I received the proof of my new book, The King of Trash, in the middle of February. The “proof” is the first physical printing of the manuscript and is acknowledged as an “uncorrected proof”, meaning that it probably contains errors. Once the uncorrected proof is read and a list of corrections compiled (I found about twenty-five), the publisher makes the corrections to the electronic copy and sends a final, approved electronic manuscript to the printer. The result is the official published book.
I expected the book to be delivered within a couple of weeks of submitting the changes to the proof. I received copies last week, a full month after my corrections were sent. The publisher also reset the publication date: July rather than April. He said some words about needing four months for review copies to be sent to various organizations, which means my editor and I must have missed the projected editing timeframe by quite a bit. The book distributor, SBC, will go ahead and fill orders according to the April date.
My publisher sent The King of Trash to be reviewed by the following organizations:
New York Times Book Review
Midwest Book Review
These review organizations are not paid to review the book and can choose not to review the book even after receiving a free copy. There’re thousands of new books published every month in the United States, forcing each organization to develop selection criteria for choosing which books to review. Of the books in my middle-grade Mogi Franklin Mystery series, I have seen reviews only from Kirkus and Midwest, and those were only for one or two books of the series. One might wonder why the publisher keeps sending books to review organizations that have a history of not reviewing their books, but that’s not my part of the business.
We’ll see if it’s different for my adult thriller/suspense novel.
A “pre-publication” copy of the book is called an ARC – Advanced Review Copy – and is identical to what I received as a “proof”. There is a disclaimer on the front and the back that identifies it as an ARC and says that corrections remain to be done. ARCs are sent to the reviewers.
It’s a particular gripe of mine that reviewers are sent uncorrected books. With Print-On-Demand printers, it can take only a short time from collecting the corrections to a proof, changing the master electronic copy, and then printing the final edition. Seems like an author, in particular, would want the best version of their work to be seen by reviewers.
My editor and publisher would probably point out that I am remarkably fast in responding to proofs: usually a day or two. If the author is not fast in responding with corrections, then waiting for a final book before asking that it be reviewed really screws up the timing of the book launch and the subsequent marketing efforts, which I understand. I’m not sure how true it is, having no information about what other authors do, but I understand the theory.
Having a book reviewed becomes the source for those quoted comments that you see on the covers of books, either front or back, or on front pages inside books before the story begins. Good comments can also show up in newspaper columns that review books, handouts given at book presentations, free bookmarks, advertising signs at book signings, ads that announce the book, and other literature associated with book marketing.
The value of someone providing feedback to Amazon by way of a book review has a direct correlation to people buying a particular book. I always read the reviews of books I’m interested in when deciding to buy, and pay particular attention to the spectrum of ratings that books receive. I’m not shy about asking people, if they like any of my books, to write something at the Amazon website.
It makes a big difference.
I’m still looking for reviewers for The King of Trash. Contact me at Willerton@comcast.net if you’re interested and I’ll send you a free book.
Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.