If you are writing and self-publishing your book, you need to send out Advance Reader Copies to create buzz for your book before you launch. However, if this is your first book, you might be wondering why Advance Reader Copies are important. And more importantly, you might be wondering where you should send them.
We wrote this guide to Advance Readers Copies to help you get started with this important piece of your book marketing.
What are Advance Reader Copies?
Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) are printed and bound manuscripts of a book that has not been published yet. ARCs (also called a galley) have been through most of the editing stages and function as the almost-complete version of the book.
Some of the finishing touches might not be final versions such as the book’s cover art, illustrations, back cover information, and any notable reviews. The point of the Advance Reader Copies is the book itself is ready to read and review, even if the aesthetic details aren’t finalized.
Advance Reader Copies are printed for promotional purposes and not printed to sell. Advance Reader Copies will be marked very clearly on both the cover and inside the book with the words “advanced reader copy” and are marked as “not for sale or distribution”. They might also include disclaimers that this is an unedited manuscript for review only.
If you are distributing electronic Advance Reader Copies, those versions are also marked to show that is not the final version.
Advance Reader Copies are not final versions
Advance Reader Copies are not:
- First drafts of the book. By the time someone is holding a copy of one of your advance reader copies, the manuscript has already been read by a team of editors and beta readers. The major plot holes have been worked out and the characters have all been developed and critiqued. The manuscript should be in its final stages.
- Full of spelling and grammar mistakes. In addition to the beta readers, your book should already have been edited by a proofreader. There should be very little, if any obvious mistakes or anything else that would detract readers from the book.
- Finalized. You might still be finalizing the final details of the book such as the cover art, the forward, the author bio, and more. Just because you printed and sent out Advance Readers Copies does not mean that minor details of the story can’t change or mistakes can’t be fixed after the ARCs are distributed.
Benefits to using Advance Reader Copies
Advance Reader Copies are typically sent to people that can review, promote, or help the book’s launch and distribution. They should be sent to strategic connections and used in a way that helps generate excitement to your book.
They can also be signed and given as gifts to people that have helped you with your book writing. This early release copy is a special book that most people won’t see, so it’s a fun way to thank someone for their support.
Who can use Advance Reader Copies
Advance Reader Copies are not just for authors who publish with big publishing companies, they are also important for self-published authors as well.
Self-published authors can utilize many of the same marketing strategies that well-known authors utilize when they send out Advance Reader Copies to their contacts. As opposed to expensive marketing campaigns, sending out ARCs is a great way to create buzz for relatively low cost.
When self-published authors can get honest reviews and high ratings prior to a release, it can organically draw people to their book. Plus, when readers can see reviews both on the cover of their book and also where people can buy their books online, it helps to build more confidence with potential readers.
6 places to send Advance Reader Copies
Think strategically about who will respond positively and help create buzz for your book. For example, do not send Advance Reader Copies to everyone on your email author subscription list that you are hoping will purchase your book.
Instead look at the people that you have relationships with, the people that have the same audience that you are trying to reach, and people that have the capability to help market and sell your book.
Send Advance Reader Copies To:
- Book Reviewers. Send Advance Reader Copies to notable book reviewers or to author friends that are willing to read and review your book.
- Launch Team. Send Advance Reader Copies to your launch team to write reviews, create posts, and help stir up excitement. For more information on the importance of your launch team read this article about How to Build and Manage a Book Launch Team. In addition to sending ARCs to your launch team for them to read, make sure to send them copies they can distribute as well.
- Journalists. Especially if your book covers a newsworthy topic, some journalists are interested in writing about upcoming book releases and reviewing new literature after reading advance reader copies.
- Goodreads readers. Send ARCs to Goodreads as part of an author giveaway. Goodreads is widely known for its passionate community of readers. Hosting giveaways with them and other online book clubs is a great way to reach readers and get people excited and interested in your book and in you as an author. Plus you can see a boost to your book sales when your book finds its way to the book clubs both on Goodreads and on other sites.
- Influencers or book bloggers. Look for people that have the same audience you are trying to reach. Request a shoutout or review if you send out one of the Advance Reader Copies.
- Booksellers. Booksellers, both from independent shops and from larger chains, are important people to send ARCs to. You will want their excitement and buy in to get your books on their shelves. You should also be interested in securing in-person author events after they have reviewed and committed to stocking your book.
How many Advance Reader Copies do you need?
Advance Reader Copies are used to create buzz for your book. However, they do not directly make you money like the book launch will, so be careful that they do not become a substitute for the actual copies of your book you want people to buy.
Do not send out so many that you saturate the market with your book before you get a chance to sell it. Instead, plan out the people you intend to send them to and try not to print too many beyond that.
You may find you need to print more ARCs after your initial print. Thankfully regardless of how you intend to print your books for purchase, Advance Reader Copies are typically printed as a less expensive paperback book, so they will be less expensive if you need to print more copies.
When to print and distribute Advance Reader Copies
If you are an author writing your book, be prepared to print ARCs at least 3-6 months before you are planning on launching your book.
This gives you time to send copies out, gives your readers time to read and review your work, and lets you make any changes in response to feedback before your final books are printed.
If you need help with your book launch plan, be sure to check out our guide How to Launch a Book for More Sales.
For more help with your writing and self-publishing journey, take a look at one of our many courses for self-publishing! We have the best author community that is ready to connect with you and help you self-publish your book!