March 22, 2018

In Which an ARC from the States Finds Its Way to Italy (And Why It Hardly Ever Happens)

Hello sweeties!

So...as you might already know if you follow me on Twitter, I'm the proud owner of a physical ARC coming from the United States ๐Ÿ’—. My VERY FIRST physical ARC. Every one of you who, like me, doesn't live in America, knows how hard it is to get one. As I have witnessed firsthand (because I've seen the receipt - I'll explain in a moment), sending stuff from the U.S. to Europe is a rip-off. This is why we never get anything, unless some generous author sends the package our way at their own cost. This is the story of how I got mine (but more than anything, an excuse to steer your attention towards this precious little bundle of words so that you get psyched into adding it to your TBR pile, preferably at the top ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚). Complete with the ugliest pics anyone ever took of an ARC...or anything else ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚.
(Please note: the cover of the ARC is not the final cover. Actually, it changed a bit, with regard to the lettering. You can see the final cover on Goodreads).

The sweater is a little more on the blue than on the green side, but it don't have one that matches all the way...Also, shadows ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Me and the author, Erin Callahan, go a long way. Here is the story of how we (virtually) met, and the recap of my experience as a beta-reader for her first solo book, The Art of Escaping itself. So, Erin was adamant that I had to get an ARC of TAOE, as a thank-you for the backstage work I had done for her (just my pleasure) and my campaigning for her book even before it had a publisher (same). She was in Denver for a signing on February 11th, and sent me the book from there. It arrived in Milan, Italy, on February 19th...and that was when the shit hit the fan. After a few days of anxious waiting, when I was about to phone my postal service and ask where the hell my ARC was, I got a registered mail from them (ON FEBRUARY 27TH, THAT IS, 8 DAYS LATER ๐Ÿ˜ก), complete with the original receipt by Erin and the package info, in which they asked me to fill a form and send it back because the mailing details were incomplete (that is, there wasn't any invoice. Duh, it was a GIFT. And a PROMO copy of a book ๐Ÿ˜’). Basically, since the stuff was coming from a non-European country, there was a customs issue...I would have to pay customs rights unless such package contained goods whose value was under 45 euros. Now, of course an ARC is a promo copy that doesn't have a price tag or anything, but they wouldn't take "0" for an answer, so I wasn't sure how I was going to certify its value. A little worried, I called the number on the letter and explained the situation to a very professional lady, who told me to put a symbolic value on the form (like 10 euros), and advised me to call again in a couple of days to make sure it got accepted. I faxed them the form, waited, called again (on March 3rd, a Saturday), and they confirmed that my book would be on its way on Monday, and I would get it a day or two later. Which proved to be true, since my stray precious little ARC came home on March 6th - more than 3 weeks after it was sent ๐Ÿ˜ฒ.

Now this one is a SLIGHTLY better pic...๐Ÿ˜‰
 
Now...Erin had told me in advance that I had made the acknowledgment section...but picture my face when I read this:


Sorry I wasn't able to take better pics of the pages...I swear I tried. I hope they're readable...

Plus there's a short and sweet manuscript signature on one of the first pages, that I decided to keep private for no particular reason other than it's not PART of the book, and I didn't want to come across like I was shoving stuff in people's faces.

So, that's the story of how I got an ARC and made a friend ๐Ÿ˜Š. The one thing I was afraid of when it came to authors, because I didn't want people to think I'm biased in my reviews. I still don't, of course - but some things we have no control over ๐Ÿ˜‰. Now, I know of some bloggers who beta-read for authors they're also friend with, and have chosen not to review their books anymore - only to showcase them in some form. I do think they're wise, and have probably made the right choice. I'm also sure that they would be able to write unbiased reviews, but I do understand where they're coming from and respect their decision. I've been pondering about what I should do with TAOE long before I was told I would get an ARC. And I hope you'll understand if I tell you that I'm going to review it, rating and all, because it feels unnatural to me not to. The key words are "to me" here. As I said, I do believe my more cautious friends are right - but I can't bring myself not to canonically review a book. It would feel like a hole in my read list not to. Of course, there will be a huge disclaimer on my part, and I will be honest because heck, that's what I am - and what Erin would want anyway. I wouldn't be of any help if I let myself be biased. What I do - the books I proof or beta-read, the authors I reach out to, the promo posts - I do out of love...as the Doctor would said, "Without hope, without witness, without reward". (This is especially true in this case, since I beta-read TAOE when it didn't even have a house yet...). And I know that, if someone like Erin Callahan sends me an ARC, it's for the very same reason - not in order to bribe me into being biased. Back when I started blogging, never in a million years would I have imagined that someone would ask me to beta-read for them one day. I was reviewing books bought with my own money, just because I thought they were worth it. And that's what I want to keep doing, even with the ones I somehow help shaping or I'm being given in any form. That's why you'll read my review of The Art of Escaping soon. In the meantime, enjoy these ugly pics of my ARC, and thank the heavens above I don't get many of these, because I would feel compelled to treat you with more horror shows...๐Ÿ˜‚

21 comments:

  1. I used to send books/swag internationally but it has gotten to be so difficult and expensive over the years that I had to stop - unless it's directly from The Book Depo.

    I'm glad it finally made it safe and sound! Is this the one that has RI in it?

    I don't always review books I beta read - but sometimes I do. It depends because sometimes I've read it several times during the editing process and it gets blurry for me if that makes sense. I remember some of the earlier plot mixed in with the new and have insight into the characters that maybe other readers don't. I can be honest but I'm not sure I'm reading the final version objectively enough to review - without all this added info in my brain. lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Actually, I'm rereading the book for review purposes (I hope to have my post up for April 6th), and I've read only one version of it before - I think it was a late draft. But what you say totally makes sense.

      Um...I'm not sure what RI is...*cowers*

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    2. Rhode Island lol I believe it was this book that you emailed me about and I'm originally from there.

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    3. Ah, yes, that's the one. I thought you meant Rights something - about the ARC, you know ๐Ÿ˜‚.

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  2. I saw you flail over this on Twitter and I was (am) so happy for you! International blogger woes are very real and it's always special when we manage to land ourselves ARCs (usually through sheer luck, in my case). I'm glad this one made it's way safe to you- and here's hoping you get many more of these in the future too! I wouldn't mind more of such pics, that's for sure!
    PS: AND OF COURSE you should review this! It would be a shame not to! :))

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    1. But I see you get some great bookmail from time to time ๐Ÿ˜‰. And it's not luck - it's hard work and dedication as a blogger (well, bloggers - because of course there's Vera, and also Clare now!). Then again, I don't know what it is with Europe...or Italy, specifically?...there seems to be a huge wall between us and America...Those postal charges are crazy!

      Ah, but you don't want to see more horror shows, do you? LOL.

      And thank you for endorsing my choice!

      Delete
  3. This is so cool! Congratulations to both of you!

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  4. Wow, congratulations! I know how hard this could be and I'm so happy for you <3

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    1. Thank you! Of course I have the author to thank, because she really wanted me to have a copy just because I read her awesome book baby in its infancy and throw a couple of thoughts her way ๐Ÿ˜‰.

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  5. Congrats, that's wonderful that you got an ARC! And wow, a whole paragraph in the acknowledgements even! I feel like that's every book blogger's dream <3

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    1. It is - and I don't even feel like I did much (as a beta) because I read a late draft, but it sounds like my support was worth something ๐Ÿ˜‰. Either way, I didn't expect this, so my mouth went agape when I read that paragraph...

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  6. Congrats so much on getting your first ARC copy!! (I've never gotten a physical one so far, but maybe one day haha.) This is so cool, and you so deserve it! Also, I loved the little photo shoot you did for it for twitter! I think you're bookstagram ready. *nods appreciatively* I hate instagram, though, so I wouldn't recommend getting involved lmao. BUT BACK TO THE BOOK!! It sounds super-good, and I'm very excited for your review of it. Will definitely come here to check it out. Amazing post, and I highly doubt anyone who reads your posts would question your honesty, or think you're biased.

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    1. I hope you'll have the chance soon! I don't know if Hungary is more US-mail friendly than Italy (I mean, if it costs less for someone in the US to send you books), but I guess all Europe is kind of a mess...then again, your blog is much more active than mine, and that should count for something...

      Haha, no, I'm not planning on getting involved in more social media, especially photography-related, but thank you! Of course the light was just BAD, but hey...what do I know - it wasn't even my phone to begin with, of course...I never take pics! and I was kind in a hurry.

      I definitely recommend you read TAOE when it comes out in June, for all the right reasons (seriously, I'm sure this would be your kind of contemp. Or everybody's kind of contemp, unless they want romance). And thank you for the vote of confidence! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  7. Congratulations! I am so glad that you have gotten a physical ARC. It is definitely well-deserved. Personally, I have never received a physical ARC either, so I know how much of an accomplishment that is (especially from an ocean away!)

    First of all, your pictures are not nearly as bad as you made them out to be. I like how you incorporated different colors that complemented each other. The cute little yellow rose PERFECTLY matches the yellow on the cover. The composition of the shots is creative, which is the most important part.

    As for reviewing TAOE, you definitely have the right to! As long as you put in a disclaimer like you said, everything should be fine. I trust you to stay honest despite your involvement in beta-reading.

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    1. Quote:
      "I have never received a physical ARC either".
      You haven't?!? But that's...criminal. You ARE in the States after all. Even if you've been struggling with posting at times, your blog has been around for more than 5 years, and you're one of the most thoughtful bloggers I know. POWERS THAT BE, SEND TESSA @ CRAZY FOR YA HER WELL-DESERVED ARC NOW, THANK YOU AND SEE YOU SOON.

      LOL, that rose. It was on a bag I had...I don't know...years and years ago. When I had to throw the bag away, I saved the rose because I liked it and I thought it might come handy one day. Turns out I never found a use for it until my ARC pics. Thank you!

      And thank you for validating my review resolve and trusting me to stay honest ๐Ÿ˜˜.

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  8. Wow! I had no idea it was such a nightmare to send one little book. I'm glad it finally made its way home to you! That is the nicest acknowledgement. I'm going to be underlining it in pink when I get my copy. <3

    I'm really excited that you're still going to review it because I can't wait to see what you think. (I mean, I already know you love it, but it's different seeing the breakdown!) I think you've established yourself as an honest reviewer well enough that your readers can trust you to be unbiased--or as unbiased as it's possible to be in this kind of writing.

    (I'm terrible at taking pictures, so no worries. Photo bloggers make it look so easy...)

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    1. Quote: "I'm going to be underlining it in pink when I get my copy."
      Haha! And then you can show it to people and say "I know this gal!" ๐Ÿ˜‰
      ...Wait...am I going to become famous now? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I only now realised...

      Ah, but I can't wait to read YOUR review! And thank you for your trust and encouragement!

      Delete
  9. Exactly! Much as I would love to say YES you're going to be famous, you may be over-estimating the number of people I know. xD

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    1. A few great friends are enough. *wink wink*

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