To Galley or Not to Galley?
It’s certainly our experience that readers pay attention to books that have been endorsed by people they respect.
So how do you get one of those blurbs on your book? One way is to send galleys to the people that you want to endorse your book. A galley proof or galley, also referred to as an advanced reader copy or ARC, is a bound proof of your manuscript produced at least two to three months prior to printing.
A printed galley (you can create a digital galley) looks just like a book with a cover and book binding, except there’s usually a notice on the front cover that reads “Uncorrected Bound Galleys. Not For Sale.”
Most galleys are printed while your book is with the proofreader, so they are expected to have a few errors. While most indie authors have these printed professionally, you can have a local copier bind your manuscript inexpensively with a spiral. Either way, having something to send to a potential endorser is the best way to receive blurbs.
If you decide you want to print a galley proof for the purposes of collecting some early blurbs for your book you’ll need to factor this into your schedule and allot the appropriate amount of time–at least an additional two to four weeks.
Printing a galley takes two weeks or even less; however, e-mailing, mailing, and following up with your contacts about your endorsement is time consuming. Most major book review publications like Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly will require a galley thirty or even ninety days before your book is published.
We recommend giving this process at least a month. Galleys work best when you know exactly who you want to collect a blurb from and have the means to reach those people. If you don’t know who to approach for an endorsement or don’t desire endorsements for your book, galleys are useless.
Here’s our ultimate checklist for if you decide to print galleys:
Create a wish list of endorsers as soon as possible (three to six months before going to press is ideal)
List persons you see as long shots (celebrities and industry experts)
Search for contact information for each endorser
Use social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find and contact endorsers
Organize a schedule of deadlines if you want to send your book to review publications
Time your galley’s printing with your book going to the proofreader
Prepare “ready-made” testimonials in case an endorser is too busy to generate one for you
Only print the number of galleys that you actually need (Most print ten to twenty-five)
Give your potential endorsers a firm deadline and hold them to it. If they don’t meet it, move on.
To keep your costs down, send a watermarked, encrypted PDF of your manuscript as an attachment
Look at the endorsers of your book’s competition and consider reaching out to them for your book
Bloggers, websites, and online publications are quickly becoming the most valuable endorsers — make sure you target at least two to four
Consider a site like www.blurb.com to print galleys for endorsers you would prefer to send a printed version to
And as a bonus, here’s a boilerplate galley request letter:
I’ve become familiar with your work through _____. I can’t begin to describe the impact you’ve had in my own work. I’m in the process of writing a book about book description and given your expertise, I would be delighted to have your endorsement. I’ve taken the liberty of attaching it for your review. Please note that this digital galley hasn’t been typeset or proofread and is currently in the hands of my proofreader.
I’m hoping Book Title will be an effective tool for helping audience with list benefits. I’m looking for about 25-40 words from you, though, of course, I’d be sincerely grateful should you choose to do a longer review for my website and newsletter to use at a later date. I’d greatly appreciate receiving your testimonial by Monday, September 26th. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include how you want to be attributed – i.e. your web site, latest book, newsletter, or combination.
What are your thoughts? Are galleys the old way of doing things? How important are testimonials to your book’s audience?