ARC readers engagement: Strategies for successful connection

ARC readers play an integral role in the success of any book. Their feedback can help authors and publishers refine the final version of the book and identify issues that may impact the reading experience. Engaging with ARC readers can help authors understand their target audience, generate early book buzz and gather feedback to improve the final version.

This article delves into the nuances of ARC engagement, outlining strategies for successful interaction with ARC readers. From identifying target ARC readers to crafting compelling requests and leveraging feedback constructively, authors can confidently navigate the ARC landscape. Additionally, this text provides and overview of popular ARC sites. It also explores the intricacies of preparing manuscripts for ARC distribution, emphasising the importance of professional editing services in ensuring a polished and error-free reading experience.
Moreover, read this article to unravel the key takeaways of connecting with ARC readers, empowering authors to foster excitement, gather feedback and cultivate meaningful relationships in the book promotion and publishing world.

ARCs and their significance for authors

An advance reader copy (ARC) is a pre-publication version of a book distributed to select readers before its official release date. ARCs are significant for authors because they allow them to generate early buzz and excitement for their book, gather valuable feedback from readers, and build relationships with reviewers and influencers. Additionally, ARCs can help authors identify strengths and weaknesses in their writing, refine their marketing strategies, and increase the visibility and success of their book upon its official release.

What is the importance of engaging with ARC readers?

Engaging with ARC readers is immensely important for book promotion and gathering feedback. Here is why:

  • Early buzz and promotion: ARC readers are often enthusiastic book lovers eager to discover new titles and share their thoughts with others. By engaging with ARC readers before your book’s official release, you can generate early buzz and excitement surrounding your book. Positive word-of-mouth recommendations from ARC readers can increase your book’s visibility and anticipation among potential readers.
  • Reviews and ratings: ARC readers can read your book before it is available to the general public. Encouraging ARC readers to leave reviews and ratings on platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, and book blogs can help build credibility and social proof for your book. Positive reviews from ARC readers can influence other readers’ purchasing decisions and increase sales.
  • Feedback and improvement: ARC readers provide valuable feedback on various aspects of your book, including plot, characters, pacing, writing style and more. Their insights can help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your writing and storytelling, allowing you to improve before the book is officially published. Constructive criticism from ARC readers can also guide future revisions and enhance the overall quality of your work.
  • Building relationships: ARC readers are often avid readers who enjoy interacting with authors and fellow book enthusiasts. By engaging with ARC readers on social media, through email newsletters or at book events, you can build meaningful relationships and cultivate a sense of community around your work. This loyal fan base can serve as ambassadors for your book, spreading the word to their networks and helping you reach new audiences.

How to identify your target ARC readers?

Identifying your target ARC readers involves understanding the demographics, preferences and interests of individuals most likely to enjoy and engage with your book. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to identify your target ARC readers:

Define your ideal reader persona

Start by creating a detailed profile of your ideal reader. Consider age, gender, occupation, interests, hobbies, reading habits and preferred genres. This persona will serve as a reference point for identifying potential ARC readers.

Research similar authors and books

Look for authors and books in your genre with similar target audiences. Analyse their readership demographics, engagement levels, and the types of readers who interact with their content. This can provide valuable insights into your target audience.

Utilise social media and online communities

Join social media platforms, forums and online communities relevant to your genre. Engage in conversations, participate in discussions and observe the interests and preferences of the members. Pay attention to who is actively discussing and recommending books similar to yours.

Survey your existing audience

If you already have a following or email list, consider sending out a survey to gather information about your audience demographics and preferences. Ask questions about their favourite books, genres they enjoy, and why they follow you as an author. This can help refine your understanding of your target ARC readers.

Analyse book sales data

If applicable, analyse sales data from previous books or similar titles in your genre. Look for patterns in demographics, geographical locations, and reader preferences. This data can provide valuable insights into the characteristics of your target ARC readers.

How to choose an ARC platform?

To research ARC platforms effectively, you can follow these steps:

  • Identify your goals and budget: Determine what you want to achieve with your ARC distribution and how much you want to invest. Consider factors such as guaranteed reviews, marketing reach and pricing models.
  • Compile a list of ARC platforms: Based on the provided information or additional research, create a list of ARC platforms. Consider both large and small platforms and those offering free and paid promotion plans.
  • Evaluate platform features and offerings: Review the details provided for each ARC platform, including pricing, guaranteed reviews, number of reviewers, and marketing reach. Pay attention to additional features and benefits each platform offers, such as genre-specific promotions or access to publishing professionals.
  • Assess marketing reach and audience engagement: Look for information on each platform’s marketing reach and audience engagement. Consider factors such as the number of active reviewers, subscribers, and followers on social media platforms. Evaluate how effectively each platform can help you reach your target audience.
  • Read reviews and testimonials: Look for reviews and testimonials from authors who have used the ARC platforms. Pay attention to their experiences with the platform. This may include the effectiveness of the promotion, quality of reviews received and overall satisfaction with the service.
  • Prioritise platforms that align with your needs: Based on your research and evaluation, prioritise ARC platforms that align most closely with your goals, budget and target audience. Consider factors such as pricing, guaranteed reviews, marketing reach, and additional features offered.

What ARC platforms are there?

Here is a concise review of the 12 ARC platforms.


Authors who engage with ARC readers on Bookish First receive book reviews. Source:
  • Offers free advance copies to readers in exchange for feedback and reviews.
  • Marketing reach may be challenging to assess, but it has a sizeable Facebook following.
  • Suitable for authors seeking engagement with readers through giveaways and mini-reviews.


BookSirens frontpage. Source:
  • Connects authors with potential reviewers for a fee or per ARC.
  • A large network of reviewers, but reviews are not guaranteed.
  • Pricing options cater to authors’ preferences and budget.


Authors who engage with ARC readers on Booksprout receive book review. Source:
  • Provides plans with varying features for authors seeking ARC reviews.
  • Impressive reach with a substantial number of active reviewers and positive testimonials.
  • Pricing options accommodate authors at different stages of their careers.


A BookSweeps giveaway. Source:
  • Organises genre-specific book promotions, including ARC giveaways.
  • Charges a participation fee but offers opportunities to reach a broader audience.
  • Focuses on lead generation and increasing author discoverability.


Authors and publishers engage with ARC readers on Edelweiss by uploading their digital review copies. Source: Edelweiss newsletter.
  • Predominantly caters to publishers but allows authors to distribute ARCs.
  • Offers a significant reach with a large community of reviewers and publishing professionals.
  • Requires an annual subscription fee and additional fees per title uploaded.
Popular Making Connections books. Source:

Goodreads Making Connections

  • Hosts a group where authors can request reviews by offering ARCs.
  • Free to participate, but the size of the reviewer community is unclear.
  • Provides a platform for authors to connect with potential reviewers.

Hidden Gems ARC Program

ARCs available on HiddenGems Books. Source:
  • Connects authors with readers willing to review ARCs for a fee.
  • Claims a high review success rate but does not disclose specific reviewer numbers.
  • Offers pricing based on the number of readers rather than reviewers.

Indie View — Indie Reviewers List

Independent book reviewers available at the Indie View. Source:
  • Provides a list of indie reviewers for authors seeking ARC reviews.
  • Free to access, with a community of active reviewers not affiliated with publishers.
  • Allows authors to reach out directly to reviewers for ARC reviews.
Recent book reviews at Library Thing Early Reviewers. Source:

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

  • Offers a free program for authors to provide ARCs in exchange for reviews.
  • Boasts a large community of subscribers and recipients of their monthly newsletter.
  • Does not guarantee reviews but provides a platform for authors to reach avid readers.


Authors engaging with ARC readers on NetGalley receive book reviews. Source:
  • Provides digital galleys to reviewers, librarians, and publishing professionals.
  • Offers extensive reach with thousands of authors, publishers, and reviewers.
  • Requires a fee for authors to upload ARCs, with various pricing options available.

Reading Deals

Reading Deal front page. Source:
  • Offers discounted and free book promotions, including ARCs.
  • Charges a promotion fee but provides access to a substantial reader base.
  • Provides options for authors to reach readers through Amazon reviews and social media.
Authors who engage with ARC readers receive book reviews at Shelf Awareness. Source:

Shelf Awareness

  • Sends galleys to industry professionals and subscribers for review consideration.
  • Boasts a large subscriber base of engaged book lovers.
  • Does not guarantee reviews but provides exposure to a wide audience of readers.

How to craft a compelling ARC request?

Crafting compelling ARC requests involves specific strategies to ensure effectiveness:

Craft a personalised request

Authors should research potential ARC readers, addressing them by name whenever possible and referencing their interests or past interactions with the author’s work. Personalisation can extend to acknowledging the reader’s role as a book blogger, reviewer or fan of similar genres. Tailoring the request to resonate with the reader’s preferences, such as mentioning specific elements of the book that align with their interests, enhances its appeal and increases the likelihood of a positive response.

Highlight the benefits of being an ARC reader

Authors should clearly articulate the unique benefits of participating in the ARC process. This includes emphasising the privilege of accessing the book before its official release, providing exclusive insights into the author’s creative process, and offering the opportunity to shape the book’s reception through feedback and reviews. Additionally, authors can highlight any incentives or rewards for ARC readers. This may include acknowledgements in the published book, entry into exclusive giveaways or sharing a book magnet.

Providing clear instruction

Authors should outline the steps for requesting an ARC in a straightforward and accessible manner. This may involve directing readers to a dedicated webpage or contact form, providing details on submission deadlines and review expectations. Morover, it may include offering support for any technical issues that may arise. Authors should also ensure that access to the ARC is simple and intuitive. For instance, they may use direct download links, e-reader compatibility or instructions for accessing ARCs on platforms like NetGalley or Edelweiss.

How to leverage ARC reviews to create buzz?

Leveraging ARC reviews and buzz is a pivotal aspect of pre-release marketing strategies for authors. By effectively harnessing the feedback and excitement generated by ARC readers, authors can build anticipation for their book’s official launch and increase its visibility in the competitive literary landscape.

Utilise positive ARC reviews for pre-release marketing

Positive ARC reviews serve as valuable endorsements that can sway potential readers’ purchasing decisions. Authors should strategically incorporate excerpts from these reviews into their marketing materials, including book blurbs, promotional emails, and social media posts. By showcasing the praise and enthusiasm of early readers, authors can establish credibility and generate interest in their book long before it hits the shelves.

Encourage ARC readers to share on social media and review platforms

Authors should actively encourage ARC readers to share their thoughts and reviews on social media platforms and popular review sites such as Goodreads and Amazon. Providing clear instructions and incentives for sharing can motivate ARC readers to spread the word about the book to their networks. For instance, the incentives could include exclusive giveaways or author-hosted Q&A sessions. This user-generated content amplifies the book’s visibility and fosters a sense of community among readers excited to share their enthusiasm for the book.

Use author channels to amplify positive buzz

Authors should leverage their platforms, including websites, blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts, to amplify the positive buzz ARC readers generate. This may involve sharing screenshots or excerpts of glowing ARC reviews, hosting virtual launch events or live readings, and engaging directly with readers through interactive content such as polls or behind-the-scenes glimpses into the book’s creation process. By engaging with ARC readers and showcasing their feedback, authors can cultivate a loyal fan base and generate momentum leading up to the book’s official release.

How to handle negative ARC feedback constructively?

Handling negative feedback constructively is essential for authors seeking to grow and improve their craft while maintaining positive relationships with their audience. By approaching criticism with grace and professionalism, authors can turn negative feedback into valuable opportunities for growth and strengthen their connection with ARC readers.

Respond to constructive gracefully

When faced with negative feedback, authors should resist the urge to react defensively or dismissively. Instead, they should respond with empathy and humility, acknowledging the reader’s perspective and thanking them for taking the time to provide feedback. Authors can foster a culture of respect and collaboration with their ARC readers by demonstrating openness to constructive criticism and a willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue.

Use negative feedback to improve

Rather than viewing negative feedback as a setback, authors should approach it as a valuable learning opportunity. Authors can analyse the feedback received, identify common themes or areas for improvement, and use this insight to refine their writing and storytelling techniques. By embracing feedback as a catalyst for growth, authors can continuously evolve and enhance the quality of their work, ultimately creating a more engaging and satisfying reading experience for their audience.

Maintain a positive relationship

Even in the face of criticism or challenges, authors should strive to maintain a positive and supportive relationship with their ARC readers. This involves acknowledging their contributions, expressing gratitude for their feedback, and actively seeking ways to address their concerns and preferences. By fostering a sense of community and mutual respect, authors can strengthen their bond with ARC readers and cultivate a loyal fan base that remains engaged and supportive throughout their writing journey.

How to prepare the manuscript for ARC readers?

Preparing an ARC for distribution involves meticulous attention to detail, especially through the utilisation of professional editing services. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to prepare an ARC with the incorporation of different types of editing:

  1. Developmental editing: A developmental editor assesses the overall structure, plot coherence, character development and pacing of your manuscript. This type of editing helps ensure that your story flows smoothly and engages readers effectively.
  2. Line editing: A line editor focuses on the finer details of your prose. They will review your manuscript line by line, addressing issues such as sentence structure, word choice, clarity and consistency. This type of editing enhances the readability and polish of your writing, ensuring that each sentence contributes to the overall impact of your story.
  3. Copyediting: A copyeditor can meticulously review your manuscript for grammar, punctuation, spelling and style errors. They will also correct any typos or grammatical inconsistencies. Their goal is to ensure that your writing adheres to industry standards and maintains a professional quality.
  4. Proofreading: Next, thoroughly proofread your manuscript to catch any remaining errors or inconsistencies. Consider enlisting the help of a professional proofreader to provide fresh eyes and identify any overlooked issues. This final round of editing ensures that your ARC is error-free and ready for distribution.
  5. Formatting and distribution: Once the editing process is finalised, format your manuscript according to the specifications required for ARC distribution. This may include converting the manuscript into digital formats such as PDF, ePub or mobi or preparing physical copies for mailing or distribution.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, engaging with ARC readers is crucial for book promotion. It can generate early buzz, provide valuable feedback and help authors build relationships. By identifying their target ARC readers, authors can maximise the benefits of their involvement and increase the success of their book.

I am an experienced editor, working with non-fiction, academic and business books. If you need a second pair of eyes preparing your manuscript for book launch, contact me for a free sample edit (and remember to use my early bird discount).

Good luck with your book promotion!

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I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors.