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5 Tips for Writing Attention-Grabbing Galley Letters

Would you like your next book reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, or any of the major newspaper’s book review sections?

Well, of course you would!

Book reviews from major review publications can make or break a book, and are a central part of any author or publisher’s marketing plan. Given the sheer volume of books that major reviewers receive each year, you need to make your book stand out.

That’s where galleys, or advanced reader copies (ARCs), come into play. These are sent to major review publications 4-6 months before a book’s release date and continue to be an important part of the book review and promotion process.

An ARC is always accompanied by a galley letter. A galley letter is addressed to an editor (or whomever makes decisions regarding reviews) and provides a brief overview of the book while explaining why it is relevant and worthy of a review. The galley letter is like your book’s “first impression,” so you’ll want to put your best food forward.

By following these 5 tips from our book marketing experts, you’ll be well on your way to writing a galley letter that shines!

1) Keep Your Galley Letter Short and Sweet

An effective galley letter should be no longer than 4-5 paragraphs:

  • An opening
  • A paragraph about the book
  • A paragraph about what makes the book unique
  • A paragraph about the author (and what makes them special)
  • A closing with contact info

In general, it should not exceed one page. If you have any advance reviews from authors or well-known contacts, you can include those on a separate page.

2) Know Your Audience

The intent of a galley letter is to communicate important information about the book to an editor or reviewer. Book review editors (as well as bloggers) receive dozens and dozens of books for review each week so they do not have time to read a lengthy letter or content from your press release. A galley letter is not a press release, so you do not need to explain what you can discuss in an interview. You’ll want to highlight what makes your book unique and why it’s worthy of a review.

3) Use the Editor (or Reviewer’s) Name

A great way to get your book thrown into the “reject” pile (at your cost!) is to begin your galley letter with “Dear Publishers Weekly” or “Dear Book Reviews Editor.” This serves as an indication that you have not done your research. If possible, always begin with the name of the person to whom you are sending the ARC. This will drastically increase your odds of review!

Also, if you have an existing relationship with an editor or reviewer, note this in your galley letter (i.e. Thank you for your review of my first book ________________.”)

4) Make Sure To Include the Book’s Basic Information

Each review publication has their own criteria for galley letters, so you’ll want to review these before you drop your ARCs in the mail. In general, you’ll want to include the following basic information in each letter:

  • Title
  • Subtitle (if applicable)
  • Author
  • Release Date
  • Publisher
  • ISBN
  • Price
  • Brief Author Biography

Failing to include this basic information could get your book added to the “reject” pile.

5) Add a Professional and Personal Touch

Use a professionally designed letterhead when printing your galley letters. This will make your letter look crisp and adds credibility.

We also recommend personally signing each letter. A personal touch can go a long way.

Share with Us:

Do you have a galley letter tip or trick that you find to be successful?