Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs also sometimes called galleys) are pre-publication versions of a book that are provided to reviewers/influencers before a book is finalized and published. They are intended to generate advance praise for your book and to get it on the radar of people who will mention it to other potential readers right when it hits the shelves.
ARCs are often sent out to readers several months before anyone is legally allowed to sell the title and they are often marked “not for sale.” Sometimes they are even sent out before the book has been fully edited and designed, meaning that typos and a plain cover are acceptable in ARCs.
How to Set Up an ARC on Your Lightning Source Account
The set-up process for an ARC is similar to a regular print title with a couple exceptions.
1. From your Lightning Source web account, click on Add Title from the Title. Select Advanced Reader Copy.
2. The next page is where you provide the required metadata, as you would a regular print title - Title Information, Contributor, Categorization, etc.
Because this is an ARC, a non-distributable SKU is automatically assigned to the title. ARCs are not able to be distributed and are generally not for sale.
3. ARCs have the option to have a 2D or traditional 1D SKU barcode. This barcode cannot be used to process a retail sale and helps keep your galley out of the retail market.
The 2D barcode will be placed in a static location in the lower section of your back cover, approximately 4mm from the bottom trim edge.
The barcode will be placed by an automated process in one of the locations described above that you designate in title setup. The barcode cannot be manipulated or moved to ensure it is captured and scanned properly during the manufacturing process. The barcode will cover any artwork or marketing copy in that area, so please be mindful of this when designing the cover.
4. Pricing information is also not required for an ARC since this book will not be distributed.
5. Proceed through the remaining set-up steps by providing the files, accepting the setup fee and submitting the title.
To reference the set-up steps for a regular print title, please see How to Set up a Print Title.