Today we’re finishing up our series on Advanced Reader Copies. This final episode is about how to be a good ARC reviewer. This will be focused entirely around indie authors. I’m not going to be speaking to traditionally published ARCs because I have no experience with that.
There are four factors that go into being a great ARC reviewer. 1) Follow through, 2) Willingness to communicate, 3) Timeliness, and 4) Interest
Authors seek out ARC reviewers to garner social proof on their books and to get their work in front of new eyeballs. It’s a great way for people to get new free books and to build a positive relationship with the author.
Let’s walk through each of the four factors that make a great ARC reviewer.
Factor #1 - Follow Through
The whole point of authors giving out ARCs is to get reviews. That means actually reading and reviewing the book is the most important part of being an ARC reviewer. There are plenty of people who will sign up for an ARC and never download it. That’s a good way to never get an ARC from that author again, especially if they’re giving out a limited amount of ARCs.
If you tell an author that you were going to post your review on specific platforms, be sure to do that. A general courtesy with ARCs is to wait to post until release week is over if the book is not your cup of tea and you intend to rate it three stars or below. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it does help give a book its best chance. Now, if there is something terrible in the book, like unchecked racism, transphobia, etc. that you want to inform readers about, you are obviously free to review and post as you see fit, but please ensure that you’ve at least considered the next factor we’re going to be discussing.
Factor #2 - Willingness To Communicate
Being an ARC reviewer is very much a case of if you see something, say something. If you see any issues with formatting, typos, or anything else that you feel that the author should be made aware of, reach out. A great ARC reviewer is going to let the author know something is a problem rather than letting that book be published as is. At the point that you are receiving an ARC, the book should have undergone some form of editing, whether this is just with beta readers and self edits, or with a professional, but things can still slip through depending on who is involved in the process. If you stumble across something that tempts you to one star that book or write a rant review, please consider reaching out to the author so they have the opportunity to correct any missteps. Of course, this is working on the assumption that everyone is communicating in good faith. If you try to bring something important to the author’s attention and they get belligerent with you, then by all means embrace that rant review because it’s a safe assumption that they’re not willing to address the issue.
An author may not have time to make the changes before a book goes live, but if they’re open and receptive to correcting issues, please give them the opportunity to do so. ARC reviewers are very valuable for catching things that somehow made it through all of the other eyes in the process. Now, you should not be expected to offer editing advice, and if the typos are numerous and egregious, you can simply tell the author that they would benefit from putting the book through additional editing before publication. Granted, that is not going to be something most authors want to hear, but it’s important for them to be aware that whatever they have going on is big enough that it’s going to negatively impact the reader experience, so that they can make an informed decision about what they want to do. I’ve seen plenty of authors gracefully accept ARC reader feedback and make the necessary corrections to their work. I just hope that any author you ever have to communicate with about issues responds with equal grace and openness.
Factor #3 - Timeliness
Reading an ARC and posting a review on time is another key element to being a great ARC reviewer. While it’s better late than never, doing your read and review before release day is what’s going to help build up the social proof for that book and encourage others to pre-order. If you apply for or accept an ARC knowing that you’re going to be unable to read it in time, let the author know. If you’re still fully intending to read and review, just a bit later, most authors are going to be chill with that.
Timeliness goes hand in hand with follow-through. Some platforms that provide ARCs may punish reviewers for taking more than the allotted time to read and review, which is not something you want to happen. Indie authors that aren’t using those services may keep track of reviews themselves. Those that don’t regularly read the reviews may have a cut off time where they simply stop checking, and if your review comes in after that cut off, then you would be classified as a reviewer that does not follow through and you may have difficulties getting ARCs from that author in the future. Not all authors check up on follow through and simply trust the reviewers, either because they don’t want to put the effort into following up, they don’t have time, or they have simply given away too many ARCs for it to be viable. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll know which camp the authors that you’re reading for fall into.
Factor #4 - Interest
Please only sign up for ARCs if they are books that you are genuinely interested in. Be sure to check out relevant content warnings, ask for them if the author does not directly provide them, and feel free to ask questions to make sure that the book is going to be a good fit for you. Authors want you to have an enjoyable experience reading their work, and a little research goes a long way to tipping the odds in everyone’s favour with a bit of fact finding.
One other important facet of interest is sharing the book! If you liked it and you know others that might be interested, spread the word. Tell your friends, share on your platforms, and do whatever you’d like to drum up interest for the book. Your author will be eternally grateful.
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!
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) – 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
SIERRA’S SOCIAL MEDIA!
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/432541855131522