Today we have another episode about Advanced Reader Copies, and we’re going to be talking about how to recruit ARC reviewers and how to professionally pitch your book.
How To Recruit ARC Reviewers
There are two main methods to get ARC reviewers.
Option 1 is to make it known that you’re looking for ARC reviewers and let them come to you.
Option 2 is to contact reviewers yourself.
You can also do a combination of these methods. I usually do a combo where I reach out to a few specific reviewers and otherwise just let people know that ARCs are available and they can sign up for a chance to receive one.
There are a few pieces of information that you should include with any recruitment regardless of which method you’re going with.
- Genre and Subgenre, and whether the book is sweet or dark
- Target Audience
- Point of View
- Main tropes
- Relationship – ie. m/f, m/m, f/f, etc.
- Representation, if that’s something you want to use to entice a specific group of reviewers
- Release Date – reviewers need to be aware of the general timeline
An example of this would be:
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part One
- Sweet omegaverse romance, 18+
- 1st person, multi POV
- Found family, shy librarian meets her pack
- Pansexual, polyamorous relationship with multiple genders (m/nb/f/nb/m/f)
- Releases Aug 6, 2022.
More info below.
That took up 237 characters so you even have some space for hashtags and a link if you’re sharing on Twitter.
Remember the goal is to find people who are going to like your book and are able to read and review prior to release day, and providing key information to them from the get go is going to make it more likely that reviewers are signing up for something they’re genuinely interested in. Now is not the time to be vague about what’s going on in your story.
A Google form is probably the simplest way to offer additional information to potential reviewers. Since some platforms, like Twitter, limit the information you can provide up front, you can take advantage of the much larger space in a Google form to provide more. If you go this route, be sure to indicate that the information will be on the form so people know they can go there to find out more.
Things you may want to include in the form, or whatever you’re using for people to sign up, are:
- Content Warnings – I’ll be doing a separate video on content warnings, but please just know that you’re not going to spoil the story by sharing these with potential reviewers. Triggering someone or exposing them to things they don’t like reading are not going to garner you good reviews.
- Book Blurb. People need to know what your story is about beyond that basic info.
- Worldbuilding Info – if you’re doing anything short of contemporary it can be helpful to include info on how your world works. For example, a lot of omegaverse worlds differ on how everything is set up, so this can be a helpful spot to educate readers so they’re not getting confused trying to compare it to something they’ve read previously.
How To Let Reviewers Come To You
Share on all of your social media platforms, as well as in servers or book groups that allow posting about ARC opportunities. Be sure to get permission and check the rules of those communities before sharing.
Include the relevant information that we previously discussed, and also be sure to include your book cover and a link to the book as well as a link to where they can sign up to be a reviewer. People who may not be able to ARC read might still be interested and providing a link to the book itself gives them the opportunity to preorder or save it for when the book is out.
If you are providing a Google form for people to sign up, include all the relevant information there.
If you happen to have a ton of people interested, it may get overwhelming having to respond to a bunch of messages asking for more information that you could have initially provided.
What To Include In An ARC Application Form
- A clear title so people know exactly what they’re signing up for
- When the book will be released and when they can expect to receive their review copy if they’re selected to be an ARC reader
- Book Blurb
- Content Warnings
- Other relevant information you think people should know, such as types of sexual content, how long the book is, whether or not it’s part of a series, and if there’s a cliffhanger.
- Collect the name or alias, and email of the reviewer so that you can find them later
- Ask them to acknowledge that they’re over 18 if your book contains adult content
- Ask them to confirm that they are comfortable with the type of content in your story. While the original information of your pitch should have warned off anyone who isn’t comfy with what you’re writing, this forces them to pause and acknowledge that they’re aware of what they’re getting into
- Get the email where they prefer to receive their ARC just in case it’s different than the one they use for their Google account
- Ask them which platforms they intend to review on and get links to each of those platforms if you intend to check up on follow through
- Remind them that they are not to share their copy or redistribute it on any platform. While this won’t stop a pirate, it’s at least a reminder that that behavior isn’t cool
- Ask them to refrain from leaving a critical review until release week is over. You want your book to have the best chance possible with people and if it ends up not being to a reviewer’s taste that’s totally fine, and delaying their critique a few days can keep your rating up so Amazon is more likely to share it
- Ask them to report any errors to you prior to release date and give them your email to do so. Things like typos, wonky formatting, or anything they think is important for you to be aware of. ARCs are not meant to be perfect and reviewers should expect some level of typos or formatting errors, and if they report them early you have a chance to fix them before the public gets their paws on it.
There are some services, like NetGalley that will put up your book for ARC reviewers, but that also comes with a hefty price tag: anywhere from $500 to $750 depending on how long you want it listed for. I have never personally used NetGalley, specifically because of the financial cost.
How To Find Reviewers
There are plenty of platforms out there that reviewers frequent – book blogs, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. If you’re an author on any of those platforms you’ve probably come across a fair few reviewers. Make a list of reviewers that you like to listen to and might want to contact.
If you’re not on those platforms, get on there and immerse yourself in the book communities. Take note of the ones that read the genres and subgenres you write, check out content where they talk about their favourite tropes, etc. to see if your story might be a good fit for them. Take note if any of those reviewers have a review policy before approaching them with your pitch. Not everyone will have that information readily available, but if they do and you don’t look or don’t follow the requirements, they’re far less likely to agree to your request.
How To Professionally Pitch Your Book
The level of professionalism is up to you, but I’m going to give you the tools to treat your writing career like a business and approach fellow industry professionals (ie. reviewers) the same way you would with any other business. If you prefer to roll up and just ask without providing information, that’s your prerogative.
First things first. When you’re crafting a pitch make sure that the name you’re sending to is correct. I’ve seen plenty of people complain that their names are misspelled in pitches or that part of their platform name was used to address them that isn’t even the actual name portion. Double check this information before sending.
Introduce yourself. If you’re emailing them you may want to include links to your social media so that they can check you out before agreeing to review, and if you’re contacting them on a social media platform you may not need to include that information separately.
Tell them why you’re contacting them. Be clear that you have an ARC and that you would love for them to read and review. Give them the basic information that we talked about previously and include a link where they can get further information if they so choose. You can also include why you think they would like your story. Your reasoning should come from your research, and you can reference specific content if you want to, ie. I loved your video where you talked about your top 10 tropes, and my story has 3 of those tropes so I thought you might enjoy it!
Thank them for their time. Always thank people. You can also let them know they can reach out with any questions they might have.
Feel free to make yourself a template so that this process goes a little quicker, just make sure that you’re customizing for individual reviewers you’re reaching out to.
That’s all for now. In the next episode we’ll be talking about keeping track of reviewers and how to manage follow up.
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!
First Heat Series – m/f, 3rd person POV
First Heat: https://books2read.com/FirstHeat
First Heat: Second Chances: https://books2read.com/FHSC
First Heat: Tying The Knot: https://books2read.com/FirstHeatTTK
Heat Play Love – m/m/m, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/HeatPlayLove
Conference Confidential – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/ConferenceConfidential
2021 Omegaverse Collection – contains First Heat, First Heat: Second Chances, Heat Play Love, Conference Confidential, and 2 bonus shorts https://books2read.com/OV2021
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part One – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls
Nicky and the Night Owls: Part Two – polyamorous (m/f/nb/f/nb/m), multi 1st person POV – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/NickyNightOwls2
Knotty or Nice Christmas Anthology – (my story is based on Nicky and the Pack) – currently on preorder https://books2read.com/knotty-or-nice
Salacious Salvation – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/SalaciousSalvation
Playtime with Professor – m/f, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/PlaytimeWithProfessor
PARANORMAL Into The Depths – f/nb, 3rd person POV https://books2read.com/intothedepths
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