Tuesday, March 01, 2011

West of Here by Jonathan Evison

In days of yore, and before the new austerity in which publishing finds itself, it was not uncommon for publishers to create clever ways to promote their books, among them by providing swag.  The good folks at Algonquin were always particularly adept at this, even sending salamis to accompany the publication of one of their titles (anyone remember Laurie Gwen Shapiro's charming first novel?).

Last week, I had the good luck to be chosen among five winners for a "boxed" version of the new novel from Algonquin, West of Here.  Expecting a slipcased edition of the book, you can imagine my absolute delight when the package arrived in yesterday's mail, containing:
  • A sturdy wooden box with a sliding lid revealing a hardcover copy of the book with a signed bookplate.  Is the dust jacket Tyvek?  What a wise move.
  • A note on High Tide Seafood Company letterhead from executive editor Chuck Adams extolling his love of the book. (It was addressed to Dear Reader but I'll forgive him for getting my name wrong.  It's 'Reed', Chuck)
  • Five old-timey postcards depicting people and places from the era in which the book is set
  • A map of the Washington Territory from 1879
  • A reproduction of a newspaper piece decrying how land barons and railroad magnates were carving up the Territory for their own needs instead of use by "settlers and homebuilders" per the original land grant
  • A one-sheet with bookseller blurbs and news that West of Here is a #1 Indie Next Pick
The book, published February 15, was well-hyped and has been well-reviewed and it's obvious the publisher is behind it, going to some considerable expense to create this fine package.  More importantly, the goodwill this generates and the obvious love and care, thought and planning, makes me think the financial outlay will be well-justified soon enough.  Bravo, Algonquin. 

Once my travels in Swamplandia! conclude, I will travel West of Here happily.

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