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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Connect with Melissa here and hire her! She’s amazing.
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All content © 2018 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.
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 and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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