I forget sometimes that people new to the weblog might be confused by abbreviations. Jody asked about the word ARC. If you know all about this, you can skip the next bit.

ARC stands for Advance Reading Copy. Basically the publisher takes the first pass proofs of the novel — that is, the uncorrected proofs — and binds them into large format soft covers. They don’t print a lot of ARCs, and there is always fierce competition for them. The lion’s share goes out to the reviewers and booksellers in the hope that they’ll fall madly in love and publicize the book and/or write good things about it; authors and their agents get a couple copies. It’s really pitiful to see, but I have to admit I have begged and groveled to get more ARCs than they want to send me. And I have to fight my agent for them too. She actually needs them to send out when she’s making a pitch for an overseas sale, so she’s got a good reason.

So why do I want ARCs? Because I have people chomping at the bit. People who helped with research or gave me feedback, who want to see the damn thing. And I have readers like you all. I like giving away ARCs — as long as some ground rules can be established. Which I’ll talk about next week when I give the first Queen of Swords ARC away. Probably on Monday.