By putting a copy of their work in the hands of reviewers, bloggers, and other readers who may provide feedback, exposure, or endorsements, authors gain a valuable tool.
Unlike proofs, these are not meant for the author and are instead sent to reviewers about three months before a book is published. In addition, the author can learn from the feedback they receive from reviewers before releasing their work to the public. Here are a few suggestions for putting together an ARC (advanced reader copy).
Is it Important?
The author’s platform and credibility can be strengthened by acquiring book reviews before publication. Though it makes some authors uncomfortable, advanced reader copies are a great way to get your work in front of opinion leaders. Digitized proofs have made it much easier to produce and disseminate ARCs to interested parties.
To avoid wasting money on unnecessary copies and extra costs, authors can have books printed and shipped directly to book reviewers as they confirm their interest.
Printing Advance Reader Copy
Once upon a time, months before the book’s official release, publishers would send out expensive advance reader copies to select individuals, who would then be expected to keep the books for themselves and not resell them. Many small presses these days use print on demand to distribute review copies with the final cover design. Using print-on-demand, they were able to reduce the expense of producing advance reader copies.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the book will be cheap if you use one. While this may have been the case a few years ago, the lines between print-on-demand and traditional offset printing have begun to blur.
Due to the low overhead and zero risk involved in print-on-demand, even well-established publishing houses are adopting the practice. One of the most time-efficient ways to build one is with the help of digital proofs. They reduce costs associated with transport and printing, and can be delivered quickly as opposed to waiting weeks.
Advance reader copies were traditionally printed on paper, but these days digital proofs are more common and easy to produce. The writer should find out from the reviewers whether they would rather read a hard copy or an electronic version.
Priority shipping is a cost-effective and time-efficient option if they’ve opted for the printed version. Since media mail is inexpensive, some authors prefer to use it. Although the author would love feedback, sending out advance reader copies and waiting two months for them to be returned is not an option.
The author has committed to a certain publication date, so she must give reviewers ample time to read the advance reader copy, write a review to be printed inside the book’s back cover, consider her suggestions, and provide feedback before the book’s official release.
Production of Advanced Reader Copy
The author is responsible for ensuring the file’s presentation is polished and appropriate for publication. Although this is not the final draft, the style and formatting should be error-free and convincing. The author would prefer that reviewers not be buried under a mountain of unsightly formatting issues in the advanced reader copies they are required to read.
The font size needs to be large enough to be legible without being overwhelmingly large that it’s unpleasant to look at. Also, make sure there are no typos or grammatical mistakes in the advanced reader copies you’ve already sent out which makes the difference between getting read and being forgotten.