What is a galley, and why do you need one?

why you need a galley

Authors, you need to print galleys before your book launch

No, not THAT kind of galley! Though rowing into a book fair on a ship powered by oarsmen would be an impressive way to launch your book.

Galleys, or advanced reader copies (ARCs), are printed versions of your book that you will give away for free to reviewers, bloggers, distributors, retail buyers, and other industry contacts. A galley is essentially a product sample, and according to the folks at FinishYourBookNow.com:

The key, and this is what traditional publishers do, is to have these printed well in advance of your pub date in order to distribute at trade fairs, festivals, and via sites such as Good Reads approx 6–8 months before your publication date.

Yes, I know, that seems like a crazy amount of time to the frustrated “I just want to get my book out already” self-publisher.

But, hold your horses.

The more work you do to promote your book before the publication date the more people will already know about it, and that means more sales!

Most traditional publishers have their books ready in some form or another at least 8 months prior to their pub dates. As a self or indie publisher 6 months is sufficient, but that means you are working to an advance schedule. Make sure you factor this in!

Your galleys don’t need to be perfect. The editing of the book needn’t be finalized; the book cover doesn’t have to be fully designed; and the layout might still be a work-in-progress. Fortunately, anyone in the industry that has received ARCs in the past will know what they’re looking at, and consider your book accordingly.

But there are some essential bits of information that MUST be included on the front cover, title page, and back cover. To make sure you’ve covered all the bases, check out “How to Create Advanced Reader Copies to Get Your Book Reviewed.”

And when you want to print your advanced reader copies, check out BookBaby’s book print services; your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Even if you’re only publishing an eBook, you can still benefit from printing 25 galleys to send to book bloggers and your local news media.

Click here for some helpful tips for how to make your book: Printed Books 101.

Free BookBaby Catalog - Your path to publishing

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Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."


  1. Hi Chris,

    Once again, thanks for this great information. Just when I think I know everything I have to do now to get my book out in the universe, you save me with more important steps.

    I’m overly excessive with my self-editing and have been doing it for a long time now, so finally planning to let go and let the professionals have it. Thanks again, Chris.

  2. Great information. It is sometimes overwhelming rummaging through all the information on self-publishing. One thing I know for certain is that I want to try to get reviews for my soon to be published fiction and I know I need a galley to do that in most instances. Thanks!


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