Really? Seriously? Now?

Josie Leavitt -- December 6th, 2011

Okay, so I have to complain about two things. Maybe it’s just me, but why am I getting boxes of galleys now? I just got a small box, a large white box, and an envelope today, all full of galleys for books that aren’t coming out for months.

One book came with much raffia and a pack of microwave popcorn, but it’s not coming out until May 2012. I received more than 20 boxes from the various delivery trucks yesterday. One box, overflowing with raffia and containing one book, is not going to hold my attention for long in the book deluge that was my store today.

The irony is, the book looks really good, but now I can’t find it. And even if I could find it, I won’t really have time to read anything until December 26th,when I’m not exhausted anymore. I have often wondered why publishers and the ABA send out promotional materials for books that are months from pub date during December when most booksellers I know go home and collapse. And if fatigue weren’t an issue, the sheer volume of books in and out the store makes keeping track of these things even harder. Boxes of galleys during January, on the other hand, are a lovely welcome treat.

The other complaint is the due date of publicity grids. Why, oh why am I being asked to plan my spring requests by December 9th? I can’t even think past the next day — why am I being asked to contemplate my spring? Honestly, would it be such a hardship if the publishers waited three weeks before they asked for the grids back? The prospect of booking great authors is exciting, but asking bookstores, especially smaller ones, to write event proposals during the busiest time of the year is a little cruel.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m thrilled to get galleys, I love them, just not in December. Although, I must admit, we all loved the popcorn at 5 pm when we needed a snack.

14 thoughts on “Really? Seriously? Now?

  1. Ms. Yingling

    Breathe deeply, put the books on a shelf with a bright pink sticky note about when they ARE being published, then look at them when things calm down. I’d rather have things far in advance than realize the book comes out in two weeks and I need to fit it in somehow!

  2. Sharon

    I understand being overwhelmed at Christmas time, but I’d love to have your problem. I get so few galleys that I usually have to wait until my library has received a book before I can review it, which is sometimes weeks, even months after its release.

  3. Annie

    I’d love to help you out with those books. Send a few to me. I’ve got time between now and the new year! And I’ll give you my review of it too.

    Happy reading and happy holidays. Aren’t we lucky we have books to read?

  4. Meredith Maran

    As a reviewer, I’m with you, Josie. I posted a photo on FB recently of the haul of galleys left on my front porch on a single afternoon. It’s not uncommon to get 2 galleys from different publicists at the same house. The waste is breathtaking, especially when authors are starving.

    Which brings me to my next hat. As an author with a book coming out in February, I find myself devising the same schemes I scorn: ANYTHING to try to get my own galley to stand out in the crowd. I will be sending NO MICROWAVE POPCORN, however, thanks to you!

  5. Carol B. Chittenden

    I’m at the end (I hope; just a few more urgent matters to fix) of another 12-hour workday. And the reminder just arrived from the rep about the upcoming grid deadline. And of course I can hardly wait to dig into those ARC’s yet tonight. And Bank of America insists that their credit card terminals be reprogrammed NOW. And we’re 60 days behind the bookkeeping. And we need to set up a dedicated phone line. And there’s an unhappy author who feels our website should reflect the availability of signed copies. And there are e-mailed customer requests half-filled and teetering on my desk. Sure, send more catalogues and ARC’s and reminders right away. The queue forms on the right.

  6. Carol Moyer

    I’m with you, Josie. All my energy this time of year is happily spent advising shoppers, selling books and reordering quickly, sometimes frantically–always gratefully! Not a moment available to contemplate the spring schedule.

  7. Debra

    I just want to point out that the next IndieNext deadline for nominations is JANUARY 13th! That is pretty darn early. Maybe we should rethink THAT timing? I think one of those envelopes was from me, Josie! 🙂 So here is another side of it. I know that last week I sent out a few solo ARC’s of a title by a local VT author I wanted buyers to see because I am hoping it will be loved and maybe nominated. (This has nothing to do with big boxes and chains by the way.) The ARC had just arrived and I didn’t want to wait. As a former retail bookseller I know how exhausting these few weeks are, but I am back on the road right after Dec 26, and this is a good time for me to get stuff mailed out. Anyway, just another view. But I am SO glad everyone is so busy! Merry merry!

  8. Al K.

    Another case of the big boxes and chains driving what the publishers think they need to do and treating everyone the same. Most truly small, independent publishers don’t produce, not to mention don’t send “galleys” yet they will help with last minute signings, events, and promotions…without all the corporate proposals and processes. Support your independent publishers and they will support you! If galleys, raffia, popcorn, and the like is what is needed to help sell quality books we’re all in trouble. Merry Christmas to all!

  9. Cookie

    As a publisher, we get many requests from booksellers and reps to have galleys ready months in advance of publication so they can be read ahead of a sales call by those who chose to do so.

    1. Nancy S-B

      I actually appreciate getting galleys months in advance so I can prioritize my reading in order to make the wisest nominations to the IndieNext list. Nothing frustrates me more than getting a great book with a pub date so close that there is no chance to read and nominate it.
      If you don’t have time to open the boxes now, don’t. We can live with piles for awhile.
      Happy busy, busy holidays!

    2. Josie Leavitt Post author

      Hi Cookie,
      Please understand that I love getting galleys. I just wish that I didn’t get any from December 5th until the 26th. I have no sales meetings in January, so then I’ll have time to happy dig into my galley boxes.

  10. AmyB

    Likely, they are being sent just because they are on an automated schedule…not a ploy to increase stress. :o) Best wishes & Merry Christmas!

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