Paperback writer: Be a star reviewer

Your talent could win you a unique free book.

Fancy a free signed copy of a limited-edition paperback of a novel by a promising young English author?

Copies of David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet will be given away by the publisher, Sceptre, to 1,000 people who write a review of it.
If yours is one of the best critiques, it may be used in poster campaigns. With your photograph.
The number of entrants is likely to be high so, to whittle the list down to 1,000, reviews will be assessed for quality. Chances are that the first 1,000 offered, or near to that figure, will win a copy; who’d want to read more than 1,000 reviews?
How do you review a book without defeating the object by buying it? Borrow a hardback copy from one of Hackney’s excellent libraries or, and here comes another local link — well, localish — spend a few hours flicking through a copy in a pop-up reading room being set up in Old Spitalfields Market (just south of Hackney).
Or, if the website is working better than when Loving Dalston tested it, you can access a segment on line.
Start soonest because, being an innovation, this marketing concept might have 1,000 problems.
Northwest-born Mitchell, 42, says, however: “If you’re snobbish about marketing, you don’t last long in publishing.” Besides, he adds, writing is a lonely business and he likes to meet his readers.

The pop-up reading room will open near Mulberry Gate, Lamb Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1 6EA, Tues 15 Mar 2011-Sat 19 Mar 2011 9.30am-7pm. Mitchell is due to pop in.

* Picture: David Mitchell photographed by Murdo Macleod.
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