ARC: What Is An ARC Advanced Reader's Copy?

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Definition of ARC

An ARC is an advanced reader's copy of a book given to certain people who are allowed to read the book before its actual publish date. 

What Is an Advanced Reader's Copy?

An ARC is the pre-published, almost-complete version of a new book that is released to "advanced readers." Who these advanced readers are may vary, but for the freelance writer's purpose, they are book reviewers and media reviewers who are allowed to read the book before its publish date so that reviews may coincide with the book's debut.

Advanced Readers Copies and the Freelance Writer 

In the freelance writing field, this term is most commonly used by those who review books for magazines and newspapers. The ARC is generally a paperback edition that is not complete- that is, it may lack a final proofread or its final cover design.

So how do you, as a writer, get an ARC? Generally, they are sent to reviewers based on their relationship with a certain publication, or with the publisher themselves. So, if a magazine often publishes reviews of a certain publisher's books, that publisher will happily keep providing the ARCs to that particular magazine. In addition, let's say that you, as a freelance blogger/writer/journalist, have constantly and consistently written valuable, fair reviews, then your chances of being in a good relationship with a publisher who provides ARCs are good.

In addition, sometimes ARCs may be supplied by an editor at the publication to the freelance writer.

So, if an editor asks that you do a review of a book, it's likely they will supply the ARC.

ARC Caveats

ARCs are not the end-version of the book, although they are close. You may find typos or different final sequences. For this reason, it is always good to check with the book publicist if you're considering quoting parts of the book in your review.

In addition, ARCs often come with marketing material. Since your goal, as a freelance writer, is a fair review of the book based on your reading, don't put too much store or dwell too long on the marketing material that comes with the ARC. It's the publicist's job to crow about that book--it's your job to give it a fair go. 

ARCs Also Known As 

Other words for an ARC are: advanced reader's copy, reviewer's copy, pre-press copy, galleys or advanced reviewer's copy.