An Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of your book is essential for obtaining reviews from early readers, trade reviewers, paid review sites, the media, influencers, and readers. But as a self-publisher or first-time author, it can be difficult to get book reviews. In this post, you'll learn about ARC-specific apps and services that help you share your book with reader-reviewers in the format they want to read it in. In alphabetical order, they are:
- Hidden Gems Books ARC Program
- LibraryThing Early Readers Program
Creating the Formats for Your Advance Reader Copy
Don't have an EPUB or MOBI for Kindle version of your book? Find eBook conversion tools in my previous post, 10 Ebook Conversion Tools for Docs to EPUB & MOBI and a complete list of tech tools reviewed in my Consumer's Guide for Self-Publishers.
BookFunnel delivers your eBook to your reader-reviewers in the formats they need for the e-reading device they own: Apple, Android, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or their computer.
When you sign up for the service you upload your EPUB (they create the MOBI from the EPUB) and set up a download page for your readers. Readers choose their e-reading device and then they can download the file or email the book to themselves. Their "BookFunnel Certified Mail" ensures that your links are private and your files are watermarked as ARCs. Starts at $20/annually.
Booksprout is a mobile app for Apple, Android, and Kindle Fire devices that lets readers sign up to find ARCs in specific genres in exchange for a review. Go to their website to import your Advance Reader Copy and share the link with readers. Booksprout keeps track of who leaves reviews and who doesn't so you can clean your list. The app sends an alert to your readers two days before the Advance Reader Copy reviews are due.
Already published your book? No problem. Just import books you've already published on Amazon. If you're signed up on Amazon KDP Select you can even set up an email notification when your books are free on KDP Select promotional days.
It's free for up to 20 readers to review your book. If you want to allow more, or if you want to enable private reviews, upgrade to the $10 or $20/mo plan.
Hidden Gems Books ARC Program
The Hidden Gems ARC Program sends your book to their list of reviewers to match your book's type/genre with readers that are most likely to enjoy it. Registration costs $20 plus $2.00 per reader after 50 and up to 149 readers. For 150 or more readers your cost is capped at $300. You specify the number of readers.
Hidden Gems claims a review rate of over 80% because they clean their list frequently to remove readers who ask for books but do not leave reviews.
You'll need a formatted MOBI, EPUB, PDF, and your metadata (book description, author bio, etc.) so readers can choose your book, but you don't need to upload it until a few days before your scheduled promo date.
Book far ahead of time! At the time of this posting, late August 2018, many of their genres are booked through March 2019. Can you say "Book Launch Plan?"
InstaFreebie helps you to connect with new readers and fans through your sneak peeks, advance previews, special giveaways, and/or group giveaways of your free eBook to readers. Use group giveaways to partner with other authors in your genre and expand your audience.
Your readers can upload your books on their e-reader app instantly with easy “sideloading” via email or the Instafreebie app. You get unlimited giveaways and distribution at no cost with one pen name and one author page with author bio, book descriptions, and giveaways. It costs $20/mo to add MailChimp integration, customizable giveaways, and tracking and $50/mo to add personalized giveaway branding and up to 5 pen names and author pages.
LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program
LibraryThing is kind of like GoodReads but it's run by the library service and not likely to be purchased by Amazon anytime soon. (Haha. But that's one reason I moved my reading list from GoodReads to LibraryThing.)
The LibraryThing Early Reviewers program is a free service that plays matchmaker between authors and potential readers. They use an algorithm to find the members most likely to enjoy and create buzz for your titles, based on their reading lists. You submit your book and LibraryThing members sign-up to request ARCs.
Here's a short video explaining the service.
It works like this:
—You supply LibraryThing with a list of the titles that you’ll be offering to the Early Reviewers.
—They announce the titles (in monthly batches), and LibraryThing members sign up for the books they’re interested in.
—They send a list of the winning members and their addresses to you. You send out the books.
—Early Reviewers read the books and then post reviews to LibraryThing. They are encouraged to also cross-post to their blog and social media.
NetGalley allows you to pitch your book to professional readers (media, reviewers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and educators) who can review and recommend your title, from one location for $399. (Get a deal on NetGalley if you’re a member of IBPA.) It's expensive but by far the most professional "trade" type review service of the bunch, with many large publishing houses using the platform.
NetGalley gives you an embeddable widget for your emails or web page which gives your contacts the link to get your book. You can also list in their catalog and any interested readers can request a galley (advance reader copy). You can accept or decline these requests. Books are protected by DRM.
Which Advance Reader Copy Tool(s) Will You Use?
You don't have to choose just one! Have you used any of these tools? Or, another you'd like to share? Let's talk about it in the discussion area below.
We love to keep our indie authors happy. Join BookWorks’ network of established and emerging self-published authors and gain exclusive insight into publishing and promoting your book. Sign up HERE.