M is also for Missing In Action, which I feel like I’ve been these past few weeks. So, before the fall season gets into full swing, I’d like to show you what our mailings are all about and maybe the next time I disappear it won’t be quite as mysterious!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first post in a series I like to call “P is for Publicity: All the stuff we do to get the word out on these awesome books short of tattooing the covers on our foreheads.” Or…just “P is for Publicity.”
Every season (every = spring and fall for publishers), there are certain mailings that the publicity department plans and carries out, and there are many factors that determine the timing of these mailings:
  1. When the title is scheduled for publication
  2. Who is receiving the review copy and how far in advance they need it according to their editorial calendars
  3. When the books are due to arrive in the warehouse from the printer
We send books to the trade publications, to our “long-lead” list, and to our “short-lead” list. *The long-lead list is usually really short and the short-lead list is usually super long. Confusing. Let’s move on.
Throughout this process, press releases need to be written, proofed and finalized. Lists of recipients need to be pulled and edited. We need to make sure envelopes for these mailings are available, which means ordering them separately so as not to deplete the regular envelope stashes for the rest of the office like some kind of packing supply glutton.
Then, when all the planets align, the printer isn’t possessed by paper jam gremlins and all the envelope-ordering has gone off without a hitch, the books are here and the list is ready…well, my friends, that is when the really fun part begins. My office looks like a co-op for packing materials and I’m up to my elbows in cardboard:

A typical assortment of goodies on my desk…to-do lists, piles of books, envelopes…
My maniacally scribbled notes on the envelope-ordering/mailing timeline
This should look familiar to all of our reviewers out there!
Ah, yes. These look like they’re ready for UPS labels!
Looking into my office…
…and looking out from my office!
The pile is growing!
I think I’m outnumbered…

Hernias (or is it ‘herniae’?), paper cuts and abundant arm-bruising aside, a mailing is a happy thing. A mailing means that our books are on their way to people who will read them and pass them along to fellow readers (either physically or by posting reviews in their magazines, newspapers, newsletters and blogs). Plus, after 3 weeks of hauling 60-pound boxes around the office, I can cut out my weightlifting at the gym because I’ve got the arms of a beast!

So, the next time you get a package of review books from us, you’ll know just how much love and care went into it! And if it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me on Twitter…maybe call the office so someone can make sure I’m not buried under a pile of mutinous padded envelopes.
Happy reading everyone!