Raiders of the Lost ARCs

Do you know what happens to an ARC, Advanced Review or Reading Copy, when the reviewer is finished? Sometimes the reviewer keeps the ARC or offers it as a prize in a contest or raffle basket. Most authors give away ARCs with the hope that the copies will be read, cherished, and find homes on the winners’ keeper shelves.

Unfortunately not every ARC has an HEA (Happily Ever After). I was surprised and upset when I found an ARC at a local bookstore earlier this week. Remember an author, agent, and a publisher do not earn money or sales credit on an ARC. That’s why review copies are limited and labeled with a NOT FOR SALE warning. I debated about what to do, because I was certain the ARC would be sold and probably resold numerous times regardless of whether I complained or not.

I researched the issue and discovered almost 4,000 records of ARCs for sale on eBay. Evidently acquiring and selling review copies is big business for the “Raiders of the Lost ARCs.” I even found a review copy of a book, which hasn’t been released for public sale. I contacted the author, and her agent is pursuing the matter.

You may not agree with me, but I decided to buy the ARC at the bookstore for two reasons. First I wanted to rescue it from a life of resale, which would rob the author of future income and sales credit. Second I will see the author at a conference next month and plan to return the ARC and the sales receipt proof of what the bookseller did.

What do you think?

Links to articles about NOT selling ARCs:

Here is a humorous video about what happens when an author doesn’t want to give away her last ARC.

The Perfect Pitch

Most people think of baseball when they hear the word “pitch.” Writers spend hours creating and practicing what they hope is a perfect pitch for their manuscript, book proposal, or screenplay. Pitches come in different lengths, and the methods vary. (See links below.)

When you’ve finished pitching, don’t toss that pitch away. Reduce, reuse, and recycle it. A great pitch can be fashioned into part of a back cover blurb, query, and/or synopsis.

What’s your favorite way to create the perfect pitch?


Video: Michael Hauge pitch method 21min. 9 seconds

Literary agent, Rachelle Gardner:

Harlequin: The Heart of the Matter: How to Find the Essence of Your Plot in Two Sentences

Carrie Lofty The Tiny Art of Elevator Pitches:


Deconstructing Novels

Some editors recommend it. Some published authors swear it’s the way they learned to win contests and obtain contracts. Savvy Authors and writing groups sponsor workshops on deconstructing individual novels. But how do you actually deconstruct a novel?

I prefer to combine the romance novel method (Link 1 below) with a brief outline of the chapters. Warning: My method is time-consuming but well worth the effort.

How many novels have you deconstructed? What method did you use?

1. Romance Novel method:

(Thanks to my friend and fellow writer, Ana Farrish, for recommending this link.)

2. Scene method:

Why Too Many Writers Can Spoil a Brainstorming Group

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison

As a writer, I don’t have time for the Edison approach. That’s why I like brainstorming in a group. However not all groups are created equal, so here are some tips that work for me.

1. Size matters. Less is more. More time for each person to have a turn. More time for recording ideas, asking questions, etc. No more than five people in a group.

2. The secret is in the sauce. Brainstorming with other authors who read or write in your genre or time period creates the best blend of ideas and resources.

3. Location. Location. Location. Find a convenient place, which is private with few distractions.

4. Be prepared. Bring copies of a one-page double-spaced overview of the premise and tone of your work and your specific area(s) of concern. I provide spaces for comments and collect the pages at the end of the session in case I missed any suggestions.

5. In the nick of time. Two hours is a reasonable amount of brainstorming time for each person to receive twenty to thirty minutes of ideas from the group. Someone needs to be the timekeeper and reign in the group if they lose focus on the premise, tone, or specific concerns. Gentle reminders. No whips or rulebooks are required.

What do you think about brainstorming groups? What other suggestions do you have?

Myths about the NYT Best Seller List, Beta Readers, and Copyright

Three links from The Writer Fairy:

NYT Best Seller List

Beta Readers