The Advanced Reader’s Copies (ARCs) Phase
Having an Advanced Reader’s Edition of The Keep of Ages in my own little hands makes curl up and grin. This book is so close to being out in the wild! Knowing that ARCs have been sent out to reviewers, librarians, and booksellers fills me with happiness and wild, amorphous wonder. Will they like it? Will they read it?
The practical, realistic side of me knows that for a book to find its key audience, it has to jump through many hoops, from getting written in the first place, to finding a publisher, to garnering decent reviews, to generating early interest from librarians and booksellers, to getting distributed, to landing in the hands of a reader who may or not be gripped by the cover or opening sentences.
The ARC stage, when 500 or so early, pre-proofreading copies are sent out, is a critical link in that process. In an ideal world, ARCs reach reviewers, booksellers, librarians and bloggers who are eager to get an early glimpse of a great new read. Yet I have seen, first hand, how ARCs are delivered to the back room of a bookstore where they pile up, competing silently with each other, while the overworked booksellers rarely have time to skim them. I’ve done my share of the skimming, too, and I know that it takes something really special to stand out.
For a book to get noticed, the stars have to align. I’m realistic, and I grasp this. But I also know I’ve written a fascinating, gripping, original, fabulous book. I’m thrilled about The Keep of Ages, and I think if my book can get the barest toehold of an audience, word of mouth will carry it to exactly the right readers who will love it.