Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) are exactly what the name suggests—free copies of a book given out to selected readers before the book’s official launch date. The purpose of handing out ARCs is to garner honest reviews and attract a larger audience. Book reviewers have always played a major role while marketing a book: the better the reviews, the more readers who clamor to buy the book.
If you’re an author looking to build connections within the literary world, reading and reviewing books written by other upcoming authors is a great place to start. The added bonus: these authors might even offer to review your own books when you’re publishing them! Here are 3 ways you can become an ARC reader and acquire free copies of books in exchange for an honest review..
1. Be Active on Goodreads and Other Similar Platforms
Goodreads is the world’s biggest community for readers. Goodreads is a useful book-tracking app that helps you keep track of everything book-related—from books read, to books to-be-read, to receiving quality book recommendations and, more importantly, to interacting with the reading community at large.
It is also the site most of us go to when we need to look at a book’s reviews and ratings. Having an active Goodreads account while posting regular, detailed and honest reviews on the books you’ve read will help you build a following—and, subsequently, gives you something to link to if you want to reach out to publishers and request for any book! Goodreads also hosts plenty of ARC giveaways that readers can enter.
You can also be an active member of these communities for readers, besides Goodreads.
2. Build a Substantial Social Media Following
Social media is a haven for writers and readers alike—it’s the place where writers go to to find new readers, and the place where readers go to to find new books. If you want to build a reputation as a credible reviewer, social media is the best place to start.
Bookstagram alone will help you in acquiring ARCs. Bookstagram is Instagram’s sub-community dedicated solely for readers and writers who love talking about books. The more aesthetically appealing your Bookstagram feed looks, and the more quality reviews you post, the higher the chances of being sought by publishers and authors for book reviews.
There are also numerous Facebook writing groups dedicated to connecting ARC readers with authors and publishers. If you’re active on social media, finding them will not be an arduous task.
3. Create a NetGalley Account
NetGalley is a site that connects authors/publishers with book reviewers by giving away free digital copies to interested and experienced readers (if these readers adhere to the publisher’s standards). According to their website, “NetGalley helps influential readers discover and recommend new books to their audiences. If you are a reviewer, blogger, librarian, bookseller, educator, journalist or other member of the media, you can use NetGalley for free to request, read, and recommend books before they are published”.
If you have a substantial social media following and proof for previous-written reviews, all you have to do is create a NetGalley account, and link to your blog or social media account to improve your chances of being approved by a publisher or author to receive their ARC. You can even request for particular books via NetGalley—but remember, you need to post your reviews before the deadline, or you hurt your chances of being approved for future books!
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.