Blame it on the ARCs

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.



Filed under ARCs, Celebrations

34 responses to “Blame it on the ARCs

  1. I love it, Jeanne! Don’t cringe, your stop-motion skills are epic. And I love your 5 year old’s response.


  2. That’s awesome, Jeanne! I was expecting something much more amateurish–like dancing around the house in a hat and bikini made out of your ARCs. (Memo to self: awesome Photoshop project!) I would attempt to rival your project with a similar video of my own, but as I only got three ARCs, and one is currently in the possession of my mother, either the video or the bikini would be much, much less substantial.


  3. I loved it! It was so great I brought my eleven-year-old to watch it with me again. Love the stop animation. You are so lucky to get so many. Does it feel like a big responsibility to get it into the hands of people who will help promote it?


  4. Laurie Boyle Crompton

    LOVE it Jeannie!! What fun! 😀


  5. meradethhouston

    Super happy for you! I adore the stop motion 🙂 Enjoy your cover-stroking all you want (then share with all the rest of us!!).


  6. So fun! Love your daughter’s reaction.


  7. Mike Jung

    Jeanne! THAT WAS AWESOME!!! I have a box at UPS that apparently has my ARCs in it, and I’m SALIVATING to get at it. I think my celebration will actually be to have my daughter open the box and hand me the first ARC – there’s a very real way in which her arrival motivated me to start writing and pursuing publication in a serious way, so it feels right to have her be a big part of that moment. Congratulations! And did I say that was awesome? Because THAT WAS AWESOME!!!


    • I love your plan to have your daughter hand you your first ARC. Sounds like a lovely, full-circle kind of moment to be cherished.

      And then you need to make a Santa Duck, Zombie Buddy movie. 🙂


  8. That was great. Love the enthusiasm and the stop motion. I was waiting for one of Ray Harryhausen’s skeletons to leap out and dance with the stack!


  9. annika146

    Very very cool! Wait until you get a batch of ARCs translated into another language or in my case, for a different country! All my American Arcs ended up in mostly good homes, the British ones, not so much…uhhh, you want one? Anyone? Anyone want one?


    • Annika – I hadn’t even considered foreign ARCs. I’ll consider it a win just to receive an author copy from each foreign publisher. BTW, how different is your British edition from your American one? I’d think you’d have no problem finding homes for your lovely books.


  10. Love it! What fun! Huge congrats to you =D


  11. Now that was fun with ARCs! Congratulations!


  12. Natalie Dias Lorenzi

    Jeanne! I’m impressed…and a little intimidated since I have to post tomorrow!!


  13. Congratulations, Jeanne!! I love what you did with this video–you’re so clever!!


  14. Congratulations!

    I don’t know what I’ll do with my first ARCs – probably line them all up on all my bookshelves, just to get used to seeing them up there. And make a stop-motion video of it, of course. 🙂


  15. Pingback: A Sob/Sub Story | EMU's Debuts

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