Today we’re talking about Advanced Reader Copies. This will be part of a series and this episode will be going over the basics of ARCs. 

What is an ARC?

ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy. It’s a version of your book that has not been published yet, and may still need to undergo a proofread, but will be made available for reviewers.

What is the purpose of an ARC?

The purpose of ARCs is to get early reviews so you can build up the social proof on your book. Social proof, if you’re not familiar, essentially taps into people’s need to know what the right course of action is. If a lot of people like something then people are more likely to trust the product, but if no one is reviewing there’s none of that social proof to tell anyone that your product, in this case your book, is worth investing their time and money into. 

Another reason that you want to gather these reviews, especially on Amazon, is because it’s going to boost your ranking and get you shared to more people because the algorithm is going to see you getting a lot of interaction. Once you hit certain review milestones, you get shared in the Also Bought By section and you’re more likely to be promoted by the algorithm.

Where do you get your ARCs from?

This answer is purely for the self-published. If you’re with a traditional or indie press, they’ll be handling your ARCs. 

If you’re doing physical ARCs you’re going to get your ARCs from your distributors, just like you would be doing for a proof copy. For a lot of smut writers that’s going to be Amazon, but if you’re a wide author, you’re probably also going to be getting them from Ingram.

A lot of your ARC reviewer‘s are likely going to just receive an e-book advanced copy rather than a physical copy. This is simply due to the financial restraints of most authors as well as delays in shipping time. It doesn’t do anyone any good if your reviewers are receiving their physical ARCs weeks after the book comes out. Some reviewers might require a physical copy, so be sure to do some investigating and if you can’t swing physical copies, don’t reach out to reviewers that require them.

For digital ARC copies you’ll be getting those from the book file that you either formatted yourself or paid someone else to format for you. A lot of people like to distribute these through services like Bookfunnel but you also have the option to email the book to reviewers yourself.

Is it safe to send out ARCs?

Some people worry about book piracy when sending out ARCs, and don’t get me wrong, it is definitely a risk, but if someone really wants to pirate your book, they’re going to do so with or without an ARC. The risk is there, but the benefit of spreading the word about your story is worth it to most people. 

What is an ARC reviewer?

An ARC reviewer is anyone who reads your completed book before publication with the intention of leaving a review. Generally, these are people who have some sort of platform so that they can share your book with other people, but that’s not always the case. The only requirement is the intent to read and review. 

Before you begin your recruitment process you should consider if you’re intending to accept everyone who applies or if you’ll be picking and choosing. Which one you choose is dependent on a couple of factors. 1) how many people apply, and 2) how much time and effort you want to put into vetting reviewers. 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with accepting everyone interested in your book, regardless of their platform. Enthusiasm can be just as valuable as a large platform.

How many ARCs should you give away?

This answer is going to vary from person to person based both on their comfort level and how many ARC readers they can actually get on board. Some authors can rake in thousands of interested reviewers while others struggle to get even a handful. Generally you want to get as many ARC reviews as possible to increase that social proof. 

That’s all for now. In the next episode we’ll be discussing how to recruit ARC reviewers and how to professionally pitch your book. 

You can find all of my books and platforms below. If you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, please do let me know. And if you’d like early access to these videos you can join my Patreon where I share them with people as soon as they’re ready to roll. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon for another episode!




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First Heat: Second Chances: 

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