Happy Book Birthday to… The Testimony by James Smythe!

Thursdays are a special day in UK publishing, as they normally signify pub dates! I thought for a new feature on the blog I would do a ‘Happy Book Birthday’ to a book that I’ve worked on and want to shout about. And to make up for the shameless HC promotion, I promise to share a little insider-anecdote about something to do with the book to make it a bit more interesting 🙂

But actually, I’m going to bend the rules for my first ever Happy Book Birthday, as I didn’t actually work on this specific novel. But I did have the privilege to work on the author’s next book, The Explorer, a brilliant SF novel which is due out in January 2013. But back to the task at hand…

Happy Book Birthday to…

The Testimony by James Smythe

A global thriller presenting an apocalyptic vision of a world on the brink of despair and destruction.

What would you do if the world was brought to a standstill? If you heard deafening static followed by the words ‘MY CHILDREN, DO NOT BE AFRAID’?

Would you turn to God? Declare it an act of terrorism? Subscribe to the conspiracy theories? Or put your faith in science and a rational explanation?

The lives of all twenty-six people in this account are affected by the message. Most because they heard it. Some because they didn’t.

The Testimony – a gripping story of the world brought to its knees and of its people, confused and afraid.

The Testimony is published by Blue Door Books, another imprint of HarperCollins. It’s a rare novel that can combine an ingenious high concept with fast-paced, thrilling action and still somehow remain cerebral, intelligent and well-written at the same time, but somehow James does exactly that. He is definitely an author to watch.

My sneaky-insider anecdote to do with The Testimony takes place during a marketing meeting a few months back. The enigmatic publisher of Blue Door, Patrick Janson-Smith, was concerned about how to get the word out about The Testimony. “I want it to go viral,” he said. “My Children Do Not Be Afraid. If there is ever a tagline that seems destined to ‘go viral’, it’s this.” But how exactly do you go viral. Viral is that word-of-mouth buzz that is so impossible to manufacture by its very nature. One suggestion was to commandeer the tannoy at a busy train station (like Waterloo), and interrupt everyone’s daily commute with the mysterious static and the message: My Children, Do Not Be Afraid. Someone pointed out that we would probably get arrested. “Perfect!” said Patrick.

Unfortunately, in the end, HC just doesn’t let its employees get arrested for the sake of book sales, and so instead a fantastic team effort resulted in this awesome trailer, and I challenge you to not want to read this book after watching it!

And besides, how do you really make something ‘go viral’? By talking about it and wanting to share it with everyone you know, and so that’s why I’m encouraging you to go out and Buy or download The Testimony now!


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