I’ve been trying to expand the audience for my books in preparation for my first contest promotion. Part of that program involves trying to interest book review sites in picking up on the book to offer the reading public more information to use in deciding whether to get into the series.
I’ve had strong response to my queries and am happily packaging up copies to mail to the respective reviewers. As I was working on one of the copies, I wondered if I wasn’t designing a package that would be considered too much effort to open. It’s an old habit that (I think) still serves me well.
During my pre-college years, I ran a used book store and had a “side business” of buying and selling comic books and collectible books. There was no internet or world wide web as is known today (I think maybe 2400 baud modems were just coming out), so everything was done with traditional classified or small print ads and word of mouth.
Once you get past age, the big thing about comics and collectibles is the condition. The higher the condition, the higher the demand (and usually the rarer the copy). With such a high premium dependent on condition, packaging was a critical part of the sales transaction. Since we’re talking about paper items, anything near a box or envelope edge risked danger of a crease or dent as the package traveled from truck to plane to truck. It didn’t matter if it was the Post Office or the package “specialists” like UPS or Federal Express, since the slightest damage had a drastic impact on the item.
Damaged boxes were fairly common (again, we’re only talking about an innocuous dent or crease in a package envelope) and the inevitable result was a refund. To avoid this, I worked out a system to package my items with protection extending out away from the edges of the books. If damage occurred to the exterior package, my “safety zone” would protect the actual collectible.
The current mailings of my (so far) not collectible book to the reviewers bears the same trademark “safety zone”. It might be overkill and it could possibly even annoy some prospective reviewer, but the book will definitely get there safe and undamaged. Thankfully, old habits are hard to break.