Using Your Galleys

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 24 2010

This is going to be one of those posts in which I strongly suggest you read the comments section simply because while I have ideas, I have a feeling my readers will have even more helpful ideas.

One of the questions I frequently get from debut authors is what should they do with their galleys (ARCs, advance review copies, etc.). If you get ten (for example), where can you send them that the publisher isn’t? Not only do I think this is a valuable question, but I think it’s important. We all know that authors need to get out there and do publicity, but what can you do to get the most bang for your mailing buck?

  • Send an autographed galley with a small marketing item like bookmarks to independent bookstores you know support your genre or have supported you, as the author, in the past.
  • Send a galley to your alumni newsletter or magazine. They might do a review or use it as a reminder to write a feature about you.
  • Hand-deliver a galley with marketing material to local bookstores. Introducing yourself and making friends with booksellers is key to getting your name out there.
  • Send a few to reviewers, bloggers, or readers who have always been big supporters and are great at word of mouth. Think of them as thank-you galleys.
  • Deliver a galley to your local newspaper (no matter how small).
  • Send a galley to bloggers that don’t specialize in books, but instead specialize in a subject that relates to your book (knitters for a book about knitting, Adirondack tourism for a book set in the Adirondacks, or cupcake fans for a book set in a cupcake bakery).

Your publisher will likely send galleys to any reviewers or bloggers (especially book-related) that you ask them to, which is why I suggest you use the galleys to make a personal connection. Hand-deliver them and make sure they’re always autographed.


20 responses to “Using Your Galleys”

  1. I'm no marketing genius, but I know I love it when authors hold contests to give away a spare ARC. Sometimes the contests are the sort where you get one point for commenting, two points for retweeting, two points for blogging about it, etc. — let everyone do the word of mouth. Other times they can be pretty creative, like Diana Peterfreund's contest about six-word prose. I personally have never won anything from these contests, but they're fun to enter and definitely get me looking at the book to see if I want to buy it when it comes out.

  2. Avatar wry wryter says:

    Meagan, contests are fun…did anyone read Janet Reid's blog this weekend…brilliant…I'll buy YOU.

  3. Avatar Kristan says:

    Great advice! I'm bookmarking this for when I (eventually) have ARCs and galleys to give away. 🙂

  4. Avatar Erika Marks says:

    Thank you for this, Jessica–it is so timely for me, and information that isn't readily available.

    Knowing how challenging times are, and that authors are receiving less ARCs perhaps than in other times, it is crucial to know how to make the most of the ones we get.

  5. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Huh– I've only ever gotten two. I keep one and give the other to my mom.

  6. Avatar Sommer Leigh says:

    Does anyone who has been through this process have suggestions for how to approach local bookstores, newspapers, etc? It might sound silly, but the approach is the part that I wring my hands thinking about. Is it best to call and make time to visit with the manager, or just walk in and chat up individual book sellers? Do you stick with indie stores or can you hit the local box stores too? Is there a professional standard for how these connections are made or is ok to be the nervous, mistake-making, grateful and excited author you are?

  7. Avatar Suze says:

    Sommer – there was a great article on Backspace about booking your own book-signings at book stores.. it's here:

    Good luck!

  8. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    I'll be honest, I no longer send ARCs to my local newspaper. Not once have they acknowledged a single one, so it's like sending them into a black hole, but then, I write romance, and they're only interested in "literary works." (irritated? You bet!)

    I use mine as prizes and give them away in as high a profile manner as possible, through blogs and to bloggers and online reviewers I know will talk about them, as well as through my Facebook page. I also send them to bookstores where I've made connections, though in this economy, there are few–if any–of the same employees still around.

    And I ALWAYS send them to Rosemary of Rosemary's Romance Books in Australia, because she sells my books! I can't tell the number of Australian readers I have because of Rosemary's hand selling, but I'm sure that's why there are so many who have contacted me.

    As far as taking them to bookstores, Sommer, just go in, ask for the manager or the person who handles the section of the store where you books will be shelved, ask if they're interested in an ARC, make sure you include a business card with contact information and offer to do any kind of promo you're comfortable with when the book releases. Get their email, if possible, and follow up to see if they read the book, liked it, hated it, whatever, but whenever possible, develop a dialog so they will remember you. And good luck!

  9. Suze: That's a great article–thank you for posting it!

  10. Meagan makes an excellent point to do a contest with a spare ARC. I think bloggers can also help make your book prolific because they have a built-in following that will be supportive. This was an interesting post. Thank you!


  11. Avatar Eileen says:

    THere are some groups now doing an ARC tour. You send the ARC to the first blogger on the list, they send to the second and so on. This can be a great way to get your book in the hands of several bloggers with a limited expense.

  12. Avatar Jean Reidy says:

    Thanks for this great list. Giving away galleys on readers sites like Goodreads is easy and introduces hundreds of readers to your titles. I also giveaway F&Gs in conjunction with my release parties. Lastly, don't forget to bring galleys to your favorite librarians. They make great calling cards.

  13. Avatar April Henry says:

    I'm running my own ARC tour through my blog. I think it's especially useful for YAs and other books where the person who reads the ARC might be a blogger or librarian or other person with influence.

    I also gave another one to which will organize an ARC tour for your.

  14. Avatar kris says:

    I see many ARCs being auctioned off at Brenda Novak's diabetes auction right now. Everyone who goes to that page will see those names & covers, giving the authors a bit of exposure while helping raise money for diabetes research.

  15. Coffee shops,libraries (ask if you can put it on display near where people check out books) and esteemed literature departments (ie…Princeton's lit department, imagine having Joyce Carol Oates picking up your ARC..what an honor that would be!) are a few targets I believe might be of benefit to some.

  16. Great ideas here. Thanks!

  17. Avatar Jeannie Lin says:

    Making a connection with an ARC or galley is a great idea!

    I have a couple of sources that helped me out on research or promotion — so I'm hoping to give them a copy as a thank you.

  18. Avatar Lynn Viehl says:

    I took some books and ARCs to a local hospital and (after getting permission first from admin) handed them out on the maternity ward. I got to sign books for the new moms and talk about writing while admiring lots of beautiful little newborns, and learned that the new moms were all pretty desperate for something interesting to read, especially the moms who were nursing.

  19. I always order 25-40 extra ARCs and use them the way you have outlined, BUT I also lone or give (depends on how many I have left) to library reading groups. When the reading club selects one of my books and the library does not have enough copies for all the members, I provide some.

  20. Avatar Nicole says:

    I am a bookseller at B&N and let me tell you – ARCs make me happy. In fact, we tend to go through them rather quickly. There was a book there just the other day I thought would be fun to read, but was too slow in snapping up!

    If an ARC has been around long enough for the book to come out, I'll often take them and then ship them overseas to our troops. They often need something to amuse themselves with and hey, if they buy the book when they come home, everybody wins!