Imagine this: You just picked up the first book to a series. You start reading it and become immersed in the characters, the world and the plot line. All too soon the story comes to an end that, while immensely satisfying, leaves you yearning for more. When you look up the release date for the next book, you find out it isn’t due until the next year. What are you going to do? You can’t wait that long to find out what happens next. Lucky for you, there is such a thing as Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs).
An ARC is a free copy of a new book given out before the book’s release date. The goal behind ARCs is to gain publicity for the book. Anyone who is given a copy will be asked to write a review after reading it, which can be posted online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, personal blog, etc. This is an amazing opportunity, because now you don’t have to wait as long for a book you’re highly anticipating. Some ARCs are given out months before the publication date. Others are handed out a couple weeks before. With the influx of e-readers, digital ARCs are becoming available as well. ARCs, however, are a little different than the final copy. Instead, they are a preview. Some scenes may be added or deleted and the front cover may change. But, how can a person give up the opportunity to read a book before its release date? I know I couldn’t. One downside is that every book doesn’t have an ARC copy. Many of the very well-known authors don’t give out ARCs because they don’t need the publicity. Nevertheless, many up-and-coming authors do and you never know unless you check.
Hearing and knowing about Advanced Reader Copies is great, but I’m sure you’re asking, “How do I go about obtaining one?” There are a number of avenues you can choose. The best way is to consistently read and write reviews. This gets your name out into cyberspace as a reliable and honest reviewer. You can then request ARCs on review/library sites such as NetGalley and Edelweiss. This process may take several months (making your name known and writing a number of reviews can’t be completed in a day), but is definitely a known source for obtaining ARCs.
Many copies are also given out via contest by the publisher or author. You can usually find them on Goodreads, NetGalley, or other book review sites. Signing up for any of these sites is free. They simply ask for your active participation. If you follow your favorite author on Facebook or Twitter, sometimes authors will host giveaways or contests of published books and ARCs. Following an author on social media is also a great opportunity to communicate with the author and other fans. Authors may additionally post teasers of their upcoming releases.
Another way to get ARCs that doesn’t involve signing up for review sites is to participate in your college’s literary magazines. Some organizationss and magazines may receive ARCs that can be reviewed by students. Emerson College’s Emertainment Monthly and Undergraduates for Student Publishing (also known as Pub Club) request, receive and distribute Advanced Reader Copies. Through Undergraduates for Student Publishing this past semester, I was able to read an ARC of 99 Days by Katie Cotugno. And recently, the head editor of the book section for Emertainment Monthly brought back a number of ARCs after attending BookExpo America. Anyone can register to go to this yearly event, but there is a fee, plus hotel and transportation if the expo isn’t near your hometown.
The suggestions listed above are just some of the ways to receive ARCs. There are many more options available, including perusing the publisher’s direct website. All in all though, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading an ARC or a book from the library, bookstore or friend. Reading is what is important because it opens up so many avenues for learning, discussion and entertainment.