Dear ARC Reader

Let me state up front, that as a writer, I enjoy sending out ARCs and opening on release day with reviews. To those who read and review for me so I can hopefully open strong, THANK YOU!

You get a free book, hopefully one you enjoy, but you give so much more than the $2.99 list price.

  • You give the writer your thoughts and ideas. Speaking personally, I have altered things in future books because of reviewers.
  • Amazon may even noticed a book, if only for a fleeting moment, because of reviews.
  • Someone out there may  discover a new author or book solely because of YOU. Remember that fluttery feeling when you found a book or author that just spoke to you? You can help someone else get that same feeling.
  • Your fellow readers get valuable information to make a book selection that best suits them.
  • ARC holders are envied a little bit. Yep, there are people out there who would love to get ARCs. Some I’ve met can’t afford books, and this is how they are able to read new stuff.
  • You have a good chance to get the next ARC, and the next, and the next. Also, authors talk, a lot. They might even recommend you to another author who wants to put ARCs in the hands of people who will review them.

That is some pretty amazing shit when you think about it. So much power contained within roughly 300 electronic pages, your opinion, and you willingness to share your thoughts.

A book that has a set number of reviews on Amazon can get better placement, recommendations, and get noticed by potential readers, while books with few reviews are sometimes buried and never seen by anyone not specifically looking for it by title or author.

So hell yeah, writers love ARC holders.*

*When they do what they agreed to do.

Lately, there seems to be a trend of people signing up for ARCs simply for a free book. Hell, I love free books as much as the next person, but there is a spirit to the exchange that isn’t being honored. Now that I’ve told you what is to be gained by ARC holders who follow the spirit of the exchange, let me show you the other side.

You get a free book, hopefully one you enjoy, but you give so much less than the $2.99 list price.

  • Other readers get nothing from it. Nothing!
  • The writer, who gave you a book that others have to pay for, before its released, gets nothing for their months of hard work. Well, this is not entirely true, we get acid reflux, heart palpitations, and sore fingers searching and praying and waiting for something we never see. Something we trusted you at your word to do.
  • The ARC was taken from others who would have followed the spirit of the exchange. I send out a limited number, not everyone who asks, gets one. Like I said, I have met faithful ARC readers/reviewers who only read ARCs because they can’t afford to buy books.
  • Someone new doesn’t get that fluttery feeling by discovering a new author/book simply because of your opinion.
  • Amazon doesn’t recommend it.
  • You threw away power! Never wielding it for good, or even evil. You just tossed it aside.
  • Future ARC distribution is impacted negatively.

I am sorry if this seems harsh, but for me personally as a writer, when I see less than 10% participation in a program, I drop the program. It’s not worth it at that point. It’s not a good enough return on an investment to continue to invest. As I have limited resources, I need to put my energy and other resources, where it can impact me most as an author. While there is a financial aspect, I am speaking in a non-financial sense also. But as with finance, if an investment is tanking, you pull out and find a more suitable one.

So please all you ARC holders out there, if you just want a free book to read at your leisure without the pressure to review it, go to the library, or hell, even the book store and read it there. But please do not take a “free” ARC that ends up costing others.

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Categories: arc, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Dear ARC Reader

  1. I personally don’t think you’re being harsh at all! Hell everyone likes a free book, but a few people out there don’t understand the exchange you’re agreeing to when you accept an ARC. I really liked this post, I am a book reviewer so I do look forward to receiving ARCs but I also understand the responsibility I have when I get one. I’m also going to be completely honest and say sometimes I come across ARCs that initially sound like something I’d enjoy. When I read them, however, I struggle to finish the book. In that instance though, I do get in contact with the author and explain to them what changes they could make that in my reading experience make for a more engaging story. This is a much debated topic in the book blogging community and I appreciate your take on it! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am exactly at this point in my indie author experience. My manuscript has been professionally edited (X2) and everything is formatted (again professionally for print)…and I’m sitting here contemplating the whole ARC process. It is my understanding, that since I have at least a couple dozen folks who have been waiting for my, that I could just POD and purchase ARC titled copies for these readers, give them a month or so to read the book, and then ask them personally to hit the reviews on my official copy release date. Does this sound like a good process to you?

    Like

    • I’m still new to this too, feeling my way through it. I sent out over 70 arcs, and got less than 20 reviews from them. And, it ended up on a pirate site before release. So, I’m going to have to come up with something better for my next release.
      Good Luck.

      Like

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