We've shared posts before about using well-known schemes for promoting your book that simply require you to give one or more copies away, such as BookCrossing and Books on the Underground. This Sunday, traditionally our day to talk about book promotion, I'd like to share a similar appeal that popped up on our private Facebook forum recently, in case you'd like to support it, or to seek out other needs of this kind in your local area.
An Appeal on behalf of Women's Aid
The appeal was made by author Orla Broderick on behalf of Women's Aid, a UK charity working to end domestic abuse. It runs hostels for women and children needing a safe refuge. Orla discovered that in one of these refuges a large bookshelf stood empty. Might any authors be able to spare a copy of their books to help fill the shelf? she wondered. Women in crisis would appreciate the opportunity to escape from their troubles into the pages of a good book.
While ALLi members may not always agree about every aspect of self-publishing, and the distribution of free books is one issue that always elicits lively debate – the flurry of generous offers that followed this appeal demonstrated the extraordinarily caring and supportive nature of the indie author community.
The two particular branches for which Orla was appealing are:
- Women's Aid, 57a Marleon Field, Silvercrest, Elgin, Moray IV10, 4GB, UK
- Skye Women's Aid, 3 Douglas Row, The Harbour, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD, UK
All donations of as-new books will be gratefully received. As one author suggested, this could be a great way to put to good use any copies of books that you've brought back from events with slightly damaged covers that make them unsaleable. If you've recently changed the cover design for a book, as I have, you might consider using your old stock this way. To save postage, if you're an Amazon Prime member, you could just order a copy from Amazon to be sent straight to the address (or indeed Lightning Source/Ingram Spark, though a postage charge will be made). Amazon will ask you for a phone number to go with the address, and you can source this from the Women's Aid website for whichever branch you'd like to support. There are lots of branches, not just the two listed above.
Similar Organisations Elsewhere
While Women's Aid is obviously a UK organisation, I'm sure – and I hope – there will be equivalent organisations in whichever country you are reading this post, and similar organisations for people facing different challenges e.g. hostels for the homeless.
Although in a way it feels cynical to talk about supporting good causes in the same breath as marketing, I feel strongly that marketing isn't only about making a profit or seeking the most commercial route, and this appeal will certainly help you reach readers who will appreciate and enjoy your work.
And as Caroline Sanderson wrote this week in her “Indie Picks” column in The Bookseller magazine, self-publishing isn't always about self.
How indie #authors can help good causes with their books - appeal via @OrlaBroderick Click To Tweet
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I need to go on and say that the response from the ALLi members was astonishing. It was/ is the sort of giving that restores faith in humanity – and that was what the manager of the refuge said. All the staff at all the refuges in the north of Scotland have been rendered speechless by the sheer volume of books. Many ALLi authors signed copies of their own books and wrote letters or notes of good will. I doubt any of ye are aware of the impact of your generosity on the women and children currently living in refugees in Scotland, which makes all this even more poignant. I said it before, but it is worth repeating – this is the reason you are called an Alliance. When you lot come together on something, wow, you are truly incredible. Thank you, from all the staff, all the women, all the children in the refuges in the north of Scotland. And, if you can, keep those books coming!
goodness me, what a lovely article. Thank you.