(Photo of books by Robert Couse-Baker)
We get a lot of review copy requests. We send review copies to many of the people who send us review copy requests.
Why? Well, we do have a lot of books. And we do find that it’s very useful to get them reviewed. So we frequently will send review copies to people, even if they’re not the entertainment writer at EW or The New York Times — we send review copies to librarians trying to figure out a graphic novel collection, academics trying to figure out books to assign for classes, and to bloggers who want to blog about them.
Many of these people write us well-written, convincing e-mails to accompany their review copy requests, which is great because it means less work for us in trying to figure out if we should say yes to their requests! But sometimes we get the less well-constructed kind of request. How do you make the former (more useful) rather than the latter (less useful) kind of request?
Here are three easy things to remember.
1. Put your mailing address in all your review copy requests.
I know that sometimes it’s like, ‘oh, I don’t want to presume they’re going to say yes to this so I can’t possibly,’ but seriously: how much easier is it for someone to send you a review copy if they have all your information there and don’t have to write you back saying, ‘Yes, this all sounds fine, just send me your mailing address.’
I frequently get e-mails in which people talk for a while about why they deserve a review copy (a good thing to put in any review copy-soliciting letter!) and conclude with: ‘how can I get a review copy of this book from you?’ The answer is easy, seeing that they have already proven themselves in the previous paragraphs: just send me your address. And if you send it in your first e-mail, that means I have to send one fewer e-mail to you.
(Amusingly, I’ve actually gotten those hopeful review copy requests, written back to say ‘yes, you can have a review copy; send me your address’ and then gotten a lovely thank-you note back but still no address — at which point I have to write back to the reviewer again to say, ‘No, I really meant it. It’s wonderful that you now think I’m very kind and that you’re very grateful, but it is actually impossible for me to send you a review copy unless you send me your address.’)
2. If you’re doing a review for a publication, put the publication title where your review will be featured in your review copy request.
Even if the publication is ‘I have a blog.’
Give me some way to check out where you say you’re reviewing for so your e-mail does not come across as: ‘Dear First Second, I am Derek Kirk Kim’s #1 fan, and I must have a book to do something MYSTERIOUS and SECRET’ if you are actually writing an e-mail that should run, ‘Dear First Second, I can Derek Kirk Kim’s #1 fan and also I write for Comics Alliance and would like a review copy of his upcoming book so I can review it for them.’
3. Tell me what you’re doing with the review copy.
We get review copy requests for a number of different reasons — desk copies, review copies for print or web media, library review copies, etc. We also get requests for copies of our books for things like prizes at conventions or book festivals or school auctions; for donations to charitable foundations; for contest prizes or give-aways from literary/book-related organizations; from non-US publishers who want to review our books to see if they’d like to publish them in their country; from organizations founded to promote a topic within the book who are interested in reading the book and partnering with us on a program; from anthologies like Best American Comics who want to review our books for possible inclusion.
Telling us which of those things you’re interested in the book for may influence whether or not we have a copy available for you (ie. ‘we’re doing a blogger mailing in two weeks and I’ll just add you to that list!’ vs ‘right now I only have an early pdf, but you can take a look at that while reviewing books to include in your upcoming course on adolescence’) and also who we’d direct you to at the company (we’ve got a donations person at our parent company! And a rights person too!).
And also, on a more straightforward ‘I really just wanted a review copy so I can write about the book and I’m not interested in any of those complicated options,’ if you’re planning to do something even slightly more involved than: ‘this book, it was about some stuff which I will now recount, thumbs up or thumbs down,’ that’s sometimes useful to know as well, because we can say straight out: ‘this author is on tour for the next three weeks and won’t be able to get back to your interview questions until after that’ or ‘I know our author will want to do something special to support your campaign for free speech’ or ‘I can give you an exclusive excerpt for that title’ or even ‘let me send you these three other books as well if you’re doing a comics round-up for kids in kindergarten.’
We’ll look forward to hearing from you!
(And I suppose I should really end this with: our review copy e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch.)