I’ve had people ask me why I think it’s good to give out free books instead of selling them. Having been a reviewer, I know that regardless of my opinion on the matter, publishers want reviews and will send all kinds of things to reviewers in hope, even if the reviewer hasn’t published a review in years. (Having served on an award jury, I also know that publicists will send books on the mere off-chance that they might be suitable for consideration, even if they only squeak into the award category by a whisker.)
Also, galleys are intended to reach reviewers before the book’s release date. Sales during a book’s first month on shelves are extremely important. (I’m considering them separately from bookstore orders, which happen far in advance.) Better to have the online buzz start early and continue throughout that month. If the reviewer has to wait for release day, she doesn’t have as much time to read and review.
I don’t know if free books lead to lost sales. But consider: what if those reviewers, in other circumstances, had never heard of the book at all? Better a slim chance of a review, reaching potentially thousands, than leaving it to fate.
Since I don’t know how much longer galleys will be available, this post is also to serve as a reminder that The Duke and the Pirate Queen is now on NetGalley if you’re a reviewer who’s registered with the site. The catalog of Harlequin galleys. You don’t have to review for magazines or a blog to register; you’re eligible if you only plan to review books on GoodReads, Amazon.com, etc..
If you’re curious about the service, here’s the FAQ. To me, it seems like a good idea just from the standpoint of being Green. Publishers who are making their galleys available in electronic form are not printing galleys, many of which would end up being discarded. And, hopefully, they can reach reviewers who prefer electronic reading, or who might not have been receiving review copies previously.
Here are some excerpts from the book: