What is an ARC program?
ARC stands for “Advanced Review Copy”. The basic idea is for an author or publisher to provide a reader with a copy of the author’s latest work in advance of publication for the purpose of vetting the book to other readers by means of a review.
Why have an ARC program?
The program allows books that are new releases to hit the ‘shelf’ running, so to speak. It gives other potential readers a chance to assess how well the book could entertain them and whether or not to spend their time and resources on reading the book.
How does an ARC program benefit the reader?
The reader is given a chance to read the final polished product in advance of all other readers and the story is free, no need to pay for the book.
Why not just pay a professional to perform the ARC program?
The TOS (Terms of Service) for Amazon specifically prohibits pay-for-review programs of any nature. In fact, the only compensation that is allowed is a free copy of the book to be reviewed and even this must be disclosed in the review itself.
How does an ARC program benefit the author?
Obviously, if there are fans of the author’s work and they are willing to participate in the program, then the author benefits in several ways. Firstly, the work is vetted by readers and shared with others giving the book a certain amount of ‘social proof’ required before other readers decide to invest their resources into purchasing the book. Also, many promotional sites will not advertise an author’s book without a certain amount of reviews and a certain review rating average. In general, the more reviews (favorable of course) the better the chances of the book succeeding becomes.
How is your ARC program different?
As mentioned above, the Terms of Service will not allow for any compensation other than the book in question. Most authors use a mobi, epub or pdf file of the book so that it may be read electronically first. The cost for this is very low or non-existent other than the author’s time. This program will provide a paperback version of the book first, before the ebook is available for purchase. The paperback version costs considerably more than an electronic version and represents a serious investment in you, the ARC team member, by the author, in the book's publishing process. This paperback program is not unique, but it is fairly rare in the industry, but I’m ready to make the investment in my readers.
Do I have to read a paperback in order to be part of the ARC team?
No. A PDF, or other compatible electronic version can be made available to you instead of the paperback, or in addition to it.
Does the ARC program require reading ALL of your books?
No. I understand that not all of my genres, or all of my series, may interest my ARC team members. I want the program to be enjoyable to my readers as well. Therefore, I will have three categories that an ARC member can choose to apply to. The categories are; Genre specific (Choose either Fantasy or Science Fiction), Series specific (Choose one or more series to participate in, Dragon vs Ranger for example), or All books (read all books in either genre).
What are the requirements to be an ARC member?
Well, a willingness to read the book and leave a review for one. Other readers are looking for a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of each book, so a more detailed review would be the best (though per the TOS of both Amazon and Goodreads, an author has no say in what, and how, is included in a review). Past commitment to leaving reviews that demonstrates a commitment by the ARC member and signing up for the author’s newsletter.
What if I read a book and I don’t like it?
All reviews are valuable, even those critical one and two star reviews that most authors cringe at when they are posted. The critical review can help explain what the reader didn’t like about a book and acts again, not only as social proof, but as feedback for the author. In fact, when my first book, The Black Dragon, received its first one star review, it had a spike in sales and borrows as the review let other readers know that they could trust the four and five star reviewers. A book with nothing but five stars is often times suspect until a sufficient number of reviews are posted to reassure the reader that they are legitimate.
I noticed a couple of your books have nothing but four and five star reviews. Shall I leave a one or two star for you?
Please don’t, LOL. In time, I’m sure all of my books will receive one and two star reviews. Those books simply haven’t had the same exposure as my other books with a better sampling rate by readers on Amazon.
How do I start?
As I mentioned under the requirements above, a demonstrative commitment to leave a review is a requirement of the program. Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know the following:
What if I want to leave the program?
Every email that I send has an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email. Simply click on the link or email me and let me know that you no longer wish to participate.
What if I know someone that wants to do this, but I don’t?
By all means, share the word. Let them know about the program, have them sign up for my newsletter and give them my email address.
Can I join at any time?
Yes, but… the paperback program initially will be limited to ten (10) slots due to the investment required to run it. The ebook program right now can literally be unlimited, but will most likely be capped at one hundred (100) in order to manage such a program effectively. (It may take a very long time to reach this second milestone).
What makes this program special for me?
I am a debut author with literally no name recognition. Call it fate, luck or chance, but you have found me and my book(s) have found you. If you believe that my writing has merit, and a future, then you can be a key member of my fan base and one of the catalysts for success of my written works. Without you, I have no reason to write. I write for the love of telling a good story and the chance of giving one of my fellow readers a chance at a few hours of old fashioned entertainment.
Are you calling reading old fashioned?
Well, my first book was dedicated to my seven children and with their gaming consoles, tablets, on demand cable television, social media programs and other technological advancements, I have yet to get even one of them to read one of my books. I grew up on the Hardy Boys, Tolkien, McCaffrey, Crichton, Clancy, Asimov, Burroughs, Donaldson, King and a host of other authors. Some of my work is undoubtedly inspired by them. I hope our next few generations will not lose sight of the written word amongst the clamoring of the electronic era, so yeah, I may be old school, but I hope I’m wrong about reading being old-fashioned.
Become a member of Salvador Mercer's ARC Team!