Sunday, 29 May 2011

digital marketing - Tor

Over the next few weeks this blog is going to focus on what the four imprints I’m using as case studies for my dissertation do to digitally market their books. Like a bookish clash between Come Dine with Me and Whose Line is it Anyway?, each imprint gets a turn, the rules are made up and the points don’t matter. This post is about Tor UK.


Website: the imprint has a section on the Pan Macmillan website, but it works as a shop rather than a marketing tool (although it does contain a list of author events). This is unique for a publisher – to sell direct to customers and cut out the middle Amazon-man, so points to Tor for that. If you select a particular book by an author you can then go to a page specifically about the author, and subscribe to certain RSS feeds. More points.

Twitter: this site is Tor’s hub for marketing. Events will get mentioned, review links posted, pictures of tours, author ventures plugged (like China Miéville’s short story 'Covehithe' in the Guardian not long ago). Editorial Director of Tor Julie Crisp is always present on Twitter, tweeting their latest campaigns, communicating with readers and providing relevant links, whilst not being overly pushy about the books she’s publishing, so kudos points for that last part. Tor trends topics like #towelday – 25 May is Towel Day in memory of the great Douglas Adams - really taking advantage of what Twitter can do. Tor UK is on there too, obviously tweeting about subjects relating to their list, but with personality and, dare I say it, vim. They’re also using Twitter to advertise their competition in cahoots with SFX magazine for cover designing. More points to them.

Facebook: I can’t find their Facebook page, so I’ve assumed there isn’t one, or it’s nigh impossible to locate. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Digital advances: Amazon’s Kindle store lists 81 of their titles, and it can be assumed that this list is going to grow. They’re all ‘vanilla’ at the moment, however, in 2009 an anniversary iPhone app for Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was created that had plenty of special features. A Bookseller article from February 2008 details how Tor gave away free copies of some of their titles in eBook form to advertise a ‘website’, but it provides no further detail other than saying that readers were, understandably, pretty well-pleased. There are no other articles in the Bookseller that talk about Tor’s digital initiatives, and none that I can find elsewhere. It was a great start – but did it end here?

YouTube: ADDITION - When I wrote this I hadn't found Tor's YouTube page, which is part of Pan Macmillan's page - you can see trailers, interviews, TV appearances from their authors, and more. Points to them, and a few more because I missed it the first time around.

Blog: N/A

Extras: Tor UK do have an e-newsletter that you can sign up to, which is great, but it’s not released nearly as often as I’d like to receive it. Genre for Japan: the imprint offered a year’s supply of their books for the cause. Charity points to them.

Conclusion: contain yourself - an exciting summary will follow after all four imprints have had their turn. Disclaimer: they will not win £1000 presented to them on a silver platter. They will not get to read out the end credits in the style of a sports commentator.


  1. What about

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