I knew they were coming. Had sat watching out the front door for a couple of days. No delivery person, no delivery person. Then, Friday afternoon, when all hope for receiving my ARCs had drifted away and I had settled on the idea that I would not receive my Advanced Reader Copies of my book before leaving to visit my daughter and granddaughter for the weekend, I saw the boxes.
Two containers filled with rough copies or “galleys” of my book sat quietly on my front porch. I might have missed them but for the tiny bit of hope that refused to leave my brain. Yipee!!
So what is an ARC and why is it so exciting?
An ARC, or Advance Reader Copy, is the book in its almost-finished-state. Authors can see what the cover looks like first hand, and have one last chance to make small corrections to their story before it goes into mass print. It’s like the astronauts sitting in the pod that will take them to outer space. Everything looks ready and you just want to have someone count down already, but the scientists back in home base need to make their final checks before hitting the blast-off button.
And thank goodness for those final checks! I re-read my book in this ARC or galley form, and found a couple of typos, a few small errors and then, in chapter 39, there it was–the error I would have been so embarrassed not to catch. Wanna know what that error was?
You know how I have a story bible to keep names and characters straight. Well a bible also helps remind you if you’ve named two separate characters with the same name. Huge no-no. Huge.
Well, yours truly did just that. I have a minor character called Matt Hawkins sprinkled throughout my books (yes, he shows up in more than one story). I accidentally named another character Matt. You see, there used to be this boy … Oh, but I digress. That’s a true confession for another time.
Anyway, I named a second minor character Matt. While I corrected the first reference, there were four other Matts who should have been Clints on the following pages. Oops! My bad. Big time.
Thank goodness for ARCs. All forty of ’em.
Why did I receive 40 ARCs? Because authors are supposed to send these out into the world for reviews by famous authors, booksellers, reviewers et al. They are NOT for family, or friends because, after all, this book thing is a business. The ARCs are for me to use to promote my first book.
Problem: I don’t know any authors, booksellers or reviewers. I want to send 40 books out so that people will start to talk about this book, and put it in writing so that the back of my book isn’t all just a blurb about me and what prospective readers will find inside. Where will I find these advance readers?
I will make my lists today. First of all, I’ll contact Writer’s Digest. Perhaps being a subscriber more on than off for thirty years will help. And then there are a few famous authors who are also members of my own Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers who may give a helping hand to a newbie. Hometown newspapers in Michigan might pick up my book for a review (especially if I mention I’m coming into town right around release time), and my nephew has a contact that runs a review blog out east. Half the world swarms into Colorado for ski season, and I’ve generously sprinkled local places of interest in my book, so perhaps that might help.
Do you have any ideas? I know my “real” job is marketing, but this promoting yourself is a bit of a bear.
BUT, I have an idea! It’s a contest.
Next week, I’ll try to write a quick mystery. It will be pretty straight forward, as I’m not feeling particularly tricky this quarter. If you read the mystery I write, and perhaps encourage your friends to do the same, you could win a copy of my ARC. Just remember this is not in final polished form, but you can think of it as a limited edition print. I’ll also be sure to autograph it just for you. Pretty cool, huh?
Here are the contest rules:
- Read the mystery
- Solve the main question of Who Dunnit and how you know this (Check out Women’s World–“Solve It Yourself Mystery” for ideas on this)
- Click the link that takes you to the submission form
- Be quick! I can only send an ARC to the first correct submission
This is not a rule, but it would help me a lot if you would send a link to your friends and librarians about this. The name of this game is, after all, promotion. What do you think? Are you up for receiving your copy of my ARC, or will you wait until June and the real thing?
Have a happy writing day.