PR: What Not to Do: Omit Key Info From Review Copies

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I’ve really come to appreciate PDF review copies. They’re easy to access from multiple locations and devices, they don’t take up shelf space, and they don’t have delays between the query and the receipt of the actual comic. They’re easy for publishers to send out without cost, too. However, they’re so easy to send that it seems some people might not be paying enough attention when mailing.

I recently got an email that included the cover of the comic offered for review (good), a link to download the copy (great), a list of creators (essential), and a couple of paragraphs about the premise (yes!). However, it didn’t include what I consider additional basic information:

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  • Release date. Key because I didn’t know whether this book had already been released or was coming up. If the latter, I needed to schedule it instead of talking about it right away — unless the publisher wanted coverage of the book as part of the ordering schedule, in which case I needed that data.
  • Price. Yeah, that’s easy enough to look up online, but I think it should be part of the original mailing, to help assess value to the reader.
  • Future plans. When I looked at the comic, it turned out that it didn’t actually have a conclusion. But I didn’t know when/if we’d see another installment, since none of that detail was included.

I wound up not reviewing the book, in large part because of that last bullet. I don’t want to tell readers about something that may never have a satisfying conclusion. (I know, if this issue doesn’t do well, there likely won’t be another — it’s a frustrating circle, isn’t it?) Basically, this all falls under “when and how can I get this comic?”, information I think is crucial to share with my readers.

Certainly, I don’t expect publishers doing mass mailings to their press lists to customize an email in keeping with my review submission guidelines, but if more of them included more of this information, it would be a help to everyone they’re emailing.

Also, I can’t tell you how many emails I get from publishers that still say “Use this area to offer a short teaser of your email’s content. Text here will show in the preview area of some email clients.” You’re supposed to replace that! But that’s another rant.

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