Thursday, January 24, 2008

What's an ARC, anyway? (The last contest)

Congrats to tezmiller from LiveJournal on winning last week's drawing for an ARC of Wicked Game. I let her have it even though she caused Poison's "Unskinny Bop" to get stuck in my head.

And now...the last ARC to be given away on the blog.

To review, an ARC is an Advance Readers Copy of the book. Sometimes the R stands for "Review," which is technically more correct, because the publishers print them up several months ahead of time for the purposes of giving to people who will, you know, review them.

Besides reviewers, who gets ARCs? Key booksellers, readers groups, major bloggers, interviewers--anyone who will get the word out and create a buzz prior to publication. Sometimes authors get a few for their own promotional purposes.

BRAG ALERT: I showed the people at Pocket my detailed marketing plan for Wicked Game; in response, they sent me many, many ARCs.
END BRAG, BEGIN LESSON: It just goes to show that if you demonstrate a willingness to do your part to promote a book, a publisher will help you out if they can. It's a partnership--you can't expect them to do everything while you stand by and wait for success to fall on you.

There are a few major differences between an ARC and the actual book,* and ARCs have their pros and cons. Since the main character is a grifter, we'll start with:


  • Quality on the inside: They're uncorrected proofs, which means typos. Don't let them distract you from the story or make you think poorly of the author or publisher. In the interests of getting them out quickly, they're usually not proofread.
  • Quality on the outside: The binding isn't as resilient, and the paper is sometimes of a lower grade. Many ARCs have a blank cover with just the title and author's name. (Fortunately the Wicked Game ARCs feature an early version of the purty purty cover.*)
  • You can't resell them. Well, you're not supposed to. No bookseller will buy them off of you (and those who do are rounded up and shot). Authors do not receive royalties or credit from ARC sales, but personally I believe that if you buy one to have as a collector's item and still buy the book itself, you're OK (in fact, you're FABULOUS for keeping it out of the hands of someone who'll buy it instead of the book).
  • Early! For this reason, I gobble up ARCs at trade shows like crazy. I want to be the first person to read a new book. Not so much for bragging rights, but to experience the story pre-hype, without prejudice.
  • Typos can be entertaining! For instance, in the middle of a riveting action scene, the baddies are described as running "up the stairs of David's desk." (Mainly I just feel lucky that they misspelled 'deck' that way.)
  • Insider information! The back of the ARC often contains super-secret marketing stuff, like the fact that Wicked Game will be a Feature Title on Simon & Schuster's Book Club Reader website and at the American Library Association conference. And that it's been optioned for a movie with Scarlett Johanssen and Ryan Gosling. Oh wait, no, that last one is Heavier Than Heaven, not Wicked Game. Sorry!

So for the final contest, tell me why I should give you the last ARC of Wicked Game. Does your blog get lots of hits? Are you the biggest gossip in your vampire novel-loving neighborhood/book club/quilting circle/coven? Are you on Death Row, with an execution date of May 12?

Give me your best pitch in the comments, or if you prefer, send me an e-mail (in case you really are on Death Row). And since Ciara is a con artist, points will be given for creativity.

As always, deadline is next Thursday, noon EST. Good luck!

*If I ever find the *%$&ing USB cable for my digital camera, I'll show you what mine look like.

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Please give me the ARC because:

It's not humanly possible for me to wait until May to read a vamp book that mentions 4-H.

Ooohhh, and cuz I asked first (I think).


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 1/25/2008 1:33 PM

I'll trade you your ARC for one of mine (when I get them). Plus, it's been ages since I've visited your blog and this is the first time I've delurked and left a comment. ;-)

Posted by: Blogger Marcia Colette at 1/26/2008 3:11 PM

Hm. Will you show *me* your detailed marketing plan for WG?


Posted by: Blogger Catie at 1/27/2008 5:19 AM

I like to read books and I'm poor :)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 12/16/2008 8:04 PM

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