Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ARCs and Everything After

One of the things I’ve learned on this crazy road to publication is that ARCs (Advance Reader Copies, galleys, uncorrected proofs, review copies, etc.) are like gold.  Because they have a small print run, each bound copy is expensive.  Publishers dole them out carefully – some authors only get two copies for their own marketing purposes.

This makes them very important.  And the choices we make with them as authors have to be equally important.  I don’t have extras.  Every single one is dedicated and for a purpose. It’s not easy to choose when you want everyone to be able to read your book.  When you want bloggers to shout about it.  When you want to be accommodating.  But choices must be made.

And then, yesterday, one went up for sale on eBay. (cue Psycho-esque slasher music).

This just kills me.  I know it happens.  It’s immoral, it’s wrong, it’s ridiculous.  It is, in theory, stealing money from me because I don’t get the royalties from the sale. But, you say, maybe this shouldn’t bother me so much because at least someone is eager to read my book.  I don’t get money from used book sales or from the 101st library reader, either.  It’s the readers that matter, right?  Well, yes and no.

What matters is one word.  “Uncorrected.”

ARCs are uncorrected proofs.  They contain mistakes.  Some are just typos, some are word choice.  In my case, there is a scene that I altered after the ARCs came out that makes the book better, makes the characters more clear.  It’s not a huge change, just word order and scene structure.  But to me it’s important.

I don’t want anyone to have to pay good money for my mistakes.  I want my readers to get the best story I can possibly give them.  That will be in the final copy.

There’s not a lot I can do about eBay sellers or used bookstore sales of ARCs.  There is no ARC police.  I can alert the seller.  I can tell my friends who do the same (thank you, Class of 2k12!).  And I can let you, my readers, know how I feel.  So that when you see an ARC for sale – mine or anyone else’s – you can make your own choice.

Update:  The lovely Kelly Jensen over at Stacked has blogged about this very same issue -- with much more depth and a little more perspective.  If you're interested, please see what she has to say here.


  1. That's really sad. I'm sorry you had that experience. Personally I would never buy nor sell ARCs. They are not meant to be sold. That's a sign of no respect for the author. :( It is a honor to receive an ARC.

  2. Thank you, Giada! And it is an honor knowing bloggers like you.

  3. That really sucks. I don't know why people feel the need to try and profit off of things like this. I for one cannot wait to read your book whether it be an ARC that I obtain through the proper channels or by purchasing a finished copy.

  4. You can report the seller to ebay. Kelly had linked to some ARC sellers on Twitter yesterday. I (and others) reported them and many of those listings have been taken down. You'd think giant "NOT FOR RESALE" on the cover would be a clue for some people...

  5. Thank you, Debbie! I can't wait to hear what you think.

    And Jennie, thank you, too. I did report the seller to eBay and will continue to do so whenever I see anyone's ARC up for sale.

  6. How maddening!

    ADVANCE UNCORRECTED PROOF - NOT FOR SALE. It shouldn't need any explanation, people. Don't sell it, don't buy it.


  7. I'm sorry to hear somebody is selling an ARC on ebay. I know you can report on ebay, but other places or when it comes to download links, only a complaint from the publisher or author will make them take it down. I wish every publisher's website had a report link because I've sent so many email, but never gotten a reply, which makes me think that nobody sees them and the one time they might, the sale is over or (If it's a download link) so many people have already downloaded the file that if one link is reported and closed, another 10 pop up.

    The book is gorgeous1 I love how the title glows in the light. Congrats!

  8. sad 2 hear
    all the best w/ the debut

  9. A few days ago, I came across an ebay store selling a whole load of ARC's, including yours. It's disgusting, it really is, as someone who *seems* to be a blogger is doing this to their ARC's they recieve from publishers to make money. I shook my head in extreme disappointment, when I came acrosse people bidding on ARC's, especially Bitterblue, which last time I check was selling for $50 plus Australia. Sick..

    I tried to report the store, but it only let you do one item, so I tried to sum it up that I wanted to report the store, which I had to do in about 50 characters which was soo hard! I hope eBay, emails me back and the store is shutdown for good!

    Also, I requested an ARC, from a tab at the top of the blog, a few months back and was wondering if you might know if my request had been excepted? :) I hope so, but if not, I'm patient and can wait til it comes out in print! :)

  10. Thanks, everyone for all your support! It's very reassuring to know how many people are out there who completely disagree with this practice -- and do something about it.

    Petra -- I love the cover, too!
    roro -- thank you for your good wishes
    Rebecca -- the ARC I think you mention was part of a contest and has gone to someone else. I will be hosting another (International) contest when my website launches. In the meantime, check my GILT page here for the e-mail address for Penguin Young Readers and put in a request to them. And good luck!

  11. Now I wonder what scene you changed! I will have to remember to ask you if I get a finished copy as well.

  12. Thanks for your reply comment. No, I wasn't talking about a contest, I was talking about the tab for, Gilt. A few months back, I sent a request to Penguin, but wasn't sure if I'd be given a copy as I'm in Australia. Anyway, I'll definitely enter the contest you hold next time! :) Thanks!

  13. My misunderstanding, Rebecca. Perhaps Australia was too far for them. But the contest will be international!

  14. I can't imagine selling a book I've won or been sent directly from the author (ARC or otherwise). *I* feel it's a special honor to read/review a book before everyone else.
    It makes sense though for there to be people out there who don't feel the same way.

    I'm sorry they do that :(

  15. Oh, my goodness, I love you guys. As Belle says, it's not surprising there are people out there who do this, but you all more than make up for it. Thank you.