I live in France and can’t access UK bookshops easily, so I’ve had to be a little innovative in my PR and marketing.
I heard about Books on the Underground from a fellow author, historical novelist Victoria Lamb. The scheme is as simple as it sounds. Books travel around the London Underground network waiting to be read. As its website says: “You just finished that amazing book you’ve been reading, and you want to share it with the world? Well that’s what we wanted to do, so we created Books On The Underground. We went out and we left some of our favourite books on the London Underground. They’re there to be taken, read, shared, and most importantly, enjoyed. We’d love you to join us and leave some of your books on the Underground – after all, a good read cheers us all up.”
What's In It for Indie Authors?
Leaving a book you’ve enjoyed is a lovely idea, but what’s in it for indie/self-published authors? Visibility. For me as a newly-published author of two months, this is my goal for the next six months, so I decided to offer my debut novel Inceptio for the scheme. I was a little nervous, as there are some cracking books out there, many from mainstream publishers, and I hoped mine would sit well alongside them.
How I Got My Book on Board
Books on the Underground says: “If you’re an Author or a Publisher we’d love to work with you. Please drop us an email at [email protected] to discuss potential possibilities.” So I did.
The coordinator, Hollie, is delightful to deal with. In my initial email, I sent her the basic book details and the link to my blogsite. Hollie replied she would love to collaborate with me. I sent her three copies of my book and she posted the first photo this morning at Victoria Underground Station. (If you live in London, Hollie will send you the stickers so you can leave your books on trains yourself.)
The press, including Time Out and The Guardian have been pretty enthusiastic about the scheme (click here for their reports).
Now, the cynical may say that the books will get pinched and never returned. Maybe. But they’ll be off on a journey to places they wouldn’t reach otherwise. Mainstream authors and publishers wouldn’t “waste” their book stocks doing it if it wasn’t worth it, would they?