Understanding ARC and getting reviews

When I decided I was ready to publish my book, I never thought that getting reviews for the book’s launch would be that difficult. Everywhere you look for information, videos, and tutorials on what to do to launch your book, you get advice about getting early reviewers as part of your book launch “team”. We are not talking about reviews from your friend and family, but reviewers who do book reviews, have a platform of their own (a blog or social media), and can provide their honest review and have it on their platforms. The idea is to have some people talking about your work by the time the book gets launched.

There are many services that help you with this, meaning that you subscribe to get access to their reviewer database, but they don’t promise reviews. Then there is a more organic way to do this, i.e reaching bloggers or people with a platform and asking them to review your book.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

For any people out there in the process of self-publishing a book, I would like to tell you about my process and struggles with getting reviewers:

  • It won’t be easy. I thought that getting an agent for traditional publishing was difficult. No, getting reviewers is more difficult.
  • You can start requesting reviews before publishing your book. This is a review on your ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). There are services like Booksprout (with accessible prices), NetGalley (expensive) and others. My book is currently submitted in Booksprout in this link. I haven’t received any requests yet.
  • You can also use similar services like Reedsy Discovery to access their reviewers database and get a review by your launch day. The idea is to submit your review request on this platform around 1 week before the launch. It is paid service as well. One thing to take into account that these services clarify that the payment is only for access to their database but reviewers are not paid. Paid reviewers is a no, not only in Amazon, but also ethically.
  • Then there is the organic way to do this: search for book bloggers and social media people that do book reviews. This is like jumping into a sea of never-ending information. I was lucky enough to find this Reedsy list of Book Bloggers where you can find more than 200 bloggers. I went through each blog, read the review policy (where you can see if the blogger takes self-published books, if they read your genre, if they need a printed copy, etc) and emailed around 50 bloggers that read Fantasy and were open to reviewing books at the moment. Like Literry agents, book bloggers are sometimes open and sometimes not. I’ve starting getting some replies already that they are sorry but they won’t be able to review my book. Sigh…
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
  • Then there is Blog Tours. I learned about them only a couple of months ago when I started this self-publishing project. Usually book bloggers with a high outreach will have their own people (followers) that are part of their network and will get them to either do a review on your book, publish an excerpt about it, do an author interview, or simply upload the book cover and info in their Bookstagram (more about this on a later post) and other social media. These tours are paid and are not very cheap. They usually last in between 1 to 2 weeks, and their packages will offer in between 7 to 15 book bloggers to talk about your book in the time you selected. I’m actually considering the cheapest ones and still thinking of its the advantages. If anybody out there has done a blog tour, please let me know your experience. Blog tours are not specifically reviews, but some participants might choose to do a review on your book, that is why I included it in this post.

In a next post, I will broaden on other book promotions that I found out there from $5 to the hundreds $$.

Has anybody had experience with book reviewers? Is there any other tip that I’m missing?

Published by Carla Doria

Proud Happiness Engineer at amazing Automattic. Loves traveling, learning languages, writing and reading.

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