Tuesday, 14 July 2009

ARC: A Curve of Learning

I'm working my way through an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of my novel After Goya, highlighting typos.

Yes, after years in the making, After Goya is in the process of being made ready to be foisted onto an innocent public.

Another ARC is currently holidaying in Cyprus with its reader.

Another ARC is currently resting at my mother's house in Bishop's Cleeve, having been on tour of the Post Office, Library, Doctors' surgery and the British Legion.

Everyone, thus far, is impressed with the cover -- designed by the talented Catalan book designer Xavier Peralta -- but have yet to comment on the text.

Mr Scott Pack over at The Friday Project very generously commented on the cover, providing a very perceptive and useful list of recommendations which will be actioned at the end of the ARC process.

All I've to do now is order a few more copies and wing them off to test readers, known writers, potential distributors and retailers. But therein lies the rub. Do I distribute the ARCs as the text exists now, with all the stray dashes and interrogatives? Or, do I tidy up the text, pay 50 quid, wait another three or four weeks, and miss the holiday reading window?

Of course I'm wincing as I go through the text hunting typos, itching to re-phrase, cut and re-jig. Well, part of me is wincing, another part of me is thinking, 'This isn't really so bad, in fact, some of it is pretty damn good.'

But, what to do? I envision the very well-known, yea, eminent writers whom I have on my list to ask for endorsements thinking, 'Who is this upstart who has the temerity to style a fiction on my specialist area of non-fiction?' But then, to present them with a less than perfect version ... am I setting myself up for a huge pratfall?

What would you do? I would very much appreciate any advice you may be able to offer.

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