Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Galleys and ARCs and Blurbs—Oh My!

Last week I received what in the olden days of letterpress printing would have been called the “galley proofs” of my mystery novel—the book typeset, or rather, digitally formatted to look like typesetting. Nowadays it’s called the “advance copy,” and my editor informed me that this would be my last chance to make corrections to the text.

I’ve gotta say it was a thrilling feeling to open the document and see my manuscript—which has taken four years of writing, editing, honing, and further tinkering—finally looking like a real live book.

Title Page of Advance Copy

And it was interesting how, in this new format, typos, repeated words, and other problems with the text suddenly popped out at me from the page. I’ve now finished my final edits, and the content is thus finally out of my hands.

So it’s on to marketing and publicity! Oh, joy. But luckily I will not have to tackle this daunting task alone. For I am exceedingly fortunate, in this era of budget-cuts and downsizing, to have the assistance of a terrific marketing team provided by my publisher, Crooked Lane Books.

The first step is to get blurbs: You know, those short, snappy quotes that grace book covers (and sometimes fill several pages before you even get to the title of the darned thing). I’d always assumed that blurbs all came from published reviews, but many are in fact generated months before the book has been released. The idea, of course, is that you want the blurbs well before the book is printed, so you can include them on the cover. (NPR recently posted an interesting article about blurbs and their history.)

Several weeks ago the marketing assistant at Crooked Lane, Heather Boak sent me a list of potential blurbers and asked which I was interested in, and if I had any others in mind. We then discussed who had contacts with which authors, and divided up the task of sending out hit-up letters between her, my agent, Erin Niumata, and me. So far, I am pleased to say, I’ve had a goodly number of people willing to read the book, and even a few enthusiastic responses from their reading of it!

Next will come the advance reader copies (ARCs), paperback versions of the book, which will have some of the blurbs printed on them. These will be sent to potential reviewers, ahead of the book’s official release in May, 2015.

I’m learning the publishing process as we go, and will keep you posted as it all progresses.


  1. It's so exciting!! Yay, you! Can't wait to read it.

  2. Very exciting, Leslie. Savor the experiences.

    I'm sorry to report that I did not make it to Bouchercon. As I had been in Charleston first, I was pretty much in a 'you can't there from here' situation. My train was cancelled for the foreseeable future, and the options were things like paying for a direct flight that would cost as much as the trip out had, or flying to Chicago first to get there. Anyway, I didn't manage to scout out any blurbers for you. Glad to hear you're getting some anyway.