January 31st, 2014

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.

Posted in process, Uncategorized by Joe Abercrombie on January 31st, 2014.

20 comments so far

  • Vex says:

    One thing I wonder: How does one become eligible to be considered an Advanced Reader, if not an Advanced Reader, Supreme Edition?

  • Emma says:

    GAH!!! This is so, so, so exciting! Absolutely can’t wait until July!

  • I have this weird hope that when opening the UK edition it’s like those greeting cards with songs…

    All we are in dust in the wind…..

  • Smoochie says:

    I see the UK blurb on the back ends with a tantalising ellipsis, whereas the US blurb ends with a more final full stop.

    Never have transatlantic differences been laid bare so clearly.

  • Mike says:

    I was just going to second what Vex said! lol But I’ve pre-ordered the Kindle version so I guess I can wait until July! One amusing note… on the Amazon Kindle page it claims that the book is 288 pages. Really? Abercrombie? 288 pages? Maybe for the first third or so of the book…. 😛

  • Rafael says:

    That are some good looking ARSEs

  • Count Spatula says:

    Preeettty… loving the look of the US cover – the snowflake/sword thing is nice. Any idea when we’ll get to see the finished UK cover?

    Not that I really care what it LOOKS like, I would read it if it was written on a wad of soggy napkins.

  • Jason says:

    There must be some kind of mix-up because I never received my ARC.

  • Jacob says:

    That’s one hell of a snowflake.

  • AntMac says:

    He he he. Our American brothers and sisters are going

    “FINALLY, finally we win one of the cover wars”.

    And Only “probably” among ? Is that a snarky burn ?.

    Bro, I told a long time fantasy reader just this morning that I had a favourite author, and she was all excited “Who, who is it, what did they write?” And I said Joe Abercrombie, and she was all like
    “Pfft, EVERYONE knows he is awesome, I hoped you were going to tell me a NEW name or something”.

    You ain’t just awesome, you is Old Hat Awesome.

  • sword1001 says:

    “I being to get nervous in anticipation of reactions”

    Tut tut tut . . you need someone to proof read your work Joe, you’ll never make it as a writer with errors like that . .

  • dilligafjof says:

    Hope you have booked Steven Pacey for the audio books. he really brings then alive.

  • Eddie says:

    What you need are a few fans who read your work and are as pedantic as myself and Sword1001 to double check that autocorrect hadn’t ballsed things up again.

    P.S. I agree on the Ardbeg but I think the Talisker Distillers Edition kicks it’s arse.

  • Jesse says:

    GAH, this is way too exciting! Stop teasing us like this, Abercrombie!

  • AntMac says:

    That is very clear thinking Eddie. And taking that to its logical end, we need some people from the States, and Great Britain, and the Colonies, to volunteer to do this for The Good of Literature.

    I have never been accused of not doing my duty, so, Joe, I will do it, for you. Please, don’t thank me, I am sure you do things for people in your turn . . . where do I send my mailing address?.


  • Dan says:

    Bah! The UK one might as well say “If you LOVED Game of Thrones, you’ll LIKE this.” Bad show!
    The US one is sweet!

  • Kush says:

    Okay, how do I get an ARSE whopping?

  • Sarah D says:

    The best thing about being a bookseller? Getting the ARC of Half A King this week, ignoring the needs of my family and reading it in a day and a half. I totally love my job! Oh ~ and the book? It’s excellent!

  • Koadah says:

    Actually, they both remind me of Game of Thrones. Which is all good! 😉

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