Author Advice: Building an ARC Team

ARC: Advanced Reader Copies

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Many book bloggers are intimate with the term ARC. We love and live off of ARCs in a lot of cases. Being the first readers of an upcoming new release before anyone else. But what about the authors that are out there writing their amazing stories and trying to get it in front of readers?

Every author out there knows that having an authentic and responsible ARC team is essential to their survival. As a personal assistant for a handful of amazing authors, I manage their teams and wanted to share some of my insights for any authors out there looking for a few pointers.

Find Dedicated Readers

It can be incredibly tempting to send your book to everyone that is willing to read it. But most of those that are readily available to read and review, can be looking for a quick scam. I’ve had one of my clients send out ARC copies to eager readers, only to find it a few weeks later on pirated websites. This hurts an author personally and damages the trust many authors have in sending their work out into the world.

Make Readers Commit

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One way to help filter out those quick-hit scammers, is to have a pre-made ARC sign-up form using a simple service like Google Forms. It can include basic questions like their name, email address, links to their reviews and also an NDA at the bottom that they need to acknowledge and sign. This will help to protect you in the long run against the fake reviewers that populate the internet.

Keep Them Engaged

The hardest part about managing an ARC team comes after you’ve found a nice pool of people that have committed to reading and reviewing your books. Now you have to keep them interested. Most authors manage their ARC teams either through email communication or though Facebook groups. I’m drawn right down the middle on the benefits of both. I find that communicating big releases and marketing that you want shared is best managed through emails. Facebook groups are great for quick communication and socializing about recent and upcoming releases. But lately, Facebook algorithms are making it difficult for posts to be seen and found by members. Plus, many of your readers will likely be in lots of different groups which adds to the complexity of making sure they stay up to date on information.

In Summary

These are your readers; lovers of your work and they’re along for the ride because they enjoy reading what you have to share. So keep them involved with regular updates, contests for most engaged and other fun games. Let them know they’re participation is adored and they will be life-long readers of yours. This helps because then they tell all their friends, who tell all their friends – and so on, and so on.

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