What is ARC (Advance Reader Copy) in publishing

Glossary > ARC

💬 Definition of a ARC (Advance Reader Copy):

An Advance Reader Copy (ARC) is an unpublished version of a book that authors send to reviewers and book buyers before the official release date. Even if final details, like the book covers, are not locked, the manuscript should be edited almost to a final version so that reviewers are reading the same version of the story that readers will get. 

Related Questions about ARC:


What can you do with advance reader copies?

ARCs help authors get reviews before the book is published. Those reviews will come in handy on the book launch day, providing social proof for interested readers. Today’s readers want to see a number of reviews and a good average on a 5-star rating scale before deciding to buy a book. Especially when the book is brand new, ARC reviewers help provide that social proof. Once the book is out, ARC reviews will be joined by other reader reviews and will hopefully provide momentum for the sale of the book. Quotes from ARC reviews may also be used in ad copy, author newsletters, and more.

How do I get an advance reader copy?

Advanced reader copies can be distributed either physically or digitally. This depends on where the books are being sent and the reviewers' preferences. With a traditional publisher, an author will receive a small run of books through an offset printer, which they can then send for reviews. If you're self-publishing, you can ask for proof or author copies from the platform that helps you with publishing and distribution. If you distribute your books through PublishDrive, we can help send reader copies. 

Is the advanced reader copy different than the finished book?

You can send the ARC without illustrations or book cover design (or an unfinished version of the cover design), with a disclaimer on the cover that the book is an ARC. The finished book itself, however, should be similar to the ARC so that reviews left reflect the actual work readers will be reading. Naturally, during the ARC process, sometimes reviewers pick up typos or have other questions, and these may be addressed and corrected prior to publication, although that is more likely to happen with a self-published book rather than a traditionally published book. 

Do ARC readers get paid?

No, ARC readers do not get paid. In fact, it is against the terms of service at Amazon and other retailers to compensate for reviews in any way. Typically, the only thing the reader receives in exchange for leaving a review is a free copy of the book. 

Who can be an ARC reader?

Authors can send ARC copies to previous readers, fans, friends, family, and others like book bloggers, book reviewers, Goodreads users, influencers, booksellers, or the author’s launch team.

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