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  • Writer's picturej patricia anderson

Fun with DoT ARCs

DoT is DAUGHTERS OF TITH--my debut high fantasy novel that comes out on May 1st, 2023--and "ARCs" are Advance Readers' Copies/Editions. These are early copies of a book distributed before release day, usually given to reviewers and fans to generate buzz.

I probably didn't need ARCs for DoT because...who's going to read them? :D, but in the end I wanted some for fun and had room in the budget for print tests so I figured I'd play around with it. I'm also releasing DoT's true cover quite late (probably March 1st, 2 months before release) so in the meantime it made sense to have an ARC cover to test aspects of the cover printing situation and make the interior tests look good from the outside <3.

I also put the ARC cover in my eARCs, and maybe I CAN get somebody to read a few of those. Still thinking about how I want to go about that...

Another reason I did it was because I saw those nice white bound manuscripts from...some publisher (I honestly don't remember who gives those out. I kept trying to look them up for reference and couldn't find any LOL. I don't think I made it up...). Anyway, I LOVE them and wanted something like that for myself haha. So I googled a bunch of ARC cover examples I *could* find and made a combination monstrosity that is still mostly white.

Let's see what I ended up with! Image note, these are glossy and quite bright in real life. I do not have a fancy phone camera and have 0 photography skills so...manage expectations!

This is the first version I uploaded to Amazon. A nice fat 640-pager for an interior test. This book is HEAVY. Made a couple mistakes on the cover here. I told Amazon I had my own barcodes (which I will for the real cover) so I expected them to leave it off the back. But they put it on anyway "publisher" (it me) company name and website got cut lol.

This is the second Amazon version. Fixed up the back and slightly altered the Tith on the front. Made proper use of the Amazon "not for resale" banner by removing all my own references to the fact that it isn't for sale haha. Also made the spine slightly more interesting. The real reason for this version was to test a shorter page count. This one comes in at 530 pages. Significantly smaller at the cost of decreased font size and line spacing.

I kind of hoped I'd hate the shorter interior and it would be an easy decision to go with the larger text, but I don't hate it! I actually think it looks great...but the other one looks good too so? I'm probably going with the bigger font even though it makes the book chonkier and more expensive. I personally like bigger text as a reader and can imagine that is pretty common. I am surprised how nice the second version turned out though!

If you were paying attention you might have noticed I also added a hardcover ISBN listing on the back of the second version... I'm not sure I'll have a hardcover version yet, but because I am Canadian and ISBNs are free to me I've assigned one for now and...I might go for it.

Here they are side-by-side. Interestingly, I did not alter the colour of the ARC label and it is printed completely differently between the two copies. I assume it's because I DID alter the range of values on Tith and Amazon probably does some kind of compensating when it doesn't have all the colours. That is my best guess as to what is going on--really, I have no clue haha.

And side-by-side from the side (V2 on left, V1 on right...because why not completely screw up the reference orientation?)...

You can kind of tell that the 2nd version (front) is skinnier here.

And here is something else interesting. I ordered a couple copies from Lulu because I wanted them as keepsakes for myself and some family. They don't have any banners or barcodes, which is nice, but they are much more expensive. The interior is higher quality (the maps look night-and-day better), but wow, the colour range for the cover is greatly decreased! It doesn't show as well in photographs but maybe you can see. It's marked in person. This is the same cover used for both.

Lulu's cover printing was also farther off the template than Amazon's (which surprised me), leading to the ARC label touching the bottom edge. One thing I did learn from these printing escapades is to avoid covers that require precision near the print margins. Not just past the print margins but probably up to half a cm inside them too. They're going to print differently and probably slightly off for most copies.

That was one of the reasons I coloured the spine for these experiments. The spine does print slightly off in most copies, but I have also realised it doesn't bother me :).

Spine colour difference is even more obvious here (same file, sizing modified slightly between templates):

Lulu on top and Amazon version 1 below.

For comparison, this is closer to the range of colours from the actual image file:

Much brighter, greater range.

Now some fun extra things.

Publisher logo thingy on the spine! (Is it obvious yet how much I like trees???)

The DoT themselves making an appearance, because we must have something human (or not human in this case) for scale.

And I'm going to do a post about the colour maps eventually, but I also learned a lot about them during the print tests. The white font on the colour background looks lovely, but on a greyscale printed image it lacks. I did look at the greyscale versions before printing but what I learned above all else is that the printing is not faithful to what I see on a screen!

They turned out quite dark and not so impressive. I'll keep the white text for the colour versions and make it darker for the print and lighten the maps! Lil sneak peek:

And lastly, little bit of bonus content. Think my aesthetic is at all obvious at this point?

That's my book baby in our green dining room in front of my Heather Haynes painting baby (The Epiphany of Light). All colours much better in real life--photo doesn't do them justice. Noticed this yesterday and couldn't stop laughing.

Now I have to get rid of some of these. I'll probably bring a couple to ConFusion with me and abandon them there...

I haven't posted much about the process I'm going through to get ready for DoT's release because I get overwhelmed thinking about it! But this is a nice fun post with some pictures...right? No pressure...right???? :D.

If you like the look of DoT you can check out the first 3 chapters, which are live on this website now--6 chapters to be released before the book is available for sale. You can also add DoT on goodreads if you want :). It comes out May 1! SO SOON NOW.

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