Christian-book publisher Broadman & Holman wanted to capitalize on the hype around the December 9 theatrical release of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by publishing four related books: Jack's Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis by Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham, Narnia Beckons, Further Up & Further In, and The Keys to the Chronicles.
The goal: differentiate the books from the more than 210 Narnia-related titles that were about to hit the shelves. "The plan was to promote the books in a pre-film 'read-it-before-you-see-it' campaign," says Jennifer McAndrew, a literary publicist at BookPros. Each author was pitched as an expert source, with Gresham offering an exclusive and personal viewpoint. "Lewis was a Christian theologian, but we wanted to show these books would appeal to more than just a faith-based audience," McAndrew says.
Because of their long lead times, BookPros first pitched book reviewers and religion writers at wire services and top dailies. "We used the same strategy to target religious media, focusing on national print media first, and then radio and TV outlets," she says.
The effort generated nearly 300 radio, TV, online, and print interviews, and placements with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, Christianity Today, the Associated Press, and ABC's Nightline. These led to a full-page feature story for Gresham and Jack's Life with USA Today and an interview in Entertainment Weekly's Narnia cover story. A week before the film's release, Jack's Life hit number 329 on Amazon's bestseller list.
Disney is making a theatrical version of Prince Caspian, the next book in the series, and Broadman & Holman is exploring potential book tie-ins.
PR TEAM: Broadman & Holman Publishers (Nashville, TN) and BookPros (Austin, TX)
CAMPAIGN: Narnia Book Launch
DURATION: September to December 2005