Fourth Estate has rolled out an innovative marketing campaign for playwright Jordan Tannahill’s forthcoming novel The Listeners, featuring mysterious flyers and an information hotline.
When dialled, callers were greeted by a recorded message from someone called Howard Bard, talking through the potential symptoms they might be experiencing and promising an “information pack” to anyone who provided their details.
Since its launch on 19th March, the phoneline has had more than 400 calls and over 200 messages, while the posts have seen "huge" take-up and traction on social media.
Those who called the hotline were then emailed this week and offered digital proofs, as well as physical copies on a first-come, first-served basis. Proof copies have started landing with bloggers, authors and booksellers this week, clarifying the link between the phone number and book release.
Hailed by Emma Donoghue as “a deeply plausible, funny, horrifying story of a journey right off the rails”, The Listeners is a speculative novel exploring the fine lines between faith, conspiracy and mania in contemporary America. It is published on 8th July 2021.
The synopsis explains: “Beginning with a woman who hears a mysterious low hum that her family cannot, the novel gradually descends into a nail-biting, exhilarating and deeply unsettling story about the lengths we go to to find meaning and maintain control. Inspired by real-life cases of people reporting hearing hums all over the world, The Listeners explores the seduction of the wild and unknowable, the human search for the transcendent, the rise of conspiracy culture in the West, and the desire for community and connection in our increasingly polarised times.”
The line is still open to those looking to discover more information, by calling 020 8307 4636.