In the world of self-publishing, you may have seen authors sending out ARC books and thought about doing so yourself, but what are they and what are the benefits of having ARC editions created?
Okay, ARC Books are Advance Reading Copies of your work which you will send out to a select group of readers, in return they should give you an honest review of the book itself, they get a free book, you get a review (and hopefully additional feedback).
But is it worth using an ARC book for your work?
This is entirely down to your goals as an author, if you are publishing for the kudos of getting your book into print and this alone, then sending out ARC books to readers is probably not worth doing. However, for most authors, they want to ensure that their work is highly polished, well received and is given the best chance of success possible, and in these cases an ARC book can help.
So, should an ARC book be different to the final published copy?
If you look at the book cover design, then the main difference here is normally the line ‘ARC Copy, not for resale’ placed upon the front page, of course, this would be removed in the final edition of the book. Inside you occasionally see the line ‘ARC copy – not for resale’ within the header of the book’s pages (although not always), but the actual manuscript would normally stay the same.
In some cases where feedback consistently tells you that changes are needed, then you should look at adjusting and re-testing the new version of the book, so, you may have some differences between the ARC version and the completed final copy (but if you have had the book edited and proofread prior to the ARC version, you shouldn’t have to make changes to the main copy itself).
It’s worth remembering that the main goal of the ARC book is to gain quotes and publicity for you.
Once you have your files ready for the ARC version of the book, you can normally upload and order additional copies of the book from your Print on demand publisher, the price of these will vary depending upon the printing costs of your specific work, you can see more on costs from KDP and IngramSpark by following the links.
You should also send out eBook versions of your ARC book too, again, make sure you have ‘ARC copy – not for resale’ as a disclaimer, the eBook version is a lot easier to send out to readers and you won’t have any mailing fees here.
Sending out printed copies of your ARC book is where you should compare your journey as an author to that of running a small business, investing money into the publishing and promoting of ARC copies is investing back into you as an author. Having great quotes upon the book’s cover and your marketing materials can and does help countless authors when it comes to selling their work to new readers.
Once you have your ARC book ready, where do you send it?
There are plenty of ways for authors to get their books in front of readers, one popular service is Bookfunnel, they offer promotional services specifically for authors, and have options to get ARC copies out to readers, with monthly plans that start from under $5 a month, they are used by many and well worth a look.
Other places to look for readers to review your book are on sites like Goodreads, Reedsy, and Kirkus, most authors will have heard of these sites, and they are trusted by many within the publishing world.
Where else can you give out copies of your ARC book for reviews?
If you have your own author’s website, you’ll know that this is a great place to connect with your readers, holding competitions here can really help, you could give away a certain number of copies in return for reviews, or you could use the book to grow your email list, or even as a gateway for your reader into a series of your other books.
Social media is another great way to reach readers, advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is easy and far more cost effective than it’s ever been, you can give away a small number of copies, asking followers to like and share the posts to others they think would like to read it.
Podcasts are growing at an incredible rate, and whatever you’re into, there’s a podcast dedicated to it, so search out those within self-publishing, with a little research you can see if they accept submissions (they all have active social media pages) and send them a copy.
Book bloggers and reviewers, there are readers out there who have dedicated their time to reviewing and blogging about great books like yours, they’re also very niche in what they review (so we’re not going to give links to specific bloggers here), but a quick search online will give you those who are specific to your genre and can help with reviewing your book.
Give your ARC book to friends and family, essentially everyone you know should be given a copy of your book, hopefully they’ll read it, and if you’re lucky, they’ll give you a nice review/quote.
Do you send your book to well know authors/public figures?
Probably not, but with this you must use common sense, many famous people or individuals who are well respected within their own fields get sent so many products to endorse, in the end they don’t touch any of them (and you can’t blame them for this). So, if you do decide to send a big name your book, show respect, be courteous and if it is rejected (or you don’t hear back) be respectful about it.
So, ARC books can be a great tool for authors, use them as a promotional tool to gain reviews, interest and create excitement around your work as an author, when done right, they can really help self-publishing authors.
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