Michaelides publication will follow seven-month campaign

News - Books Monday, 14 January 2019

Intensive marketing for debut thriller The Silent Patient, a huge rights success

Orion has given Alex Michaelides' thriller The Silent Patient (7 February) the kind of intensive promotion only seen for a few lead titles a year.

The publisher first showed its commitment to the novel by paying a substantial six-figure sum for it (editor Ben Willis; agent Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge & White). Confirmation that this was a hot property came when RCW sold The Silent Patient - about a woman who has murdered her husband and the therapist treating her - in some 40 international territories; Brad Pitt's film company Plan B bought film rights. Stephen Fry, David Baldacci and Lee Child gave endorsements. Michaelides (right) is a Cyprus-born screenwriter.

Orion's first promotional move, in July last year, was to run a tweet encouraging bloggers, booksellers and others to go to a landing page, where a clock was ticking down to publication, to sign up for news, extracts and proofs. A video distributed via social media spread the message further. Michaelides met readers at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival that month, signing proofs. Orion sent postcards and early proofs to the Bloody Scotland festival (September)

The cover reveal and proof mailing took place in August and September; the proofs came in a wrapping that included tracing paper; when overlaid on the cover, it gave clues about the book. The mailing also included stickers and competition postcards.

In October, a further mailing revealed proofs with sprayed edges, and offered the chance to win a proof to give to a friend by posting an image and tagging the friend in question. A week later, Orion opened the competition to the public with social media pages that recorded more than 56,000 page impressions and 2,400 engagements.

With NetGalley, Orion ran a sampler promotion as a teaser before the release of digital proofs, and sent an eblast to more than 26,000 NetGalley subscribers. The Silent Patient has more than 160 NetGalley reviews.

A further proof mailing, with Silent Patient wrapping paper and Christmas cards, went to bloggers and independent booksellers in December. Orion has wooed retailers with sales sheets, as well as cupcakes wrapped in Silent Patient paper for in-house sales meetings.

Still to come are a digital advertising campaign and author PR.

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