This morning brought a very welcome package: my first Arc copies.
To get the issues out of the way first: There are a few issues with the positioning which the publisher wants to adjust, and a sheet of final corrections they want made to the manuscript after seeing it laid out in the proof. They are digital proofs for the printrun, with place holder covers and the almost too-white pages from a digital press.
None of this changes the fact they are also the first copies of my book in print, and if I may say so they look really good.
I've also got a few extra copies in the post from layout testing. Since the publisher no longer needed them I've snaffled them for PR, and possibly early reviews.
It seems very final in a way. Even if the books are hardly the finished product, looking at layouts from a digital proof and having something you can hold in your hand, really does drive it home. My book is coming out.
I just hope the reviewers like it.