The HQ team embarked on a nationwide proof tour of more than 50 bookshops in one day, dressed in 1950s costumes, to hand-deliver copies of the imprint’s biggest debut for 2020, This Lovely City by debut author Louise Hare.
Twelve HQ staff, adorned in 1950s attire, visited Waterstones stores and independent bookshops across the UK, delivering ginger cake, postcards and wrapped early proofs of the novel by the Lucy Cavendish Prize-shortlisted author.
Staff covered more than 1,200 miles of the UK as part of the one-day tour earlier this month, visiting cities including Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, London, Bristol, Newcastle, York, Brighton and Bath. The visits were chronicled through the hashtag #ThisLovelyCity, which saw 859k impressions and had a reach of 77k over 24 hours, HQ said.
The novel, acquired by HQ last year in “significant” six-figure pre-empt, follows Lawrie, who left the Caribbean on board the Windrush, as he lives and works in 1950s London. The synopsis reads: “He now tours Soho’s music halls as a jobbing musician by night, walking the streets of Brixton as a postman each morning, and has fallen in love with the girl next door. His new home is alive with possibility - until, one morning, crossing a misty Clapham Common, he makes a terrible discovery which threatens to tear the community apart.”
Clio Cornish, commissioning editor at HQ, said: “Nothing matches the passion of booksellers when they discover a book that they truly connect with, and we’re thrilled to have been able to share copies of This Lovely City with booksellers across the country at this early stage. From the moment we at HQ first read This Lovely City we fell in love with it and were determined to find creative ways to celebrate Louise's debut."
She added: "I'm delighted with the reception we've had so far - and what's really exciting is that our campaign for this wonderful book is only just getting started.”
The proof tour follows an industry-first takeover of The Bookseller’s Marking & Publicity Conference on 27th June. Activity included This Lovely City branded conference tote bags for every attendee, 1950s style paparazzi, a vintage gramophone playing music from the era, Jamaican ginger cake and postcards giving attendees the opportunity to sign up for copies of the proof.
This Lovely City is published by HQ on 12th March 2019 in hardback, e-book and audio.