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Liz Small of Waverley Books

December 5th, 2011 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Liz Small of Waverley Books
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Liz Small of Waverley Books joined the Publishing Studies courses at Stirling University on 10th November 2011 to give a talk about marketing and sales in publishing. Liz immediately grasped our attention when she announced that “everything on the front desk will be given away to you all for free”. Obviously the prospect of free books to a room of 32 publishing students went down a real treat, we all sat excitedly awaiting the moment when we could rush to the front of the room and grab everything and anything that we could.

Liz gave us a brief overview of Waverley Books, of which she is the sales and marketing manager. Waverley Books is a very small firm, with only seven employees. However, it is an imprint of a larger publisher, Geddes and Grosset, who have become successful over the years due to their grasp of the referencing genre. They sell dictionaries internationally and this provides excellent revenue for the company.  Waverley is also part of the large DC Thomson Group, a Scottish based company which owns newspapers, magazines, comics and, most famously The Beano and Dandy!  

Liz went on to discuss the books which she had brought in for us to take away and read. She firstly talked about Mad about Macarons!, this book has a charming back story about a women who moved to Paris with her husband and found her way in French society by learning to make wonderful macarons, or macaroons as they are know in Britain. Liz found that macarons are currently popular and considered to be very fashionable therefore she knew the book would have a market especially in upmarket independent book shops within the London area. She also discovered that macarons are extremely popular in America and Singapore, 20,000 copies of the book has been sold so far and the majority of sales have been within the international book market. Liz said that as the book has sold well in the American market Waverley Books could possibly consider printing a US copy of the book specifically for its marketplace.

Liz then covered Waverley’s first novel, Mavis’s Shoe. The book is set the Clydebank area of Glasgow during the Clydebank blitz in WW2. The author was inspired to write this book because of the impact the Iraq war had on the world. Liz used clever marketing techniques to promote this book, she sent out as many books as she could to as many important and influential people within the industry.  She also set up a performance in WHSmith in Glasgow in order to gain immediate pull factor between the consumer and the novel.

The final book Liz talked about was The Broon’s Day Oot.  Liz stressed that Waverley’s association with DC Thomson who own the famous Scottish comic, was not as much of an advantage as you would think as they still have to put in a full pitch to secure the right to use the characters. Waverley printed The Broons, Days Oot!, which sees The Broons speaking outside the comic strip format for the first time, is a guide to Scotland’s best days out. Liz worked with the Daily Mail newspaper and created a roadmap and quiz book to coincide with the release of the book; this was a successful and great marketing ploy to get this product to the masses. It is also invaluable marketing as it can create a word of mouth buzz about the book.

Liz closed her talk with allowing us students to rush to the front of the room and grab the book that we really wanted!

– Amy Raybould