Posted on May 22, 2023 at 2:00 PM by Guest Author
To market your book well, you need to show it’s worth reading. Learn how offering an advanced reader copy can help you collect reviews before publishing.
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Why Early Reviews Are Valuable
When it comes to getting book reviews, timing is an important factor. Of course, you can list your book without reviews and gather them as they come in — there’s no rule against it. But ideally, you should already have a few positive reviews when you make your book available to the public.
Early reviews play an essential role in marketing and selling a new release. They provide social proof to readers that it’s worth reading. And you can apply that social proof in countless ways — from highlighting it on your social media pages to adding it to your book’s back cover. In doing so, you can look forward to a more successful book launch.
Whether you’re a first-time author or a seasoned pro who’s just released a new title, you may struggle to get any traction without reviews. That’s why you should take steps to get them as early as possible.
Enter the advanced reader copy…
What Is an Advanced Reader Copy?
An advanced reader copy is an early version of a book that hasn’t been published yet. In some cases, especially with print books, it may be missing aspects like cover art. But the copy still serves (more or less) as the final draft of the author’s work, ready for reading.
Although such copies are primarily given away by publishing houses, indie authors have also started using them over the years. It should be noted that these versions are meant to be promotional copies given away to readers. Each one is marked to indicate that it’s an advanced reader copy and not intended for sale.
What Is the Purpose of an Advanced Reader Copy?
The primary purpose of an advanced reader copy is to build up buzz around your soon-to-be-published book. By creating one and giving it to select readers, you can generate publicity that will hopefully turn into interest. And as a result, you can enjoy better results when you make your book available for purchase.
Here are some additional ways an advanced reader copy can work to your advantage:
It can help you improve your book before publishing.
By providing a group of people with advanced copies of your book, you can get valuable feedback and apply it before publishing. Often, authors are too close to their work to spot things like story gaps and character flaws. But having readers and influencers check out your book beforehand can bring those issues to light.
It can be used as a gift for your superfans or launch supporters.
An advanced reader copy can also be used to nurture your relationships. Many authors opt to give away such versions as a thank-you gift to superfans and launch supporters. Doing so shows that you acknowledge and value everything they’ve done to help you. Plus, everyone loves getting free stuff!
It can provide you with early reviews to use for marketing.
Of course, collecting reviews is one of the biggest reasons to provide an advanced reader copy to certain people. Along with offering a copy to readers, you can send one off to bloggers and influencers who frequently review books in your genre. If you’re respectful in your request and give them ample time to read the book, you should be able to get reviews that you can use when launching your book.
Note: If you plan to make your book available through Amazon, keep in mind that any reviews you get from other sites or email can’t be put under the Customer Review section, only the Editorial Review section.
How to Make an Advanced Reader Copy
- If you’re concerned that creating an advanced reader copy of your book will require a lot of extra effort and resources, don’t be. Today, there are shortcuts that make the process easier and less expensive. For example, you can take advantage of print-on-demand services to send physical copies or just create separate digital versions of your ebook. Ultimately, it boils down to your budget and your reviewers’ preference.
- Once you’ve decided on a method, follow these steps:
Ensure your copy is free of grammatical, spelling, and formatting issues.
Include a stamp on the copy's front cover indicating it’s an advanced reader copy.
Put a disclaimer on the inside (e.g., the title page) explaining that the copy is an uncorrected proof for review purposes only — not intended for sale. Note that content may change before release and to refer to the sale edition when quoting.
On the copyright page, you can put the ISBN if you have one. Otherwise, you can put “Advanced Review Copy” or “Uncorrected Proof” in its place.
If any cover art or images are missing, you can add placeholders labeled “Illustration Not Available.”
7 Ways to Get Reviews Using an Advanced Reader Copy
Creating an advanced reader copy is one thing. But how do you go about using it for review-gathering purposes? To simplify it for you, we put together a list of seven ways to get reviews before your book launches.
Note: No matter where you plan to send your advanced copy, make sure to do so between three and six months before publication. This gives reviewers ample time, which they’ll appreciate.
OFFER IT AS PART OF AN AUTHOR GIVEAWAY ON GOODREADS.
Goodreads has received criticism in recent years thanks to bad actors, but it can still be a useful way to get reviews. After all, data shows the platform has 90 million members, which gives you the opportunity for a lot of exposure. If your budget allows, you could offer your advanced reader copy as an author giveaway. In doing so, you could put your book in the hands of up to 100 readers and gather some reviews in advance.
MAKE AN EXCHANGE WITH A FELLOW AUTHOR.
If you know any other authors, check to see if they have books coming out soon too. If they do, suggest doing an exchange of advanced copies and offering one another a review. This can help boost your credibility and give you an editorial review to place on your book’s Amazon sales page.
SEND IT OUT TO BOOK BLOGGERS AND INFLUENCERS.
Search for book bloggers and influencers on social media who often review books in your genre. (This is important, as you want to choose people who already speak to your target audience.) Then, reach out to see if they would be willing to accept an advanced reader copy and provide a review. If they agree, they’ll likely post about your book beforehand, which could help drum up interest in preparation for your book’s release.
SUBMIT A COPY TO REVIEW SITES & MEDIA PROFESSIONALS.
You can get additional editorial reviews by submitting an advanced copy to review sites and media professionals. Just make sure to do your research first. That way, you can improve your chances of getting a review and avoid falling victim to a scam.
Consider the following:
GIVE IT AWAY TO EXISTING FANS.
If you already have fans, you should consider giving them an advanced reader copy. Chances are, they’d be happy to write a review if they get to read your new book early. In addition to giving you authentic social proof to highlight for your book launch, it helps strengthen the connection between you and your readers.
So, create an email campaign notifying your existing reader base about your upcoming book and offer the opportunity to read it ahead of time. When the book is made available for purchase, you could send them a link to the sales page to post their review. Just make sure they’re transparent about receiving a free copy in advance.
LIST IT ON BOOKFUNNEL AND RUN A PROMOTION.
Another option is to list an advanced reader copy on BookFunnel and run a free ebook promotion with The Fussy Librarian. You can put your book on BookFunnel for a period before publishing to Amazon. Then once it’s published, you can have readers add their reviews to the Amazon sales page — just like you would with existing fans (see section above).
The great thing about this is that it allows you to build your mailing list while getting early readers and early reviews for your book.
PASS IT ALONG TO YOUR LAUNCH SUPPORTERS.
Don’t forget to give an advanced copy to your launch supporters (aka street team) if you have some. These people are there to make your release as successful as possible, and their reviews can help boost interest in your upcoming book. But be careful about who posts where. If there are friends and family on your team, they’re not eligible to post reviews in the Customer Review section of your book’s Amazon page when it goes live.
If you want to increase interest in your book ahead of its launch, consider creating an advanced reader copy. Typically, it doesn’t require a huge investment of time or money. Plus, it can go a long way toward getting social proof that your book is worth reading.
(Don’t forget — you can also get reviews for recently published or older titles by running a free ebook promo with The Fussy Librarian! Schedule yours today and reach 600,000+ readers!)
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