The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Working with book bloggers

As newspapers have slashed book sections, we’ve been really lucky that blogs have allowed lots and lots of people to talk about books. At the same time, publishing houses can be tricky for bloggers to navigate (given that we ourselves sometimes find other houses — and sometimes our own — tricky to navigate).

Here are some suggestions for book bloggers looking to obtain review copies of books from publishing houses (and if you are a book publicist, author or literary agent, feel free to pass on this information if you find it helpful):

  • Know your imprints. Contemporary publishing houses are behemoths made up of a number of different imprints (departments). If you are regularly reviewing and requesting books, it is important  you learn who is who. In most cases, there is no one contact person (or email address) for Penguin or Random House or Simon & Schuster — you’ll need to distinguish between the different imprints and know who to contact. Also, remember that all Children’s / YA imprints are separate from adult imprints. Here are some links to lists of imprints and email addresses at some of the largest publishing houses:

Hachette Book Group

Macmillan

Penguin Group

Random House

Simon & Schuster (List of divisions and imprints — no emails listed)

  • Include a buy link for the book and, if applicable, to the author’s website. Most book publicists don’t care too much whether the buy link is to a publishing house or to an e-commerce site like Amazon or Indiebound, but we do want to see a link.
  • Feature the most recent edition of the book. Check the publication date of a book and the cover (and buy link) for the most recent edition of the book. It can be discouraging when we see a review a year after a book has been published … with no mention of the paperback. Keep in mind, too, that many readers prefer to purchase the cheaper paperback edition of a book, so this information is valuable for them, too.
  • Feature your country’s edition of the book. Assuming most of your readers are located in the country in which you live (which is often but not always the case), feature the cover of and buy link to the book in the store in that country. So, for example, if your readers are primarily in the US, make it easier for them and feature the American edition of the book; if you readers are primarily in the UK, feature the British edition.
  • Be mindful of the book’s on-sale date. In an ideal world, all reviews would be published on or around (within a week or so of) the book’s publication date. Although readers can preorder books, they often will not unless the author is well-known and the book is highly anticipated, so most early reviews don’t generate too many sales. We realize we cannot dictate when someone can run a review, however, but if the review does early, we do appreciate your making a note of this. (Also, keep in mind that just because you receive a finished book from us, it doesn’t mean it is available in stores — we receive finished books six weeks ahead of time and we send these books to journalists, bloggers and others who need to receive books ahead of time.)
  • Request current / upcoming titles. In publishing, we’re focused primarily on current and upcoming titles. This means we often don’t have the budget to provide (complimentary) review copies of books that have come out years (or even months) previously. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever provide them — and you can always ask — but it does mean that you will need a pretty good reason for needing / wanting those older books.

Book publicists: what would you add? Bloggers: questions / comments?

March 18, 2011 - Posted by | Blogs, review copies

6 Comments »

  1. Yen, this is fantastic information. I was pleased to see that all your links, except S&S provide that information for each imprint. In the case of S&S, it would be helpful if they added at least a generic publicity e-mail address to each imprint. It’s no doubt frustrating to the publicity department to receive review requests that should go elsewhere. It’s no less frustrating to book bloggers to have to go through pages and pages to find an e-mail to request a review copy or to notify them of a review. To them I say: please make it easy or at least easier.

    Also, personnel turnover can made things difficult when the publicists have their own names on their e-mails and the message bounces back with no indication of who the new contact is. Suggestion: e-mails to publicists who are no longer there should be set up to automatically forward to the new publicist for at least a month and, if possible, at the same time, send a bounce-back message to the sender of the new publicist’s name and e-mail address.

    We want to help you. We know there are a lot of us too. Is there anything we can do on our blogs or websites to make it easier for you? At BiblioBuffet, I have created a page that lists our submission policy—Submit Books for Review—on which anyone can find complete information on our policies, the names and review preferences of our reviewers, links to their contact forms, and links to the two editors. But I don’t know if that’s helpful or if no one has the time to look at it.

    We bloggers and website editors/reviewers realize that by making contact information easier you may receive inappropriate e-mails (letters to authors, manuscript submissions, etc.). That cannot be fun. However, I want to say that I am *very* appreciative of the houses and their imprints making publicity contact information widely and easily available. Thank you!

    Comment by Lauren | March 19, 2011 | Reply

    • Yes — thank you for posting your very informative submission policy. It is extremely helpful for publicists!

      Usually when publicists leave, they do set an out-of-office, but most such messages only respond to a particular sender once. Incoming messages typically do get forwarded, though, and (ideally) they are answered. That’s one of the benefits of general publicity email addresses — multiple people can check the accounts so we don’t need to worry if one person leaves!

      Comment by Yen | March 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. Good info. It would be cool if somebody created a website that allows a book blogger to view upcoming books (sorted by genre and release date) and with the click of a button contact the publicity department for that particular book.

    Comment by Vikram Narayan | March 19, 2011 | Reply

    • We’re moving in that direction.

      Currently, Edelweiss (http://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com/) and Netgalley (http://www.netgalley.com/) allow you to access online catalogs from a lot of publishing houses. Netgalley, as its name suggests, also allows you to request electronic galleys. You can also look up books by genre.

      Comment by Yen | March 20, 2011 | Reply

  3. […] Reads Them.Stroppy Author on How to speak publisher – B is for bind-up.The Book Publicity Blog on Working with book bloggers.Janice Hardy on Lunchtime Links: World Building on Fear.Philip Athans on Why I Read Five Books at […]

    Pingback by SF Signal: SF Tidbits for 3/21/11 | March 21, 2011 | Reply

  4. Thanks for this very informative post. Have started subscribing to your blog.

    Comment by neer | July 29, 2011 | Reply


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