Deborah Harkness ‘A Discovery of Witches’
Client: Headline Publishing
How we'd explain it to our mothers
‘A Discovery of Witches’ was the debut novel from author Deborah Harkness, tipped to be one of the biggest books of 2011. Headline were confident that the narrative’s combination of the supernatural and the romantic, set amongst the dreamy spires of Oxford, would bring out the readers in droves. They asked us to work our magic and maximise sales by creating a bold creative route for a campaign that would build a lasting relationship with readers.
Whet the appetite of readers in anticipation of the launch: increase Deborah Harkness’ profile; get retailers and early adopters (bloggers) excited enough to latch onto this "next big thing."
For the hardback:
Creative route for the entire campaign: a website, designed icons, Facebook quiz
For the paperback:
A new Facebook quiz
How we did it
Knowing that our audience was most likely to go online to find out more about the novel and this new writer, we created an interactive site offering extracts from the novel, interviews and other assets. The book chronicles the interaction of four different species of creature: witches, daemons, vampires and humans, and we developed an icon for each of these by delving into the dark arts of symbology. The icons were also used for T-shirts worn by staff at Waterstone’s in the UK. We also developed a Facebook quiz, challenging readers to discover which species they embody: elemental and earthy (a witch); a walker of ‘the tightrope between madness and genuis’(a daemon); ‘beautiful, focused and dangerous’ (a vampire); or fearful and weak (a human, bad luck). We revisited the quiz for the paperback launch, writing a new test to explore each of the characters further.
The book has been a huge success, reaching #6 in the Sunday Times Bestseller list for hardcover fiction in its first week of release. To date, nearly 1000 Facebook users have taken the quiz.