I Paid the Penalty in the Galleys Game

September 2002
by Fern Reiss

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Well, I finally got caught.

I knew it would happen someday. Play with fire often enough, eventually you get burnt. And now I’m in big trouble.

It happened at Book Expo. I was talking to one of THEM–a reviewer for a library magazine, someone who has always been nice to my books. I’ve always been careful to send bound galleys to him four months before publication date, as a good girl should. I was telling the reviewer about The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days, my latest book, whose pub date is September. I was giving him a bound galley. He was pleasant, charmed, engaged. I was hopeful of a good review.

And then disaster struck. Around the corner came an acquaintance who had heard me speak at PMA University; she was one of the 65 people in the audience who bought my book. The woman was carrying it. The same book. The finished book.

“Fern!” she called out enthusiastically. “Your new book is wonderful! I stayed up all night reading it. Thank you so much!” With those words, she was gone.

But the damage had already been done. My reviewer was looking dismayed, glancing back and forth between the galley in his hand and the rapidly disappearing finished book being whisked down the aisle. I attempted damage control. “Oh, that was a BEA special edition. The book won’t actually be out until September.” But I’d been caught. Nailed. The cell doors were clanging shut. My reviewe…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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