An ARC is an Advanced Reader’s Copy of a book. They are usually given out to readers before the book is available for sale in order to generate reviews and early buzz. Sometimes authors give out copies after the book is published in order to generate reviews.
Why are reviews important to readers?
In addition to reviews helping readers find books they’ll enjoy and warn them off of books they may not, reviews can also give more information that may not have been in the product description including tropes, characters, world-building, and writing style to aid in their purchasing decision.
Reviews generate buzz and excitement for the new release. This is important, especially in the first week of a book’s release when higher sales can translate into hitting a list like the NY Times or USA Today.
Reviews also help an author’s discoverability. There are millions of books to choose from, making it difficult for an author, especially newer authors, to find an audience. Many authors resort to free and $0.99 books or box sets to entice new readers into giving them a try, which I believe contributes to the devaluation of all books (but that’s a blog post for another day). But, the more reviews a book has, the higher the probability that the retail site will suggest the book to other readers, leading to more sales. I’m sure you’ve seen this before on your retail sites: people who bought “ABC” also bought “XYZ”. This helps the book and author get discovered by new readers.
Why is an author’s discoverability important to readers?
Let me start off by asking you this: how many times have you started reading a series only to have the author discontinue it in the middle? It’s frustrating, right? Many times an author stops writing a series because sales are low and they need to move on to another project or sometimes *shudder* they have to stop writing all together to take a job that pays the bills. Writing a short review may help that author’s sales, which may help that author keep writing the books you like to read.
So why doesn’t the author just buy ad space to get the word out about their books?
Did you know many promotional book sites and email lists won’t allow an author to buy promo space unless they have a certain number of positive reviews for their book? This is very frustrating for authors, especially new authors who don’t yet have an ARC team – a dedicated group of readers who will review their books.
Reviews are also important because they can help a writer better learn who their target audience is, can help them create stories their audience will enjoy, and can help them see where to improve their writing. I will admit to using the criticisms from the first edition of Captive to improve the story for the second edition.
Why am I telling you all this?
To be blunt and selfish yet honest, I need reviews for Captive. If you’ve read the book, please consider leaving an honest review. It doesn’t have to be long. Reviews aren’t book reports. They can be a few sentences explaining why you liked or didn’t like the story, as if you were telling your friends. If you haven’t read Captive yet but would like to read and review, there are about 6 (as of this posting) FREE copies left on BookSprout.
~ K.M. Fawcett