The Value of Review Copies
Do you know what the least expensive form of marketing and advertising is for a book publisher? According to Dan Poynter, self-publishing guru, it’s review copies. It makes sense, when you think about it. To send a review copy to a key publication costs the price of a book, some marketing materials, a cover letter, an envelope and postage. The effect on sales from one good review is immense.
To get the maximum effect, a publisher must “cast a wide net” by sending as many review copies to as many different publications as possible. The problem is that too often a publisher doesn’t see all the possibilities. Most authors and publishers know which publications reach their desired audience. For every topic there is a specialty magazine or newspaper targeting that group of readers. There are also the general interest publications such as Time, Newsweek, Businessweek, the local newspaper, etc. that are well-known to publishers. The value you provide is helping authors and publishers recognize the cross-over possibilities that certain other publications may have for their book.
In an earlier blog, I mentioned the book Computer Baby Steps written for senior citizens learning the computer. The publisher, Leonard, identified the general and computer media as a key target for reviews. We sent out review copies to Time, Newsweek, LA Times, Chicago Tribune and other general circulation publications. We also sent review copies to ComputerWorld, PC World and other computer periodicals. The Chicago Tribune wrote a review of his book which translated into 25 book sales to local bookstores.
We failed to help Leonard identify cross-over media that might also be interested in reviewing his book, though. In retrospect, some other key publications for reviews may have been AARP Magazine, computer retailing magazines, general retailing magazines, nursing home management magazines, hospital management magazines and senior center management magazines. Any publication that is targeted to senior citizens, to retailers that sell to senior citizens or to people and organizations that assist seniors are potential reviewers. For instance, senior citizen center managers may be interested in Leonard’s book as a resource to help elders learn the computer at their centers. A good review in a senior citizen center management magazine increases the awareness of the book to potential buyers.
Sending review copies was a win/win situation for my business. Sending more review copies initially meant selling more books on the first print run. We also made money packaging and mailing the review copies to the various publications. (We charged an additional $7 above the book printing costs to send review copies) The author/publisher won by receiving reviews. And, if the reviewers wrote good reviews for the book, it meant more book sales for the publisher which meant more book printing for us.
Help your publishers find reviewers for their books. You do them a service and it will lead to more book printing sales for you.