In the book publishing flotilla, first come the galleys, then come the ARCs. An ARC is an Advance Reading Copy - not to be confused with an Advance Chewing Copy, something I've had to make clear to my dog - and today I received an early ARC of What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World.
I like it. It looks like a book. It's a stack of paper pages bound together. I'm very fond of paper pages. They have their advantages. Imagine yourself sitting in an outhouse and discovering there's no toilet paper and all you've got is your Kindle.
I sent the galleys of What We Found in the Sofa back to Little, Brown today. The envelope was prepaid, UPS Next Day Air, meaning, since I live forty minutes from Manhattan, the manuscript had to be flung across the East River with a catapult to fulfill the "Air" part. I picture it hitting one of the editorial office windows with a splat, sticking there briefly in a starburst of its own vital juices, and then slowly sliding down the glass, leaving a persimmon-colored trail on its way to Park Avenue, eleven floors below, an LB editorial assistant racing down in an elevator with a catcher's mitt to field it.
Then again, it may have arrived in a plastic tub with a bunch of other manuscripts.
By galleys I mean something a little less exciting than ancient Roman warships powered by slaves chained to giant oars. The galleys I'm referring to - galley proofs - constitute the the first ever print-on-paper version of What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World, which I have to check for typos and send back to Little Brown by August 24th. This type of galley makes for a somewhat less engaging picture...
There is, for one thing, considerably less action. (Hopefully, the reviewers won't notice.)
Up until this point, the book has existed only in electronic versions. How long before books go directly from an author's e-manscript to a published e-book, and this type of galley becomes as obsolete as the Roman ones?
Pictured here on the day he sold What We Found in the Sofa. His mood is cautiously optimistic.