Using an advance review copy (ARC) in your marketing plan is a smart way to encourage book reviews, get endorsements or testimonials, and build excitement for your book's release. An advance review copy is a free, promotional copy of a book that's yet to be released.
There are many options on how to self-publish an ARC. For printed ARCs, you can use a short-run printer or a self-publishing platform such as IngramSpark. For digital ARCs, you can use Kindle Direct Publishing or create your own PDF, ePub, or Mobi file.
Once you have your ARC, you need readers willing to read and review your ARC. Make sure to target your niche audience in order to reach the right market. Here are a few ways to reach potential readers:
Mailing list: You can collect the email addresses of interested readers through your website or at events. This is the perfect group of people to ask to read and review your ARC, because they have already expressed an interest in your work.
Website: Advertise your ARC on your website. Your website is the hub of what's going on with you and your work—put it front and center.
Social media: Use your social media platform to announce the availability of your ARC. Consider hyping the ARC further by using printed copies as prizes for a giveaway or contest.
Goodreads: You can use Goodreads Giveaways for a printed ARC or Kindle Direct Publishing e-book. This program offers powerful marketing value to reach new readers in your target audience.
Publications: When you're looking for reviews from reputable sources, you might consider some of these options: Foreword Reviews, Kirkus Indie, San Francisco Book Review, or Midwest Book Review.
Bloggers: Book review bloggers love the chance to be the first to read and review a highly-anticipated book. Find bloggers who specialize in your book's genre.
By finding the right readers and reviewers for your ARC, you ensure your extra effort creating an ARC is time well spent. Just make sure to allow enough lead time for your readers and reviewers to post a review before your book is released. With the right readers, you can spark a word-of-mouth wild fire about your upcoming release by gaining precious reviews from general readers and reputable publications.
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