WHAT IS AN ARC AND GALLEY?
A galley looks like and is the same size as the final book but has a plain cover. The cover may be white or colored. If you are using a colored cover, be sure the black printing is easy to see on it. (Red or dark colors are not a good idea. Use white, yellow, buff, light blue). The cover doesn’t indicate what the final book will look like instead it contains important information about the book to help the reviewer (genre, page count, release date, etc - more on this momentarily).
ARC stands for "Advanced Reading Copy" it looks almost identical to the finished book (i.e. full color cover etc) except that the first page of the book has all the information that would normally be found on the galley cover.
In both cases the book is usually "still in editing" and the reviewers are aware that there will be mistakes and typos here and there. That's not to say that you can put out complete trash - after all you want to garner a good review, but they do realize that there is still some work to do on the book.
WHY DO I NEED THEM
The ARC/Galley has really one purpose only - to get your book reviewed before publication. All of the major reviewers: BookList, Foreword, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, etc have zero interest in hearing about your book on release date. They need that information 5 - 6 months so they have time to review and print their opinions. If you send them a "completed" book they won't bother - they really need the additional information that only an ARC or Galley can provide.
INFORMATION TO INCLUDE
Whether the galley cover or first page of the ARC, the information to provide is the same. The format is very straightforward - don't make it pretty - just make it easy to see the facts. The Front (or first page in the case of ARC should include:
- Name of book
- Author name
- Category (e.g. Fiction—Mystery; Nonfiction—Memoir)
- Size specifications (e.g. Trade paperback 6 x 9, # pages)
- Publisher (name/mailing address/website address)
- Primary Contact
- First print run (number of copies)
- Promotional plan
- Promotional budget
- Available from
- Statement: “Uncorrected Proof—Not for Sale” (Make this bold and easily seen)
A few of the above need further attention:
- First print run: many large pre-pub reviewers will only review books of 5000+ copies on the first run.
- Promotional plan: (i.e. direct mailings, book tours, bookstore displays, book release party, etc.) The competition for reviews is fierce and those with a more comprehensive looking plan will get more attention than those without one.
- Promotional budget: again this helps to make them decide whether to "spend the ink" on reviewing your book. If you have little or no budget just omit this line
- Available from: (i.e. a distributor such as Baker & Taylor or Ingram)
- Primary Contact (publicist, consultant, author—name, address, email address)
The back cover should have:
- Blurb (The hook—same as on the book)
- Author Bio
The spine should have:Name of book Name of author Publisher
When sending a copy for review you should put your absolute best foot forward. Again the competition is tough (Foreword Magazine receives 3,000 books for review for each issue and publishes only 85 reviews!) Your "packet" should contain a media folder, press releases, author bio, book data sheet at a minimum. That being said it is common for these materials to get separated from the book itself so make sure ALL the important data is on the Galley or ARC information page.
There are many organizations online that provide Galleys...But they are costly ($40 - $60 a piece). The good news is that POD is again your friend - use CreateSpace or LightningSource (see multiple posts on this forum about them) and get them done for $4 - $5.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
A positive review by a major publication is HUGE for authors, especially new and starting out authors. To use this medium effectively takes a dedication to prior planning to ensure you have something readily available 4 - 6 months before the release date.