Saturday, March 3, 2012

ARC copies. Do You Need Them?

ARC copy of Protected
Indie publishing secrets revealed.

The first ARC I received was
The Hourglass Door (The Hourglass Door Trilogy) (Hourglass Door (Quality))
by Lisa Mangum and she signed it and everything. So fun. Since then I get most of my ARC copies as eARCs because I love reading on my Nook so much!
I have 8 others sitting on my desk of honor. I love them.

One of the hardest things for an indie author is to get ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of your books out. But they are so important and readers love them, just like I do. They are a must.

ARCs are uncorrected proofs of your novel. They are usually made just after copy editing, but before the book is completely vetted for errors. Sometimes big mistakes remain, while other times, there are hardly any errors left. So, they aren't perfect books, but they are rare, not many are made, which is partly why people are so excited to get them.

Another reason people love to get ARC's is because they get to read the book before anyone else.  I was so thrilled when I was chosen to get an ARC of Hallowed by Cynthia Hand.
 I wanted that book pretty badly and I loved being able to read it a few months before anyone else. However, these books are not made for casual readers, friends and family. They are made to get the word out, build a buzz with reviewers and book bloggers. 

Publicity, baby! 

They are also sent to librarians so that they can check it out before ordering it. Booksellers get a preview of the book to help them decide if it will be a hit in their store (by the way, Barnes and Noble is notoriously slow in this arena. They need the book 12 weeks in advance to ensure your book will be available in their stores on your launch date, so get them out early)
As an indie author, the money to produce these ARCs comes out of your pocket and it's not cheap. This is a small run of 100 or so books and printing only 100 books is expensive.

One of the great things about the internet and ereaders is that indie authors can get their books to reviewers and book bloggers for free.  IF the readers and bloggers have ereaders. Smashwords lets authors create coupons that authors can give to people so that the book is free to them. Awesome, right?

Many bloggers/reviewers, however, do not have ereaders. Are they crazy? I love my NOOK. So handy! Don't get me wrong, I still love a good print book. So, you do need to have some printed ARCs on hand to get out to the public, but try to focus on eARCs. If a reviewer won't accept an eARC, move on, there are plenty who will and it really is the wave of the future. Save money wherever you can.
Createspace is a nice place to create your printed ARCs whether you choose to do 10 or 100.  You can even send them directly to the people from Createspace. Yes, you do have to pay shipping. Boo! But it is handy. It is also nice to give some ARCs to bloggers and reviewers to give away when they review your book.
I used Smashwords and Createspace to get out ARC copies of Protected. It worked out well. Also, there is something about a printed copy that makes it easier to spot errors. It is nice to have a print copy to mark up and do final editing on. It's also fun to keep that original book as a keepsake.

So, bite the bullet and get your print ARCs and eARCs out to reviewers, bloggers, librarians and booksellers at least 2 1/2 months before your release date. It is a must! Do not miss this step.

Do you own any ARCs? Do you love them? Did you buy the finished book when it came out?

No comments: