By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine
In a mystery befitting Sherlock Holmes, a 1,300-word story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been discovered tucked away in a Scottish attic. The 1904 short story is titled, "Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burgs and, by Deduction, the Brig Bazaar." The booklet was 48 pages in an effort to raise money for a bridge to be replaced after a 1902 flood washed it away in Selkirk, Scotland. The pamphlet, with stories by local authors, was called "The Book o' Brig" and was sold during a town fundraising bazaar in 1904. The "Book" sales netted approximately $633. Those funds helped the town build an iron bridge, which still stands in Scotland.
During the bazaar, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle opened with an author lecture to encourage sales. If you want to read the discovered Sherlock Holmes story the entire text of Doyle's story is online at The Daily Record. In the story he weaves the author's "lecture engagement" in Scotland into the story. By engaging the community of readers into the story...why wouldn't they buy "The Book o' Brig?"
Clearly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in giving back to community, via this worthy cause.
As authors, we can all participate in giving back to worthy causes. One such cause I recently discovered on FaceBook is "Authors Supporting OurTroops." Several authors I know have contributed signed book copies to this cause. Of course, there are numerous other charities you can contribute a signed book for silent auctions, library events, funding for a bridge, etc.
You never know, when you pay it forward, you may end up funding something that is still standing 111 years later.