sophie dealt with it, despite huge challenges. Sometimes publicity is about dealing strategically with high demand for a book rather than creating it, and this campaign is a shining example of how to do it.”
Caroline also highlighted a couple of other campaigns that particularly impressed her:
Virginia Woolstencroft (Orion) for Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
Mia Quibell-Smith (Vintage) for Sisters by Daisy Johnson