The ARC Review Process: Build Your ARC Team and Get Reviews

ARC reviews help readers find books they love while helping authors increase their social awareness and generate buzz around their book launches.

While doing your pre-launch research, you might wonder: How do other indie authors rack up dozens of reviews within the first day of publishing (without the help of a large publishing house)?

It takes some planning and effort, but it can be done, even on a limited budget.

This article explains the ARC team meaning, gives you hints on how to ask book reviewers to write a review, and thus position your book for a successful book launch.

Key takeaways:

  • Building an ARC team of early readers who receive your book in exchange for reviews is key to generating buzz and boosting visibility before your book launches.
  • For a successful ARC team, prioritize clear communication. This includes tracking interactions and ARC delivery, personalizing communication with team members, and valuing their feedback through regular check-ins.

What Is an ARC Book?

An Advance Reader Copy (ARC) is a printed or electronic manuscript of an unpublished book you can send readers for review.

This means an ARC has to be in almost final shape. You can send it without illustrations and book cover design, but the text of an advance reader copy needs to be edited and handled properly before sending it out.

Note: Yes, you can change minor details in the manuscript after sending out the ARC copies.

💡 Always mark on both the cover and inside the book that advance reader copies are not for sale or distribution.

ARC team vs. Beta reader vs. Street team

You may have heard this sensible advice – ask your beta reader for feedback and a professional editor to edit your manuscript. But how many teams should you have as a writer?

👉 an ARC team is a group of people who are involved in various aspects of your book's development and marketing. They spread the word about your book and even assist with reviews and promotions.

👉 a Beta team is focused on giving feedback to improve your writing. They read your book, either during the writing process or after it's complete, and offer suggestions on what to change or improve. Their primary goal is to help you refine your writing and make your book the best it can be.

👉 a Street team is all about promotion. They are a group of enthusiastic fans who are eager to help push your book's sales during its launch. They may post about your book on social media, leave reviews, or participate in other strategic marketing efforts.

This should explain what an ARC team is and how it’s compared to the other two. You can now tap into the collective energy and expertise of your teams to improve your writing, build your reviews, and create a large marketing wave upon launch.

How to Get ARC Readers

Readers are more likely to opt for books with reviews, as they appear like a safer choice.

Here are a few common methods to build an ARC team as an author.

1. Build an email list

An email newsletter is one of the most important pieces in an author's toolkit.

📩 There are plenty of inexpensive newsletter providers out there, such as Mailchimp and Aweber.

Once you have a sign-up link to your newsletter, place it everywhere. Add it to your book’s front matter, back matter, author website, social media handles, etc.

Your newsletter will allow you to reach out directly to your readers for reviews.

To build your email list, you need to ask people for their email addresses. This can be done through a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is something free that book lovers get in exchange for signing up with their email. This will help you collect email addresses. In your case, as an author, this is usually a free book (which can be a great way to tap into your backlist), a bonus chapter, or a short story.

How to do it

  • If you already have a published book:

Include a note in your book to let readers know about your free content. For example: “Sign up for my newsletter to receive a FREE [steamy/ scary/ serene] short story!”

You can place these kinds of texts on the front matter or back matter of your ebook.

💡 Note: Create a landing page for each lead magnet to avoid confusion. For two different lead magnets, you’ll need to create two separate landing pages.

  • If you haven’t published a book yet:

You can still build a solid list of subscribers even if you haven’t published a book yet.

Once you have a lead magnet, you need a way of distributing it to people. Services like Prolific Works and BookFunnel are perfect for this.

When setting up your email newsletter, edit the automated thank you email that your readers receive after they’ve opted in. In this message, include the link to your freebie landing page or download page.

💡The process would be something like this: reader signs up for your newsletter > reader receives thank you email with a link to freebie > reader claims freebie on the landing page.

You can also host giveaways on Prolific Works that readers can discover. In order to download the freebie, you can ask readers to sign up for your newsletter first.

Then, you can export all the subscribers’ addresses from the giveaway as a CSV file and then import them into your newsletter services, such as Mailchimp.

Send your ARC to your subscribers

Now, it’s time to reach out to your subscribers.

Send out an email to your list and get people excited about the chance to be on your ARC team.

To make things easier, direct them to a separate list where they can officially opt-in to become part of your ARC team.

2. Send advance reader copies to other groups of people

Besides building an email list for reviews, you can send your ARC to other groups of people and ask them to review your book.

Here’s where you can send them:

a. Book reviewers or book bloggers

Once you’ve exhausted your email list, you can reach out to book reviewers such as influential book review blogs or professional book review sites.

Find some ideas and ARC team members in the communities below:

  • NetGalley is a professional ARC in books service that connects authors with a large database of avid readers.
  • Booksprout provides access to an ARC review process, allowing authors to find and manage reviewers for their ARC. It also includes an ARC management system.
  • Booktasters connects authors with ARC reviewers for their books, including Amazon and GoodReads reviews.
  • BookSirens helps authors get more from their ARC team and has a community of 15,000+ readers who can add to reviews.
  • Hidden Gems Books provides a range of services beyond beta reader and ARC programs.

💡 Check out our article on the subject and see some of the best places you can search for reviews.

b. Goodreads fans

Goodreads is the perfect place to host book giveaways. You can use your finished book, or an advance reader copy as a prize.

Since people on Goodreads are there to read and recommend books to others, you can get reviews even before the book launch.

c. Influencers

There are influencers on social media who can help you with book reviews by recommending your book to other people. For example, you can reach out to a Bookstagrammer or a BookTokker.

d. Booksellers

If you’re planning to print a few books for physical bookstores, you can send ARC copies to booksellers who could write you reviews and recommend your book after it’s published.

e. Launch team

If you have one, of course. But most authors do because a launch team can consist of your fanbase, family, friends, and other professionals who help you with your book launch and after.

3. Get reviews with PublishDrive’s Review Tool

With PublishDrive, you can get reviews by sending review copies to your friends or influencers directly from Apple Books or Google Play Books.

You can request review copies on our platform under the Promotions section.

Select the ebook you want to be reviewed and send it for review.

Speak the ARC Team Language

To maximize positive ARC reviews and sales for your book launch, you need to keep close to your ARC team.

Step 1. Organize your ARC team communication for maximum impact

  • Create a tracking sheet: Utilize a spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) to record essential information about each ARC team member. This includes:
    • Contact details: Capture email addresses, phone numbers, or preferred communication methods for each member to ensure you can easily reach them
    • Communication history: Keep a record of all interactions with each team member, including what was discussed and any agreements made, like whether they agreed to create a free book review after receiving an ARC copy.
    • Notes: Add any relevant notes about the person, such as their reading preferences or feedback from previous communications, which can help you personalize your interactions.
    • ARC status: Track whether each member has received an ARC copy (by clearly outlining how to get ARC books to them, you can ensure a smooth process). This includes noting when you sent the ARC and the format.

Step 2. Foster meaningful engagement with your ARC team

Building strong relationships with your ARC team increases the chances of receiving positive reviews and valuable feedback.


  • Personalized communication: Go beyond mass emails. Reach out to each ARC team member individually to build rapport and make them feel valued.
  • Regular check-ins: Don't just communicate when you need something. Check in with your ARC team regularly to see how they're enjoying the book and answer any questions they might have.
  • Seek feedback and input: Show your ARC team you value their opinions. Ask for feedback on the book or even solicit advice on your launch strategy.

Step 3. Always look to add ARC team members

Make sure you keep your ARC team active and market-savvy. Always stay on the lookout for new, meaningful voices in your niche.

  • Reach out to your existing audience, including newsletter subscribers, social media followers, and fellow authors.
  • Join online communities for readers and writers. Many of these communities have dedicated threads or forums for authors seeking ARC readers.
  • Look for book club members who show an interest in your writing.

Step 4. Send the right information

In your email communication to your ARC team, there are a few important things to include:

  • The date you plan on publishing
  • Notify them that leaving a review is very much appreciated, but it is not required. (You cannot force readers to leave reviews. Be sure also to reiterate that these should be honest reviews).
  • Per FTC guidelines, readers must disclose in their review that the author provided them with a free copy. (Most readers are aware of this, and they know the drill).
  • You’ll let them know when the book is live.


Reviews are essential to a successful book launch and all the sales that follow, and this is why mastering the ARC review process is such an essential step in book marketing.

Gather the right amount of ARC reviews by sending out advance reader copies to your loyal ARC team, and ensure a successful book launch.