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Amberjack Publishing’s Girl Boner Lands Coveted Spot in New York Times Book Review

Thursday, December 13, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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Amberjack Publishing's Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment by August McLaughlin appears in this New York Times Book Review article

“Everyone in the office was THRILLED!” says Amberjack Publishing’s publisher Dayna Anderson when they found out that their title, Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment by August McLaughlin, had landed a spot in the The New York Times Book Review. “We stopped our staff meeting and celebrated for a few minutes. We then moved to a “what do we do now?” meeting where we quickly developed marketing and publicity strategy for the review. It’s important to stop and celebrate good news, but even more important to pivot and make it translate to sales.”

IBPA member Amberjack Publishing had sent in books before for a review, but this was their first title to land one. “We knew the book was being considered for review when the reviews office called to request more review copies,” says Dayna. “After we sent the review copies to The New York Times, it was a matter of holding our breath to see when it’d publish, and if it would be a favorable review. We saw the review for the first time with everyone else, when it went live online. It was an exhilarating moment! And having the book reviewed by Judith Newman was the biggest bonus—her tone and style are perfect for the subject.”

Amberjack Publishing's Girl Boner by August McLaughlin

The good news keeps rolling in, because the review has garnered some great attention for the book. “The Amazon rankings in all of Girl Boner’s categories climbed exponentially and remained in the top 10 for almost a week,” says Dayna. “That momentum is just one important and exciting step in the process of supporting this book and brand. We’re still hard at work spreading the word and preparing for the launch of a forthcoming companion journal. Our publishing objective from the beginning is to create a successful category and backlist title for years to come.”

Amberjack Publishing was founded in 2014, and they’ve had some great benchmark moments, with landing this spot in The New York Times Book Review being the latest success. “2016 brought us our first trade review in School Library Journal, 2017 brought us our first major media hit with Life Detonated on Fox & Friends, and now 2018 has been a huge year for us with review and media attention, growing sales, and the maturing quality of our lists.”

The independent publishing company is now looking forward to other upcoming titles, including Carrie Callaghan’s historical novel, A Light of Her Own, which also has feminist themes and is based on the life of Dutch painter and trailblazer Judith Leyster.

Three Questions with Amberjack Publishing Publisher Dayna Anderson

IBPA: Can you share three tips about how an independent publisher can land a review of their own in a major trade publication?

Dayna Anderson (DA):

  1. Pay attention to deadlines and submit a book for review well ahead of the deadline. Amberjack Publishing has found that sending a book for review at least six months before publication date lands more reviews.

  2. Fine-tune the book’s pitch so it’s relevant to the trade publication. Describe why the book is important—the value you see in it and the connection it can form with readers—without giving a plot description or summary. Most importantly, share the joy! Why does your publishing house love this book?

  3. Include other requested materials. Sometimes a trade publication will also need a sales sheet or tip sheet. Short answer: follow directions.

IBPA: Can you share three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?


  1. Execute a rigorous acquisitions process. Acquire books that not only tell a good story and tell it well, but that you know how to sell.

  2. Hire the right team, and expect everyone on the team to think like a sales rep.

  3. Take the time to position and market your book well, even if it means delaying the production schedule or pivoting entirely.

IBPA: Can you discuss why it is important to Amberjack Publishing to publish a book like Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment, which celebrates feminist themes?

DA: It’s always a privilege to publish books that speak to the diversity in our world, and Girl Boner is a much-needed inclusive book on sexual joy, wellness, and empowerment for a new generation. Amberjack Publishing is a press that celebrates the diversity of life.

The release of Girl Boner could not be timelier, given the current social climate around sexuality and sexual respect, the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, and the legions of women—of all ages, genders, sexualities, races, religions, and other identities—claiming their voices and power in their sexualities.

When we publish literature that gives voice to lived experience, and that provides representation and a vocabulary to underrepresented audiences, we empower the reader to live a more vibrant, authentic life. I like to imagine a world with more empathy, vibrancy, and authenticity, and Amberjack Publishing believes that can happen through the literature we publish.

IBPA: Thank you, Dayna, for sharing this exciting news with the IBPA community!

Click here to learn more about Amberjack Publishing.

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