I live in a student town – Cambridge, in England – and one thing that a student town offers is plenty to do. When the students are in residence, there is too much to choose from: concerts, plays, recitals, readings, exhibitions, lectures and performances of every stripe. To advertise their events and happenings, the students have taken to printing A4 posters, laminating them, and then tying them to railings around town. Certain stretches of railings have become de facto noticeboards.
One day last week, as we cycled through town, my husband suddenly screeched to a halt (must oil those brakes…) and said, “You could do that – put Plank on the railings!” (In our house, “Fatal Forgery” is called Plank, after the hero – it’s one syllable against five.) And so I did. I made up some posters showing the cover of the book – which I still think is a really strong image – and added the eye-catching headline “Hang the crooked bankers! (Or at least they did in 1824)”. Then I put two sentences about the book, and mentioned that it is available from Amazon and two local bookshops. Husband and I then pedalled around town again, using zip ties to attach the by-now-laminated posters to key railings – including right next to said bookshops.
Of course, it will be almost impossible to gauge their effect. Of the eight we put up, seven are still there. One has disappeared from some church railings, which are still full of other posters. Did the vicar take exception to the seeming promotion of capital punishment? Did someone love the image so much that they took it home with them? Who knows – but it’s certainly exciting to cycle past my own book cover in the seven other locations. That’s what self-published people need: lateral thinking and an imaginative spouse.