News for Authors

Penguin Random House Publishing Highlights: 2020

by The Author Newsletter Team|January, 2021

Despite the countless challenges we all faced in 2020, Penguin Random House continues to celebrate honors and accolades for our books and authors. Let’s take a moment to look back on the many successes our talented authors achieved. Read more

Looking Ahead at Consumer Insights for Early 2021

by Grant Griglak|December, 2020

At Penguin Random House, direct communication and relationships with readers are key to marketplace success, and strong consumer marketing and outreach begin with understanding our audience. For a look at the quarter ahead (Q1 2021), read on! If you’d like to review the changes the team has been tracking over the course of the pandemic, check out the newsletter article from July here.

 

For the past couple of years, the Penguin Random House Consumer Insights team has produced a report called Moments, which aims to predict consumer sentiment and behaviors that we can expect during the following quarter (i.e., to capture a consumer mindset at a moment in time). To compile this report, we look at signals through various lenses, including cultural, commercial, category, and consumer, and we use multiple data sources including sales data, keyword search trends, and social media listening, as well as trade and consumer media. Here are the consumer mindsets that we think will be relevant in Q1 2021.

Seeking Empathy in a Post-Truth World: We struggle to find unity and compromise in a world where we face “truth decay.” This elucidates the tension that political polarization is on the rise—as more Americans use words like “different,” “dislikable,” and “immoral” to describe those of the opposite party (Vox)—while at the same time, seven in ten Americans believe they have “more in common with one another than many think” (Politico). As folks flock to “uncensored” sites like Parler and MeWe, how do we help Americans look past “their side” and find common ground in the truth and in respecting human rights? Books are uniquely positioned to help build empathy and see the world from someone else’s point of view—whether that’s through fiction or nonfiction, for kids or adults.

Spirituality Rising: After years of decreases in the percentage of Americans engaging with formalized religion, many are turning to faith and other spiritual avenues for hope, clarity, and community during this uncertain time. In fact, 24 percent of U.S. adults said their faith had become stronger as a result of the pandemic, while just 2 percent said their faith had weakened (Pew). The uptick also applies to nondenominational spirituality. For example, Google searches for “psychic predictions coronavirus” surged 250 percent globally from March to June” (Grazia).

Raising for Resilience: Parents are playing a multitude of roles, as they seek to ensure their kids are getting everything they need to thrive in today’s world. We see them championing education apps like Up or classes cultivating financial literacy, culinary knowledge, and job-seeking savvy. Smart educational institutions are teaching coding to toddlers and furnishing students with the crucial skill sets they need to thrive in emerging industries such as e-sports. Parents are also looking for advice in places like Nurture, which provides neuroscience-backed parenting tips and products.

The New Community: As consumers grapple with grief and anxiety about the pandemic, they seek connection more than ever. In addition to the devastating health impact of the COVID-19 crisis, people are struggling with “a loss of connection and identity while isolated” (Fast Company). Whether through virtual events (like Zoom’s new Zapps, games like Among Us, or simply virtual book clubs) or passion for fandoms (from Billie Eilish to Sesame Street), brands are poised to help fill the void.

 

Moments Q1 2021 also highlights anticipated consumer sentiment around key occasions:

  • New Year’s Day: Consumers are seeking inclusive wellness, activism as self-care, and journaling to process their emotions.
  • Valentine’s Day: In addition to romance, consumers want to celebrate their friends, their kids, and their pets.
  • Black History Month: Consumers are asking brands to go deeper than the usual Black History Month messaging such as MLK and Rosa Parks. While those figures are incredibly important, this year, consumers are looking for brands to walk the walk when it comes to supporting racial justice, and to go beyond February and integrate Black voices, stories, and consumers into everyday action.
  • Easter: While Easter is technically not until Q2 (April 4), consumers will be prepping ten to twelve weeks in advance. Those who celebrate tend to be younger, Millennial-parent families in the South and Midwest.

 

If you have content in your book that aligns with any of these themes or moments, contact your marketing team to discuss ways to activate your audience with relevant messaging, offers, and discussion opportunities!

 

 

Grant Griglak is Director, Consumer & Marketplace Insights at Penguin Random House.

Help Us Foster Greater Diversity and Inclusion at Penguin Random House

by The Author Newsletter Team|October, 2020

Calling all PRH authors and creators with books published from 2019 to 2021! Please participate in our author survey, which is a key step in helping us to conduct an audit of our publishing programs. Your participation is invaluable to us as we work toward our goal of publishing books that more comprehensively reflect our society and the diverse communities of readers we serve. Read more

Introducing Our Global Social Impact Website

by The Author Newsletter Team|September, 2020

Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, recently sent the following letter to employees worldwide announcing the launch of the Global Social Impact website. Read on to discover how our company’s actions and values unify employees globally into a collective force dedicated to transforming lives and communities locally. Read more

Penguin Random House Education and National Council of Teachers of English Reimagine Awards Program

by The Author Newsletter Team|August, 2020

In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and in recognition of the urgent need to recruit and empower educators of color, Penguin Random House Education (PRHE) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) reimagined their annual Teacher Awards program, which they began co-sponsoring and administering last year, for 2020. Read more

A Note from the PRH U.S. Board

June, 2020

On Monday, June 8, members of the U.S. Board sent the following companywide email to Penguin Random House employees outlining an action plan and commitments regarding the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
Read more

Bringing Reading to New Audiences with Literary Podcasts

by Neda Dallal|April, 2020

As people worldwide practice social distancing, podcasts are a great way to connect with readers. Read on to learn about some great literary podcasts that bring book lovers together, even from afar. Read more

Penguin Random House Publishing Highlights: 2019

January, 2020

As we ring in the new year (and new decade!), it’s a great time to look back on the many successes our talented authors achieved in 2019. We are excited to work closely with many of you in 2020, and to celebrate more coming accomplishments! Read more

The Ins and Outs of Cover Design

by Anthony Ramondo|December, 2019

For many authors, the design process behind their book jackets remains a mystery. Read on for a PRH creative director’s firsthand experience of creating cover designs, insights into how to translate a manuscript into a visual concept, and examples of different cover options for a few of our titles! Read more

2009 to 2019: A Decade of Changes in Book Publishing

by Phil Stamper-Halpin|September, 2019

The past decade in book publishing has been a fascinating time for readers, retailers, authors, and publishers alike. The rise of digital, the self-publishing boom, and significant competition from other media products have all changed the landscape of the industry. Read more