Wednesday, May 16, 2018
I read a fair number of ARC copies. Some are from big publishers that I don't talk about here, some from authors and small publishers who put different amounts of effort into the ARC.
With some books I wonder if I've been handed a formatted first draft. Usually I can determine where in the publishing cycle the book is, and if I know it's going to get more love later, I don't mind the rough edges. Other times, the book is just perfect and ready to sell.
And then I get what I think is the final product with a disclaimer that all is not quite finished. Complete with missing punctuation and weird formatting, but it says ARC, so I'm not suppose to take official notice of that. Then I feel like I've been played for a fool, because I don't talk about the mess and the mess gets offered for sale, and then my standards look low. They're not.
Cryssy Crankypants here has dropped entire publishers for making me look at such messes and tricking me into pretending they aren't messes. I have turned down review requests from indies because I've looked at the files before deciding. I've also fallen down the rabbit hole of having to read the whole book RIGHT NOW because it's pretty to look at and the story is just that good, and then I've told the author, um, sure, I'll review. It would be nice if that one happened more often.
Yes, an ARC means I get to read a book that I don't have to pay for. But I really do, because not only does that book get hours of my attention, it need some thought and effort for writing a review. That makes a free book more expensive than if I paid top dollar for it.
Remember how you get one chance to make a first impression? That's what an ARC does. The big pub ARCs I get are ready to go except for the pretty cover. Because they understand that first impression thing.