Our fourth and final method for authors to distribute their ARC (Advance Reader Copy) files to readers is with InstaFreebie. The InstaFreebie method is a paid option with a free trial. It will save you some time on distributing the ARC files when compared to doing it manually. It’s commonly used by authors that don’t feel the need to keep tabs on who is leaving reviews and who isn’t.
If you’re looking for a full featured ARC Assistant that saves you more time and increases your review rate, please use the Booksprout method instead.
Step 1: Create an InstaFreebie account
If you don’t have one, the first thing to do will be to create an InstaFreebie account. Follow their steps to fill in your profile.
Step 2: Add a book and begin a giveaway
On the InstaFreebie dashboard, you’ll need to add a book. Click the big “Add a book” button and fill in as many details as you can about it.
Once the book is created, you’ll land on a page that gives an overview of the book (if you want to get back to this page later, head back to the dashboard and click the book’s cover). You’ll also see the option to make a “new giveaway” by clicking the “new giveaway” button on the right side of the screen near the top. Click that button and then select the option to create an advanced giveaway.
The form is broken down into a few different steps, so on your first go through it might seem like there’s some details missing. Don’t worry, you’ll be asked about everything by the end of the process so fill in the forms as best you can. A few tips:
- Add an expiration date so that readers must claim their copy before the book is actually published.
- You may or may not want your ARC to be sharable/public. Many authors like to remain in control of who receives an ARC, so if you don’t want to risk unknown readers signing up it’s best to turn off sharing
- Make opt-ins required. Otherwise you won’t know who downloaded your ARC!
- For even more protection against unwanted downloads, add a password to your ARC.
Step 3: Inform your ARC team
It’s time to get your ARC team involved! Send them the link to your giveaway along with the password if you opted for one. Anyone who wants to participate in this ARC will be able to download the ebook files in the format they prefer.
Step 4: Requesting Reviews
Instafreebie gives you access to the email addresses of anyone who participated on the subscribers page. Export them as a CSV and send them all an email telling them it’s time to review! If you do not follow up with readers, your rate of reviews will be lower than they could be otherwise so we don’t recommend skipping this step.
NOTE: It’s a good idea to use your email provider’s BCC (blind carbon copy) function. That will prevent each of the reviewers from seeing anyone else’s email address.
Optional: Record who requested a review and who followed through
A feature that’s not readily available through Instafreebie is the ability to block and/or track reviewer participation. If you think it’s important to keep your ARC team clean so that people don’t start using it as a means of getting free books, you’ll need to do this manually.
One recommended method is to follow the exact same process that we just finished outlining in the spreadsheet method to keep tabs on who is worth keeping on your ARC team and who should be replaced by another more willing readers. Specifically, you’ll want to replicate steps 2 and 5.
A tip: When recording reader participation for all ARCs except the first one, you can save time by pasting all participant’s emails at the bottom, filling in their reviewer score, then sorting all columns by email address. It will be easier to scan the list of emails and merge all duplicates when they’re right next to each other.
To recap, InstaFreebie is a good alternative to sending dozens or even hundreds of ebook files to reviewers individually. However, it does lack record keeping features (other than getting email addresses) so you will have to do that manually if you wish to keep your ARC team clean.
If you want to purge those pesky non-reviewers from your ARC team but don’t want to deal with all of the manual record keeping, Booksprout’s ARC Assistant can be of great help to automate the process. It’ll take care of everything InstaFreebie does, plus more.