Several times each month, we email over 1,000 independent booksellers with news of galleys, reading copies or finished books that you are offering for review. After receiving a free review copy from you, stores will read and decide whether to carry the title, and hopefully even nominate it for the Book Sense List. We make no promises, but the Advance Access program has proven to be a very effective way to get the word out about your titles. Stores will email you directly, and generally, you can expect requests from 25-50 booksellers. The stores do know that it is "first come/first served," but the more booksellers you can provide copies for, the better, of course.
The fee is $50 and the mailing with Lessons In Stalking listed went out on Monday, February 6th. Since then, I've had 15 independent booksellers request my books. Requests have come from Arizona, Iowa, Alaska, Maine, California, New York and--my coup of the day--the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge Massachusetts.
At this point, it's just me sending them a free review copy of my book. But that has several things going for it. One, they've requested it, so it's not like a blind mass mailing where I hope they look at it. Two, in their e-mails requesting the book, several bookstore owners already said, "Oh, this looks like a staff pick book for us" or "Our customers love cats. We can't wait to receive your book." So I'm extremely hopeful sales will be forthcoming. The final benefit is I would MUCH rather be in small independent bookstores where owners know my book and can talk about it to clients vs. the major chains where it would just get shoved on a shelf and lost.
So all in all, I'm feeling very satisfied I've gotten my $50 worth of value from the program. I stated I was willing to send out up to 50 free review copies, so I'm hoping the requests keep flowing in. And if anyone needs to find my book in the upcoming months, I'll direct you to the "Ha-vad" bookstore.