World Book Night - Tara Lyons

During the last year, my life has changed dramatically thanks to the people I've met and the books I've read. So when I had the opportunity to be part of World Book Night as a distributor, I was delighted.

Yes, I know it was almost a month ago now, but hear me out.

The Reading Agency's World Book Night took place on 23rd April this year. Their drive was to reach out to people in the UK who do not normally read for pleasure - and therefore 187,500 copies of 15 specially printed books - including titles from Ann Cleeves, Amanda Prowse and Sarah Hilary, to name a few - were distributed by reading enthusiasts. That included me.

Sometime last year, I filled out an online registration form as to why I wanted to be involved, how I would distribute the books and choose the title I would like to receive. I didn't actually think I'd get chosen, but I did. I was given 16 copies of Ann Cleeves' short story, Too Good To Be True. It wasn't the book I had requested, but I was pleased, because what better way to ease a non-reader in than with a short story.

Now, I know what some of you must be thinking: why the hell am I distributing books that I haven't written? Or perhaps, because I'm an indie author, should I be promoting this? And honestly, I got involved with World Book Night because I'm a reader myself first and foremost. It was my passion for books that put me on the path to writing my own! So the idea of reaching out to people who do not usually read for pleasure was something I really wanted to be a part of.

For me, it was actually a good ice-breaker. The recipients of the books I gifted would ask me why was I doing this, or what was I reading etc. And it meant I could promote my own books and writing journey to them freely, without feeling like I was forcing it on them. Not only was I encouraging them to read with a free book, but I was able to have a free-flowing, non-computer type chat with them.

My nan and her free book
I started small this year. I gave the books to friends, relatives and neighbours - some of them didn't own a paperback/hardback book. Two of those people included my nan (pictured) and her dear old neighbour. They were delighted to have been given a gift, a real book in their hands to hold and - for my nan's neighbour - a bit of company and conversation. A friend of mine was delighted to have the book in her bag as she was stuck in a hospital waiting for hours and devoured it. She had forgotten how much she enjoyed reading, she told me after. Next year, if I get accepted again, I'd like to go bigger with distributing the books - perhaps even hand out some personal promotional material too. I'll put my thinking cap on.

So, I wasn't delivering copies of my own books this World Book Night, but isn't just encouraging people to read in general a great stepping stone? I hope so.

Connect with Tara:
Amazon author page:
Facebook author page: Taralyonsauthor
Twitter: @taralyonsauthor
Instagram: Taralyonsauthor


Lydia Bennet said…
Hi Tara, welcome to AE, I'm glad you had such a positive experience of WBD. I'd assume we are all readers first and foremost, so sharing the pleasure of books is a joy whoever wrote them. I hope some of those you gave books to will check out your own too!
Mari Biella said…
Sounds like a lovely experience, Tara - and hopefully it will lead more people to discover, or rediscover, a love of reading.
Unknown said…
Thanks, ladies. Yes, I hope just talking about books is enough to prompt people to discover or rediscovering the possibilities books hold for them. It was a lot of fun, and something I'd like to do - bigger next time.
Chris Longmuir said…
What a lovely thing to do, and not only do you get the pleasure from doing it, but you're providing pleasure for others at the same time.
Unknown said…
Thanks, Chris. It was truly a lovely experience.
madwippitt said…
Love this idea :-)

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