Arrival of My ARCs

(photo: Diane Magras)

Advanced reading copies. The famed ARCs. Also known as galleys, these are the first appearances of a novel into print.

ARCs are used to introduce a book to reviewers, awards committees, and readers (with an eye to publicity and future purchases). But at their core, they share an author’s fictional world with a selectively chosen few prior to the publication date.

And it’s exciting.

Picture for a moment the years that go into a book’s creation, starting with writing (draft after draft), then revision (usually more than once), then querying (first for an agent, then for an editor), then editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Authors spend many hours on a manuscript throughout this process, early mornings and late nights. We’ve only only seen our words in the sterile confines of a file on a computer monitor or on 8 x 11-inch pages printed from that file.

And suddenly it’s a book. The author’s own words that once lived exclusively within a digital file now fill the pages of a real book.

Here The Mad Wolf’s Daughter‘s ARC nestles between some of my favorite books. (photo: Diane Magras)

My ARCs arrived late last week and I have a plan for every one of them. My readers (husband and son) will get one, and also my critique partners and various interested parties: librarians and teachers and a fellow author who sent me the ARC for her novel last year. My publisher is sending out others—many—to reviewers, awards committees, and readers. A number of ARCs will be appearing at New York Comic Con next month.

The ARC is when a book first starts going out into the greater world. It’s both exhilarating and a bit terrifying (because of course you want everyone to love your wee bairn). But it’s also an important milestone in an author’s life.

My next milestone is in five months and 11 days: the publication date. I’ll share more reflections then.

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