So I’m getting the galleys of Time of My Life tomorrow. Yay! For those of you who don’t know, a galley – or an ARC (advanced review copy) – is essentially an uncorrected paperback version of your book. Which means that there will still be some typos and whatnot, but that mostly, this is the finished product. So it’s pretty dang exciting. Especially because, unlike with my first book, this time around, my publisher – Shaye Areheart books, an imprint at Random House – is doing some really cool things with these copies.
The big push that they’re doing involves something called “blow-in” cards. Essentially, they’re sending a bunch of galleys to avid readers and folks with big mouths and such, and along with the book, they’re including a card that says, “Want to share your ‘what if’ moment with a friend?” And then, if you fill out the card with your friend’s address (and sharing your ‘what if’ moment), your friend will receive a copy of the book.
At first, while I was thrilled about the cool idea, I didn’t quite get it. I didn’t quite get the idea of a big galley push. I knew that these blow-in cards had helped generate buzz for a few select books in the past, but still…I don’t know, it just didn’t click. But then, it slowly dawned on me: galleys are for more than just garnering reviews and getting the book in front of booksellers. Galleys are an incredible marketing tool to get readers, not just the media and bookstores, excited for the book. Which sounds simple, logical even, but if you haven’t been fortunate enough to have this push in the galley phase, really, it might not seem so clear. (Or maybe I’m just slow!) As we’ve often discussed on this and other blogs, co-op space aside, word-of-mouth might be the single most important marketing tool you can hope for when it comes to your book’s success. And these blow-in cards, among other things, are designed to do just that: get people talking, get them buzzing, get them to spread the word and the excitement and hopefully, the love, about Time of My Life. Sort-of like advanced movie screenings. Such that by the time it hits the shelves in October, readers will say, “Oh yeah, a friend told me about this book, and I have to have it.”
These days, you have to do just about anything you can to set your book apart from the rest. Just this past week, I read about an upcoming book whose ARCs had been printed in hardcover! But the publisher was hell-bent on having those galleys stand out in the crowd, and so far, at least according to the publisher, the (very expensive) trick is working. So I’m thrilled, thrilled at the prospect of these blow-in cards. Rather than cannibalize my potential future readers, they will, if all goes according to plan, spread pixie dust through bookstores everywhere and help my book land on nightstands across the country.
So tell me, have you ever caught wind of a book in the galley phase, and if so, did it lead to a purchase when the book hit stores? Or what other innovative ideas have you heard of in the galley phase? I’d be curious to hear them.