13 May 2015

What is an Advance Reading Copy?

This is so exciting! I am currently waiting to receive a box of Advance Reading Copies of my upcoming book Living with Canine Epilepsy. I have to admit, at the beginning of my writing career I was clueless about ARCs and what I'm supposed to do with them. I scrambled quite a bit to figure it all out. I had questions running through my head, like: What is an ARC? What am I supposed to do with them? Who should I give them to? 

What is an ARC?

ARC is the acronym for Advance Reading Copy. It’s an early version of a book, but it's not the final edited form. Even the book cover looks a bit different. In general, an ARC lacks a final dust cover, formatting and binding of the finished product. My canine epilepsy book is still in the last stages of editing. You see, an ARC is not a polished version of the book and is not meant for mass distribution. The title page of my book will also have the following note: “UNEDITED MANUSCRIPT. This is an unrevised and unpublished proof. Please do not quote it, until verified with the finished product! This copy is not meant for distribution to the public.”

What am I supposed to do with my ARCs, and who should I give them to?

A friend of mine answered my questions this way: “ARCs are a helpful tool for people who need more time to read and write a review or an endorsement. Focus on giving them to key leaders in your community and influential figures of the book genre; perhaps even local media contacts.”

To put it another way...Advance Reading Copies are for people who can help you promote your book(s), such as book critics, journalists, bookstore owners, or even celebrities. They read the book well ahead of time, as ARCs are sent out several months before the actual release date of the finished product. Their written endorsements can then be incorporated into the final book cover design and other marketing materials.

For those of you out there, who are already experts on this subject matter...feel free to chime in with your knowledge! 

Piper is the author of military lifestyle books and RV travel journals. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+


  1. I had a list of people for my ARCs that also included members of my writing group and writers I had interviewed on my blog. And of course, other literary short fiction writers, since that's the category my book is in. The feedback was very helpful and very encouraging, since by that time, I was full of doubt about the book, my writing ability and my sanity!

    1. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your insight! Sometimes it is hard not to lose faith in your own creations. =)

  2. I know that with traditional publishers, they will create ARC's. But I see on your first two books that you used CreateSpace (I do too.) With many of the POD companies, you're limited to a small number of proof copies in a single order so I guess if you wanted to order multiple times, you could get a decent amount to send out.

    Since you're not sending out a final, fully-edited book though, isn't that kind of risky even though you have that disclaimer?

    I'd love more details on how you order an ARC from CS, how many you would normally do, etc. etc. etc.

    1. So far I have not reached any limit on my proof copy orders. There is always a certain risk, regardless what sort of copy you send out, electronic or printed. I just hope that the people I send copies to do not misuse my trust. If you have ever used CS then you might be familiar with the proof copies you can order before you publish!? I created a temporary book cover which includes a label to indicate that the book is an ARC. Since I'm not going to publish this version, I will change the cover for the final product. This time around I ordered 20 copies, and I have already sent out about half of them.