Approximately four months prior to the publication date of a book, publishers send advanced review copies (ARCs), which are also called review copies and bound galleys, to print publications. This process involves a number of steps, which include:
- Preparing a list of reviewers to whom ARCs will be sent
- Writing a galley letter, which is similar to a one-sheet press release, to accompany the review copies (see the sample galley letters below)
- Following up
Review copies must be sent well in advance of publication because book editors need lead time to screen submissions and then assign to writers those they decide to have reviewed, who are frequently freelancers. The reviewer must then read the book and write the review so that it will be published just as the book hits stores.
Your editor and publisher will have a basic list of trade publications that will receive ARCs: Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, Booklist, and book-review websites. For links to book-review sites, see www.complete-review.com. To find book-review blogs, see www.beatrice.com, bookangst.blogspot.com, and artsjournal.com/beatrix/. When appropriate, review copies will also be sent to the big media outlets such as the Today show, Good Morning America, the Early Show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, 20-20, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and major magazines.
- Customize your galley list to hit publications and sites that review books on your subject. If you write a business book, approach BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, or Fast Company. If it’s chick lit, send it to girls’ and women’s magazines, or if it’s a diet book, to health and fitness publications.
- Request that your publisher prepare and send ARCs. Most are usually willing to send between 50 and 100 copies. If your publisher balks, have it send copies to those you both agree could be most helpful to your book. If it won’t send any, arrange to send at least a few to the most important outlets at your own cost.
If your publisher is not planning to send ARCs, get permission to photocopy your manuscript and send it to the publications listed above and your hometown media. “We’ve been told numerous times that rubber banded photocopies are fine ARCs,” David Thalberg says. “Just be sure that your manuscript pages are numbered and that your name, contact information, and the book’s title are printed on every page in case the rubber band snaps.”
Give your publisher the names of local publications or specific sites that might review your book. Patti Thorn, book editor of The Rocky Mountain News, recommends that local authors place a Post-it stating “Local Author” on the cover of review copies so she won’t overlook it completely.
Send a galley letter or a press release with the review copies of your book. A galley letter is a personalized one-page editorial letter that highlights what’s in the book. Since reviewers are flooded with so many book-review requests, they only have time to quickly scan the accompanying letters, so just say, “You will find the following information in this important new book, which will be published on November 14 by Adams Media.” Then, bullet the major points that you want reviewers to know. Even if reviewers don’t read your letter, they can scan it to find out what your book is about.
“Just send a short press release and the book itself,” Patti Thorn advises. “No need for an e-mail or any other advance warning. Just send the galley and add a Post-it if you’re local.”
When publishers or editorial directors feel strongly about a book, they may send a letter saying, “Although I usually don’t send letters of this kind, I really feel that this is a very special book and I hope you will read it.” Let us stress that these letters are rare and are seldom sent more than once a year per house.
When Patti Thorn gets books that are lifestyle oriented (self-help, relationships, etc.), she separates them as a matter of course and sends them to the Lifestyles Department. Occasionally, she will include a note saying, “Hey, here’s one you really want to consider.” But that’s rare and usually occurs when an author is local and would be a good subject for a feature article or profile piece.
Feature articles usually provide more publicity than book reviews do because more people read features than reviews. However, don’t discount the value of book reviews, and try to land both, which could be even more beneficial.
A significant, but often overlooked, advantage of hiring a firm or consultant who specializes in publicizing books is the fact that it follows up. Following up is hard, repetitive work that many people hate. Publishers’ in-house publicists rarely follow up; they’re too busy and simply don’t have time to call reviewers and ask if they’re interested in reviewing books.
When you sign a contract with an independent publicist or book publicity firm, specify that the publicist will place follow-up phone calls to each reviewer who receives a review copy.
If you follow up yourself, wait about a week after they should have received your book before you call. Give them time to see your book. Chances are that you won’t get to speak with them and they probably won’t respond to your calls. However, your call could prompt them to look for your book in the stack by their desk.
Should you reach a reviewer, don’t ask if he or she got your book. Instead, inquire whether he or she needs more information on Bestselling Book Publicity, or ask if he or she is “considering reviewing Bestselling Book Publicity.” State your book’s title. The mere fact that you are following up could induce a reviewer to look for and consider your book.
Sample Galley Letters
Sample Galley Letter Number 1
May 7, 2007
Ask some people what they think of when you say the word “Wal-Mart” and you’re sure to elicit a wide variety of reactions. Investors might think of it as a steady performer with a strong track record. Labor leaders may view the company as an antiunion juggernaut that limits workers’ rights. Retail analysts look at it as a model for growth and expansion. Consumers simply think of the retailing giant as a great place to get a wide variety of items at prices that other stores simply cannot match.
And for years—since Sam Walton’s death over a decade ago—Wal-Mart’s corporate leadership, both past and present, have been quiet on all of these topics . . . until now.
Don Soderquist started at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in 1980, and twenty-five years later has written the only true insider account of Wal-Mart’s business practices since Walton’s autobiography in 1993. He began his career with the company as an executive vice president and before his retirement in 1999 would eventually become chief operating officer and senior vice chairman. He now provides the first true insider account of how Wal-Mart achieved its incredible success, and can discuss a variety of topics regarding the company, including:
- What his views are on claims that Wal-Mart is looking to kill off mom ’n’ pop stores
- What he thinks about critics who call Wal-Mart antiunion
- How the company continued to grow exponentially even after the death of Walton, its visionary
- Which aspects of Wal-Mart’s business practices should be emulated by all companies, large and small
- How Wal-Mart can continue its success well into the future if it continues to follow the twelve principles that got it to where it is today
Enclosed you’ll find a galley copy of Don’s new book, The Wal*Mart Way (Nelson Business, April ’05). If you like what you see and would like to schedule an interview with Don to discuss his experiences at Wal-Mart, how businesses can use the lessons of the retailing behemoth to their advantage, and what his views are regarding critics’ attacks on Wal-Mart, please feel free to give me a call and I’ll make the proper arrangements.
If you are a book reviewer and plan on running a review of The Wal*Mart Way, please let me know if you would like a final copy of the book and/or electronic images of Don and the book cover art.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to speaking with you soon!
Jared B. Sharpe
Planned Television Arts
Sample Galley Letter Number 2
May 7, 2007
With a historic sell-off finally over and the stock market rallying with renewed confidence, the top equity analyst at the globally recognized investment research firm Morningstar has put together a no-nonsense, step-by-step guide to picking great stocks, understanding market sectors, and successfully investing like a pro.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar’s Director of Stock Analysis and weekly guest on FOX News Channel’s Bulls & Bears, delivers comprehensive research and proven strategies in the new book, The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing: Morningstar’s Guide to Building Wealth and Winning in the Market. With his energetic and down-to-earth style, Pat presents a detailed, 360-degree view of market trends, evaluating stocks, and running your portfolio like a business.
After nearly 80 million people lost more than $7 trillion, the time for get-rich-quick guides and hot tips is over. This book is written for the serious investor who wants to understand how the market actually works, how professional investors recognize winning fundamentals, and how to avoid common mistakes that lead to big losses. The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing stands out by providing a strategic, easy-to-follow plan for minimizing risk and maximizing profit based on sound, informed decisions, not on predictions or conjecture.
Among the aspects of Dorsey’s book that sets it apart from the rest:
- Its cold-shower approach to investing. Dorsey explains that a level head and a deep breath are the first lines of defense protecting investors from bad investments.
- Its introductory lessons on accounting that help investors follow the money trail and understand if they’re putting their money into a solid company.
- A detailed “Guided Tour of the Market,” which illustrates the various factors affecting thirteen different sectors of the market, including health care, energy, retail, software, and consumer goods.
- Finally, the unparalleled research and knowledge of Morningstar, one of the most trusted and respected names in global investment research and analysis.
Enclosed you will find a copy of The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing as well as numerous fact sheets that you may find useful for future articles. If you are interested in speaking with Pat Dorsey about the book and how investors can start making more informed and successful choices of stocks, or if you plan on possibly reviewing the book, please feel free to contact us at the numbers and e-mail addresses listed below.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration. We hope that you enjoy the book and look forward to speaking with you soon.
Jared Sharpe – 212-593-6467 / email@example.com
Scott Piro – 212-593-6439 / firstname.lastname@example.org