Damian Horner began in advertising. Set up an agency and won a load of awards. Sold the agency and went travelling. He freelanced for ten years as a marketing strategist for top brands, likes of Microsoft. Came back to the UK to work with Hachette on Innovation projects.
We also acquired Neon Play last year which is a mobile game developer and are working on some interesting interactive story concepts with them.
And we’ve also just run a test with You Tube that hit over a million views for a series of picture book videos.
Then there’s all the other cool stuff that I’m afraid I can’t tell you about because it’s confidential!
But if you want a more dramatic insight into what might happen then I think we should recognize that mobiles will redefine the book reading experience and in particular the amount of control a reader has over the plot.
Hooked, Lifeline, Her Story, Episodes…there are already lots of players in this space and they are completely redefining how stories can be told. What is slightly depressing is that none of them have been developed by a ‘conventional’ book publisher.
- The first is the crucial importance of starting with your target audience and understanding what they want, think, need and feel.
- The second is to keep things simple. Less is always more.
- Thirdly, try to do things differently. Go out of your way to find a fresh approach.
Consumers just can’t keep up with the flood of books that hit the market.
So discoverability is the problem that is killing the industry and the algorithm world we live in nowadays is making it even harder for new books to stand out.
So very often - a great story just isn’t enough any more.
The more an author has done to build a profile and a following the greater their chances of success.
If they don’t do this they will never get it published because at the end of the day, agents and retailers need to know there is an audience for that book.
And that audience definition needs to be pretty precise. Saying ‘women of all ages’ for example is simply not good enough.
My tip would be to start by thinking about a specific age (all that goes with that) or a particular moment in life - rather than a broad demographic group
I am still immensely proud of them but they never saw the light of day because they break just about every convention when it comes to book cover design.
(And that is exactly why I think they would have worked in terms of engaging an audience that had shown no previous interest in the novels)
An old wooden boat.
A classic car.
A lovely wife.
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Website: Damian Horner