My ARCs have arrived – the Advanced Reader Copies of my novel. These are real live books that look almost exactly like the final book, except that the text has not yet been proofread and the back cover contains some technical information that won’t be in the final version.
I am not being immodest when I say the book is beautiful. I had nothing to do with its appearance – all praise goes to the designer.
The book will be released on November 1. In the meantime, we try to get it reviewed.
My publisher is assiduously contacting book reviewers and review outlets with the hope that they will request an ARC. Many have done so and more, we hope, are pending.
So many books, so little time
Of course, requesting an ARC does not mean the person will actually review Her Own Vietnam, much less review it positively. Most book reviewers are writers themselves, many with outside jobs as editors or teachers. They live among teetering stacks of books and articles demanding to be read, beset on all sides by deadlines.
Like all writers, book reviewers live in the condition the novelist Alice McDermott described as “having homework every day for the rest of your life.” And like all devout readers, book reviewers have much more desire than time to read.
But still: a reviewer could be reading my novel right this second with the specific intent of judging it, in print and in public.
Different ways to hear it
Listen to this sentence in your head. You could hear it in at least two ways:
“A reviewer could be reading my novel right now!” [Delight]
“A reviewer could be reading my novel right now!” [Terror]
You be the judge.