Vintage has unveiled the ambitious publicity and marketing plans for Kristen Roupenian’s debut book, You Know You Want This, a year after her ‘Cat Person’ story went viral in the New Yorker. 48 “rather special” billboards and a raft of interviews and appearances in the UK are scheduled to capitilise on the US author’s popularity for the publication on 7th February.
Roupenian’s short story collection was snapped up by Vintage imprint Jonathan Cape last December in a high five-figure deal, days after the record-breaking story about sex and gender relations, ‘Cat Person’, was published in the New Yorker. It later went to Scout Press in America in a rumoured seven-figure deal, and has gone to at least 26 territories since and Cape published 'Cat Person’ as a standalone paperback in May.
Now Vintage has shared its extensive publicity plans for You Know You Want This, with The Bookseller, including a trio of "huge" 48 sheet billboards to go live on Monday 4th February in high footfall areas of central London. “They will be seen 800,000 times over a fortnight and we’ve got something rather special planned to make them stand out,” a Vintage marketing spokesperson said.
The marketing team will be reprinting limited quantities of the You Know You Want This tote bag, “unofficially the most desirable publishing accessory of 2018”, with Vintage and Penguin social media channels will be posting “a plethora of exclusive interview and reading content in the run up to publication”.
“We’ve had a tremendous reaction to the collection from the media, in terms of requests for Kristen,” Jonathan Cape publicity director Joe Pickering said. “That’s maybe not surprising, given what a cultural phenomenon ‘Cat Person’ was and continues to be… But this has surpassed anything for a debut story collection I’ve worked on before.
“She’ll be visiting the UK the week of publication, so from 4th Feb we’ll be packing her schedule with a combination of broadcast, podcasts, in-person interviews and events, so that the bulk of things fall right around the month of release.”
“Podcasts are a major part of our author tours these days, as the audiences seem so engaged. She’ll be recording podcasts like the FT "Everything Else" show, "Ways to Change the World" with Krishnan Guru Murthy, Prospect magazine’s podcast and, in one of the things I’m most excited about, we’ll be recording a first-ever live edition of the brilliant "How to Fail" with Elizabeth Day podcast [at Foyles on 5th February].”
There will also be an event in Bristol on 6th February, which is an in-partnership event between Bristol Festival of Ideas and Waterstones with a Guardian Live appearance on publication day [7th February], where Roupenian will be in-conversation with Hadley Freeman. On the following day she will appear at Blackwell’s Oxford, where she will be interviewed by Man Booker-shortlisted Everything Under author Daisy Johnson.
The interviews will include the Guardian next month as well as other national newspapers, magazines and websites as well as a number of requests from BBC radio stations.
Pickering said he expected reviews across the board which will be “just the tip of the iceberg - we haven’t even got into the things she’ll be doing for our international partners like Ireland and Australia and New Zealand”. He added: “I’m getting interview requests most days now; I expect that to ramp up before and especially right after Christmas. She’s going to be extremely busy when she’s here.”
Jenni Ferrari-Adler at Union Literary recently told The Bookseller that You Know You Want This had sold in 26 territories. The short story collection is also slated for a HBO drama series