Karen Brichoux

Current and Upcoming Books

Available Now
"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews


Road to the Shelves: Making Friends at the Post Office

January 29, 2004

February 2004 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: “The Road to the Shelves: Making Friends at the Post Office”
*What I’m Reading


*This is your chance to be one of the first people to read SEPARATION ANXIETY. If you think the moon, stars, and planets are on your side this month, go to: http://www.karenbrichoux.com for contest details. Good luck!

*The NAL authors really are a friendly bunch, so stop in to visit at the NAL authors boards (http://nalauthors.com/forums/ ). Unless where you live is warm enough for the beach. Telling those of us with frozen toes about your adventures cleaning sand out of your shorts might incite a few riots.

ARTICLE: “The Road to the Shelves: Making Friends at the Post Office”

I love my local Post Office.

Yes, there are lines, but lines are places for people to meet, talk, and moan about the weather in a casual, non-threatening kind of way. And anyone who complains about standing in a heated building for twenty minutes needs to experience some real hardship in life.

I’ve become a regular at my Post Office. They almost--but never do--forget to ask me if I have anything perishable, fragile, or nasty in those envelopes and boxes, because I routinely chirp, “Nothing but paper.”

I’m mailing Advance Reading Copies (remember those?) to online and print reviewers and to local bookstores that have been particularly supportive. This mailing is the first promotion stop along the road to the shelves. There are others--next month I’ll talk about the “Brag Sheet”--but researching reviewers and asking (begging?) if they would be interested in reviewing the book is one of the most time consuming.

First comes the online research. Sitting at the computer until my eyes are blurry and my mouse hand is numb, while reading more adjectives than I can stomach. This research helps me target which reviewers would be most interested in reviewing my book and which review sites and magazines have the most contact with readers. After I’ve got that worked out to my satisfaction, I send an email to the contact person listed in the magazine or on the website, and send him or her all the information about the book: author, title, date released, publisher, ISBN number, category, size, price, etc.

Then I wait.

Once the contact person responds, I write a cover letter--including all the same information again--and thank them for their interest in the book, print the letter, print the “Brag Sheet,” print the mailing label, and stuff the envelope. After collecting enough envelopes to justify driving to the Post Office, I’m standing in line again, and chatting about the weather.

After telling Mr. Postman that I’m mailing nothing but paper, I go home and wait again, since it is usually four to sixteen weeks before a review will appear on a website or in a magazine.

This business is all about waiting.

Which is why twenty minutes in line at the Post Office doesn’t seem so bad.


SING ME HOME by Jerri Corgiat. This is the first book in a trilogy about three sisters from the town of Cordelia, Missouri. The writing is lyrical, emotional, and intense. If you want more info, you can visit Jerri’s website at http://www.jerricorgiat.com

ARE YOU IN THE MOOD by Stephanie Lehmann. This book will be released in August, but I happened to get an early copy. Fans of Stephanie’s first book, THOUGHTS WHILE HAVING SEX, already know that her books are actually not sexy romps, but intense looks at human emotion and honesty. For more info, check out http://www.stephanielehmann.com

THE YEAR OF THE STRANGER by Alan Campbell McLean. McLean specializes in stories set in and around the Isle of Skye. This book is hard to find in the US, but all of McLean’s books are worth reading.

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger. I haven’t enjoyed a modern novel this much in a long time.

THE MIDNIGHT FOLK by John Masefield. A fun, magical story about a boy who is introduced to the nighttime world of black cats, witches, flying horses, and buried pirate treasure that *everyone* wants to find.