The Art of the ARC – How advanced reader copies can add buzz, publicity and reviews to your book before the official release
There is nothing better than the smell of a freshly cracked book spine – unless of course, that book is an advance reader copy (ARC). ARC’s are copies of a book that are given to certain people who are permitted to read it before its scheduled release date. They are typically given to bloggers, critics, and other online influencers to review and promote the work to a wider audience. For authors, sending out an ARC is a great way to gain buzz and publicity before the big release. Although this may open the door to potential negative criticism, this also gives authors the chance to make last-minute changes before releasing their book to the world. So how do you create an ARC for reviewers?
Making an ARC
An ARC does not need to be fancy, however, there are additional elements that need to be considered:
- Disclaimer – A complete cover is not necessary, but there should be a disclaimer stating that this copy of the book is an advance reader copy that is not for resale.
- Quick facts – Include a list that has information like: number of pages, price, release date, ISBN etc.
- Formatting – While this may not be your final copy of your book, you should still make sure it appears clean and professional. Reviewers may have several ARCs to review, and an aesthetically appealing file could boost your chances of getting read first.
When it comes to distribution, you can choose an electronic copy, such as a PDF, or a print copy. Digital distribution is inexpensive and easy to deliver, however, this also makes it easier to leak. Print is the traditional route, but it does take more effort and time to produce.
As part of our Marketing Outreach services, Tellwell prepares an electronic ARC once the book cover and interior have been initially designed for authors to circulate to preliminary readers for early feedback and reviews. Electronic copies are also advantageous if you’re looking to submit your book for paid reviews, which take several weeks to produce, or to online reading communities such as NetGalley. Many of these review sources prefer electronic versions of the ARC to allow for quicker turnaround time.
If you choose to take a more traditional approach, Author Imprints has an efficient step-by-step tutorial on how to print an ARC using CreateSpace. Mailing your ARC to a reviewer could take several weeks depending on where you are sending it. When sending out ARCs, keep in mind delivery times, review time, and delivery costs. These copies should be delivered at least three to six months before your tentative release date.
Distributing an ARC
Networking is vital when distributing ARCs. If you have worked as a freelance writer or journalist, you may be able to share these copies to former employers in the publishing industry. Today, there are several websites where bookworms can sign up and receive ARCs. Here is a list of places where new authors can submit their work and share ARCs:
- Existing Connections – If you have maintained a good relationship with previous media publications, get in touch with your former contacts and ask them to forward your copy to a writer interested in reviewing and promoting your upcoming novel.
- ARC Websites – First to Read, Reading Deals, and Bookish First are websites dedicated to reviewing ARCs. There is a small fee to have your book on the sites but it may be worth the publicity if you are struggling to get reviewed. These are also great sites for people who are wanting to read ARCs.
- Cold Calling – Online influencers and BookTubers are always on the hunt to review more content for their viewers. If you have a limited network but want to get your book reviewed by some influential folks, hit up some online book reviewers on your own.
ARCs can be especially useful for series, or future books you publish. So, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the process and keeping it in mind for your next book. For more information on the subject, click here.