Authorfy, the online platform that provides schools with online author masterclasses, is teaming up with publishers to give away promotional materials such as bookmarks and posters.
Founder Mel Taylor-Bessent said she wanted to launch the ‘Surprise Boxes’ scheme because authors were inundated with requests from teachers for free promotional materials over the summer holidays.
“Although some are happy to oblige, most had to politely decline and explain that it’s not their responsibility to make up for the lack of school funds,” she told The Bookseller. “Some authors I know have spent £1,000 in the last year on sending freebies to schools, and have explained that it’s just not sustainable.”
Every month, Authorfy will give away 20 boxes of books and promotional materials, meaning they can reach 240 schools in one year.
“We know it won’t help everyone, but it’s a start! Publishers can include it as part of their social responsibility initiatives and we’re especially excited for our Halloween and Christmas themed boxes,” said Taylor-Bessent.
The publishers who have signed up to sponsor the boxes are Usborne, Macmillan, Walker, Scholastic, HarperCollins and Andersen Press and schools can apply via the Authorfy website. The winning schools will be selected at random.