Have you plucked all the confetti out of your hair from last week’s launch of THE WICKED AND THE JUST? Now that J. is off making historicals the new black, it’s back to business at Emu Debuts. And today’s subject is Advance Reader Copies, otherwise known as ARCs or galleys.
In the longer-than-an-elephant’s gestational period of getting a book ready for publication, seeing your cover could be compared to the second-trimester ultrasound, when you get to fawn over the first image of your baby (or elephant, as the case may be). Receiving your ARC is like holding the newborn in your arms, okay, maybe a not-quite-ready-for-primetime newborn, but awfully close. The tactile sensation of paging through a book, filled with words you wrote a year, or years, ago, is a huge thrill. My five-year-old kept asking, “Did you write all those words, Mommy? All of them?” Even I had a hard time believing it. But there they were, bound in a stunning blue cover.
Now, once upon a time, it seemed that ARCs were everywhere. You could barely stroll across the blogosphere without tripping over images of galleys placed lovingly into stacks, or giveaways that offered a chance to be the first on your block to devour a coveted title. Lately, however, there appears to be a trend toward electronic galleys, which makes sense cost-wise. Even before the advent of NetGalley, publishers had different strategies for how many ARCs they’d provide their authors. So I feel extremely lucky to be with a house that gave me a couple dozen to distribute. Admittedly, I also feel an embarrassment of riches in telling folks I got that many, probably akin to what Octo-mom experiences when someone (who surely lives off the grid) innocently asks how many children she has.
I’m keenly aware that this may not be the case with my next book. Which has only made it more difficult to let them go. I want to keep every single one, stroking its shiny cover. Alas, that’s not their purpose in life. So I had to figure out a way to get my fill before sending them off into the world. This is actually out of character for me since the notion of hoarding and documenting isn’t one that comes naturally. I didn’t even own a camera for ages. Yet the urge to capture the moment was compelling, so what to do? After a little brainstorming, my husband helped me concoct something that did the trick. It’s silly. It’s amateur. It’s on YouTube! Yes, I’ll probably be cringing a week from now, but here it is:
How about you? If you’ve gotten a book published, did you find yourself tempted to document or celebrate in a unique way? (The weirder the better, so I don’t feel alone here.) If you’re pre-published, what’s on your list for ways to celebrate? Don’t be shy; it’s not like I’ll hold you to it when you get a book deal. Okay, maybe I will, but you’ll be so giddy, you won’t mind a bit.