Difference Between BetaReaders and ARC Readers: What You Need To Know by @MelissaFlicks

By Rachel Thompson | Author Marketing

Jul 22
Difference Between BetaReaders and ARC Readers: What You Need To Know by @MelissaFlicks

Please welcome Melissa Flicks, my cohost for #BookMarketingChat, author assistant extraordinaire, and general whirlwind. Melissa explains the difference between betareaders and ARC readers, and why it’s important writers know the difference. 

Difference Between BetaReaders and ARC Readers: What You Need To Know by @MelissaFlicks

During our latest #BookMarketingChat, we briefly touched on the topic of betareaders and ARC readers. Since we didn’t have time to discuss them in detail during the chat, I’ll break down what these two types of readers are, why you need them as a part of your publishing team, and where they fit in your marketing plan.

What is a Betareader?

A betareader is a (non-professional) reader who receives a pre-edited (NOT first draft- give them your best writing!) copy of your work. Ideally, this person will be someone who is in your target audience and/ or who reads a lot of books in your genre.

Once the betareader has read your work, they can provide helpful insight on how to improve your important elements of your story: characters, setting, and plot (point out plot holes and continuity issues). They can also provide suggestions for spelling, grammar, and fact checking.

You’ll want to begin gathering a list of betareaders early on and send your work to them during the revision stage.

A good place to find betareaders is to reach out on your own social media platforms (if you’re planning on releasing a book, you should already be developing a strong social media presence). Send out a few tweets and Facebook/G+ posts asking if anyone would be interested in providing feedback for your work-in-progress periodically, and make a list to keep track. Gather their emails and stay in touch!

Many authors I know recommend using reader communities such as Wattpad for betareaders. You can upload your work to the site and get some great feedback there (as well as building a fanbase).

Let’s move on to ARC readers.

What is an ARC Reader?

An ARC (Advanced Review Copy) reader is a person who receives a pre-published copy of your book (usually after final editing, but before proofreading). Also referred to as “early reviewers,” ARC readers are given a free copy of your book in exchange for leaving an honest book review (typically on Amazon and/or Goodreads) once the book is available for distribution.

Again, you’ll want to begin a list of ARC readers early on (at least eight weeks prior to your anticipated book launch date).

Where do I find ARC readers?

There is no rule on who you can ask to review your book- ask your friends, family (though we recommend avoiding having family and friends review your book), book club, fans, book bloggers… anyone who you think might be interested in reading and reviewing your book. You can have readers sign up via Google Forms, mailing list subscription, direct email… whichever way you want to collect their information. Just be sure to keep track of who signs up so you can update and follow up as the launch date gets closer.

Keep in mind, you might ask 100 people to review your book and get a fraction of those people to say “yes.” (Rachel says a typical response rate is maybe 10%.) Of those maybe 75 people who agree to review your book, there might be 25 who actually do, if you’re lucky! It’s a tedious process, but if you’re starting your book launch with 25 positive reviews right off the bat, it’s totally worth it!  Be sure to send out a friendly reminder a week before your book launches to your list of ARC readers to have their reviews ready to post.

Street Teams

The subject of a future #BookMarketingChat, most authors create private street team groups on Facebook where they can add their ARC readers. This is an easy way to get updates and reminders sent out however, many posts either get buried in a sea of newsfeed posts or they are completely unseen based on what Facebook decides to show their users that day. Alternatively, you can utilize mailing lists to distribute your ARC and send reminders to your ARC readers.

Newsletters 

Keep in mind, according to FCC guidelines, you can’t randomly send out emails to people asking them to review your book (well, you can, and many people do; but it is considered spam and they can be fined if reported). You can learn more about email and newsletter best practices by reading Barb’s article, as well as this excellent article from Written Word Media here. 

For more information about #BookMarketingChat, please connect with us on Twitter and Facebook, and read all about it here on Rachel’s blog!  

Connect with Melissa here and hire her! She’s amazing. Melissa Flicks Author Services

photo courtesy of unsplash

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All content © 2017 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.


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About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs,  #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Leave a Comment:

(11) comments

carolynmcb July 24, 2016

I regret not launching my short story with reviews, but it’s not too late is it? Thanks for an educational post.

Reply
    Rachel Thompson July 24, 2016

    and nope, never too late. You can contact a company like ReadingDeals.com to contact readers, bloggers, and reviewers for a nominal admin fee — the reviews are honest and not guaranteed to be positive, which makes it fair and ethical.

    Join reader’s groups, book clubs, connect with book bloggers (go to http://thebookbloggerlist.com) and find bloggers in your genre. Take a look at the books by Barb as I mention in my article also.

    Reply
      carolynmcb July 24, 2016

      I clicked on that link and it DID NOT send me to a book blogger! Twice! (click on it) I need to scrape my eyebrows off the ceiling, excuse me….Back now, thank you for the advice.

      Reply
Jonah Gibson July 25, 2016

Was surprised to see the picture you used for this entry because it is the same (public domain) image I used to represent the main character in my last novel. His name is Cliff. He looks a little bit like me – if I were to lose 30 years, 30 lbs., and 30% of my hair. LOL! Good post, BTW, useful and succinct. Thanks

Reply
    Rachel Thompson July 25, 2016

    Ha, thanks for commenting, Jonah. The image is from Unsplash.com, which supplies hi-res royalty-free images (love the site!).

    Glad you found the post helpful. Melissa is awesome.

    Reply

Great post. I do, however find it ‘difficult’ when offered a book for an ‘honest review’. I know the writer SAYS that’s what they want…but what they mean is a nice 4/5 star one! Sometimes, that just isn’t possible ..and I have had writers turning stroppy when I’ve said (privately) that I’d only be prepared to give it 3 stars (still an ‘OK’ assessment). It’s good to have a slew of 5/4 star reviews early on in a book’s life – it encourages readers to buy it..but I’m becoming more antsy about the books with 80+ 5 star reviews (and nothing else) that I find. I know Amazon is pulling reviews if it suspects a connection – but I also think some people seem to have a review pile that doesn’t tally with their position in the category listings. Hmm.

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[…] some point in the writing process, you will need feedback from other people. Melissa Flick tells us the difference between beta readers and ARC readers, Dawn Field helps delineate the kind of feedback to get from beta readers, and Kassan Warrad […]

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[…] Over at Badredhead Media, Melissa Flicks discusses the difference between beta readers and ARC readers. […]

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[…] humble. If your work isn’t spectacular, don’t release it. Work with a critique group, ask beta-readers to give you feedback, hire a terrific editor, and make your book amazing before you release it. If […]

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