Today we’re talking about Advanced Reader Copies. This episode will go over how to keep track of ARC reviewers and how to manage follow up.

Why Do You Want To Keep Track Of ARC Reviews?

Reviewers that are reliable at delivering reviews on time and that also like your book can be tapped for future ARCs and building up a more permanent ARC team. This is not a requirement, but it can make things much easier on your future self. 

How To Keep Track of ARCs and Reviewers

I’m going to start off with the process for if you’re approaching reviewers yourself, rather than simply collecting the responses from sharing on your platforms.

I’m a big fan of spreadsheets for keeping track of reviewers. I haven’t directly sought out reviewers for a while, but when I did there were a few phases to the process. 

Phase 1 was collecting information on all the reviewers I liked and all the ones I could find that read in the genre I was going to be releasing. This gave me a giant list I could work my way through and see who was actually well suited to my particular story. Be sure to include any relevant links for each potential reviewer so you can save yourself time when you go to research them more.

Phase 2 was choosing the specific reviewers off that initial list to contact. This involved checking out all the platforms a reviewer had, checking out any review policy they might have, and making a note for myself why my book is for them. 

Phase 3 was the actual pitch. If you need a refresher on what goes on here, please refer back to ARCs Episode 2. Expect to have a fair new non-responses when you’re doing this. A lot of reviewers are probably bombarded with requests and simply don’t have the time or desire to respond to every pitch.

Phase 4 was organizing responses. I’d create an additional list for everyone that replied back with a Yes to the ARC. On that list I would include information about when I sent the ARC, with a section for when they posted their review and whether the review was positive or negative. 

This phase is also where things come into play if you’ve been accepting ARC applications. If you’ve used a Google form to gather ARC applications, you can modify the table to suit your organizational needs.

Phase 5 was sending out the ARCs. Depending on how ready your book is at the time of recruitment, you have the option of either sending the ARC out immediately upon receiving an application or positive response to a pitch, or sending them all on a pre-planned day. If you’re keeping track of details, be sure to record when you send out the ARC to each reviewer.

Phase 6 was post-release. Those that had followed through with the review and enjoyed the book would be thanked for reviewing and asked if they’re interested in receiving ARCs for future works, with a bit of info on projects I had planned. Those that didn’t enjoy the book would be kept on the list so I knew to avoid offering them ARCs in the future since my work was clearly not their cup of tea. I also kept track of those who had asked for an ARC and never followed through with a review. The entire point of doing ARCs is to get reviews, so if people are just after a free copy and aren’t going to follow through then they’re not valuable to your process. 

If you’ve been an author for any length of time, you’ve probably heard not to read the reviews. In general, I stand by that advice, but ARCs are the one exception because you need to know who likes your work and who is following through so you’re not wasting your time in the future. 

Try to be patient in the post-release process. A late review is still valuable, and sometimes ARC reviewers get busy or sidetracked and aren’t able to finish by the deadline. Give yourself a time limit for how long you’ll be checking for review follow through, I usually suggest two weeks to a month, and then you can set the task aside. Once that time has elapsed you may choose to send a follow up email or form that asks reviewers to link their reviews to your book. Alternatively, if you’ve made the list that contains all of their platforms, you can click through every so often and see if they’ve posted yet. 

What To Do If You Get A Bad Review

Nothing. Bad reviews are not for you to engage with. If it’s one of your ARC reviewers just make a note for yourself to not give them future ARCs. Please also remember that bad reviews can be their own form of positive social proof. Something that has only 5 star reviews can be suspicious, so having lower stars can lend legitimacy to your book. Negative reviews can also sometimes be used as shopping lists by other readers. Someone might list out all the things they hated and those things are something someone else loves. Try to remember that taste in books is very subjective and that there is no piece of media in existence that is universally loved. 

That’s all for now. 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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