What is an ARC or Advance Reader Copy?
ARCs can help self-publishers get their book in front of more people and increase their chances of building a loyal fanbase. They can also be used to generate early reviews (and feedback), which can help boost sales and visibility on platforms like Amazon and Goodreads.
Self-publishers should make sure their book is as polished as possible before sending out ARCs, as negative feedback could harm their reputation and potentially damage sales.
How To Distribute ARCs
Self-publishers can distribute or send out ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) by:
- Sending out digital copies: Self-publishers can send out digital ARCs in formats like PDF or EPUB via email or file-sharing platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive. The biggest challenge of sending out digital ARCs is in protecting the content of your book. NEVER send docs and be very careful about who you send digital ARCs to. Several of the services below help authors distribute ARCs safely. Some of them do this for FREE.
- Printing physical copies: Self-publishers can print physical ARCs using print-on-demand services like Amazon’s CreateSpace or IngramSpark, which will print and ship copies to reviewers and other potential readers. This can end up being a very expensive option especially when you take the percentage of reviews you will get (yes, even with a FREE paper copy).
ARC services make the whole process of sending out ARCS and getting reviews easier. The service providers normally have a large (or huge) audience of readers who love to get free books and write reviews.
Some ARC services thoroughly vet their readers to make sure they are not just grabbing free books and never writing a review. Some services allow authors and publishers to review each potential reader in order to pick and choose the readers they want to send their books to.
Some services allow you to contact your reviewers and collect their emails. This can be a big plus in helping you develop promotion lists.
Carefully review exactly what an ARC service offers, including whether readers are monitored. Check to see if statistics of any kind are provided and of course make sure that the services fit within your budget. There ARE budget choices of all kinds from a $20 one book service to more comprehensive services starting at $450 or more.
Need even MORE Reviews?
Check out 7 Ways To Get Those All Important Reviews For Your Kindle Book