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Marketability eBulletin

Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 6 March 2018. In this issue:

We are hardwired to find storytelling irresistible (as is this Contently article)

I’m indebted to Jenny Lank at Bloomsbury Professional for sharing this with me. I’m a great believer in the power of storytelling as a copywriting technique, so this post on the Contently website was right up my alley.

Essentially this explains why stories have the power to draw us in and exclude distractions, which is precisely what we experience when we become hooked on a great book or movie. So in these days of fighting to get the attention of time-poor readers, this really is a technique we can’t ignore – in any context.

Read the fascinating article on the Contently website.

Our Copywriting Workshop is THE place to be for more like this.


2018 Email Marketing Benchmarking Report is a must-read

This is the 10th year of’s reports, which are especially useful if you’re an SME not based in North America. The report is the result of analysing over 1bn emails sent on behalf of clients in 2017, and is broken down into 29 different sectors, of which publishing is one. There’s plenty to digest here, but here are some of the stats that caught my attention. Note that a significant number of the publishers represented here are of magazines, whose emails may (or may not) perform quite differently to yours.

  • Open rate has increased slightly overall, from 24.79% to 25.44%
  • Click-through rate has too, from 4.19% to 4.76%
  • Click-to-open has increased too (now 12.5%) and unsubscribes have reduced. All of these stats indicate that email content and accuracy is improving generally
  • Publishing’s performance on open and CTR are below average, at 19.55% and 3.8%, but CTO is 12.11% (not far adrift) and unsubscribes remain below average – our readers are loyal
  • The % of readers opening on a mobile device actually fell slightly (from 53% to 48%), but twice as many click throughs came from a desktop rather than a mobile
  • Automated emails saw open rates and CTO rates of over 40%, proving yet again the power of the relevance and timeliness that only they can deliver.

There’s much more information to be gleaned from the report and to be deduced and pondered on. Especially useful this time around are the charts showing trends over the last few years.

Read more about and download the free Sign-Up-to report for yourself.

Our Email Marketing Workshop is a great way to follow up by discussing how it all applies to publishing.


The compelling case for circa details in the absence of fixed ones

This especially applies to major reference works, bringing together multiple contributors, topics and chapters. All too often the product description is short on precise detail because the project is in development, and publishers feel naturally reluctant not to guess and get it wrong. But meanwhile it is essential for library budgeting purposes that the product records are available at least six months and preferably a year pre-publication.

The problem is that omitting key information such as page extent, number of contributors and chapters/entries/illustrations means the title being passed over by librarians wanting to assess value for money. Worse than this, the omissions suggest that the title may be vaguely conceived, that it’s too far from publication to commit to yet, or (worse) that you’re deliberately avoiding giving details that won’t impress.

Including circa/approximate details puts you back in the frame. It improves impact, helps librarians to assess, and does justice to your ambitions for it. And it’s grown-up: librarians do know that major reference works take time to develop. Just make sure that you:

  1. Make your circa details as accurate as you reasonably can
  2. Replace them with actual details when available AND remember to update the circa ones too if it becomes clear that earlier estimates were wrong.

Our Copywriting Workshop is the place to be for more like this. This is our most popular in-company tailored course too.


Tip of the week: Shadowing is a great way for newbies to learn the business

Thank you to the attendee at a session I was running in Singapore last week for putting the case for internal mentoring and shadowing schemes. As an ex Marketing Director myself I’ve always been a big believer in looking at the experience that staff can gain in-house free of charge. Two of these include spending a day out with a rep visiting customers, and shadowing a member of staff at a similar level in another department, so both get to see the other’s role at first hand.

And naturally we think it’s then a great idea to consolidate this with coming along to our Introduction to Marketing in Publishing Workshop.



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Tel +44 (0)20 8977 2741