Monday 15 January 2024

Approaching ARC Readers


As someone who has published 21 books, with the 22nd one coming out much later this year, I thought that I would talk to you today about ARC readers. I know that it might be pretty common knowledge what they are and what they mean, but in case you don't know, ARC stands for Advanced Review Copy and is basically an earlier version of your book that goes out just before release allowing for you to have reviews, hopefully, come release day.

I've been doing ARCs for about ten years now and while I don't have a massive team, and therefore might not have the best advice when it comes to approaching people, I wanted to delve into things that have worked for me. I do have a small team of readers who have pretty much told me that they'll read anything I publish, and I have had some luck in keeping them through differing genres and the like.


This feels like the best and biggest tip that anyone can give you. If you're looking for ARC readers, then you want to make sure that you attract the people who actually read your genre and category. There is zero point in pitching a YA book to people who only ever read adult, who only ever read fantasy when you've got a crime/mystery. The point of ARC readers is to have people who would normally read your genre and category and would happily recommend it to others like them.

So step one has to be knowing that audience. Part of knowing them is finding out where they would normally hang out. Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? You get the point. If you're looking for YA it's probably on the last, if it's more adult romance, then it'll be the first. While Facebook groups are a great way of bringing like minded people together, you don't have to only use them. Know your audience, know where to find them, and attract people who will want to read your book.


The big thing that I don't think many people talk about is that even if you have 15 ARC readers, that doesn't lead to 15 reviews on release day or thereabouts. There are always going to be some people who either don't read in time, or just don't like the book, or just don't read full stop. It sucks, but it's part of it. I don't think I've ever had a situation where every one of my ARC readers has read, reviewed, and the like for any book.

This is why it's better to have a larger group so that if some don't follow through, you're not stuck with either zero reviews or low reviews. Of course I know that when you're first starting out, or even when you're a smaller fish, it's hard to attract a lot of people. I don't always manage it either and sometimes that means that a book I've worked really hard on, just doesn't get the reviews which reflects badly on it. It sucks, not going to tell you otherwise, but it's good to know these things in advance.


This is something I see a lot of authors doing, and that's pinging every week before release day with all the links and the like. In my experience, both as an author and as an ARC reader, this can feel a bit excessive and be more than just a reminder or a nudge, but an annoyance. Now, for some readers, I know that kind of thing will be welcome so consider that too, but me personally? I don't like it. I will send out an email just before release day and then to anyone who hasn't reviewed the week after and if I don't hear back, I figure it's not going to happen.

You're the only one who can make that personal choice of when and how often to follow up. I know some people just don't bother and that works for them, and that's great. But for me, it's only every on the day itself or the week after.

So those are my thoughts on approaching ARC readers. They're a necessary part of writing, releasing and publishing and they can be both a massive success or something that just doesn't work out. I wish you all the luck with it!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments! 

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1 comment:

  1. I'd advise authors to make it absolutely clear if they want a release day (or before) review - because most book bloggers will assume that there's no expectation unless told otherwise.

    (And 'nudging' bloggers if you *haven't* made that clear is a big no-no - because it's pretty rude. Authors Behaving Badly *will* get a reuptation amongst bloggers etc., and you'll find far less people willing to read your next ARC.)