Monday, January 26, 2015

The Art of ARC-ing

by MarcyKate Connolly

Advanced review copies, or ARCs, seem to spark two distinct emotions in debut writers: elation (my book is a book!) and confusion (what the heck am I supposed to do with these?). To add to the confusion, depending on your publisher and your contract, you could get anywhere between one single ARC to 20 or more.

Once you’ve got the requisite joy out of your system and have spent some quality time getting to know your ARCs....
Sit back and relax with your ARCs....
And don't forget to show it off to your friends! will likely be told to use them for publicity and outreach.

I know a lot of new authors cringe every time they hear the word publicity, so I thought I’d share some practical ways you can use ARCs for outreach that may or may not be on your radar already:

Getting to know your local librarian. If you’re an introvert (like me), the idea of cold calling/emailing/visiting your local librarian in the hopes they’ll buy your book can be terrifying. However, having something to actually give them (in this case one of your lovely ARCs!), can make that a whole lot easier. It provides an opening for discussion and there’s less pressure. And if you stop by your library and they’re not available, you can always leave the ARC with a staff member in the appropriate section along with a note, a bookmark, and your business card.

Getting to know your local bookseller. Depending on your publisher, your local bookstore may already have ARCs of your book, so this may not need to be high on your list if your publisher is one of the Big Five, for example. But even if they do have your ARC already, it can be a nice gesture, and again, an opening to discuss books in general, as well as the possibility of doing an event there when the book is out. Also, if you’re a young adult author, some indie bookstores have ARC buckets for teens to read and review, which is another opportunity to look into.

Send it on tour! If you’re a debut author (especially a children’s author) you might be part a debut group, most of which tour ARCs among their members. This is a great idea for a couple reasons: 1) If other authors on the tour are comfortable rating your book on Goodreads, then it can give you some good reviews early on 2) It’s an excellent way to begin word of mouth for your book and 3) when you get it back at the end of the tour, you’ll have all sorts of notes from the readers, making a great keepsake.

Give one to a local teacher. (More for YA/MG/Picture book authors, than adult) If you have children in school or know people who are teachers in your local area, consider asking if they’d be interested in reading your book. School visits can be a great way for children’s authors to connect directly with readers, and gifting an ARC could pave the way for one.

Give one to a book blogger. If you’ve made connections to book bloggers, you may want to consider one or two who are particularly excited about your book. Many book bloggers will passionately talk about books they love. This can be a great way to activate word of mouth for your book. 

Send one to your local paper. Always check with your publicist at your publisher before doing this (provided you have one). But if your local paper has a books section or highlights local people, the ARC along with a brief press release could get your book an article or review.

Goodreads giveaway. This is also something to check with your publisher about first, as many do this and you don’t want to duplicate efforts. If they’re not running one it can be a great way to connect with Goodreads users who may not yet have heard of your book.

Blog/social media giveaways. People LOVE to win stuff. You can setup a rafflecopter giveaway to make the entry requirements things like following you on twitter, facebook, tumblr, etc. The trick is to keep those new followers engaged after the giveaway is over!

Annotated ARC giveaways. Annotated ARCs are a fun thing to giveaway and readers love seeing the notes, fun facts, and behind-the-scenes info. However, they can be time-consuming because you’ll need to go through your entire book and handwrite those notes. If you have the time and inclination, an annotated ARC could set your blog/social media giveaway apart.

Blurbs. Again, depending on your publisher and agent, you may not need to request your own blurbs from established authors. But if you do, those ARCs will come in handy.

Friends and family. This may not have the biggest impact publicity-wise, but giving an ARC to your parents or best friend or whoever you dedicated your book to can be a lovely and much appreciated gesture.

This list is, of course, by no means comprehensive. Please share your suggestions and ideas in the comments! :)

MarcyKate Connolly writes middle grade and young adult fiction and becomes a superhero when sufficiently caffeinated. When earthbound, she blogs at her website and spends far too much time babbling on Twitter. Her debut upper middle grade fantasy novel, MONSTROUS, will be out from HarperCollins Children's Books on February 10, 2015!

1 comment:

Eve said...

I like all these options. I'm some time away from having to use any of this information myself but I like all of the options. I know as I blog (more than I write currently) that I love getting ARC's and having a chance to spread the love on a book I can't wait to purchase. Thanks for sharing!