So you want more reviewers on your ARC list, do you? Of course you do. There’s no such thing as an ARC list with too many readers on it. I’ve heard plenty of authors say before “but doesn’t a big ARC list take away from potential sales??”
If this is you, you’re thinking way too small.
Let me guess – your ARC list runs somewhere in the 100-500 subscriber range. What if you doubled that? Say you got to 1000 ARC reviewers, and let’s assume that 200 of them actually posted their reviews. You’d tell me “well Liv, I would have gotten 1000 sales from those people and now I won’t!!”
No. First of all, not all of those 1000 people would have bought your book. And secondly, those 200 reviews are social proof. You’re a reader. You know when you scroll past a book and it has a single 4-star review, you’re probably going to skip past it. But when a book has over 200 reviews and a 4.5+ average? Yeah, you’re going to click that. Because in your brain, if over 200 people liked this book enough to leave a review, then damn, it must be good.
And that’s how you get a hell of a lot more than 1000 people to buy your book. Sure, a ton of reviews isn’t a guarantee that your book’s going to do well. But it absolutely helps. You can’t think about giving away ARC copies as a lost sale. Think of it as an investment in your book’s marketing. Because reviews are a major part of marketing your book.
Now that you’re convinced that you need more ARC reviewers, here’s a few easy ways to get them:
#1. Goodreads Readers
This is one of my favourite ways to get reviewers for my ARC list. While its slow, they tend to be very responsive. Plus, it’s super easy and a great way for brand new authors who don’t have anything published yet.
Go to Goodreads, and find about 3-4 books that are similar to the genre you want to release in. Then, go through the list of people that have reviewed that book and given it 5 stars. Click on their profiles and look at their other reviews. If they only leave 4-star and 5-star reviews, message them asking if they’d like to join your ARC list, and send them a link. Remember to always be polite, and not to take it personally if they say no!
Make sure you’re only choosing people who always leave good reviews. You want your ARC list to be filled with people that will give you five stars, not one star. And on GoodReads, readers can be notoriously picky when it comes to reviewing well.
And make sure you’re only sending out about 10 messages a day. Any more than that and GoodReads will start blocking your account from sending more messages, due to thinking you’re spamming people.
#2. Cannibalize your existing list
Where’s a great place to get people that you’re sure are going to love your next book to read it and leave a review? Well, the people who actually bothered to sign up to your main e-mail list in the first place is a natural first stop! Send out an email asking anyone who’s interested in reviewing your books in exchange for a review copy to sign up. Sure, you’re going to be giving books away to people who were likelier than others to buy in the first place. But remember what I said above – your ARC list is an investment. And besides, what nicer way to reward your fans and keep them coming back over and over than by offering them to read your books for free? I find that a lot of my email list readers who moved to my ARC list still actually buy my book when it comes out!
Plus, the response rate from your existing fans is going to be a lot higher than people who don’t know you at all, and they’re much more likely to leave rave reviews.
If your list is so big you don’t want to invite that many people, just choose a segment of say, 1000 people, to send your invitation to.
#3. Post on your Facebook page and other social media
This is a different way of going to where your fans are, to extend your reach even further. Post on your social media sites that you’re looking for ARC readers, and give them the link to sign up.
If you’re a member of any groups for readers you can also post there, and you can also ask the owners of big pages related to your niche – or other authors! – nicely if they’d be willing to post a link for you. A lot won’t, but just one or two links from a page that has thousands of fans can get you a good chunk of new reviewers for your next book. If you get any other authors willing to ask their fans to join your ARC list, don’t forget to offer to do the same for them! Even if your page is a lot smaller, it’s just polite to reciprocate.
#4. Add links in your backmatter
The back of your books is an amazing place to add a link to your ARC list. What better place to hook a reader than at the end of the book they’ve just read and loved? I usually just add a simple sentence to my backmatter along these lines:
“If you’d love free copies of upcoming books in exchange for leaving a review, please sign up for my ARC reader’s list by clicking here.”
If you’re worried about readers just trying to get free books you can ask them to email you directly for the link. The extra step will drive away a lot of freebie seekers who have no intention of leaving reviews, but you may lose out on a few legitimate reviewers this way as well. Personally, I don’t tend to worry about freebie-seekers too much. They’re the kinds of people who don’t like paying for books anyway, and so were unlikely to pay for your future works.
Of course, don’t forget to also add a link to your regular mailing list as well; some readers simply aren’t interested in ARCs but will still want updates from you.
So there you have it! Whether you’re a brand new author with absolutely no following, or an old vet with a huge list, there are plenty of ways for you to add to your ARC list and make sure that when you launch your next book, you have a bunch of good reviews ready to go.