Advance Review Copies

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Woollybear

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I'm about to send out advance review copies to readers. My novel is slated to go live on Amazon in about two months.

But I've never done this (sent out ARCs) before so I'm not sure of the nitty gritty.

If they choose to review, can they do so before the book goes live?
Is there an advantage to putting the review up before the book goes live?
Is there a limit on Amazon as to how many advance reviews a book can have?
What do you wish you had known before you set up ARCs for your book?

Thanks!
 
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If they choose to review, can they do so before the book goes live?

Nope. Or at least, I never get reviews coming in until after the book is released.

Is there an advantage to putting the review up before the book goes live?

Pre-orders? I'm not sure.

Is there a limit on Amazon as to how many advance reviews a book can have?

No. They post as normal reviews after the book is pubbed. The only thing "marking" them as ARCS is that reviewers leave a little disclaimer saying as such.

What do you wish you had known before you set up ARCs for your book?

Hmmmm. Polish the book up as much as possible before sending out ARCs? My budget was too small to hire an editor, and I was in an excited rush to get my book out. I should've held back and sent my book through a few more passes of editing. It doesn't matter if your final pubbed version is spotless if the ARC reviewer got an earlier version. They're reviewing based on that messy version.

Get the ARC together enough to have your front and back matter advertising any other books you have and your mailing list. Reviewers are good people to target for the mailing list. If they liked the book and they're on your list, you have a person on there who is inclined to review stuff.

Getting ARCs for later books in a trilogy is hard. Bank on maximizing the amount of readers you get hooked on Book 1, because they will be your pool of potential readers of Books 2 and 3. Getting new people to read through other books to review a later book is just a big ask.

It'll be slow while you're establishing yourself. Patience is a virtue.

Oh, don't argue with reviewers. Don't argue with reviewers. The reviews are for other readers, not for you. Unless all your reviews are poor, a single low rating isn't killer. Just having more reviews on your book tends to help, regardless of what they say (again, exceptions for if the reviews are overwhelmingly poor. that's a hint that there might be some quality issues with your story or that you're not targeting the right audience).

Reviewers might read your story "wrong" or say something dumb or miss the point of the whole thing. Doesn't matter. Thank them and move on with your life. An author who earns a rep as somebody who'll lash out at reviewers will eventually just not get reviews.
 

veinglory

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As mentioned above, reviews cannot be added to a listing before launch (the same is not true for trade presses, which is why you might have seen early reviews on other listings). I have also seen discussions on the kdp forums saying that problems can occur if a lot of reviews are sent in on the day of launch.
 
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Woollybear

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This is useful. So it sounds like the advance readers can send the review early but it won't appear until the launch? Or should I tell them to not even send it in until then?

I expect a handful on the day of launch, and more that week. With Aerovoyant, about five reviews were in during the first week and maybe five more over the next few weeks. I'd expect a little more this time, but not much.
 

veinglory

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I don't think they can enter reviews at all for an unlaunched book. Netgalley deals with this by sending a reminder to reviewers when the book has launched, so they can add it then.
 
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Fuchsia Groan

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Goodreads reviews can be posted before launch—anytime, really. Some popular trade books have a ton of pre-release ARC reviews and whole scandals related to their GR page before they ever hit shelves.

I’ve seen occasional trade books with pre-release Amazon reviews, but I think the publisher has to enroll in some special program that costs them. Bloggers and the like know to post their Amazon reviews on or after launch.

Amazon can and will remove the reviews of anyone with whom you interact on social media for any reason. That’s why with my second book I gave up on asking people to review, and it has all of nine organic reviews. ):
 
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Woollybear

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That's good to know, thank you!

In the indie community I see lots of folks figuring out how to get the (acceptable-to-Amazon) review count up with things like free audio tokens for the book and so on. Somewhere once a guy did an analysis of all the legitimate ways an indie author could get more reviews, and it was intriguing to read. He's a lawyer to boot, and a stickler for following the rules. So, that exists somewhere. I think he got to 100 reviews, which was his goal.

I still need to get the book onto goodreads. Thank you for that reminder--it's the sort of thing I forget to take care of.
 
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veinglory

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Just keep in mind that many indie authors kind of reinterpret Amazon rules in their favor. If you give a free copy the reviewer is meant to say so in the review (but that is on them). Any other kind of incentive or reward is not allowed and if a reviewer mentions it you may lose not only their review but any others posted around the same time.
 
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