As you can tell from the ongoing giveaway at Goodreads, I recently received some Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) of Fair Coin. These are bound paperbacks that resemble the final book but contain uncorrected text. Typos, even. (I hates them, Preciousss.) What are ARCs for? Essentially, they’re for promoting your new book. My amazing publicist at Pyr has been sending them to book reviewers and bloggers, and the copies I received are earmarked for promotions and for booksellers, librarians, and reviewers I hope will be interested in it.
I wasn’t as emotional as I expected when I opened the package–I pretty much only cry at Pixar movies these days–but it was definitely a Big Deal. I was excited to get an ARC because it’s like a prototype of the book to come, another step that makes it feel like more of a reality. In fact, no sooner did I prepare to post a goofy picture of me posing with an ARC, but the actual, hardcover author copies arrived! A month early!
I know, that’s not my book. I’m glad you noticed.
But see, my idea of what it’s like to unbox the shiny new copies of your first book has basically been informed by Back to the Future. What? I love that movie. My moment was more like this:
Let’s just pretend that Bach is more interested in my book than playing with those Styrofoam peanuts.
When I opened the box and took out the copy on top, I only glanced at it before handing it to my wife. I took another copy from the box and looked it over thoroughly, even lifting the jacket to peek at the bare hardcover beneath it. (She was fine with that, and a little curious herself.)
I didn’t even think about letting my wife see the book first; she was the first person to read and critique that messy early draft of Fair Coin. This was her moment too. I think I said something like, “We did it.” That’s when I realized that opening that box wasn’t just about the achievement of getting a book published, it was about who I can share it with: the family and friends and everyone who helped make it happen. That’s a lot of people. I should have felt proud, but instead I was simply… Grateful.
And I also kept thinking about that scene in the greatest time travel movie ever made, in which a happy ending features a writer surrounded by his family (and Biff), holding his first science fiction novel.
(I look tired, don’t I? I guess “If you put your mind to it, and skip a lot of sleep, you can accomplish almost anything, probably” is a weaker theme for a movie.)