Author Hides a Short Story in 1,000 Copies of his Book

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Certainly Will Maclean does, as accompanying his signature on a thousand copies of his debut novel, The Apparition Phase, will be a single word which, when all arranged in the correct order, will form a coherent short story.



The Apparition Phase is about two children, Tim and Abi, who spend their evening in their parents’ attic discussing the ghoulishly unexplained hauntings and supernatural encounters of folklore, and particularly obsess over photographs of supposed ghostly apparitions. Yet, when the two decide to fake a ghost encounter captured on camera to frighten an unpopular school friend, they set in motion a terrifying chain of events that will force them to confront the possibility that their harmless prank has taken on a malevolent personality of its own.




In honor of the novel’s publication, independent London based bookstore Goldsboro Books distributed with each first edition copy exclusive to members of their monthly book club a note from the author himself, which details the instructions thusly:

“On the title page, you’ll see a single word handwritten by me. That word, although meaningless on its own, is part of a piece of writing precisely 1000 words long. Each of these 1000 Goldsboro exclusive editions has one single word of that original piece written in them, dispersed among the people who own them. That piece of text is recorded nowhere else but, collectively, in those 1000 editions.”

Maclean, in true Riddler fashion, has constructed a thousand-piece puzzle, and as of late November, the people of Twitter have so far accumulated a total of seventy words.



Yet, with complications of shipping due to the coronavirus, it might be some time before every piece of the puzzle is even in play. Regardless, this was certainly a marketing tactic  that won’t be forgotten anytime soon; the public will be discussing Maclean’s debut novel most likely well into the next year.


featured image via pedestrian