A couple months ago, I received a box of galleys of my debut novel. It's an exciting moment for an author, seeing not just the cover, but an actual book-like object with your name on it and lots of your words inside.
I thought you might be curious about what happens to galleys, the rough copies publishers print three months before publication. I had eighteen at my disposal, and while I would've liked to hand them out to family and friends, the idea was to put those dogs to work.
The first one went to my local independent bookstore, Books & Co, in Lexington VA. They're hosting my launch party and are offering to send out signed and gift wrapped copies anywhere in the US. That's kind, isn't it? So, a copy for them. They'll pass it on to the local newspaper because small towns are like that.
I paid a visit to another indie bookstore, New Dominion Bookstore in Charlottesville. And because sometimes a book is not enough, I brought them some treats as well. Indie bookstores and authors need each other, and cookies are a nice way to make friends, don't you think?
I shipped off a few puppies to folks I met on Twitter, who I thought might like the story and shout about it if they did. I found good homes in Hollywood, West Virginia and Texas, among other places.
As prized as galleys are, I didn't want to be too strategic about giving them out. A woman on Goodreads wrote to say how excited she was about my book, how much she loved the cover and how desperately she hoped she'd win a copy in the giveaway. I told her that if she didn't win, I'd send her a galley. There were 1300 entries for 90 copies, and she didn't get lucky, so I made good on my promise.
I was down to three copies, and it would only be a few weeks before the Advance Review Copies (the finished, real books) would be available. What to do? My husband came up with the solution: send them home.
The first home was in Marin County in California, where most of the story takes place, and not far from where we lived before we split for Virginia. One copy went to Diesel, A Bookstore in Larkspur, and one to The Depot Bookstore in Mill Valley, each with a letter explaining the connection. Wouldn't you want to read a book that takes place in your home town?
One copy left. The solution was obvious: send it home--to my home town--and close the circle. So I packed up the last puppy, and mailed it to Bear Pond Books in Stowe, Vermont.
I'm hoping they order a few copies. Maybe some of the locals will remember me, but even if they don't, it doesn't matter. Yes, the galleys are supposed to be put to work to sell books. They are the few, the precious. In truth, however, they are so much more than that. Galleys are newborn books, to be treated with care and love, and the last one found the best home of all.