At lunchtime, the Otley branch of HSBC is a hive of activity. On the pavement outside, a writer stands with a bag bulging with copies of his latest novel. He's attempting to engage a Londoner who is figeting uncomfortably under close questioning.
"Hello. Would you like a book?"
"No, you're alright, mate."
"No, really, I don't want it."
"I wrote it. Go on, you might like it."
"I don't really read books, so it'd be a bit of a waste of time."
"You could sell it on eBay and buy beer instead."
"Nah. You're alright, thanks."
My heart goes out to Robert Chalmers. His East of Nowhere wasn't selling well in stores, so he took it to the streets:
"The likes of HarperCollins and Macmillan can blanket-bomb towns with those huge bookshop displays. I've always wondered whether 'ordinary people' with no influence or literary connections would actually like my books - I mean, it's not like they're Dostoyevsky or something. So, we had this joke in the pub a while ago... and now, well, here we are."
Inspired by finding novels littered on Manhattan subways by authors trying to create a word-of-mouth buzz, Chalmers devised a scheme to help promote his new book, East of Nowhere. "It's putting the litter back in literature. I had this idea of bombarding a small town with books so they'd end up everywhere and can't be avoided."
Well, I sure wouldn't say no to a free copy of East of Nowhere. I like this bloke's style.
Click over and read the entire article. It's a hoot.