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Cathy Cassidy down under and a tribute to her marketing strategy

Cathy Cassidy banner from her website

For those of you in Australia who are reading my blog, Cathy Cassidy is coming your way on tour. I’m a big fan of Cathy’s books, and am always especially impressed with how quickly she writes them! Something to be admired definitely.

Cathy Cassidy's camper van

Her events are always excellent and it is great that she is taking her camper van down under to visit her Australian fans – so check her out if you can. The tour dates are on Cathy’s website here.

Cathy is beautifully marketed by her publisher, Puffin. When I first started at Puffin Indigo Blue proofs were just doing the rounds with the bookbuyers and we were pitching for Driftwood. The marketing team and Cathy came up with some fantastic ideas including Cathy’s, now famous camper van complete with all the trademark illustrations all over it, Cathy Cassidy’s friendship festival and basically a very real understanding of who the audience for her books are.

It feels like a very intimate form of marketing with Cathy. Puffin have really looked at the person Cathy is and built on that and the incredibly special relationship she has with her fans. From what I remember, there would always be loads of letters for Cathy in the marketing in-tray and she would try to reply to all of them. She was an agony aunt for Shout magazine, she’s a vegetarian who lives in the countryside, has a couple of dogs and a great family life – she could almost be one of the characters from her books so that obviously helps tremendously. It feels as if there’s no division between her stories and the promotion of them.

What better marketing strategy than an invisible one…one that doesn’t feel like a marketing strategy at all?

In fact the books also blur the boundary between fiction and other activities, with the end pages being full of fun questionnaires to fill out about your best friends, mixed with tips on how to cope with bullying, who you can turn to and most importantly, reassuring the reader that they are not alone.

They have also picked their relationships and affiliations carefully too with Cathy’s “My Best Friend Rocks” awards being in association with Mizz magazine and ChildLine. A perfect combination.

My Best Friend Rocks

This is something I feel is quite unique in some ways to the marketing of children’s books in he publishing industry. It makes me think of Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events and the wonderfully subtle way it was marketed both in the US and in the UK, Alex Rider and some of the daredevil antics that have taken place for the launches of new books or something as simple and small as including a knitting pattern on the publisher’s website for Milo Armadillo.

I wonder if you get this kind of “extension of the book” feel to the marketing of adult titles? Maybe you do, but maybe for me it just isn’t as fun?

Any examples you can think of?

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