Monday, May 26, 2008

Designating review copies as REVIEW copies, Part 2

I was thinking about review copies over the weekend, and realized there is another similar example of our cautiousness with review copies at Book Expo America, the publishing industry’s largest convention in North America.

While at the book show this coming weekend in LA, we will pass by dozens and dozens of booths where people are handing out review copies of books. Both books that were recently published and advanced copies of books that will be released in the Fall 2008 season. These free copies will be stacked by the hundreds in many booths and handed out to anyone who walks by who holds his or her hand out. (The show is only open to people in the industry.) We’ll have advanced review copies of one of our big Fall releases there too, but we will be taking a more targeted approach to passing the galleys out. We print a very limited number and want to make sure that the copies end up in key peoples’ hands. Librarians. Book reviewers. Media. Can we screen everyone who is interested in picking up a copy at the show? Of course not. But, we only have a small number of copies at the show and want to make sure they don’t go to waste.

This is a good example of the different mentality between a large publishing company and a small one. A large publishing company knows they will print X number of copies that will be designated as review copies. Do they care if someone ends up with a review copy who wasn’t seriously interested in reviewing, or at least considering reviewing, the book? Probably not. We care, though. Printing galleys is expensive and we are working with a smaller budget than they are.

We’re really looking forward to BEA and debuting our new author and big Fall title. Please make sure to stop by Casemate Booth #1211 and say hello.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Designating review copies as REVIEW copies

Another independent publishing company, Angle Valley Press, recently contacted us with a question regarding mailing out review copies: Do we specify on the book somewhere that the copy is a review copy? And, therefore, not meant to be resold. (Unfortunately, this happens more than we would like.)

When we print advanced reading copies, we always denote that the book is strictly meant to be used for reviewing purposes by including the following predominantly on the front and back covers: ADVANCED UNEDITED COPY, NOT FOR SALE.

However, some reviewers only review final copies of books so we send out another round of review copies upon publication. We are going to have a rubber stamp made that says REVIEW COPY, NOT FOR SALE and stamp it in on the first page inside the book before mailing out these review copies.

So when preparing review material, make sure to keep in mind the requirements of the reviewers as well as considering ways to prevent the abuse of the books. Even some reviewers might be unscrupulous . . . we’ve seen review copies listed on eBay auctions in the past! Especially after Book Expo America, but more on that next week.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Author’s Book Event Tips

Our author Mark Wilensky recently had a great, standing-room-only book signing at Tattered Cover in Denver for his new book The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine. Mark put together a list of helpful tips and suggestions which I am including below as a guest post. Thanks Mark!

Guest Post by Author Mark Wilensky:

Here are some suggestions that I found useful when planning and presenting at my recent book signing:

1. I was fortunate to have my signing at a well known and busy store. I felt it was very important to visit the location a couple of weeks before the event, to get acquainted with the space I would be presenting in. I didn’t want to feel surprised or panicked by my environment on the day of the event.

2. Second, I tried to invite as many people as I knew, but I also made sure that I let everyone I invited know that there were no expectations to buy anything. Just having the positive energy of people I knew would help the event tremendously. I also knew they would talk about the book, or me, in constructive ways with others in the crowd (kind of my own PR crew). As it turned out, most everyone bought the book as well.

3. I used an on-line invitation service. (See previous post here.) Not only could I keep track of how many people could and could not come, I was always able to add more invitations with a few clicks. Best part of the service? Those I invited could forward the invitation and invite others as well. I didn’t realize this when I originally sent the invitations, but in the future I will include a couple of sentences asking people to forward the invitation to people they know as well.

4. Next, on the day of the event, I arrived about 45 minutes early. I wanted to talk with people as they arrived. I was able to get to know who was going to be in my audience, and it also gave the people who I knew an opportunity for me to meet their guests as well. It was definitely more powerful for me to speak to people who I had already spent a few moments getting to know and thank for coming.

5. I didn’t try to change who I was on stage. I am a teacher, and I have lots of teacher mannerisms. Part of being a classroom teacher is using props, and I brought several. Additionally, teachers present material to people with different learning styles. With props, I could present auditorally and visually. Moreover, I printed out activities off my book’s website and passed them out. By doing this, you are also teaching kinesthetically (hands on). These different styles used together keep almost an entire audience’s attention.

6. I also took the time to really thank the bookstore for allowing me to present there. I spent some time in advance researching the store so that my gratitude was genuine and specific. I have been to other author book signings that were very uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. So I know that bookstores put a little piece of their reputation on the line with an unknown or new author. I really wanted this to be a win-win event. I’m guessing if the store likes your presentation, the employees might continue to hand sell copies of your book to future customers.

7. During the question and answer period, I made sure I thanked or complimented everyone on their questions. It is not an easy thing for most people to raise their hands and ask questions.

8. With every inscription, I included the date, and the book’s business card. My hopes are that the business card finds its way to new customers.

Visit The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine website here.