An advance reader copy (ARC) (also known as ‘advanced reader copy‘) is an almost finished book sent out for reading and reviewing before an official launch or publication date.
This article will further define what is a book ARC and help you determine how to receive your advance reader copies for review purposes.
What is a book arc?
ARC stands for ‘advance readers copy. An ARC is a copy of a book given to book reviewers, book bloggers, and booksellers for reviews and marketing before its initial publication date.
ARC book meaning
The book is mainly finished when it exists as an ARC, but there is room for change depending on the reviews that come back.
Consider an ARC as a ‘soft launch of a book.
Reviewers, bloggers, and sellers read and review the book, whereby book reviews help to generate awareness and excitement around its official launch.
Authors, publishing houses, and PR companies send ARCs to book bloggers, people in the publishing industry, and other influential persons to kickstart public awareness of the said book.
Who can read and review ARCs?
Almost anyone can receive an ARC and submit a review.
Professional writers and authors, book bloggers and reviewers, and even casual readers can read and review ARCs and help the book succeed in publication.
Still, it helps authors and publishers to have clarity on perspectives and levels of expertise regarding opinions on a book.
As such, if you have an established presence online as an author or book blogger, you’re far more likely to receive ARCs than someone without such a reputation.
How to get arc books
Understand that submitting a request for advanced readers’ editions of books is not just about getting free books. You must submit an honest review of the books you receive to be eligible for further reviews.
It’s essential to have an established reputation before submitting, as publishing houses want to know that those who receive ARCs will do honest work before accepting review requests.
Below we’ve included several routes through which you can receive ARCs and write reviews.
Book reviewers can obtain advanced reader copies on NetGalley in exchange for a review post. Many publishing houses post ARCs on this free site, and you, as a reviewer, need to submit a request.
Books vary in exclusivity. Some require a full request, while other books have a ‘read now option.
NetGalley credibility score
NetGalley offers an abundance of ARCs, so it’s relatively easy to download and review a book. It’s important to note that NetGalley considers your credibility score based on your submissions, so don’t download several books at once.
Take your time on each ARC and write a credible and well-written review, then submit it. Downloading several books at once poses a credibility risk.
If you fail to submit a review on time, you lose credibility, making it harder to receive more ARCs in the future.
Bonus tip: Link your NetGalley account to other sites and platforms on which you post reviews. Doing so helps your readers find more of your work and boost your reputation as a book reviewer.
Further, invest time into crafting a strong reviewer bio. Not only will this improve your reputation with readers, but it will also increase confidence in publishers that you are a reputable reviewer and deserve copies.
Similar to NetGalley, Edelweiss allows readers and reviewers to download or request advance reader copies for review purposes.
Once you’ve set up an account with Edelweiss, you can browse through their huge collection of titles.
Next to titles, you’ll see green or orange vertical buttons on the right side. Green indicates that you can download the book then and there and start reviewing immediately.
Orange indicates that you can download the book but must first submit a request. Unlike NetGalley, Edelweiss allows you to include a ‘why’ behind your request. A strong ‘why’ will increase your chances of approval for receiving an ARC.
3. Shelf Awareness
Shelf Awareness is a free email newsletter covering popular and recently published books and information about the book industry.
To receive a free book for review from Shelf Awareness, simply sign up for the newsletter. In their email newsletters, Shelf Awareness offers at least a couple of books available for download and review.
4. Goodreads read and review groups
Goodreads is a go-to resource for information about a book’s plot, publisher, and author. Most readers will be familiar with the site, but many don’t know about its value as a source of ARCs.
The site includes several review groups, including:
- Authors & Reviewers
- Read 4 Review
- ARC of Authors
- Advanced Copies for Review & Book Giveaways
- Goodreads Reviewers’ Group
Goodreads links to read and review groups in which authors can post about their search for reviews for their book before its official releases.
To get an ARC, you must sign in to your Goodreads account (or create a new one) and submit a request to the author.
Once you’ve submitted a request, you must wait for the author or group moderator to approve your request. Your review will be posted to your Goodreads profile.
Well-written reviews on your profile improve your reputation and increase your chance of receiving more ARCs upon future requests.
You can also use these read and review groups to let authors and group moderators know that you’re a book reviewer and looking for opportunities to review. Authors can see your post and message you directly for further information about your work.
5. Email publishers
As an alternative to galley sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss and read and review groups such as those on Goodreads, you can contact publishers directly and ask for information about ARCs.
This is an excellent option if you already have an idea of the type of book for which you’d like to write a review or a preferred author.
Generally, ARCs are not tailored to your reading preferences, making writing a good review difficult. By reaching out to a publisher you already know publishes work you enjoy, you’re more likely to receive an ARC that you enjoy reading.
6. Social media sites
If you’re already a book blogger, you’ll understand the value of establishing a presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media presence can lead to abundant opportunities to review books, so it’s wise to get savvy on these platforms.
Twitter and Instagram, in particular, can help you establish that important reputation and connect you with authors and publishers seeking reviewers for new books.
Facebook groups exist where authors, publishers, readers, and reviewers can connect and share opportunities.
With an established presence on social media sites and links to your blog site, you can reach out to authors and publishers directly and request ARCs.
Your established presence will instill in them confidence that you’re not just looking for a free book but will take the time to write a great review and share your review on your blog and socials to boost that book’s public awareness.
Even though there are many ways to receive advanced reader copies of books for review, the most important thing to remember when submitting a request is to bolster that request with information about your existing work.
Again, authors, publishers, and review group moderators want to know that those who receive free copies of books will not just take the book and run. Let those to whom you submit requests know about your blog or social following to improve your chances of approval.