How to Create Advance Reader Copies (ARC’s) to Get Your Book Reviewed

If you want to self-publish, or you’re an Indie publisher looking to get attention for your books from the Trade, then it’s imperative that you create what are typically known as Advance Reader Copies (ARC’s) or galleys.

These are a version of your book that you give away for free to anyone who is likely to write a review, tell other readers or post comments about your book to their audience, either on a social media channel, traditional media source or via their community.

The key, and this is what traditional publishers do, is to have these printed well in advance of your pub date in order to distribute at trade fairs, festivals, and via sites such as Good Reads approx 8 – 6 months before your publication date.

Yes, I know, that seems like a crazy amount of time to the frustrated “I just want to get my book out already” self-publisher.

But, hold your horses.

The more work you do to promote your book before the publication date the more people will already know about it, and that means more sales!

Most traditional publishers have their books ready in some form or another at least 8 months prior to their pub dates. As a self or indie publisher 6 months is sufficient, but that means you are working to an advance schedule. Make sure you factor this in!

Basically you are creating a version of your book to send out as a product sample. It may not have been fully edited, in which case you apply the term Uncorrected Proof to it.

You may not have the final cover art ready, although it’s better if you do! The interior layouts may not have been finished completely, but that’s okay.

Industry insiders expect to see your book in half-baked form. They are used to galley’s, ARC’s, proofs, BLAD’s and F&G’s. All of these are samples of books that publishers send out as pre-pub sales materials.

Of course, you still want to put your best foot forward but it’s okay if the book isn’t quite what it will be when you reach your deadline for print.

However, reviewers, librarians, distributors and book retail buyers expect these product samples to include a few key facts that clarify why your book still has spelling mistakes, or a mock-cover.

Below I’ve listed the features that publisher’s typically incorporate into these book product samples.

Front Cover Features

The following text is usually included in the cover design or added by way of a sticker. See the sample images:

  • Advance Reading Copy

  • Free Uncorrected Proof

  • Uncorrected Advance Copy

  • Not for Sale

  • Format and Publication Date e.g. Hardcover Available September 2013 or Paperback Publication January 2013

Title Page (first page inside your book)

The following details are often included on a single page that is added to the books interior (and then removed for the final print edition). See the sample images:

  • Title

  • Author

  • Publication Date

  • Format

  • ISBN

  • Retail Price

  • eBook ISBN

  • eBook Price

  • CIP Number

  • Length

  • Trim

  • Classification

Back Cover

Publisher’s usually include the details of their marketing plans on the back cover, this can vary according to product. I’ve included a variety of samples below:

  • National print and publicity campaign

  • Web marketing: blogs and social media

  • Advertising on Shelf Awareness and Net Galley

  • Tie-in author national 10-city tour

  • Webcasts and Blog Tour

  • Holiday catalogs

  • Available on Netgalley

  • Twitter parties and contests

  • Free advanced reading copies

  • Librarian and educator outreach

  • Reading group guide

  • Video book trailer

  • National trade advertising

  • Dedicated website

  • Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads campaign

Publishers also include contact information for their publicists, marketing departments, or distributors on the back cover.

If they haven’t included a title page at the front of the book then they may include the title metadata here and some will prefix this with the word “tentative,” just in case changes are made.

Many also include an email address for Advance Readers to submit their thoughts to. They may also use the same terminology that has been printed on the front cover, such as: Uncorrected Proof – Not for Sale.

Once you’ve incorporated all of this info into your book the best place to print your 50, 100 or 1,000 review copies is using a P.O.D printer. More on that next week!


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Categories: Book Marketing, Book Promotion, Book Publicity, Book Reviews, Publishing, Self-Publishing, Writing

Author:Gemini Adams

Multiple-award winning, bestselling author, artist and founder of the Finish Your Book educational program.

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6 Comments on “How to Create Advance Reader Copies (ARC’s) to Get Your Book Reviewed”

  1. June 27, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Thanks, that was good advice. Edward Smith.

  2. July 5, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    I have self-published two novels but was not aware of the details of a marketing plan that should appear on the back cover. Thank you for providing this information and resource links, Gemini!

  3. January 11, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    “Book Promotion: How to Create Advance Reader
    Copies (ARCs) and Galleys to Get Your Book Reviewed | Finish Your Book”
    was in fact a truly great posting, . Keep publishing and I am going to continue reading!
    Regards ,Monserrate

  4. GR
    February 25, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Hi, I had a quick question: do galleys need to have the index. I’m assuming not but I wanted to check to make sure.


  1. What is a galley, and why do you need one? - BookBaby Blog - December 3, 2013

    […] Galleys, or advanced reader copies (ARCs), are printed versions of your book that you will give away for free to reviewers, bloggers, distributors, retail buyers, and other industry contacts. A galley is essentially a product sample, and according to the folks at […]

  2. A Hodgepodge of Useful Bits & Pieces – November 2013 | KD DID IT Takes on Books - December 7, 2013

    […] Adam at Finish Your Book has a useful post on “How to Create Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) to Get Your Book Reviewed” in which she lays out what your ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) can or should include before you […]

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