The (not very exciting) Back Story
A little over a month ago someone filled out my Recommend a Book form. I didn’t think anything of it as mostly the recommendations I get are from Tom and Alie telling me to read the Twilight series, or my own entries reminding me of titles I want to look into.
However, this time I was wrong. I’d received a REAL book recommendation and not just any book recommendation, but an offer of an Advance Reader’s Copy. Not knowing 100% what this meant I scoured my brain because I’d read mention of them on a blog before and I was correct. Thanks to Bev and her review policy over at My Reader’s Block, I was able to figure out a few things (with her kind help answering some random questions by email), I decided to go for it. So I contacted Christine at Henry Holt and Company and within two weeks my very first Advance Reader’s Copy of a novel arrived in my mailbox.
I believe Christine recommended the book, The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen*, because of my multiple Emma Donoghue reviews; and since the book received a cover quote from Emma Donoghue and had a child narrator and reminded me of a cross between Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and Zaddie Smith’s White Teeth, I thought why not give it a go (there were also mentions of similarities to Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges are not the Only Fruit). I will post my review of the novel tomorrow afternoon and get to these comparisons and my thoughts.
On reading my first Advance Reader’s Edition
This was probably the most interesting facet of reading an Advance Reader’s Copy of an unpublished novel. It is just that, an unpublished, unfinished work. I mean the majority of it is there, the text, the chapter titles, etc. However, there are two main things which differentiate this edition from the first published edition:
- This is a paperback review edition – uneven pages (quaint), a welcome note/message, and notes on front and back cover distinguishing this as a review copy (above and to the right). I believe I fall under Online Promotions and Reviews (how cool am I?
- The work hasn’t been copy edited or received final proof. Now the copy editor in me (I took a course I’m allowed to call myself that) found this jarring at first, but then the reader in me found it exciting! The most exciting of which was when I found a chapter titled ‘Chapter TBN.’ It took me longer than it should have but I finally realized it was ‘to be named’ and this was like WHOA this book is not completely finalized yet. Throw this in with the occasional spelling mistakes and the warning on the back cover that this is an uncorrected proof and all quotes should be checked against the finished book, I thought it was really interesting!
Overall it was a great experience. The excitement of receiving a book that wasn’t published (and that I didn’t have to pay for) definitely outweighed the book’s appeal at first. However, I waited until I finished reading the book I was reading at the time and the luster wore off and I was able to approach the novel as any other. The process was simple enough to get the novel from the publisher (it helps they reached out to me), and as you’ll see in my review tomorrow, I did enjoy the novel.
*I have not received (and will not receive) any compensation for my review. I received the novel directly from the publisher and the views in this post and the following posts concerning Grace McCleen’s The Land of Decoration are my honest opinions and have not been influenced by those involved in writing, creating or publishing the book. To learn more about the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials (including bloggers) click here.