Monday, January 10, 2005

The Angst of Parting with My Last ARC

Today I mailed away my last ARC. It is headed toward someone who I hope will review the book. My publicists (in-house and at Goldberg/McDuffie) and I decided that I would contact those few media people whom I know personally ('cause ya know, I'm basically A GREAT BIG NOBODY), and they'd go for the big name people.

I put the ARC in an envelope along with the galley letter my Goldberg/McDuffie publicists wrote, a copy of the cover, the catalog copy, my bio, and $100 cash. Just kidding about the $100.... No reviewer worth her salt is gonna be bought off for less than $250. Kidding! Don't hit me!

So what is an ARC, you may ask? An ARC is an Advance Reader's Copy. It is like the book in all respects but is paperbound. One other difference--while the ARC's been typeset, edited, and copyedited, it has not been proofed. In my case, there is one more, fairly major, difference. The cover is different from the cover you see on your right--the one that will be on the hardback in May. That's because during the time the book was being typeset, St. Martin's was trying out a number of different covers, and they hadn't settled on a design by the time the ARC needed to go to press. So instead, my ARC is covered with my blurbs going from left to right in blue type. On each line, they picked out a letter to put in red. Reading from top to bottom, the red letters say THE BITCH POSSE. I'll upload it; it's kind of a cool effect. You should be able to blow it up larger by clicking.

Inside is a beautiful letter from Jen Enderlin, who is my editor as well as the Associate Publisher of St. Martin's Press. In her letter, Jen talks about how excited she and St. Martin's are about the book and why people should read it and review it.

I was given only 10 ARCs, but I ended up sending several of them back to my agent so they could go to the foreign rights people. I sent a few to media people I know, and handed out a couple at bookstores.

And My. Last. One. Is. Now. GONE!!!!

{insert mournful music here}

Well, ARCs must be cheap, you may be thinking; they're paperbacks! You're the Author, Martha... so just MAKE 'EM PRINT SOME MORE!

Nope. ARCs cost WAY MORE to make than a published book. (I wanna say $40 or so? But don't quote me on that; I couldn't substantiate it anywhere. I'll ask around tomorrow and post the answer here.) The reason it costs so much is that the print runs on ARCs (the number of copies printed) are much smaller than a regular print run of a published book. And believe me, I'm low woman on the totem pole regarding the ARCs; my publicists (in-house and at Lynn Goldberg) and agent get them first. I kinda don't think I'll be getting any more.

And I gave my last one away today. So now I am ARC-less, and I feel really naked.

I guess that means I'll be bidding on them on eBay in four months, because I really, REALLY want one for a keepsake.