Saturday, April 9, 2016

What Gold Buys: The ARCs sail in

In my little fictional corner of the world, my stories start off as daydreams and musings. They eventually link together into a story, which unrolls into a file on my computer. When I reach the end, that file is printed out, in all its double-spaced gory entirety, on a ream of three-hole-punched paper, which is imprisoned in a binder for editing. After translating the fix-fix-fixing and tweak-tweak-tweaking to the electronic file, I hold my breath, push the "send" button, and off zips the e-file to the editor and publisher. There, the magic gears grind round and round. Some weeks later, up pops an email with an attachment—a typeset file (in PDF) for me to read one last time and proof. So, that is where I am right now with What Gold Buys, the fifth in the Silver Rush series, which is scheduled for release in September of this year.

In the middle of all my proofing of the PDF and agonizing over every little thing...

The ARCs sail in.

The ARC (otherwise known as the Advance Readers Copy) is a yellow-and-black trade-paperback-sized physical version of the PDF. Although the words are exactly the same in both the PDF and the ARC, it is the ARC that suddenly bumps that story into the physical world and makes the book "feel real."

I have been out of the fiction-writing game quite a while (no secret there), so I'm happy to see that physical ARCs still exist. One can obtain electronic ARCs of various upcoming books from Poisoned Pen Press and other publishers on NetGalley, for instance, but for me, there's nothing like holding the object itself—paper, ink, and glue—in my hands.

WHAT GOLD BUYS, on screen and paper. 
Right now, I have a bound ARC of What Gold Buys next to me as I plow through the PDF version on my monitor. ARCs are also called uncorrected proofs for a good reason. This PDF of the ARC is my last chance to catch oopses such as "the the," "let's" instead of "lets," and (my favorite so far) "Inez pulled her Smooth Remington"... which is definitely a smooth move, but the phrase should read "Smoot Remington."

I also obsess over each m-dash (yeah—those) and elipsis (yeah...those). I swear I removed hundreds of them in the draft. Perhaps, as a result, I am oversensitized to their appearance, because every time one crops up in the PDF it feels like I'm being jabbed with an electric cattle prod.

I had a couple of other folks also read the PDF for hiccups, which helps. And I also recognize that there will be another set of eyes at Poisoned Pen Press scrutinizing the text. Right now, it feels like I'm wandering in the forest, pruning the twigs on trees, so I probably need to pull up and back a bit, and breath deep.

When all is said and done, what is important is not so much the errant, extra "the" here and there (although honestly, those things drive me crazy). What's important is whether the writing and the story "work" for the reader and are successful in pulling the reader into the world I have created. If I have done that, I can count my efforts as successful as I set sail for the next Silver Rush adventure.

ARC Giveaway!

A little something extra in that coffee, m'dear??
Interested in reading about Inez's "Smooth Remington" and getting a jump on this next in the series?

Sign up here for my as-yet-to-be-produced newsletter, and you'll have your chance.

At the end of April, I will hold a drawing and give away a couple of ARCs to those on my newsletter mailing list.

I promise to keep newsletters occasional and brief, and to offer random tempting giveaways. Come join the party, and I'll put another leaf in the table! (Virtual) tea and coffee are provided. Those who like a "little something extra" (a la Inez) are more than welcome.   :-)


LJ Roberts said...

I read both print and e-ARCs. However, as a reviewer who makes notes as I read, I find print ARCs easier when it comes time to actually write my review. I can reference pages more quickly, and flip through the text more easily. Either way, I'm delighted to have the ARC and am looking forward to it.

Ann Parker said...

Hi LJ! I prefer the paper version, myself... Drafting on the screen and editing on paper seems to be the system that works best for me. When I must, I'll comment and track changes on a file, but I'm more likely to miss things that way.

Glad that GOLD is now part of your TBR pile! I hope you enjoy it, despite the "oopses" that are yet to be corrected. ;-)