So this is the exciting part of being an author and seeing an idea turn into a manuscript and then eventually a book — the ARC! Mine will be sent out this week; can’t wait to see my copy.
The ARC is the Advance Readers Copy (sometimes called Advance Review Copy) put together by the publisher, which in my case, is Simon and Schuster Canada. The ARC may or may not have a cover image; if it does, it may or may not match what’s on the final book. But it will have a cover, and so it will look and feel like a book. That’s why it’s so exciting to actually get one; you know you’re almost there!
It is an “errors and omissions excepted” kind of publication: there are always tweaks and changes to the book made after the ARC. In this case, the ARC has been produced based on the first pass only. We’ve made quite a few changes to the second pass, and there may be a third, so someone reading it may notice plot holes or gaps, typos, etc. Sometimes there are formatting errors, or numbering issues. It’s really still a draft.
The ARC is sent out to reviewers who will read it and provide “blurbs” for the final cover and marketing. This year, copies are also going to the twenty or so Canadian and American artists who will be creating a painting based on their impressions for our art exhibition/book launch in June. (So cool. Some of the U.S. artists are even coming to Ottawa for the launch. Amazing.)
Sometimes I see people have put the ARCs sent to them for review up on e-bay for sale and I think that’s so unfair to the author and the publisher. I know, for example, that there are lots of mistakes about Cuba in the ARC that I only caught in the second pass. So not only would someone selling this ARC be depriving my publisher (and me) of a book sale to a prospective reader, as well as trying to get money for something that was sent to them in trust that it wouldn’t be sold, but more important, they are putting out my work before I think it’s ready.
I guess it’s my legal background but I think when someone gives you something for free on condition that you don’t sell it, you ought not to. If you don’t want to keep it, there are options, like the recycling bin. Or how about sending it back to the author? They’d love it; we usually only get one.