Company Culture.

The academic literature on the subject is vast. Our review of it revealed many formal definitions of organizational culture and a variety of models and methods for assessing it. Numerous processes exist for creating and changing it. Agreement on specifics is sparse across these definitions, models, and methods, but through a synthesis of seminal work by Edgar Schein, Shalom Schwartz, Geert Hofstede, and other leading scholars, we have identified four generally accepted attributes:

Understanding Corporate Culture

Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent of Google, is well known for its employee-friendly corporate culture. It explicitly defines itself as unconventional and offers perks such as telecommuting, flextime, tuition reimbursement, free employee lunches, and on-site doctors. At its corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., the company offers on-site services such as oil changes, car washes, massages, fitness classes, and a hairstylist. Its corporate culture helped it to consistently earn a high ranking on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Awareness of corporate or organizational culture in businesses and other organizations such as universities emerged in the 1960s. The term corporate culture developed in the early 1980s and became widely known by the 1990s. Corporate culture was used during those periods by managers, sociologists, and other academics to describe the character of a company.

This included generalized beliefs and behaviors, company-wide value systems, management strategies, employee communication, and relations, work environment, and attitude. Corporate culture would go on to include company origin myths via charismatic chief executive officers (CEOs), as well as visual symbols such as logos and trademarks.

By 2015, corporate culture was not only created by the founders, management, and employees of a company, but was also influenced by national cultures and traditions, economic trends, international trade, company size, and products.

There are a variety of terms that relate to companies affected by multiple cultures, especially in the wake of globalization and the increased international interaction of today’s business environment. As such, the term cross-culture refers to “the interaction of people from different backgrounds in the business world”; culture shock refers to the confusion or anxiety people experience when conducting business in a society other than their own; and reverse culture shock is often experienced by people who spend lengthy times abroad for business and have difficulty readjusting upon their return.

To create positive cross-culture experiences and facilitate a more cohesive and productive corporate culture, companies often devote in-depth resources, including specialized training, that improves cross-culture business interactions.

Examples of Contemporary Corporate Cultures

Just as national cultures can influence and shape corporate culture, so can a company’s management strategy. In top companies of the 21st century, such as Google, Apple Inc. (AAPL), and Netflix Inc. (NFLX), less traditional management strategies such as fostering creativity, collective problem solving, and greater employee freedom have been the norm and thought to contribute to their business success.

Progressive policies such as comprehensive employee benefits and alternatives to hierarchical leadership—even doing away with closed offices and cubicles—are a trend that reflects a more tech-conscious, modern generation. This trend marks a change from aggressive, individualistic, and high-risk corporate cultures such as that of former energy company Enron.

High-profile examples of alternative management strategies that significantly affect corporate culture include holacracy, which has been put to use at shoe company Zappos (AMZN), and agile management techniques applied at music streaming company Spotify.

Holacracy is an open management philosophy that, among other traits, eliminates job titles and other such traditional hierarchies. Employees have flexible roles and self-organization, and collaboration is highly valued. Zappos instituted this new program in 2014 and has met the challenge of the transition with varying success and criticism.

Similarly, Spotify, a music-streaming service, uses the principles of agile management as part of its unique corporate culture. Agile management, in essence, focuses on deliverables with a flexible, trial-and-error strategy that often groups employees in a start-up environment approach to creatively tackle the company’s issues at hand.

What is Company Culture?

Company culture can more simply be described as the shared ethos of an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they’re doing to get it there. Collectively, these traits represent the personality — or culture — of an organization.

The environment in which they spend that time will largely dictate the quality of an employee’s professional life. If they work for a company with a strong culture that aligns with their own beliefs and attitudes, they’ll be more likely to work hard and remain with the company for the long haul. If, on the other hand, the company’s culture does not reflect their own personal feelings, they’re much more likely to leave — or worse, remain with the company but underperform.

Your core values – Core values are certainly part of your culture, but until you put them into action they’re just words on paper. In fact, core values can negatively impact culture if they aren’t adhered to. Employees will see this as the company paying lip service and failing to live up to its own standards.

Your perks and benefits – Ping pong tables and beer on tap can be great, assuming they represent what your employees really care about, but perks and benefits are not a substitute for strong company culture.

The yardstick by which all candidates should be measured – Hiring for cultural fit has become a hot topic over the past few years, but we’re already seeing companies shift away from this line of thought. Hiring people that align with your culture makes sense on the surface, but too many companies use this “metric” as a crutch. Many companies have pivoted to a “cultural add” model, wherein they look for candidates that align with the most important elements of their culture, but will also bring their own unique traits to the table.

A successful company culture is one that is bought into by everyone from the newest intern to the CEO. It’s living and breathing your core values. The job of the company is to make sure that every employee understands the expectations and acts accordingly. A truly great company culture is one that inherently promotes curiosity, respect, teamwork and employee health.

A way to really boost your company’s culture is to put a concerted emphasis on diversity and inclusion. In simplified terms, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is making a group of individuals, with completely different backgrounds and experiences, feel safe and accepted in expressing their uniqueness while at work. Allowing employees to express their differences, learn from each other and feel safe while doing it creates a strong cultural bond that breeds employee happiness and productivity.

company culture benefits

Building a strong company culture should be at the forefront of every company agenda.

Putting It All Together

All four levers came together at a traditional manufacturer that was trying to become a full solutions provider. The change started with reformulating the strategy and was reinforced by a major brand campaign. But the president understood that the company’s culture represented the biggest barrier to change and that the top leaders were the greatest lever for evolving the culture.

The culture was characterized by a drive for results followed by caring and purpose, the last of which was unusually strong for the industry. One employee described the company as “a talented and committed group of people focused on doing good for the planet, with genuine desire, support, and encouragement to make a difference in the community.” Whereas the broader culture was highly collaborative, with flat decision making, leaders were seen as top-down, hierarchical, and sometimes political, which discouraged risk taking.

The top leaders reviewed their culture’s strengths and the gaps in their own styles and discussed what was needed to achieve their strategic aspirations. They agreed that they needed more risk taking and autonomy and less hierarchy and centralized decision making. The president restructured the leadership team around strong business line leaders, freeing up time to become a better advocate for the culture and to focus more on customers.

About the Research

We undertook a comprehensive study of organizational culture and outcomes to explore the link between them. We analyzed the cultures of more than 230 companies along with the leadership styles and values of more than 1,300 executives across a range of industries (including consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy and utilities, financial and professional services, health care, industrials, and IT and telecommunications), regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, and South America), and organizational types (public, private, and nonprofit). We diagnosed those cultures using online survey responses from approximately 25,000 employees together with interviews of company managers.

Our analysis highlighted how strongly each of the eight styles defined the organizations in our study. Results ranked first, and caring second. This pattern is consistent across company types, company sizes, regions, and industries. Order and learning ranked among the third and fourth most common styles in many cultures.

Culture appears to most directly affect employee engagement and motivation, followed by customer orientation. To model its relationship to organizational outcomes, we assessed employee engagement levels for all the companies using widely accepted survey questions and arrived at customer-orientation scores with an online questionnaire. In many cases we also documented top leaders’ individual styles and values.

We found that employee engagement is most strongly related to greater flexibility, in the form of enjoyment, learning, purpose, and caring. Similarly, we observed a positive relationship between customer orientation and those four styles plus results. These relationships, too, are surprisingly consistent across companies. We also found that engagement and customer orientation are stronger when employees are in close agreement about the culture’s characteristics.

Our research was influenced by the work of countless scholars in this field, many of whom are mentioned in this article. In addition, we stand on the shoulders of giants such as David Caldwell, Jennifer Chatman, James Heskett, John Kotter, Charles O’Reilly, and many, many others who have inspired our thinking.

The top team then invited a group of 100 middle managers into the conversation through a series of biannual leadership conferences. The first one established a platform for input, feedback, and the cocreation of an organizational change plan with clear cultural priorities. The president organized these managers into teams focused on critical business challenges. Each team was required to go outside the company to source ideas, to develop solutions, and to present its findings to the group for feedback. This initiative placed middle managers in change roles that would traditionally have been filled by vice presidents, giving them greater autonomy in fostering a learning-based culture. The intent was to create real benefits for the business while evolving the culture.

The president also initiated a program to identify employees who had positive disruptive ideas and working styles. These people were put on project teams that addressed key innovation priorities. The teams immediately began improving business results, both in core commercial metrics and in culture and engagement. After only one year employee engagement scores jumped a full 10 points, and customer Net Promoter Scores reached an all-time high—providing strong client references for the company’s new and innovative solutions.


How to Write a Blog Post Outline: A Simple Formula to Follow

Each piece of content we produce belongs to a bigger content marketing strategy with a target persona and keywords in mind. We break our outlines up into four different boxes: concept, challenge, cure, and conclusion.


How to Write a Blog Post Outline: Write Better Blogs with These 21 Tactics

Masooma Memon on December 22, 2020 (last modified on December 6, 2021) • 28 minute read

If you’ve been streamlining blog production and are stuck at how to write a blog post outline, know that you’re at the right place. Because, today, we’ll share not just ways to write an outline, but also sprinkle in tips to creating one.

But first, why create a blog post outline? Kasia Kowalska from Contentki answers this for you: “Outlines layout the main takeaways and the structure of the intended piece nicely, which allows choosing the best-fitting SEO keywords.

Secondly, if you’re working on an article with another person or team, outlines let you collect their feedback and internal insights before you write the first draft. This reduces the number of comments or change requests in the written piece to the absolute minimum.”

Nodding your head in favor of outlining? Great! Let’s give you a list of 21 ways that answer how to write a blog post outline, followed by an in-depth explanation of each:


How to Outline a Blog Post

1. Nail your working title.

My colleague Corey wrote an awesome post about how to pick a great working title. Go read it, now. I won’t go too much into the weeds here (that’s why you should read her post), but a great working title is specific. It’s "How to Use Images to Generate Leads on Twitter," not " Twitter lead generation."

Spend time getting your working title to something specific and easy to tackle in a blog post format — but don’t waste time getting nitpicky. You can refine your title later. The goal here is to have a title that gives you a very clear idea of what the whole piece is about. You can make it sound catchy later.

2. Write down as many distinct takeaways from the article as you can.

Next, you get to brain dump. Write down all the things you want your readers to get out of the article. These won’t always be the main sections of your article — it’s just all the things you want your readers to know by the end of reading your post.

This is the only time in the whole process you’re not worried about organization — just let your ideas flow naturally. You need to get out all of your wild and crazy ideas now so they won’t muck up your post later in the process.

Let’s use the previous example to show you what I mean. If my working title was "How to Use Images to Generate Leads on Twitter," I’d probably want readers to know:

3. Break up those takeaways into larger sections.

Now, we’ll take that jumble of ideas and place them into overarching sections. Think of it like sorting laundry — each thought belongs to a different pile. From your brainstorm, you should come up with a few big themes. Sometimes, one of your brainstorming bullets will be a theme in itself, but usually several bullets will fall under one overarching theme. You may also realize that there’s a theme that you may not have any bullets for, but the post definitely calls for it.

Lots of people recommend sticking to 3-4 larger sections, but it really depends on what type of post you’re writing. If you’re writing something that’s long and comprehensive, you might need more. If it’s a quick post, fewer sections would be ideal. But if you need a benchmark, 3-4 sections are fine.

Determine the Key Takeaway for Your Readers

How to Write a Blog Post Outline and Determine Key Takeaway

The variety in types of blog posts you can use to accomplish your goal is pretty extensive today—and each of these blog post formats have slightly different functions.

Here are the most common types of blog posts:

Choosing the format of your post will help you narrow down what your big takeaway is.

Readers looking at reviews are often ready (or getting ready) to spend some money and they want your honest opinion, so that they can make an informed decision.

We’ll take this idea through each step of the outlining process, so that you can see how this article morphs into a fully baked blog post outline that can fuel the rest of your writing process.


Step 6: Create A Marketing Plan

Try using the #R3MAT Method as your marketing strategy and watch how well your audience consumes your content. You can seriously watch your engagement levels rise when you get your messaging and timing aligned with your audience.

R3MAT - the right message to the right audience at the right time

Run social media ads and use your blog post as one of the stepping stones in your buyers journey to move people further down the sales funnel. You can even create audiences of people who are just like the ones visiting your website now.

A blog post could be used as a way to solve a problem or plant a seed for the future because people usually take seven touches before they make a purchase.

Make sure you include social sharing icons on your blog so your readers can easily share it to their social media profiles. That is a great way to get your blogs exposed to a bigger audience.

Just think if you could get one person who has a following of two million people to share your article. Just think what that could do for your business.

So make sure you put your content on the social media channels that your audience is active. For example, you could go ive and talk about your new blog on the new Clubhouse app if your audience was active there.

⭐ Related Post: How do Facebook Ads work?

Step 7: Publish + Promote

Hit publish and make sure to spend more time promoting your blog posts than you do writing blog content. This is super important for the success of your blog.

There are other people who say promote 90% and create 10% and many other theories, but the point is to make sure you spend more time promoting your content than you do creating it.


HubSpot’s Fill In The Blanks Template. This is a good template for a basic blog post, but it’s short and it’s very, well, template-like. It can get you something serviceable in the 500-1,000 word range, but you really want to take the whole thing and expand it for a good modern blog post.

Content Rules’ Homework Sheet. This is a PDF from Content Rules with a template that works more like a worksheet. It lines up each element of a blog post and has you fill in what you’d want in that place, with some simple guidelines.

Content Rules PDF

Writers Write’s Post Template. This template is an infographic-style rundown of the elements of a blog post, in a compelling layout and order. It can help you with both layouts and with rationalizing the different parts of a post.

Outline Bullet Points

I’ll say one thing before I let you go, though; template-based blog posts aren’t all that great. When you’re relying on a template, you’re removing your voice and style from the equation. You’ll have a better return if you simply hire a talented writer to do your blogging for you, at that point. Templates can be a good place to start, but the more of the template that’s left in the end, the less effective the blog post will be.

James Parsons is the founder and CEO of Content Powered, a content creation company. He’s been a content marketer for over 10 years and writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and many other publications on blogging and website strategy.


Formulate the Right Topic for Your Paper

College is one of the most stringent institutions you can ever attend. Here is why. One, the university education system requires you to become a top performer for you to advance to the next grade. Second, you must keep up with the latest writing trends in the industry.

In short, college exposes you to failure. And if you succeed, it is because of hard work and nothing else. Unfortunately, hard work sometimes does not pay, which is why you must work with industry experts to get the job done. One can simply pay someone to write my paper and relax – all will be done according to instructions.

The professionals not only teach you how to structure your work correctly but also educate you on how to refine your output. But it all starts with crafting that killer headline. And as this article will show, you can craft that perfect topic for your essay when you:

  • Use an Expert to Write My Paper for Me by Choosing an Exciting Niche

A professional is well versed in crafting top-rated articles from a myriad of topics. That said, you can use the consultant’s expertise to find a headline that appeals to you. And if that is impossible, then you can look for a title that excites other people.

  • Analyze The Chosen Topic

Many ideas might come to mind, and that is why you need to choose a manageable topic. That said, avoid going for broad-based headlines. Such titles may have a lot of content to research, but lack a single theme you can count on. Therefore, narrow topics fit the bill. They are also easy to handle.

  • Choose A Title with Enough Sources

Are you planning to make your output colorful? And do you plan on hitting the word count fast? If so, then you must select a headline with more than enough research sources.

Remember, the sources help you compile useful information you can use in your paper. And even better, the facts make the output more than exciting to read. In short, you need a superb topic for you to get the best content.

  • Pick A Topic Based On Familiarity

Do you want to provide readers with value? If so, then you need to craft a title, a headline without doing a lot of online research. Recall, doing so also improves flow, given that you lay all your facts in an easy to comprehend way.

  • Approach an Old Title Using a Different Angle 

People write essays, theses, and research papers to boost the world’s knowledge base. And since you are not an exception, then you need to follow suit. Luckily, you can repurpose old topics by introducing new aspects to make them fresh. But ensure the new titles excite the reader.

  • Go for Common Themes

Never go for offbeat topics. They are boring to write about thanks to the limited research sources on the table. Instead, focus on headlines that thrill readers. These topics not only make your work easy but also ensure you meet examiner expectations.


Everyone can write an essay. Anyhow, the only thing that sets you apart from the crowd is the title you use. And a superb headline is only achievable when you do a lot of background research to find a theme that counts.

Alternatively, you should engage your tutors in in-depth discussions until you find the best essay topic for your piece. And above all, utilize the strategies outlined earlier. They will take you to greater heights in little to no time.

The View Through a Drinking Straw

So I just handed in what should be the final revision of SINISTER SCENES, Book Three of THE JOY OF SPOOKING to my editor. Happy day, right? Well, I’m not breaking out the party blowers just yet. First I have to wind down. There’s something about the final stage of the process of writing a novel that reminds me of walking home in a blizzard. It’s stressful, slow-going, and if you lose the road at some point, you’re in big, big trouble.

Actually I’m starting to wonder if writing novels is giving me a weird compulsion to use goofy similes and metaphors to explain just about everything in life. Yikes! For instance, the other day in a bit of a cheeky interview over at Literary Asylum, I was describing the process as being like building a house. The gist of what I said was this: to first assemble a basic structure without worrying about it looking like an ugly shack, because if you work too long and hard on making the front door look nice, it’s then horribly discouraging to discover it opens onto nothing.

Staying with that, how does an author know when they’re finished the job? With a house, it’s easy to tell: it’s when they start stuffing the mail slot with tax bills and realtor flyers. But with a novel, it’s not quite so obvious. Sure, the printout looks thick enough (on that note, why after a single read can you never ever get the stack quite square again, despite any number of karate chops to the edges?). But did you forget something? Did you make it the best it can be?

Now, my wife is an illustrator and whenever she thinks she’s finished a painting, she’ll stand back and take a good long look at it. If something bugs her, she’ll fix it; if something looks unfinished, she’ll give it a little more attention. Evaluating the state of a novel is exactly the same process, I always say — except that instead of standing back and seeing what you’ve got, you spend hours peering at the colors and composition of your supposedly finished picture through a drinking straw.

Eventually, perhaps after poking your eyeball one time too many, you’ll give up and pronounce it good enough. But is it really? You have no idea. You’ll only know when a bunch of friends, colleagues, and strangers start breaking out their own straws and having a good close look themselves.

Still, it’s always a relief to finish up. Just like it’s always a relief to find your way home and shake the snow off.

Later this week I’m having my official launch of UNEARTHLY ASYLUM here in Montreal (Oct 14, 7pm, Paragraphe Books, 2220 McGill). It’s a joint launch with Alan Silberberg, author of the hilarious and heartbreaking MILO: STICKY NOTES AND BRAIN FREEZE. Should be fun! If you want to say hi, I’ll be the guy drinking my wine through a well-worn straw.

How to Sign Your Name Like a Celebrity

A peculiar thing has happened this past year. Slowly but steadily, I have noticed an increase in the number of people visiting my website after googling “How to sign your name like a celebrity”. This is a search string for which I am randomly the number one result, owing to an anecdote I put up here ages ago.

At first I just laughed at these visits, and greeted them with almost the same amusement that I enjoyed “girdle mature danger video” (for which I also rank high). But gradually, their frequency has increased to a point where I now receive a significant number of weekly visits purely from people searching for this piece of advice.

So if you, dear visitor, happen to be among these people, I now feel honor-bound to offer you some guidance; to at the very least send you off in the right direction so that your visit isn’t a complete waste of time.

The steps required to sign your name like a genuine celebrity are actually very straightforward. First, acquire an extraordinary amount of renown in the public pursuit of your choice; building this to a level where a large number of people want to take away proof-positive of having encountered you. Then, at each and every request, sign your name. Do it over and over and over again. On books, on scraps, on caps, on napkins and dollar bills, on bare skin and on bras; it really doesn’t matter. Just do this over and over, and before you know it, you will be signing your name like a celebrity.

Thanks for the visit. And take comfort that there are many, many of you out there

The Sinister Party Scene

Well, that’s it. SINISTER SCENES is out now! Hopefully a copy awaits on a retail shelf near you or is currently winging its way to your doorstep via some reliable delivery service.

Which means it’s a wrap! THE JOY OF SPOOKING trilogy has officially come to an end. Having spent the past four years working on it, I’m feeling both elated and deflated. Elated, I say, because my favorite part of working is of course being done working. But deflated, I say, because I will forever miss exploring the life and times of its heroine, the intrepid Joy Wells as well as her various friends and foes. Luckily, all these characters will live on in the imaginations of my readers for some time to come and for that I feel immensely grateful.

I don’t know. I still feel glum about it. But I guess that’s just the way I’m wired. Perhaps a party will cheer me up; a loud and raucous party celebrating the end of the series. Yes, I think I’ll throw one.

And guess what? You are invited. You’re invited, that is, if you read this in a timely enough fashion and have the means to make it to Montreal, Quebec. In that case, may I suggest you point yourself towards Shaika Café, 5526 Sherbrooke Street West, and proceed on that heading in time to arrive on Saturday September 17th at 7 pm? Unless your journey was long and fraught with considerable danger, I promise you will not regret it. Because booksdrinks, and live music from Stroboscopica will be on offer.

Wow, I don’t know if it’s the bold-faced type, but I’m feeling less sad already!

If you have facebook (and let’s face it, you probably do), then head over here to make sure you’re nice and reminded. Or cooler still, press the right doohickey on your smart phone and then point its lens at the image below. You’ll be glad you did!

PJ in PG

This is the PG Man, who watches over the city of Prince George, British Columbia, just outside my hotel. He’s painted to look like he is made of wood (this is a serious pulp and paper town!), but he’s actually made of iron.

I’m in PG touring as part of the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week, an annual festival that sends authors all over the country. I was very lucky to get sent here, to this stunning province, for the very first time in my life.

After one day, I’ve done three presentations at three schools and seen hundreds of great kids. It’s been really fun with thunderous applause and a shout of ”EPIC!” in the case of at least one girl.

Yesterday while touring the town on my day-off, I also saw a Boston Pizza on fire. You know, it’s quite something to look into a restaurant and see all its tables aflame. A Blockbuster video store was also destroyed, I’m told.

That’s all the news from Prince George for now. Here’s the PG Man again, watching the Boston Pizza burning in the distance.

Back from BC with Big News


So I’ve just returned home from British Columbia, where I was touring as part of TD Canada Children’s Book Week. I had a great time out there, and managed to squeeze in a bit of a holiday hanging out with friends down in Vancouver and Victoria. Here is a picture of me kicking back at a curious watering hole in Victoria known as Big Bad John’s:

The place is a bit of an institution, I’m told, with its motif of stained old money and dangling bras (I am not making this up for once). The floor is completely strewn with peanut shells (which I helpfully contributed to) giving the joint the feel of a hillbilly’s secret nest. It got even better: with a secret nod to the barmaid from one of my companions, a rubber bat was somehow triggered to fall in front of my face. Luckily I don’t startle too easy, and managed to maintain the neutral expression held above.

But sadly, some if not all good things come to end. That said, I am happy to report some pretty exciting news that I received while crossing the channel to Vancouver Island on the ferry. We have a deal for my latest publishing project! It’s called CRYSTAL FALLS, which is being described as “a high-concept YA thriller surrounding a 16 year-old boy who survives going over a waterfall only to discover his town suddenly transformed and his reputation inexplicably sinister.” It’s a serious head-trip, but a bit more mature, so make sure to get parental permission before reading when it comes out…

It is scheduled for Fall 2012, I’m told, to be released by Doubleday Canada. For any and all fans outside of this country, I’m afraid I can’t tell you much just yet, but hold tight.

I can say this: I read the opening to hundreds and hundreds of kids and teens during book week, and their faces were quite literally melted in front of me. So I’m really excited. Things got quite ugly and uproarious actually when I refused to let them in on the secret… I did however enjoy entertaining their many theories however, only one of which came anywhere close. (That kid was pretty sharp actually, but I just scoffed in her face to throw everyone off.)

Anyway, it’s been a great couple of weeks. Thanks again to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for sending me out to beautiful BC, and to Andrea and Carrie for all their work coordinating my visit. And a special thanks to everyone I met in Prince George; you were all so welcoming and delightful, and I hope to come back someday.

For now though, it’s back to work!

A Sinister Scene

Well, I unlocked the door to a stranger earlier today, and was subsequently taken by complete surprise…

For it was a deliveryman, bearing the Advance Reader Copies of SINISTER SCENES!

And as was my delicious wish, their covers have been printed using the bloodiest ink available. As such, I thought a crime scene would best show them off.

For anyone unfamiliar, ARCs (as they are better known) are preview copies of an upcoming title that are given away to booksellers, librarians and a host of other wonderful freeloaders in an effort to create buzz. Considered utterly disposable, they are printed not upon the luxurious paper stock that will comprise the final bound product, but simply slapped upon swan skin in order to save costs.

Because ARCs are created from early printing proofs, they are also famously riddled with grammatical, typological, and/or factual errors which the author and editors subsequently address for the better enjoyment of the purchasing public. For example, in the ARC of SINISTER SCENES shown above, the character of Joy is often referred to as Jot owing to an injury I sustained to my right index finger midway through the work.

Okay, now I am just making things up, like I always do whenever I am overwrought. Which is always, I suppose, which incidentally may be why I chose this profession in the first place.

However the swan skin thing is true, I swear.