I’ve talked to you all before about the importance of early reviewers for your book and why ARC readers can help you in the long run. But, how do you find ARC readers? I’m sure you’ve seen other authors here on Authortube promote that they are open for ARC readers, I’ve even done this for some recent book launches.
One very clear DO is to make sure the value to the ARC reader is obvious. You know as the author what benefit you are getting. But why should this reader commit to being an ARC reader for you? I always emphasize a free book. Avid readers have to fund their habit. I have started to put together exclusive video content for my novels so that ARC readers are getting that extra information. Maybe for your book, if you do coaching you could offer a free 1 on 1 or group coaching session. Maybe you are writing their names into the acknowledgments of your book. That is a pretty cool benefit and you could set a deadline around signing up to get that specific benefit.
Don’t just send out ARC copies of your book to your entire email list. Do you know everyone on your email list? You’re effectively giving them a free copy of your book. Are they even engaged with your emails? You don’t know. Instead, promote that you are looking for ARC readers in your next message to your email list. Make it clear what you are asking. They would read the book by the release date and agree to post an honest review of the book on the platforms of your choice. They would need to let you know what email address to send the digital copy to (this reiterates that they are getting a digital version) and what format they want.
Even if someone has said before, I’d love to be an early reader for your upcoming book, you want them to confirm that again. You can send an email or message and say, “Hey I know you said you wanted to help be an early reader for my next book. Well, it is here. The book releases X date, would you be able to read it by then to do a review? If so, can you let me know what format you would like a digital copy in? PDF, Mobi (for Kindle), or ePub (all other eReaders). Don’t just send someone all the versions of the book because 1. That can get flagged in their spam trap and 2. They may not actually be able to help by the date you need it done by. Maybe they’re moving, or sick, or just busy.
Don’t assume that just because someone was an ARC reader for your last book that they want to be an ARC reader for your next book. Always get that positive opt-in.
There are some paid services that people use to help them manage their ARC list. You pay a fee to the service and they manage sending out the correct version of the digital copy, they watermark it, they help with version control, reminder emails, etc. It can foolproof this for you. If you have a lot of money to invest in this go for it. If you have a LARGE ARC list, you’ll probably want to invest in this to make it that much easier for you. But for the most part, if you are starting out, you can do this yourself. It will take a little extra time, but I always recommend that you do the work yourself before you outsource it to a service so you can understand all the pain points for yourself as the author and for the reader.
So, here are just some of the big dos and don’ts for building your ARC list. What are the best practices you’ve found when building your lists? What are some major don’ts that you’ve seen as well? Share in the comments below.
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