After a manuscript has been edited, and before it’s actually published, a preliminary version of the book is often sent to the media, and to bookstore buyers. This is called a galley. When the galleys are bound and given something approximating the final cover, they’re referred to as bound galleys. Although these days more and more reviewers and journalists are seeing galleys of books in electronic form, we’ll address the physical galley here. It’s still in use, and can be a good way of getting attention.
Here are some still-relevant guidelines for galleys.
- Make sure galleys are bound in some way. You don’t want readers to lose pages or get them out of order. If you’re self-publishing your book, make sure you’ve bound the galleys you’re sending out.
- Leaf through and ensure that every page is there.
- Make sure you get or make copies of your galleys to send to your experts, journalists, book clubs â€“ anyone who can help you publicize your work. What number? A few hundred. Perhaps 300.
- If you want, your galleys can be quite finished-looking. This can be a marketing tool, making the galley a kind of collectible. If you have the marketing budget to put together a galley that’s different from what’s generally sent out to reviewers, either the galley you send is evidently of a higher quality (with better paper or a cover), or it’s packaged in a unique way. (I’ve received galleys in special boxes, with cookies, with kitchen tools, with audio elements â€“ anything to help remember that particular book before you even dip into it).
- Ask your list of sources the preferred galley form they would like to receive â€“ paper or electronic. This is important today. I know that when I wrote about books for a major national newspaper, I was swamped with galleys all day every day. They piled up around my desk. Today, although I look at and refer to paper galleys from time I prefer electronic galleys. So it’s important to give your sources the options of choosing.
In any event, the more galleys you send out ahead of time, the likelier that influential people will become aware of your book before it’s printed.
Now, how do you send the galley? That is, what kind of letter to you include?
That’s the subject of our next post â€“ about your press kit.
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