Smart book marketing in the smartphone era

Not all books benefit from the come-hither promise of whips, leather or the adventurous revelation of a deity’s secret wife. Some contain ideas that take a little more unwrapping before their genius is laid bare – a perennial challenge in the attention-deficit 21st century. But you don’t have to be a blockbuster to be chock full of great stories, and Melodical is here to help bring out that promotional promise. Think of it as broadcasting off the page, papercasting if you will.

The challenge

Imagine if you could hear a trailer for the book before you chose to buy it? Whilst you were in the shop. Or on your commute. Specialist books on cultural history, social theory, and all matters in-between can easily and compellingly brought to life in a 3-4 minute trailer that’s like having your own micro Radio 4 special. Our goal is give the potential reader some of that same delight as the buyer who’s just enjoyed the first chapter.

Using a title-bespoke combination of dramatisation, original music, interviews, location work, archive footage and sound FX, Melodical can produce cost-effective and social-literary promos that help authors and publishers to reach their audience and convert “like this…” into “bought and read that”. Better still, with a smartphone you can hear them live in the bookshop – just click on the QR code or URL on the back cover and be transported “into the book” for a minute or two… then take it to the counter to buy it.

Bespoke approach

We recognise authors are all different and yes, this might be a bit of a new excursion. But we reckon it’ll be a rewarding one, on all the important levels. Our approach is multidisciplinary because just as no two books or authors are the same, so this type of promotion must be a great, new fit every time.


click to expandIn just the same way that bands have found endlessly touring small venues is a rather inefficient and attritional way of marketing a new record in the social media era, these short song-length adverts free up authors to establish the premise of their latest work, creating a flavour of the piece and position the author for further media opportunities. As social media content they also allow readers to share their enthusiasm in a way that the encouragement to “go check it out, I think they’ve got it in Foyles” is at best merely rather hopeful. For ebook readers, where choice can be both exciting and yet confounding, this supplementary media is about helping them to make the (right) choice.

Efficient and effective

As share-able content these papercasts have the power to reach 1000s more people, more quickly than an author tour could ever hope to achieve, particularly given the literary market’s difficult bricks-and-mortar retail footprint. And where the author interview has sometimes used as a post-purchase benefit, say at the back of a new edition, our approach is to use this contextual bonus media as the spur to the initial purchase. Personality, style, excitement and interest can be stoked by this truly multimedia introduction to a great new book

Audiences: twitter followers, blog followers, facebook followers, publishing house email lists, &c.

Use contexts: Retail space via smartphone users (QR code on book jacket), podcasts, soundcloud, publisher websites, third party promotions, literary festival sites.

The sharing model

The graphic right indicates how we think papercasting can generate value by providing entertaining and shareable content shared over the desktop and mobile internet – a new exchange between authors, readers to retailers.


Listen to a papercast we created for “London Bridge in America” by Travis Elborough (Jonathan Cape, 2013):