For those of you who don’t know (and I, despite years as a rather avid reader, had no idea until I started figuring out how to get published) an ARC is an Advance (or Advanced) Reader (or Reader’s or Reading) Copy (the C seems to always be for copy). They are also sometimes called galleys, for additional confusion. They’re sent out to booksellers/librarians/reviewers before the book itself is published so people can decide to stock or sell or review it, and they also send them to authors in order to get the little quotable endorsement phrases (blurbs) on the covers or on posters or t-shirts or whatnot. (Blurbs on t-shirts might not be a thing, actually, but someone should look into that. For BEA, maybe.)
So you have likely all seen blurbs on books. You may have already seen blurbs by me on books, of which there are two that are already in book form and two more on their way to being books (I shall give you a peek at the third at the end of this post). I have, to date, blurbed four whole books. I have been sent a lot more than that, though.
This is my current pile of things received late last year & year-to-date, with a bunny on top:
It’s already more books than I could read in a year, especially a year where I should be writing a novel. (A novel which is requiring reading other not-in-the-pile books for research-esque purposes, too.) Which brings me to a sad but true confession:
I’m a slow reader.
Not like, glacial slow but it takes me a good chunk of time to read a standard length novel. I’ve been trying to keep track of everything I read this year and so far I’m managing about four books a month. So, no too shabby, but not enough to keep up with my for-my-own-entertainment, for writing research *and* please-blurb-me books, especially since the blurb-requesting ones are time sensitive. Like little book time bombs. Luckily they remain readable after the time limit expires. I am working on a way to stop time in order to read more, but so far I haven’t mastered it.
I’ve been trying my best to reply to the expired ones (just sent another batch of analogy-filled emails today) as much as I can, though sometimes I can’t find a specific contact email, and one of the emails I sent in this batch came back with an autoreply stating the editor no longer worked at the publisher. Oops.
Luckily I still have some time to possibly read a decent percentage of the pile but the other thing I have learned through this whole process is that I am absurdly picky. I like a lot of books but the ones I love enough to press on others and put my name on in blurby endorsement form are rarer.
Maybe there’s a book I’ll love in the pile somewhere or one will arrive in an envelope sometime soon (they arrive quite frequently) and hopefully I’ll manage to read it in a timely manner. It’s strange to be asked for such things, and even stranger to me that my name on someone else’s book makes any sort of difference. But I’m glad to be able to help boost the signal when I read something extraordinary.
So the next thing that will be appearing on bookshelves with my name on it is a book I mentioned very briefly in my list of books I read & enjoyed last year. It’s called The Resurrectionist, it unfortunately doesn’t come out until May but I was given an early copy and it’s even more gorgeous than I’d expected.
I got to use so many of my favorite words in that blurb.
That’s another thing, for things I do blurb I try to avoid the “This book is better than kittens” generic sort of quote and try to be as descriptive and evocative of what I liked about it as I can. I won’t tease you with anything about blurbed book #4 since it won’t be out until September, but I seriously spent hours coming up with the right combination of words and I’m still mildly bitter that I didn’t manage to get the word “salt” in there somewhere.
And the moral of this post is I need more time to read. Or more time in general, that would be nice.