If you’re a new author, you’re probably looking at the bestselling books in your genre and noticing a lot of reviews that say something along the lines of “I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.” Then, you probably wonder where the author found so many readers willing to do that!
This article will outline a few different methods of finding your first advanced reviewers.
Your own newsletter
This is where I sourced my entire ARC team and the method I recommend the most if you have access to the emails of your most dedicated fans.
If you don’t have anyone on your newsletter yet, we’ve listed some tips on how you can give it a boost even as a new author.
Simply send out an email blast asking your fans if any of them would like your next book for free in exchange for an honest review. It’s safe to include a link to your Booksprout ARC in this email so that readers can start reading right away if they’re interested.
Yes, you might miss out on a few guaranteed sales by giving your most dedicated fans a free copy. However, by launching with reviews you’ll be eligible to book better promotions and convince more readers to buy it who otherwise might not have.
Your social media following
If you have any sort of following on social media, it’s another great place to ask people to join your ARC team. Follow the same guidelines outlined as if you were asking your newsletter subscribers.
Booksprout now has a large number of ARC reviewers using our platform to discover new authors and write reviews for them. It’s free to create an ARC with us and see how it goes (as of this writing, free authors can get up to 20 downloads of their ARC through us). Simply create a public ARC and it will be listed on our public ARCs page for reviewers to discover.
You can always upgrade your plan later if you decide 20 isn’t enough or you want to take advantage of some of our paid features. Pricing information can be found on our pricing page.
Write some short stories
This method is a little less conventional, but throw up a few 5000 word stories on all distributors (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc) and make them free. Be sure to include clear call to actions in the front and back matter of your book, making sure that readers know how to both join your newsletter and your ARC team.
When you’re a new author, this might be one of the best methods to help you figure out how to publish properly while simultaneously growing your following.
There’s a ton of groups on goodreads where authors and reviewers can connect. For example, the making connections group will help you connect with relevant readers who might be interested in reviewing your book.
Be forewarned though, you can spend a lot of time looking for reviewers using this method. There’s just too many new authors in need of reviews and not enough reviewers. You might get lucky, but if you have similar results to me then it wasn’t worth the effort.
I’ve watched countless authors mine Facebook for sales and reviewers. They join groups relevant to their genre and start interacting with readers. Eventually, they sign them up as a member of their ARC team. One of the best is Alexis Angel. From what I can tell, a large portion of her whole sales platform is based on her interaction with readers on Facebook. Again, this is a method that I’ve not had any success with personally but I know is possible.
For finding ARC readers via Facebook, it’s best to watch and learn from someone who’s already demonstrated success with it. Join a bunch of the same groups as Alexis and observe her interactions. If you’re in the romance genre, you can easily use a lot of those groups to find your own ARC readers as well!
You can also use Facebook to connect with individual reviewers directly. Many of them will have their own page that you can message, asking for a review.
Another time consuming, but potentially rewarding method is to contact book bloggers in your genre. Most of them will leave reviews on Amazon as well as their own blog. As a new author, it can be better to contact smaller name blogs that promise Amazon reviews because they have fewer authors contacting them for a review. You can find these ones on page 5+ of google by searching for “your genre book review blog.”
As long as their review ends up on Amazon, it doesn’t matter how many people their website reaches. As you grow in popularity you can start contacting the larger name blogs that actually have followers.
If you’ve got the cash, there’s numerous paid review services out there. Be careful in your research of these though as some don’t promise legitimate reviews. If they promise a certain star ranking, then do NOT use them! Amazon will catch you and you will get in trouble.
As a new author, it can be difficult to find readers willing to join your ARC team because of the sheer number of new authors compared to people willing to leave reviews. It’s best to contact people who have already expressed some kind of liking in your writing, but if that’s not an option, then your next best bet is to spend time making new connections.