January 2014 Archive


Call them what you like: Bound Proofs, Galleys, Advance Reader Copies (ARCs), Advance Reader Editions (AREs), Advance Reader Special Editions (ARSEs), they are a staple of the publishing world.  Essentially these are not-quite-final versions of the book sent out well before publication, to reviewers that they may have time to review, to other authors that they may have time to endorse, to reps and booksellers that they may become enthused about the project in time for release, and occasionally to lucky members of the public that give the author thousands of pounds. Ha ha, that last one’s a joke. Maybe.

Sometimes ARCs are unedited typescript bound in brown paper.  Sometimes they’re almost indistinguishable from the finished product.  These days, with short run printing getting ever more accessible, you sometimes get ARCs that are more lavish and lovely than the finished product.  Certainly they’re a key marketing tool in building awareness and buzz around a book, and here are the two ARCs for Half a King, US (left) and UK (right):


MMMMM. Interestingly different approaches.  Del Rey’s US Arc looks very much like the finished book might, without the effects on the cover.  For the UK one HarperCollins have gone for something that will look nothing like the finished book, just aims to get a simple punchy message across to the trade, and perhaps particularly to booksellers and others who might not normally pick up a fantasy book.  Nice foil, as well.  The UK one’s also a slightly unusual size – same width as a standard trade paperback but a little shorter, a little squarer – which apparently they’re going to follow through with on the actual hardcover.  The UK proof – partly through setting, partly through paper stock – is nearly twice as thick as the US one.  The final UK hardcover won’t look anything like either of these, incidentally.  Back cover…


US gets copy and some info about the release for the trade, UK has kept things sparer by printing a lot of the other stuff on the inside cover.  These are in the hands of readers EVEN NOW, so I being to get nervous in anticipation of reactions.  We shall see…

The actual book, in case you didn’t know, is coming out in July.

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Half the World, Finished! Not.

Well, kind of. I’ve spoken before of how you (or at least I) never really get that moment of glorious satisfaction when you clack out the words THE END on your typewriter, whizz the final sheet from the drum, plonk it on top of the crisp heap of typescript and allow yourself that one cigarette […]

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The Authority of Print

So, this past couple of weeks I’ve been going through two sets of Page Proofs for Half a King, one for Del Rey’s US edition, one for HarperCollins’ UK edition.  This is when the book, in its (almost) final typeset form, is sent to you for final approval on loose leaves of A4, and you […]

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The Walking Dead Season 3

I like the fundamentals of the Walking Dead a lot (zombies and extreme cynicism, what’s not to like?) but found the 2nd season, though enjoyable, not without its considerable flaws, chiefly some annoying characters, some treading of water, and a lot of attempts to squeeze drama from extreme stupid.  I’m pleased to say they cut […]

Read more | 13 comments | Posted in film and tv