Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Flyering- a Guide!

It was the wrong day for Richard's mobile to die!

We were flyering central London- that is, drumming up publicity for Clerkenwell, which, if you're here has obviously worked. If , however, you stumbled across this while searching for porn, you can check out what the fuss is about at: http://www.clerkenwell-litfest.org.

Incase, like me, you're new to flyering, this meant: visiting every bookshop between Oxford Circus and Green Park, carrying a thousand flyers in our bags (sorry to those tourists we almost decapitated), giving our best impressions of 'trustworthy fellas running kick-ass lit festival' and mastering the long-lost art of dropping flyers on the table and running, before the word 'no' was uttered.

There are two things you need to know if you decide to flyer this area. Number one, there are ALOT of bookshops (although they're almost all chains which makes them easier to spot amongst the McDonalds and tourists) and the second is, take an up to date map. With our battered AZ, Richard's list of bookshops ('I got it off yell.com') and a rudimentary knowledge of London streets ('is it Barkeley or Berkely?' 'depends how posh you are'), we must have looked like posties on our first day. And not good ones. Forty-five minutes spent finding one out-of-the-way bookshop (which was bordered up and looking for new owners) must be some kind of flyering record. I'd put money on it. Well, ten pence at least. They're not paying me for this, you know!

There must be an art to this flyering business. Or at least a teach-yourself book in some dusty region of Borders. You'd think I'd have checked since I spent all day in bookshops, but all I learnt was that The Da Vinci Code is reduced everywhere (for the 1% of you who haven't owned/bought/had it bought for you) and there is a new craze called Su Doku which seems to involve putting numbers in boxes. Not a challenge I realised we in Britain faced, but perhaps its an effect of climate change.

Richard is an old-hand at flyering. When I was sweetly turned down in Waterstones, he fluttered his lashes at the manager and succeeded in getting Clerkenwell a prime position. Apparantly, it's not that men respond better to Richard, its down to his many years of flyering Cambridge as part of his comedy group. I can't imagine what Cambridge must have looked like while Richard was there, but judging by how many leaflets we left in central London bookshops today, I imagine they're still cleaning up.

I don't know about Richard, but I learnt alot about myself. For example, if someone tells me their mobile phone is dead, I will proceed to telephone them and leave endless messages asking them where they are and telling them what my next move is, even though I am well aware they won't receive them in time and will spend the next day trying to work out what I'm on about. I also realised that despite being something of a marathan walker ('Finsbury Park to Islington? Its only a two-hour hike. Lets go!'), flyering central London felt like spending two weeks being pigeon-marched around the Tate.

Still, it was fun and it means your festival has received even more publicity, which means even more people at the events making them even better! Feel free to print off the events listings and put them up in your local bookshop. And lastly, thanks to all the fabulous booksellers of central London who kindly agreed to put out our flyers. We couldn't do it without you!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nadia

I've just read your take on the flyering business. It is hard work. I was a novice to the art myself when I went around North London last week and week before. I started at the brand new library in Hackney and the Hackney Empire. My trail extended to Winchmore Hill and Kentish Town Library and the Owl Bookshop there. Backbreaking is the word I would use to describe it. Unlike you however, I got most of my flyers accepted everywhere I went but I was unaccompanied. The sharp edges of those flyers do cut.

Hope it all goes well in spite of the events of 7/7.

Diane WfW Wood Green

10:48 am  
Anonymous Benjamin Dell said...

Hi guys,

I've got a good few thousand flyers to hand out over the next few weeks for Spedia Media (www.spediamedia.co.uk). I've tried flyering once before but found it incredibly difficult - any advice would be much welcomed.

My main question though is, do you think its best to leave flyers in shops/restaurants and the like or stand outside stations (for example) and get them directly into peoples hands? Or in summary - leave in venues or direct in the hand?

Looking forward to your thoughts

A virgin flyer

8:23 pm  
Blogger Clerkenwell Official Blogger said...


Wow, sounds like you have a job on! I would suggest getting a friend involved because traipsing around London flyering isn't fun! That's how I got roped in!

My opinion is that flyering is best NOT given out to people, but rather left at appropriate venues, where the right people will pick them up. So bookshops or media places, bars where media people hang out etc. If you just give them out you'll have a whole street of litter left behind.

Also, save a good few and nearer the time of the event flyer again- and around the area.

Good luck! Hope it goes well.

Clerkenwell Blogger.

4:12 pm  

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