Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review Copies

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s review copies.

Review copies (or ARCs - Advance Reader Copies) are sent out before a book’s publication date. They are unproofed copies, often still boasting writing, typing, and/or formatting errors. The books are marked front or back as review copies, and eventually reviews will grace the exterior of the finished product.

Who sends out review copies?
Self-published authors are responsible for sending out their own copies, but for traditionally published authors, this duty falls to the publisher, a PR agent, or a PR firm. (These authors rarely if ever have review copies of their own.) Smaller publishers will often coordinate with their authors when sending copies, too. (If you are interested in reviewing a book, always contact the publisher first.)

Where do review copies go?
Their primary purpose is to garner reviews, so they are sent months in advance to book reviewers big and small. Often they will be included with the author’s media kit and sent to the media. Review copies are sent to bookstores (especially independents) and are often available at large book festivals. Others are given out during promotional tours. Some are sent to other authors for blurbs.

How many are sent?
This depends on the marketing budget. Small publishers will be unable to send out as many as the large big boys in New York, and only projected best sellers get a full marketing blitz of thousands of review copies.

And if you ever see a review copy up for sale, let the sales site or publisher know! Because review copies are not to be sold...

23 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Another good post about the joys of book publishing, Thanks for sharing,

Yvonne.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Nice explanation here, Diane. :)

Helen Ginger said...

Very good info Diane. You're right, you're not supposed to sell review copies. I get ARCs from authors or publishers to review. Once I'm finished I often keep them, esp if they are signed. But it's hard to know what to do with the others. I wouldn't sell them and hate to give them away without the author's permission, and destroy a book(!) - that would be difficult for me to do.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know I only had one review copy! I've never seen any for sale, but I've never looked, either.

Laura Marcella said...

Thanks for the info! A lot of people like giving out their ARCs on their blogs. It'd be cool to get your hands on one of them if its a book you really can't wait for!

Talli Roland said...

Very well explained -- thanks!

Karen Walker said...

I was so excited when my review copies arrived. It made everything so real.
Karen

Faith said...

I get so angry when I see ARCs up for sale. I've reported a few to the author / publisher... I know that often after things like BEA, authors will troll eBay and file reports on all the ARC copies up for sale. I don't blame them. Some people simply have no decency, and it's sad.

Stephen Tremp said...

I'll be sending out ARCs of my next two books soon. Very excited about that. I have a much better idea of what to do with my next books regarding publishing and promotion this time around. Thanks for the timely post!

Rachel Morgan said...

I have entered like a zillion blog competitions to win ARCs and I've never won one! I shall persevere...
Thanks for the info. I hadn't thought about the fact that a self-published author would have to organise and send out their own ARCs.

VR Barkowski said...

Yet another task one takes on if one chooses the self-published route. Excellent information. Thanks, Diane!

notesfromnadir said...

I like this explanation of ARCs.

Karen Lange said...

Have had the privilege of reading some ARCs. It's an exciting step in the process!

Hart Johnson said...

This is so interesting. I just got my first OFFER of an ARC for review. It came from the author and I am keeping quiet because he said he needed to make the request to his publicist and then they'd send it and we don't have an answer yet. I hadn't really known the process though. It always seems like such a stressful thing to have to do... Glad it usually falls to others!

Matthew MacNish said...

I'd never heard of ARCs before I started blogging, but now I get them all the time. It's very cool, getting to read something before it hits the shelves.

DEZMOND said...

ah, I always get those review copies, since I'm a book translator and I usually get to read and translate upcoming books before they are actually published in USA or UK. It's lovely knowing you're reading it before everyone else, but as you said those copies are full of mistakes and formatting chaos which can create headaches to us translators :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sorry, didn't expect such a response for review copies!

Helen, so many do sell ARCs though.

Laura, giving is cool.

Faith, me too!

Stephen, if you need help...

Rachel, I'm sorry! I win 1-2 a month.

Dezmond, that must be fun! Dancing Lemur Press only supplies one review copy to the author, and it's for the purpose of finding those mistakes - of which there are many!!

Jemi Fraser said...

I didn't know all of that! Thanks!

I've won a few ARCs in contests - it's so exciting to have an early read of a book! :)

Sharon said...

Thanks for the information. I don't think I've ever seen an ARC and I haven't been around on enough blogs to even know that there are people giving them away!

Sharon
http://grandmaisawriter.blogspot.com

Jo Schaffer said...

Informative! (= I have never actually hekd one in my hands... it's like the Holy Grail.

Tony Eldridge said...

Great post, Diane. I'm wondering what you think... are electronic ARCs becoming more mainstream or are hard copies still the way to go?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jemi, I keep winning them, too.

Tony, while more and more take eBooks, the big reviewers don't. (Like Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly.) Many treat eBooks as self-published crap if that's all the author or publisher is offering to send.
Over time, that will change though.

Gloria said...

I once happened to be at a Whole Foods store that was selling theb ooks for a non-profit organization fundraiser. I was looking around at the books and found an ARC. I took it to the counter and the gal there was ready to mark it. I stopped her and said that it was illegal to be selling this book. Her response was it wasn't the stores. It belonged to the non-profit. "Do you want it?" I said "over my dead body will I ever purchase an illegally sold book," and added that I didn't care who it belonged to it was illegal to sell it. She took it and laid it aside near her. I'm sure it made its way back to the sale shelf sometime that day as she didn't seem to care.