There’s a slight risk in sending out advance copies that are printed before the editing and proofreading process is finished. I put a nice notice on the front that this is an advance copy and work continues. In general nobody complains, but in those cases in which I give advance copies to people I know, I hear the inevitable question:
Do you want me to mark it or send you a list of errors?
I’ve gotten advance copies in which the publisher said, “Don’t tell us about proofreading errors. Proofreaders are at work” or something like that. But for me there are two answers to that question.
1. I’m never going to refuse a list of errors or a marked copy of a book from one of my readers. The worst thing that can happen is that I disagree with the corrections or they don’t fit the standards I have set. There are a number of controversial issues, such as the placement of commas or the singular they. I must simply decide how to handle those issues. But otherwise, a corrected copy can be extremely helpful.
2. While I won’t refuse a marked copy, unless you’re someone I pay for proofreading (you obviously know who you are!), then I didn’t send you the advance copy because of your proofreading skills. I was hoping for comment, or a nice review on your blog, perhaps a blurb I can use in marketing, or even a nasty review on your blog. I can use the last item in getting your enemies to buy the book!
So basically readers don’t need to feel any obligation on this matter, but I’ll gratefully accept whatever I get out of it.
Since I may well not reach that many of those who have received advance copies of Preserving Democracy (which are mostly out) or The Messiah and His Coming Kingdom (not quite ready to send yet), I should note that what I’m most interested in is how both readers and other small publishers feel about this issue. Go for the comments section!
And if you’re interested in reading/reviewing an advance copy of any book, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in future releases, or in writing opportunities for our forthcoming eZine, subscribe to our RSS feed.