Marketing your book entails a lot of work and different strategies. Researching them all, you might find hundreds upon hundreds of ideas to help you market your book. Each one can be valuable and should be explored. One that you can employ is the advanced reader copy of your book.
What is an Advanced Reader Copy?
An advanced reader copy is exactly what it sounds like. It is a copy given in advance of publication to the reader. The advanced reader copy is not the final copy. It is a preview. It is a tool to get preliminary feedback from reviewers and help in the book’s marketing.
It might not be formatted correctly or even gone through the final proofreading. It should have been edited extensively, but the final touch ups will not have been done yet. Mistakes are to be expected, but nothing major should show up.
With such a copy, you can get the book into the hands of readers and start getting attention before it is officially published. It is like a preview of a movie to get readers talking about your book. Get the tongues talking about your book before it is actually published.
How to Use Advanced Reader Copies
You use advanced reader copies in print and/or pdf format to get reviewers for your book. It is great promotion to have people talking about your book by the time it is released. That helps get the momentum going before the book hits the shelves.
Contact reviewers within two months of your book being released. Let them know that you are willing to send them a free advanced reader copy, ARC, in exchange for a review of your book.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind about using ARCs:
Needs to Be Fully Edited
Do not create ARCs from rough drafts. It needs to be ready for proofreading and not in any more of a rough state. Content editing and line editing should be completed. Submitting works that are not edited to be reviewed is suicidal. You can get slaughtered and be highly embarrassed. That will not help your book sales. Get those books edited before sending out ARCs.
Title Page with Your Name as Author
Don’t send a manuscript with chapter one on the first page. You want it to look professional and not as a rough draft. Make it read to print with a title page, copyright page, and table of contents if applicable. The readers want to know they are reading a real book and not a possible book or something that is in first draft mode.
Name and Title as Headers
You want the reader to always see the name of the book and your name in a way that is not obnoxious. Forgetting who you are will not help you sell books. Good marketing has your name and the name of your book easily accessible and always in view of the reader.
Use a Watermark
Put a watermark on your document that says “ARC” so the reader cannot miss that it is not the final copy. Too many reviewers forget and don’t take that into account when reviewing the book. The watermark also helps you remember which copy is the final one and which one is for reviewers and such. Also, keep in mind that it helps to protect your work from theft.
A watermark can easily be put on any Word doc before you save it as a pdf. Open up your document. Click on Page Layout at the top of your screen. You should see an Icon with the word ‘Watermark’ under it. Click on it. Now you can choose whatever you want your watermark to be. For an ARC, I would suggest choosing Custom Watermark and use ‘ARC’ as the actual watermark. Make sure you save your file. (If you cannot find these instructions to work with your version of Word, go to the helps section of Word and put in watermark. You should be able to get the answers on how to insert it from there.)
Distribute as PDF
Save them on your computer and distribute them as pdf files and not as Word documents. You do not want the reader to be able to change anything.
At the end of the ARC, list any contact information including website and links to other works of yours. This helps the reader find your other books and gives them exposure as well. Also, the reviewer might want to interview you.
You can find thousands of blogs as well as readers on Amazon and Goodreads to review your book. Use the ARC and let the reviewers know that it is one when you approach them with a copy.
My Experience with ARCs
I get a lot of ARCs from authors, publishers, and publicists. I do not mind reading them. I just have to keep in mind that they are ARCs when I write my review. That means the author has to have it noted on the manuscript so I don’t forget. Otherwise I note editing, proofreading, and formatting issues. Reviewers expect to receive ARCs.
Don’t neglect how ARCs can help you, but you need to be very careful in how you work with them. Always let the reviewer know and always mark the manuscript as such.