To ARC or not ARC, that is the question.
Writers want to sell books!
In order to achieve those illusive sales, promotion and marketing of books is crucial. One way to achieve this is to offer advance reader copies (ARC's) to reviewers, bookstores, journalists, magazines and newspapers.
So what is an ARC?
This is copy of a book, released by a publisher that is yet to go into final print. Usually, there is no cover, the formatting is not at the final stage and this copy may differ from the actual published version of the book.
You know you have reached the big time, when your publisher demands confidentiality agreements are signed by reviewers before the copies are released!
Pre Release Reviews:
Reviews of books are influential. These few words give readers insight into much awaited new releases by popular writers. They also provide introduction and information for new authors and their work. Reviews provide a linear foundation of opinion which generates not only a readership, but also—SALES!
Know your audience:
The recipients of ARC's, in exchange for a free copy of the book, agree to post a review on sites where the book is scheduled for sale, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads.
It is important to consider carefully, the distribution of ARC's to appropriate reviewers. If the work is fantasy, then target readers of fantasy. To circulate ARC's to readers of other genres is risky. Random circulation to all genre readers may be a wasted effort with no reviews posted. At best, the book will not be read—no gain, but no real harm done. The real problem is when an ARC is critically analysed by a reviewer, perhaps not familiar with the genre, who posts a low rated review. Bad reviews can be anathema to sales.
Timing is everything:
As with all promotions and marketing strategies, decisions regarding identification of reviewers, deadline for circulation of copies and posting of reviews must be decided. ARC's should be distributed at least three months before the official release date of the book. This strategy can net the author a high level review, which can be cited on the back cover of the book. Nothing screams out success like New York Times Best Selling Author!
The down side:
Online piracy. Yes book piracy is theft. Yes it robs authors of income and no the pirates don't care. According to Paul Salvette of Google +—"if your book is in Amazon's Top 100, it will be pirated." He went on to say, "piracy, is not about lending a Kindle to a neighbour to read a book without paying for it. This is about your EPUB, MOBI, and/or PDF eBook being distributed through an unscrupulous website, illegally sold or shared through the BitTorrent protocols (peer to peer sharing)."
In conclusion, are ARC's worthwhile—absolutely!reviews get the author noticed and sell books. But what about the risk? Can you 100% protect yourself against piracy? Probably not. There are however strategies that will help to keep your work out of the hands of thieves. Firstly, the publisher must identify legitimate, professional reviewers, familiar with the genre of the book, the names of which are signed off by the author. Ask for a copy of the reader's review writing and posting policy. Issue posting deadlines. There are companies out there, who for a fee allow you to track and remove files. An example of such a service provider is Muso https://www.muso.com/anti-piracy/
“Are you making noise with your book marketing or are you creating a symphony?”
Warrior Born – Book 1 of the Katana Series - Out Now!
Redemption – Book 2 of the Katana Series – Coming soon from Grimoire Books Publishing.
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