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The Marketability eBulletin

Our free resources currently comprise the fortnightly eBulletin, and a searchable archive of almost 1000 original articles that have been edited and archived for their continuing relevance.

Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 26 November 2019. In this issue:

We all want our companies to be ‘distinctive’, but what does that mean?

Next week I’m back at the Guadalajara Book Fair, running two workshops for publishers (one trade, one academic) on how to ensure that they stand out from the crowd. I’m gathering examples at the moment and it’s reinforcing that there’s no rule book or template you can follow. Which of course is very much the point ...

Publishing publishes far too many books. Many of them (books and publishers) sound like clones. The web is teeming with articles and reports on every subject under the sun, many of them free.

As a company we need a simple and compelling brand proposition, built around why doing business with us is a positive experience. In other words, viewed from our customers’ perspective. We need to engender trust and prove authority, but without bragging about how fabulous we are. For a small publisher, that may mean stressing that we’re personal and flexible, something large companies find tough.

The same principle applies to every product and every marketing campaign too. The opening line of copy is critically important. If this is specific and avoids generic claims then the message is far less likely to sink without trace in the sea of competition.

Practical Marketing Strategies for Academic Publishers, and Marketing Strategies to Help Trade Publishers Stand Out from the Crowd, are on 3 and 4 December respectively. Drop me a reply if you’d like me to forward details.

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


104 Email Marketing Myths ... from Hubspot

Hubspot’s report published this month draws on data from 4bn emails sent by 1000 active senders, so it should be robust. What we don’t know is the geographical or sector profile, but I’m assuming a heavy North American and consumer bias. That doesn’t make the findings any less interesting, but does mean we should consider (as always) how different our own audience’s needs and preferences may be.

The full report is called 104 Email Marketing Myths, Experiments and Inspiration (including the best time to send marketing emails, which is flagged at the top of the page). Yours to download free in exchange for a very short registration process. Some ‘myths’ are very obvious (‘Messages don’t NEED to be mobile-responsive’ doesn’t strike me as a myth in anyone’s book), but there’s plenty here to think about and question, and links to related blog posts for more details.

Read more on the Hubspot website.

Our Email Marketing Workshop exists to help make sense of all the guidance out there and apply it to publishing.


If I was an author, I’d appreciate this guidance from Channel View Publications

I’ve been thinking a lot about the author/publisher partnership this month and this excellent example caught my eye.

As a small and specialist publisher, Channel View Publications welcome manuscripts originating from PhD theses. They explain that they work closely with authors to turn that research into a book, investing more time in it than many larger companies could. (Underlying message: we are experts, signing with us means embracing our advice.)

Here’s a stand-out tip from their guide for prospective authors which any publisher who recognises this scenario could benefit from using:

“The author needs to ask not: ‘How will people who are paid to read this (supervisors and examiners) judge it?’ but rather: ‘How can I encourage people to pay to read this?’”

Nice one, Channel View!

Our Getting the Best from the Author Partnership course is being developed now and will run first in Mexico next month. If you’d be interested in bringing a tailored version to your offices in 2020, do email me on


On The Marketability Grapevine on Facebook

  • Just came across two upbeat articles on the success over the last couple of years of small independent bookstores. I wonder whether this will be reflected in 2019’s year end results too?
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Tip of the week: To tackle procrastination you first need to own up to it

The problem with procrastination is that we deny that we’re doing it. ‘This inbox won’t manage itself and I can tackle that big/challenging project later today.’

So first we need to recognise this as flawed logic, and second we need to do ourselves a favour and just dive straight in to our priority task. Just making a start can take the stress away ...




Marketability (UK) Ltd

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Tel +44 (0)20 8977 2741