Self-publishing is a universe with many facets, including the often overlooked but important element of the advanced reader copy, or ARC. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, don’t fret, many new authors find themselves in the same boat.
Advanced reader copies are essentially pre-publication versions of your book. They’re like a ‘sneak peek’ into your work, handed out to select readers before the book’s official launch. ARCs can be in digital or print format and are instrumental in drumming up anticipation, generating early reviews, and influencing marketing strategies.
The purpose of advanced reader copies
As we venture further into the world of self-publishing, it’s important to understand the purpose of advanced reader copies. ARCs serve a unique and multifaceted role in your book’s journey, acting as powerful tools in building your book’s reputation even before it hits the shelves.
So, why are ARCs so crucial?
For starters, they are a great way to create buzz around your book. By providing select readers with a glimpse into your work before its official release, you’re fuelling their excitement and encouraging word-of-mouth promotion. It’s a prime opportunity to make your book a topic of conversation amongst book clubs, social media platforms, and relevant industry circles.
Secondly, ARCs are an excellent source of early reviews. Feedback from ARC readers can provide invaluable insights that you can use to make final tweaks to your book. Positive reviews can be quoted on your book’s cover, your website, and other marketing materials. Reviews play a significant role in a reader’s decision-making process.
Lastly, ARCs help build relationships with influencers in the literary world. Distributing ARCs to bloggers, reviewers, librarians, and retailers can lead to vital connections that benefit your current and future projects.
So, in essence, ARCs are like strategic whispers in the literary world’s ears, sparking intrigue and anticipation around your book. They are an essential cog in the machinery of a successful self-publishing process.
How to create an advanced reader copy
If you’re a self-published author curious about the world of ARCs, here’s what you need to know.
Creating and distributing ARCs might sound like an uphill task, but with the right approach and resources, it’s entirely manageable.
First, decide the format of your ARCs—whether you want to offer digital copies (e-ARCs), print copies, or both. E-ARCs are cost-effective and easy to distribute, making them a popular choice amongst many self-published authors.
Once your ARC is ready, the next step is distribution. You can choose to handle this process yourself or partner with a self-publishing services provider like Publish Central. When distributing ARCs, it’s critical to focus on readers who are likely to review your book. These could include book bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and other influential individuals within the literary community.
Remember to provide clear instructions for reviewing and ask for reviews to be posted on relevant platforms, such as personal blogs, social media, Goodreads, Amazon, or other retail sites.
How to get an advanced reader copy
For readers eager to get their hands on ARCs, there are numerous avenues to explore. Many authors and publishers list their upcoming ARCs on websites like NetGalley or Edelweiss. Joining these platforms can provide access to a variety of ARCs across multiple genres.
Book bloggers and reviewers can also consider reaching out directly to self-published authors or self-publishing companies like us at Publish Central. Authors often appreciate the willingness of reviewers to read and review their work, particularly if you have a platform where you share your reviews.
Remember to provide honest and constructive feedback in your reviews—authors appreciate insightful criticism that helps them improve their craft. And, of course, remember to respect the embargo date and not share any spoilers without warning!
Getting ARCs can be a thrilling experience, offering a sneak-peek into the world of an upcoming book while also helping authors enhance their reach and refine their work.
How to make an advanced reader copy
Now, let’s take a look at how to make an advanced reader copy in detail.
Key elements of an ARC
Creating an advanced reader copy involves more than just printing a draft of your manuscript. An ARC should be as close to the final product as possible, including all elements of the book except for the final proofread, to provide an accurate reflection of what the final book will look like. Here are the key elements your ARC should include:
- Cover design: While it doesn’t have to be the final cover, it should be professional and visually appealing, with a note indicating that it’s an advance copy and the final cover may vary. Many self-publishing partners can help you with your book cover design, to get you exactly what you want.
- Preliminary pages: Include the title page, copyright page, table of contents, and any other pertinent information about the book or author.
- Book content: The ARC should contain the complete text of the book, barring final proofreading adjustments. It’s essential to note that ARCs are usually not the final version of the book and may contain errors.
- Marketing and sales information: Consider including a page detailing key selling points, author bio, price, ISBN, and publication date.
The production process
The process of creating an ARC is very similar to that of the final book, with a few exceptions. Here’s a basic outline:
- Finalise your manuscript: Make sure your manuscript is as polished as it can be before it goes into the ARC.
- Design the layout: Format the interior of the book to reflect the final product. This includes font choices, chapter headings, and paragraph styles (this makes for a more enjoyable reader-experience).
- Create the cover: Design a temporary or final book cover for the ARC. If the final cover isn’t ready yet, make sure to indicate this clearly on the ARC.
- Include necessary information: Add any marketing or sales information that will help the recipient understand more about the book and its marketing plan.
- Print/distribute digitally: Decide whether you want to print physical ARCs, distribute e-ARCs, or do both. Remember that e-ARCs are more cost-effective and can be distributed more widely.
Navigating the world of ARCs with Publish Central
Crafting and distributing advanced reader copies may seem like a daunting task, but you’re not alone on this journey. Publish Central stands ready to guide you through the entire process, providing expertise that stems from years of experience in the self-publishing industry.
Contact us today, and let’s begin the exciting process of bringing your words to the world.