The Life of the Robin book cover

The Life of the Robin

A re-issue by Pallas Athene Books, with an Introduction by urban birder David Lindo and with 21 illustrations by award-winning artist Robert Gillmor

The Life of the Robin was a groundbreaking book when it was first published, and it quickly established itself as a classical ornithological text and its author, then a biology teacher at Dartington Hall School, as a leading ornithologist in the UK and abroad. Peter Lack, his son, mentions in his Postscript to the book that his father was one of the last Fellows of the Royal Society to be elected on the basis of the work done as an amateur.

Lack’s findings about the robin were to change the perception of the bird forever. His study was the first to identify the fundamental significance of a territory and of song in the maintenance of this territory. It also shockingly exposed the robin’s Jekyll and Hyde personality. This tame, cheerful little creature – recently voted ‘Britain’s National Bird’ – turned out to be a fierce aggressor…

The challenge

Finding a ‘media home’ for The Life of the Robin wasn’t obvious as it was a re-issue. Moreover, the gardening sections of newspapers are rather small and already brimming with information about products etc.

The solution

Work closely with the publisher and all the other professionals involved, and contact a wide spectrum of media ranging from glossy gardening/ home design titles (the robin is a garden bird) to specialist ornithology publications and blogs.

The result

The Life of the Robin was featured in Country Life (ABC controlled circulation 39K+), Gardens Illustrated (ABC controlled circ. 38K+) and BBC Wildlife Magazine (ABC controlled circ. 36K), to mention just a few consumer titles. Leading literary monthly, The Literary Review (circ. 45K) announced the book. It was also featured in the RSPB’s quarterly magazine (the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ member publication, ABC controlled circ. 607K) and Birdwatching (ABC controlled circ. 14K), plus some influential bird blogs including Mark Avery’s ‘Standing Up for Nature’. Despite being launched close to the Brexit Referendum whose coverage dominated the news scene for obvious reasons, the Guardian online announced it (ABC circ. 167,000,000 MUVs) and the Sunday Times’ gardening pages gave it a mention (ABC circ. 806,000,000).