Saturday, August 6, 2011

Advance Reading Copies

It's a proud moment when an author receives advance reading copies of a book due to be published a few months hence. For one thing, it's a first chance to read the book "in print," even if there are a few straggling typos and formatting glitches to iron out before the book goes to press. A chance to say, "Yes, by God, this is a good book!"

But of course the real function of advance reading copies (ARCs) is to send them out like carrier pigeons into the society of reviewers. They go to the big industry journals (Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus), and to the book reviewers associated with important newspapers, and to specialty media. In my case that means media that specialize in reviewing mystery fiction.

So out go these ARCs, sent with hopes and best wishes. The worst that could happen? No response, like dropping a feather into the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo. The best that could happen? Well I don't dare even imagine the best that could happen, but I'll be grateful for any kind of response at all. Between the publisher (Oak Tree Press) and myself, we're sending out a few dozen ARCs, and I expect some of these will cause an echo. Maybe even a fanfare or two…?

My novel, Behind the Redwood Door, will be published in late November. Here's the cover sheet I sent out with the ARCs:

TITLE: Behind the Redwood Door: A Guy Mallon Mystery
AUTHOR: John M. Daniel
PUB DATE: November 20, 2011
SPECS: 250 pages; 6X9”; trade paperback; $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-61009-023-0
SUBJECT: Mystery Fiction

Who knows what secrets lurk…

Guy and Carol Mallon own a used bookstore on the north coast of California, a land of rocky shores and redwood forests, with a rich history of gold, lumber, Native Americans, and hardy entrepreneurs. They are content with their small-town life until Pete Thayer, their friend and the publisher of the local alternative newspaper, is stabbed to death behind their favorite tavern. Urged on by Pete’s girlfriend, River Webster, Guy begins to poke around, uncovering a past festering with power politics, a newspaper war, a multigenerational family feud, marijuana traffic—and murder. Guy’s investigation takes him from the town square to the harbor to the forests and into the mountains, where he must confront evil in the form of a bully nearly twice his size.
This novel, rich with history and small-town secrets, is peopled by swindlers and fishermen, Rotarians and dope-growers, prim Presbyterians and floozies, and a small but feisty, curious, bookseller addicted to getting into trouble and other people’s business. Author John M. Daniel’s style is by turns witty and elegant, serving up fear and laughter in generous helpings.
John M. Daniel is a small-press publisher (Daniel & Daniel, Perseverance Press) in Humboldt County, California, where he also teaches creative writing. He is the author of ten published books, including two earlier Guy Mallon mystery novels: The Poet’s Funeral and Vanity Fire.

Oak Tree Press books are available through Ingram Book Company and Baker & Taylor at standard industry terms.
For further information:

Billie Johnson, Editor; Jeana Thompson, Publicity; Billie Johnson, Subsidiary Rights
Oak Tree Press
140 E. Palmer Street
Taylorville, Illinois 62568 


  1. I have to tell you that your synopsis of "Behind the Redwood Door" has enticed me to want to read it but first I want to read "The Poet's Funeral" and "Vanity Fire." I love a mystery and I'm partial to small town settings and/or specific neighborhoods in large towns or cities.
    I wish you much success with your novel. I long for the day that I can hold advanced reading copies of my novel, "Mixed Messages," in my hand.

  2. Thanks, Patricia. I hope you do read The Poet's Funeral and Vanity Fire. The first is set mainly at a book convention in Las Vegas; the second is mostly in Santa Barbara. You can get them from Amazon (Kindle or print) or at through my website at

    I wish you the best of luck with Mixed Messages!

  3. Very, very cool, John. You breathed some real excitement into that pre-publishing phase for me with this blog. Thank you.

    Marta Chausée, author
    Resort to Murder mystery series

  4. Thanks, Marta. "Resort to Murder" is a great series title!