by Stacey J. Miller
I’d love to be able to provide a scientific answer to the question, since I hear it all the time. But there’s no right answer, and there’s no wrong answer.
The challenge of book promotion is that you’re in charge, and you have to make all the difficult decisions based on your goals and resources rather than by the rule book. Someone else’s book promotion budget and priorities are worth noting, but they probably won’t exactly match yours (or mine).
I’ve worked with mainstream publishing houses that send out fewer than 10 sets of galleys, and I’ve worked with mainstream publishing houses that send out 300 sets of galleys. How can you decide how many galleys to mail to the media? Budget is part of the equation, and so is knowing who really, really needs galleys, who simply prefers galleys, and who just tosses galleys and waits for the finished copies.
It’s also about your “wish list” and your target audience. Let’s say that getting a book review in Delta’s Sky Magazine were high on your wish list because an in-flight magazine would have the perfect readership for your book. I know from experience that Sky only considers reviewing galleys So — using that example — you might opt for an extra set of galleys so that you’d have a shot at a Sky book review. That was only an example — obviously, when you’re thinking this through, replace Sky with the magazines that are highest on your wish list, then decide whether you can afford to send them all galleys.
Finally, sending out galleys with the appropriate lead time (usually, at least three months, but check with individual publications for their requirements) is not the only way to get the print media to mention your book. I’ve had great success in placing articles written (and bylined) by my clients and pitching beat reporters/editors to do a story/interview with my clients. You might have a similar experience.
So if you send out only a few galleys, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get attention in print media outlets that haven’t received galleys. It just means you’ll have to try different, and more creative, approaches with those other media outlets. We’re here to help.
Stacey J. Miller is a book promotion specialist and founder of S. J. Miller Communications, an independent book publicity firm. Visit her online at http://www.bookpr.com/