What is an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC)?

An advanced reader copy (ARC) is essentially a pre-release version of a book. It’s an uncorrected version of the final manuscript that is given out by the publisher to certain people and organizations before the book is actually released to the general public.

Publishers create advanced reader copies for a few different reasons. One reason is to generate buzz and get people talking about the book. They might send out copies to book reviewers, book clubs, and other influencers in the hopes that they’ll write reviews, host discussions, or share the book with their followers. This can help build anticipation for the book and drive sales when it’s officially released.

Another reason publishers create ARCs is to get feedback on the book. They might send copies to writers, editors, and other industry professionals who can offer constructive criticism and help the publisher make any necessary changes before the book goes to print.

So who exactly gets advanced reader copies? There are a few different groups of people and organizations that might receive them. Some of the most common include:

  • Book reviewers: Many book review outlets, both online and in print, will request advanced reader copies of upcoming releases. This allows them to review the book before it’s available to the general public and publish their review around the same time as the book’s release.
  • Booksellers: Booksellers, both physical and online, might receive advanced reader copies to help them decide which books to stock and promote.
  • Libraries: Libraries often request advanced reader copies so they can have copies of new releases on hand when they’re released to the public.
  • Book clubs: Some book clubs will request advanced reader copies to use for their discussions. This can be especially helpful for smaller book clubs that might not have the budget to buy multiple copies of a new release.
  • Influencers: Publishers might also send advanced reader copies to influencers, such as popular bloggers or social media personalities, in the hopes that they’ll share the book with their followers and generate buzz.

Now, you might be wondering how you can get your hands on an advanced reader copy. If you’re a book reviewer, bookseller, librarian, or a member of a book club, you might be able to request an ARC through the publisher’s media or library relations department. You’ll typically need to provide your name, contact information, and the name of your outlet or organization. Some publishers have specific guidelines for requesting advanced reader copies, so be sure to read and follow those carefully.

If you’re not a book reviewer or affiliated with a book club or library, you might still be able to request an advanced reader copy. Some publishers have programs that allow readers to request advance copies in exchange for agreeing to write a review or host a discussion about the book. You can usually find information about these programs on the publisher’s website or by following them on social media.

So why would you want to request an advanced reader copy? There are a few different reasons you might be interested in getting your hands on one. Maybe you’re an avid reader who wants to be one of the first to read a new release. Or maybe you’re a book reviewer or belong to a book club and you want to get a head start on your discussion. Whatever the reason, advanced reader copies can be a great way to get a sneak peek at new releases and be a part of the conversation around a book before it’s widely available.

Now, let’s wrap this up with a little bit of humor: Have you ever heard of the term “ARC envy”? It’s when you see someone else reading an advanced reader copy and you’re filled with a deep, burning desire to have one of your own. Don’t worry, it’s a common affliction among book lovers. But remember, if you’re really itching to get your hands on an advanced reader copy, you can always try reaching out to the publisher or looking for programs that allow readers to request them. Who knows, you might just be able to cure your ARC envy once and for all!

And if all else fails, you could always try the “fake it till you make it” approach. Just walk around with a blank notebook, pretend it’s an advanced reader copy, and see how long it takes for someone to ask you about it. It’s worth a shot, right? Ok, maybe not. But at least you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone in your love for books and your desire to get your hands on the latest and greatest releases.