By rcade: After Jay Kristoff revealed in a contest announcement Friday that St. Martin’s Press is printing four different covers of the advance review copy (ARC) for his new fantasy novel Empire of the Vampire, some authors are objecting to the commercialization by publishers of something that’s supposed to be about eliciting reviews.
On Twitter, the author Fonda Lee lamented Sunday that “collectible” ARCs are becoming another marketing howitzer to make big authors bigger:
I hear a publisher is offering ARCs of a big name author’s book in multiple collectible editions. Sorry, but that sucks. ARCs are a tool for garnering early industry reviews. They were the one thing every author *used* to be fairly confident their publisher would send out to at least ensure the book was reviewed in trade journals and that librarians and booksellers were aware of it. Then ARCs became part of early marketing. Some authors get shitloads of ARCs stacked in a pyramid at BEA and distributed by the thousands. Many get the bare minimum which these days means an e-ARC available on NetGalley if a reviewer jumps through the right hoops to request it. Weaponizing ARCs as a prestige marketing tool will only exacerbate the author haves vs. have nots, and normalize the sale of ARCs. It’s no surprise, but it stinks.
Some reactions were a little harder to find on social media because people hid Kristoff’s name by using strategically-placed punctuation. Author Kara Jorgensen tweets:
… J*y Kristoff is getting 4 or 5 limited edition ARCs while most people at that same publisher aren’t getting any physical ARCs for their books.
In the ARC giveaway, donations to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will earn a matching donation from Kristoff and from one to five chances to win the random drawing.
A fifth edition of the ARC has been produced by the U.K. publisher. The contest announcement anticipated that the multiplicity of ARCs would raise eyebrows. “Jesus pole-dancing Christ, Kristoff it’s going to be hard enough to get one!” it states. “Don’t sweat, it’s the exact same ARC inside. You don’t need to collect ’em or anything.”