Feral Friday - Authors Signing ARCs

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is were I discuss a topic, issue or question that is drives me crazy. So here is the latest issue that is sending me feral.

Is it okay to ask an an author to sign an ARC/proof

In the middle of a shop the other day I was struck with a dilemma, which of course I decided to talk about here. I would really like your thoughts, opinions and experiences regarding authors signing ARC/proof copies of books.

First, a little background. I am one of those freaky people who have to have a “reading copy” of a book as well as signed copy. I cannot read a signed book in fear it will get damaged, and all signed books sit separately on my shelves (even if it’s a part of a series, the “reading copy” sits with the rest of the series). Yes, this results in lots of double ups of books… but I don’t really care because at the end of the day I will end up with a pristine signed copy, and a copy I can read without fear of spilling a drink on it, dropping it and damaging the cover, or god-forbid, someone borrowing it and breaking the spine on me.

So, my most recent dilemma came to be because I was standing in a shop and I saw a really cheap copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses. The problem being, I already had an ARC sitting at home, and a preordered copy of the finished book sitting in my mailbox. But how could I resist such a bargain? And as Sarah J Maas is coming to Australia at the end of the year, do I buy this and get her to sign one of my finished copies, or do I just get her to sign my ARC?

Decisions, decisions.

And questions and questions.

This then lead me to wonder what authors thought about people getting them the sign ARCs rather than finished copies? Is this insulting? Do they even care? I came up with four things that could possibly run through their head when someone walks up to them and asks them to sign an unfinished copy:

  • “This person is so cheap they couldn’t even buy a finished copy of my book for me to sign”
  • “Does this person think it is special to get an ARC signed? It is more special to buy my book”
  • “How did they get this? Did they get it illegally?”
  • “This is a fan and I am grateful they have read and loved my books”

Personally, I would never ask an author to sign an ARC if I didn’t also have a finished copy, but how do they know that my finished copy is sitting on my shelf waiting for the rest of the series to join it? They don’t know I have a weird double copies and matching sets issues, and that is why I might prefer the ARC to be signed over a finished copy. And without getting into a long conversation with them, how would they ever know? Do they think less of me because they don’t know the full story, or are they just grateful that they have a fan that is willing to come to their event?

I would never want to offend an author, and would producing an ARC for them to sign accidentally do this?

And does it make a difference if you have other finished copies to get signed as well (either of this book or the authors other books)? Is it okay to ask for an ARC/proof signed only if you have other purchased copies to be signed as well?

So many varying situations and questions around this are still going through my head, but I am still left with the question…

Is it a bookish faux-pas to ask an author to sign an ARC/proof copy?

So this one little trip to the shops opened up a world of questions for me. Some of which will possibly never be answered as it probably depends on the individual author. But for me, I ended up buying the extra copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses to get signed… but now I have a lonely ARC sitting on my bookcase all by itself :(


Have you ever asked an author to sign an ARC?
As an author, how would you feel if someone asked you to sign an ARC?


What do you think?

  • Kelly says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. It would be akin to taking in an old, second hand copy for an author to sign You’re still supporting them, perhaps not in terms of financially, but you’ve taken the time to attend an author signing which I’m sure most authors appreciate. I think it’s more so frowned upon by the bookshop where a signing is being hosted. I’ve seen bloggers, especially in the US mention how they’ve purchased specific copies to have signed, only to be told they need to purchase the book from that bookshop to be signed. I can understand that they need to make money to provide these events, but maybe ask a small cover charge instead. Being a bit more relaxed will get buyers on side and they’re more likely to spend more money in there than someone enforcing the rules like a dictator.

    really interested to see what everyone else thinks. Ooh, look at you being all controversial hooters <3
    Kelly recently posted…Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp… Laugh Yourself Silly!My Profile

    • Kristy says:

      This is very true Kelly!
      I find the charging a fee for an event or buying from the host only debate really interesting. Maybe there is a Feral Friday in that? Want to do one?

  • Marina Sofia says:

    I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do that, but I don’t have a problem with it. After all, I will be reviewing that book, so that is a kind of support. At conferences and book festivals it’s certainly OK< but I can see the difficulties if it's taking place in a bookshop.
    Marina Sofia recently posted…Friday Fun: Perched HousesMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      Australia doesn’t get many conferences or book festivals compared to the US, and most of the events I go to are in bookstores.
      And even if I have previously purchased the authors titles and take them to get signed, I always buy a book from that store to help support them - so I guess taking an ARC to get signed would be too much different?

  • […] Kristy shares her thoughts on authors signing ARCs. […]

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