Mini Musing #10: Lily Briscoe and Review Copies

Poor Lily Briscoe. She will have to wait another blog or two to get her turn. I still have research to do, and life keeps getting in the way. As I type, set dec people are in the living room and dining area, preparing for an episode of Fringe. While we really don’t need the chaos and confusion that comes with a movie shoot, the money will pay for more marketing.

I once heard a boat described as “a hole in the water that you throw money at.” Marketing is even worse. It is a black hole; it actively sucks your money away. Yesterday, with the help of my distributor, Sandhill Books of Kelowna, I spent $140.00 for an ad in BC Book World. The day before, I spent over a hundred dollars on postage to the US and to England. The English postage was particularly painful, as it costs thirty-three dollars to send a book to the UK. My total postage bills are now close to 1,000.00 dollars, and I still have more books to send.

Of course, my postage needs are greater than most. As part of the permission process, many of the publishers require me to send them one or two copies of the book. Since a book costs over ten dollars to send, and I have almost fifty permissions to look after, the costs quickly soar. Too bad, I don’t live in the US, where postage rates on printed matter are less than one fifth of what they are here.

Too bad, too, that there is no way of screening reviewers. The internet is filled with book bloggers who claim they will review your book. Many of them seem to have very little readership, and some, I am convinced, only maintain their site to get free books. Some even seem to use the sites for additional income. At least, I can’t think of any other way for Fathers to show up as a used book in a New York book shop. I have become much more cautious about who I send books to.

And lest I sound too cynical, let me hasten to add that some of my review copies have given me great exposure and have almost certainly boosted sales. A big thank you to Paula Penn, Joseph Planta, Cendrine Marrouat, and Paul Alva, to name only a few.

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