Secret Project – We need your help!

Secret Project – We need your help!

Book Thingo logoAre you a supporter of romance fiction? Are you planning to attend the 2014 Sydney Writers’ Festival? If so, we need your help!

If you follow @BookThingo on Twitter, you might have heard that we’ve been a little busy planning a Secret Project to coincide with the Sydney Writers Festival. (It’s also why we haven’t posted in a while — sorry about that!)

Today, I can finally tell you a little bit about what we’re doing — but not everything. You’ll have to wait until next week for that. :)

Back in April, when the Sydney Writers’ Festival released their program and Gabby wrote her open letter stating her anger at the exclusion of romance authors in the program, there was a feeling — at least on Twitter — that maybe it’s time for readers to do something rather than just complaining about the same thing, year after year. It wasn’t just that we were outraged — again — but that, based on the number of retweets and reposts of Gabby’s letter — the level of support we got this year seemed to indicate that we had the numbers to actually do something about it.

We had long conversations on Twitter about the issue, including what we can do to raise awareness for romance fiction. (You can find a recap here.) Suggestions included an alternative festival, a Mills & Boon sit-in or reading flashmob, a Bookcrossing-style book bombing, leaving extracts of romance books or papers for people to find, or a Twitter hashtag campaign.

Then Jen, our creative genius, mentioned that she’d been toying with the idea of remixing romance covers into more literary covers, which led to the reverse idea — remixing literary titles with romance cover styles.

So for the past month, Jen, Gabby and I have been busy planning how we can make this happen. And now, it’s ready.

We have printed 1250 postcards with 5 different designs on the front — 3 cover remixes, and 2 with literary quotes from romance books. The quotes tie in with the SWF advertising campaign on bus stops and garbage trucks around the city, but they aren’t tied to SWF. SWF was more…an inspiration.

At the back of the postcard is a short message about what we’re doing, how readers can find out more about romance, and how other romance readers can support the campaign.

How you can help

What we’d like to do is to distribute these postcards around the festival next week. Our aim is to make this a fun and positive campaign — We don’t want to sound like obnoxious readers with a sense of entitlement! — without losing the sense of disappointment at being excluded from the festival, and conviction that romance fiction is important.

So we’re looking for other readers who will be attending the Sydney Writers’ Festival to help place these postcards where other readers can find them.

We don’t need you to do anything sneaky, illegal or inconvenient. We’re simply asking you to leave a card or two behind on your seat when you leave a session, or on a table after you’ve had a bite to eat — basically leave a trail of postcards as you enjoy the festival. That’s it. Dead easy, right?

The only conditions we’d like you to adhere to are that you don’t leave cards where it would be littering. So maybe don’t leave it on the ground, or anywhere it might fly off outdoors. Other than that, feel free to be creative!

If you’d like to help out, please email with the subject line POSTCARDS, your name and postal address, and how many sessions you plan to attend.

That last part is so I can figure out how many postcards to send you. If you plan to just walk around the festival and drop in and out of sessions, let me know how many cards you need, or how many days you plan to attend and I’ll guesstimate.

What you’ll get

I’ll send out around 10 postcards per session. (If you think you can use more, let me know!)

Of course, when you see what Jen came up with, you’ll be tempted to keep them. I’ve already anticipated that, so I’ll include an extra set with each different design for you to keep.

If you’re attending sessions on Monday, please email me before 5pm today so I can pop the cards in the mail and hopefully have them to you by tomorrow.

Watch this space as we reveal the designs next week!


  1. Kat says:

    SWF is the last bastion. I think we’ll see a romance author in an SWF panel in my lifetime, I’m sure of it. :D

    Rachael, I think Perth Writers Festival might surprise you.

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