So About That Pre-Order Gift…

by Alafair Burke

You may recall that a few months ago, I solicited your advice about a pre-order campaign for my first standalone thriller, LONG GONE, which comes out … OMG, tomorrow!  After giving pre-orderers (that’s a word, right?) a keychain last year for my novel 212, I wanted to know what readers might appreciate this time around.  Another trinket I could send to every person?  Or a smaller chance at being one lucky winner of something big, like an iPad?

Well, in more than fifty comments, y’all made three preferences very clear: 1) It’s more about the gesture than the monetary value; 2) Better to give something to every reader than to just one lucky winner; and 3) The more personal to the reader-writer relationship, the better.

Thanks to your input, I made a decision I never could have reached on my own.  In fact, I got so excited that I disclosed the decision in parts.  Because we all love mysteries, I decided to make the LONG GONE pre-order gift a surprise.

Like all good mysteries, this one came with clues.

1.  It consists of thirteen parts that can be assembled in less than three seconds.

2.  You put its parts together with your fingers, but you will not want to hold it.

3.  What force and strength cannot get through, this, with little effort, can do.

4.  It is not a car or an iPad. It is something little old me can actually give everyone who buys a book.

Got it?

Did you figure it out?

Try one more time?

It’s a thirteen-letter password!  And in that case, it’s a password to a private book club.  It’s private in every sense of the word. It requires a password, available only to early supporters of Long Gone.

It is also private because it provides a behind the scenes look at the writing of Long Gone: thoughts about various scenes and characters, information about the real locations depicted in the book, and other content that I hope will enhance the reading experience. 

Y’all told me readers wanted something personal and connected to the books.  I couldn’t think of anything more personal and Long-Gone related than exclusive content from the gal who wrote the novel.  Although the password to this club was intended to be a pre-order “gift” to readers and a small token of my gratitude, it has turned out to be a gift to me as well. 

LongGone_HiRes FINAL SNAPSHOT 3-21-11

In the past, I constantly had to admonish readers on Facebook and the web not to post comments with SPOILERS!  The private book club is a place where we can all start on page 1 together (tomorrow!) and read together for 10 days.  Every post begins with a page number, so anyone who falls behind can skip that post and come back later.  Faster readers can wait for the rest of us to catch up, then jump into the conversation.  I am really looking forward to talking to readers about LONG GONE in real time as they read.  Then on July 5, at 9 PM EST, we’ll wrap up our club with a live webchat.

Since all of you here helped me come up with this experiment, I thought you might want the details.  And because some of you may even want to join the club, I’m extending membership applications through the week. 

How do you get the password to the club?  Just purchase a copy of LONG GONE by June 25 (earlier is better, though, because we start reading tomorrow!).  It can be an e-copy or a paper book.  Either forward your proof of purchase to, OR fill out this handy, dandy pre-order offer form, whichever is easier.  Then I’ll send you the club location and password.  How simple is that?

The book club might be a completely transformative way to read a book with a community, or it could be a total trainwreck.  Either way, I’m looking forward to the experiment, and appreciate the willingness of others to follow me on the journey.

Learn more about LONG GONE, read an excerpt, and watch the video trailer here.  You can find many of your favorite booksellers here and here.  For signed copies, contact stores listed here.

And since I’m totally pimping myself out today, I’ll go all in with the advance praise:

“I loved this book.” —Michael Connelly

“Long Gone is a tremendous novel, and Alafair Burke is one of the finest young crime writers working today.” —Dennis Lehane

“Alafair Burke’s first standalone is an absolutely riveting must read—and the ending is a shocker you’ll never see coming.” —Lisa Scottoline

“A red-hot firecracker of a thriller. If you already love Alafair Burke’s novels, buckle up for her best book ever.” —Lisa Unger

“Highly addictive. The ending will leave you breathless.” —Karin Slaughter

“Very smart. The dialogue crackles, the plot is intriguing, and the pacing is perfect.” —Nelson DeMille

Seriously, everyone: Thanks a lot for your input about this in March.  I’m very happy with the little “gift” we came up with, and hope some of you here will enjoy it as well.

Comment time: What was the last book (other than LONG GONE, natch) that you purchased? And was it hardback, paper, or e?

 P.S. I’ll be the featured guest blogger this week for Powells Books, posting everyday this week.  Stop by and say hi!

25 thoughts on “So About That Pre-Order Gift…

  1. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Alafair

    Woo-hoo! Congratulations on the new book and wow, what a brilliant set of extras – not to mention the wonderful praise from your peers.

    Last book I purchased? Paperback copy of Rosie Garthwaite's amazing HOW TO AVOID BEING KILLED IN A WAR ZONE.

    Also just got an e-edition of Lee Goldberg's WATCH ME DIE, which was previously called THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE.

  2. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    That's brilliant stuff, Alafair! You put a huge amount of thought and consideration into it and I'm sure it will pay off. I think your readers are going to appreciate it.
    Fantastic blurbs, by the way!

  3. David Corbett

    Congratulations on the new book, the new form (stand-alone) — and big kudos on your very savvy PR instincts. Very cool.

    Have a fun and productive tour. Soak in the love. It suits you.

  4. toni

    What an absolutely clever idea, Alafair! I love that. I'll be, er, long gone, dammit, during your discussion process, which is a bummer. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you when you're done.

  5. Allison Davis

    My 80 year old dad just came to visit for Father's Day, and I had given him a copy of 212 – he is a voracious reader and part of the creator of the reader/writer monster I am today — and he said at first he was skeptical and then said it was fabulous, blew away his expectations and wanted more. So ordering two copies of Long Gone.

    Last book I bought was Barbara Hambly's The Shirt on His Back, a Benjamin January book (finally a new book after her short stories)…part of this is my affiliation with New Orleans and part is the point of view she writes from but I really like this series.

  6. Jenni

    Oh, and the last book I purchased was a Kindle download: Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. And just before that the book, Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson – also e-book.

  7. Rae

    Hi, fun post!

    Last book I received – it was a hardback – was "Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange" (kind of a disappointment, I must say). This followed my visit to the Balenciaga exhbiit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, where I also bought books – about the Golden Age of Couture, and Balenciaga in particular.

    The next book I'm expecting is the new one by Ace Atkins, which I'm really excited about…

  8. Alafair Burke

    jenni, Thanks for trying out this experiment. The private aspect isn't meant to be "mean girlish," just a way to guarantee that people don't stumble upon it accidentally and then read spoilers. Hopefully I've gotten the word out to enough people to have a critical mass to have some fun.

    Allison, Your dad sounds like a "Real Men Read Women" type. Please thank him for giving my work a try. And thank you for the support of LONG GONE!

    Louise, Stephen, David, and Toni, Thanks so much. As you know, this is always such a nervous week, like sending your kid off to school or something . Actually that's probably a terrible comparison, but I don't have children so have no idea. I can't do sports analogies either. Sigh.

  9. Kay

    This is a great idea. 🙂 A private book club with the author! I can't wait to get my book. I ordered it today as an e book for my Nook. I loved your last book. It was a Nook purchase, too.

    The last book I purchased was YOU BELONG TO ME by Karen Rose. It's listed as Romantic Suspense, but I think any mystery/suspense reader would love it. I purchased it as an e book for my Nook, too. Most of my book purchases are for my Nook. My husband has one, too, so we can share books. A couple of people in my book club have them now, too.

  10. Reine

    Hi Alfair, congratulations and best wishes on your latest!

    The most recent book I bought was, I think, RIOT ACT, the e-book version, by Zoë Sharp. Around the same time I bought the CD version of THE KEEPSAKE by Tess Gerritsen.

  11. Reine

    CORRECTION! So sorry to have made an error regarding the download of one of Zoë's books . . . hope no heart attacks or strokes occurred! The e-book I downloaded was SECOND SHOT not RIOT ACT. Obviously I'd been reading about RIOT ACT but SECOND SHOT is what I downloaded from iBooks.

  12. Catherine

    I'm in the midst of processing an order for Long Gone.

    The last fiction book I bought is a debut paperback by Nicole Watson, winner of the David Unaipon Award called ' The Boundary'.

    While the story arc is intriguing, in particular I've been interested by how she describes George St, a street that I regularly walk along.

    I see it as at the far end there is the University I attend, a blend of sandstone and modern buildings where the cafe I go to has a little sign outside the ladies room noting it was a scullery. Government house is next door, a casino about midway, the city library and supreme court and a pie shop that seems to be open whenever I walk past to get to my bus stop. Oh and an independent movie theatre that plays old black and white or late showings of movies like 'The Heathers'. I really like how she has mixed old and new senses of place within the story. How she places in a context outside of my experience.

    Latest book purchase as of an hour ago, is hardcover. 'Casual Living: no fuss style for a comfortable home', Judith Wilson and photography by Polly Wreford. Lots of white rooms with slightly beat up furniture. I have the beat up furniture…next step…scrub walls, paint prep and lots of white paint.

    I think your offer is a very cool idea Alafair. Thanks.

  13. KDJames

    Alafair, what a cool innovative idea! And yes, please do come back and tell us how it went. I've added LONG GONE to my wish-I-were-wealthy-damnit list. Hope it sells like crazy.

    The last book I bought was a print book. Which is odd because I haven't bought a print book in more than a year. But I recently ordered two copies of Go the F*ck to Sleep. For my kids. For someday.

    [sorry to be so late getting over here, it's been one hell of a day]

  14. nikeshoesebay

    I think you have produced a few really fascinating points. Not as well many others would really think about it the way you just did. I am really impressed that there is so much about this subject that has been revealed and you did it so nicely, with so considerably class. Top-notch one, man! Genuinely special things right here.


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