I’ve heard a lot about ARC’s lately, but I’d never really seen one. (ARC stands for Advanced Reading Copy. It’s basically a paperback version of the book printed in advance for marketing purposes; publishers send them to booksellers, libraries, reviewers, etc.)
Then yesterday, the postman rang my bell with a package too huge to fit in the mailbox: an envelope stuffed with ARCs for OyMG.
Here it is:
No longer am I one-dimensional: I have a cover and a back and a spine. (Hmm, probably some good “spine” analogy there if I was quick enough to come up with it.)
I haven’t read it yet. I’ve flipped through pages, but I don’t want to find anything wrong. I want to imagine it as perfect—every word exactly as I want it. Of course that’s impossible—is there a writer alive who doesn’t look at their work and want to revise SOMETHING?
In fact, I have proof that it’s not perfect. It says so right on the cover: THIS IS AN UNCORRECTED ADVANCE PROOF. (And I knew that it was still a work in progress. I’ll get one more chance to make some fixes if needed!)
Here are some things in my ARC I wasn’t expecting:
There’s an excerpt from my book on the first inside page. I didn’t know it would be there and I didn’t choose it. But, I like it.
Also – there’s page count and the recommended ages and grades. (Ages 12 & up, 7th grade & up). I knew this in general, but here it is in black and white. It feels real now.
A while back, I blogged about all the marketing I’ve been doing for my book. I haven’t been deaf to all the reports about publishers doing less and less and authors doing more. I had prepared myself to do EVERYTHING. BUT…I won’t have to.
On the back of my ARC cover, are a list of things my publisher is going to do, including:
A. Blogger outreach
B. Targeted media pitch
C. Librarian outreach
D. IndieBound campaign
That’s not all. I also received a letter from my publicist. (Yes, I have a publicist!) The letter is pages long and covers many ways my house is going to support my book. It’s a huge relief and a reminder that we’re partners in this: if the book succeeds, we both succeed. Does that mean I’m slacking off myself? I wish!! (More on marketing another time!)
Back to the ARC.
It’s funny…I feel like I’m searching through the pages for secrets about my own book.
Why is that?
I think this thing that was mine, is now something more. It reminds me of that saying that things are greater than the sum of the parts. That’s what this feels like. My words were there, but add to that the insights of my amazing editor and input from the copyeditor and the wonderful cover design and the choice of type face and the marketing touches—and you’ve got this new, wonderful thing. My story has been transformed into a book!
I’m slightly giddy about it. I shudder to use the word giddy, but I think it applies. I have an ARC. Right now, that’s amazing.
Right now, I’m also purposely not allowing myself to think about what this ARC is for. That I’m meant to give it out and let some stranger read it and interpret it and live it in their own way and (heaven forbid) to review it.
I suppose that’s part of the transformation. A book continues to grow and change every time someone reads it. But I won’t think about all that yet. I only just got them. For now, I’m just going to share it with you.
Thanks, as always, for listening.