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ARCs and Pans
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Last week we finished checking the ARC for Five For Silver, the next John the Eunuch mystery. To be honest, Mary finished. The idea of me copyreading anything accurately is laughable. There were a few errors. Mostly punctuation-type stuff. However, toward the end, Mary discovered one glaring mistake, just a single word, but one which invalidated our entire explanation for the murder, in the event anyone wanted to give the final few paragraphs a rigorous legalistic reading.

Traditionally, the final check of the "galleys" or "proofs" has been the author's final chance to make changes. However, we were correcting an advanced reading copy, a bound version of the novel with a paper cover that reviewers are sent in advance of publication, to make it possible for them to get the book reviewed by the time it appears.

That being the case, Poisoned Pen Press hurriedly sent out corrections to various reviewers, in the unlikely event anyone might notice the error.

The incident made me wonder about the habit some reviewers have of picking on spelling or punctuation, or other small infelicities involving a word or a sentence. (I'm not thinking of anyone who's panned our books for such reasons, but I have seen the practice often enough) If they are reading ARCS, reviewers should understand that such minor errors may well have been corrected in the published version of a book.

If it weren't already a silly idea to "review" a novel with a blue pencil, the fact that the ARC under the pencil isn't the completed book, is another good reason to avoid the practice, and for readers to take such pedantic criticisms with a grain of salt.

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