In this episode we are going to talk about the best things you can do with your Advanced Reader Copies of your book …
What are ARCs? They’re not only for traditionally published authors …
- Host a contest with KingSumo to give away 10 copies of the book.
Use it to build your email list, I can help you with this. I have an unlimited license of the WordPress version of KingSumo. This should be good for several hundred new email subscribers.
- Host a GoodReads Giveaway to Give Away 10 Copies
This will cost a couple hundred dollars but it will help drive GoodReads reviews and get your book attention on GoodReads.
- Send copies to high profile and relevant bloggers.
You want to send them to Bloggers with an Alexa score lower than 1,000,000. The lower the better. You can find the Alexa score of a blog with this plugin. Query the blogger first on Twitter to see if they want a copy. https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo
- Send them to Journalists
- Ask Your Launch Team to Recommend Influencers
Someone in my launch team sent out 20 copies of my book to journalists and this turned into 5 interviews and mentions. YouTube!
- Send signed copies as personal thank you’s to launch team folks who go above and beyond the call of duty.
A personal thank you can be a powerful thing.
- Give a Signed Copy to Your Patrons
Make an announcement that everyone who becomes a $10 Patron before the book comes out will get a signed copy of your book. Even if you have to buy it yourself, it’s still worth it. These people give you $120 a year.
- Allow Pastors (If your book is a spiritual read)/Influencers to Request a Free Copy on Your Website
Pastors and other influencers get free books in the mail every week that they never read. So instead of spamming those people, add a gravity form to your website where they can request that you send them a free copy. Then mention this form on your website. On the form, require them to put the URL of their website so you can validate they are a real pastor of a real church and/or a true influencer. I can help you with the form.
A Christian ride-share driver lands in hot water with the Russian mob. Antonio and his cop brother must solve a murder before it’s too late.
MyBookTable is a way to quickly and easily build an online bookstore on your WordPress website. Use it to rank #1 on Google for your book and to boost your book sales on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Get it free at MyBookTable.com. Novel Marketing Patrons save 25% on MyBookTable Pro. www.mybooktable.com.
Announcer: [00:00:01] This is Novel Marketing the show for novelists who aren’t necessarily fond of marketing but still want to become best selling authors.
Thomas: [00:00:09] Episode 155
Jim: [00:00:11] I’m James L. Rubart. But you can call me Jim.
Thomas: [00:00:14] I’m Thomas Umdstattd Jr.
Jim: [00:00:16] And in this episode what we want to talk to you guys about is ARC’s …advanced reader copies and how you can use those in a way that is going to get you more readers.
Thomas: [00:00:28] And we want to talk about what is an arc. Maybe you haven’t heard of this or is that only something that traditionally published authors do … and it’s not. Savvy indie authors use ARC’s as well. So an arc is a prerelease version of the book, so there’s maybe one round of editing that still needs to happen. And they’re printed on demand by the publishing company for traditionally published authors or you can make them yourself if you’re independently published. The idea of advanced reader copies is that you’re able to give copies of your books to influential people in exchange for them reviewing your book when the book comes out. You can think of it like the DVD that they send to movie critics that has the movie on it before it comes out in theaters. A lot of people don’t realize this but when you’re reading a New York Times review of the movie, they’ve got a special DVD or there was a special press screening in a theater that journalists were able to go to and that screening is what allows them to have their review of the day the movie comes out. So it’s the same idea with books. We had a listener ask, “My publishers give me 100 copies of my book and to use for promotional purposes what should I do with those hundred copies?” So we have eight ways that you can use your advanced reader copies to promote your book. Y’all ready?
Jim: [00:02:02] Ok Thomas let me stop you right there. For indie author who says, you know what Thomas? I don’t want to go to the expense of printing up 100 copies what’s the best way for them to go about it? They can still give away ARC’s can they not?
Thomas: [00:02:17] You can do digital arcs and there are services that will handle that for you they’re kind of pricey or you can just give away digital copies of your books. But this is one of those things potentially that you spend money on. And you do want to be judicious with who you are sending them to because if you’re spending three dollars and fifty cents a copy, printing up a hundred copies is going to cost you 350 dollars plus shipping dollars.You’re looking at a 700 dollar promotional expense to send out your ARC’s so you’re not wanting to send them out ….
Jim: [00:02:52] … but somebody can do 20 copies or 25 copies. I just want to make sure people understand they don’t necessarily have to print up 200 copies of their book.
Thomas: [00:03:01] Exactly. And so we’re going to use some suggested numbers here. And these are suggested numbers assuming that you’re getting 100 books printed up. Yeah you can get a lot of the same results with only 20 copies. So with that said let’s dive in. The first idea is to host a contest with King sumo to give away 10 copies of your book. We’re big fans of King Sumo here. We used it for the giveaway of the e-mail drip sequence which we are going to do a podcast episode on soon. We’re sorry it has taken so long for us to get to that.
Jim: [00:03:36] And that’s nice of Thomas to say that, but it’s not us, it’s me. I”m the one that really needs to spearhead that and I’ve had some projects that have taken precedent. But I will be getting to that. Thank you Thomas for wrapping yourself into that.
Thomas: [00:03:51] So for those of you who don’t remember, we had a contest where we would write a drip e-mail sequence for your novel and for your writing and everyone would get to see that drip email sequence so it will be some promotion for your book but also an example what you do drip emails for. If you’re a novelist what do you put in emails? To handle the contest we used a service called King Sumo. Now I have the WordPress version of this but it’s now a Web site. I think it’s King sumo dot com. We’ll have a link in the show notes. And what makes King Sumos special from other contests is that people get an entry when they enter the contest but they get bonus entries when they share the contest on Facebook, when they shared on Twitter, and when they get other people to sign up using their magic link. And suddenly everyone who enters your contest wants to get more people to enter your contest who want to get more people to enter your contest until suddenly you’ve gotten a lot of people signed up for your book to win a free copy of your book or whatever the free thing is that you’re giving away. And the rule of thumb, I’ve said this before I’ll say it again, put bait on the hook that will attract the kind of fish you on to catch. So don’t give away an iPad or you’ll get fans of iPad. You wanna give away your book or a collection of writings similar to yours. And what’s great about this is that just one copy or 10 copies can be a great way to build your email list. I think we doubled the novel marketing email list or close to doubled it with our contest. A lot of my clients who have done giveaways have doubled their email lists in like two or three weeks. It’s very powerful and the viral element is what makes it special.
Thomas: [00:05:38] The second thing you can do with your advance reader copies is to give them away on good reads. Good Reads made some changes recently that made giveaways much more powerful and much more exclusive. So instead of everyone being able to give away their books and good reads now only people who spend money are able to give away their books on Goodreads and so instead of it being a crowded room where you’re shouting to get attention, now you get a lot more attention just by showing up in the room. The downside is you have to pay money to good reads. That’s the downside, but it can be very effective. You can give away e-book copies on good reads. You can also give away paper copies and I particularly like doing this before the book comes out. The only way to get your book right now for the first month is to win it on a contest on good reads. It’s a similar idea with King sumo but the advantage of good reads is that it gets added to somebody’s shelf, it notifies their friends that it was added to their shelf, then when your book does come out, good reads will give them a notification and sometimes even an email saying, Hey this book that was on your shelf is now available for purchase.
Jim: [00:06:40] The third thing you could consider doing is sending copies to high profile and relevant bloggers. One of the things that Thomas and I run into a lot is people saying, Should I do this blog tour? Well maybe … it depends how many readers that particular blog has, so if you’re not familiar with Alexa you can go to Alexa dot com … and we’ll have links in the show notes. That’s a way to find out how many people are actually reading this blog. If it’s your friend that’s had a blog for five years and nobody’s reading it, well it doesn’t make sense to spend the time and energy to give away copies to that person. So this is a tool where you can go and see if people are reading this blog and maybe more importantly is it relevant because if your book, your novel goes on a site like mommy bloggers … it’s about finances and that sort of thing … it makes no sense. So this is a great way to get influence … it’s a great way to get new readers … but you do need to check it out ahead of time and make sure that that blog is relevant and has enough readers that it makes sense.
Thomas: [00:07:48] And Alexa isn’t going to tell you how many people visit that Web site. It gives you as a score of the website so the most popular score on all of Alexa is Facebook dot com or Google dot com and its score is one, which means it’s the number one most popular Web site on the Internet. So with Alexa, the lower the score the better. And what’s confusing about Alexa is that it is owned by Amazon and has nothing to do with the Alexa speaker … the Smart home Speaker. It’s a completely different product. It’s actually been something that’s been tracking website data for over a decade maybe even over two decades. Alexa is a very old service and it buys data from Internet service providers and they have paid premium levels. But the free version will give you the score of the website and the rule of thumb is you want to go with websites with an Alexa score less than a million. So if you’re going to be on a blog it needs at least be in the top a million Web sites in the world … it’s not a high bar. So there can be you know 900,000 websites that are more popular than the blog that you’re on. But at least that’s so they topped million websites. Obviously if you can find somebody less than 100,000 that’s even better so spend time going after bloggers with low Alexa scores. And just as a rule of thumb, if somebody is on Blogger or BlogSpot, they probably don’t have a popular blog. Talented savvy bloggers moved off of Blogspot and blogger a long time ago. there’s not a lot of popular blogs left except by Google employees. Popular blogs now are on people’s own domains and on Medium dot com. Those are the two where I see blogs that have some good traffic but really you might be able to find a diamond in the rough and on Blogger I’m sure there are still a few popular blogs here and there. And you can find that out with the Alexa score. Once you find a blogger with a high score, reach out to them and say, hey would you like a free copy of my book? They say yes you send a free copy. I wouldn’t just send them a free copy out of the blue. I received a free book from somebody and it just showed up in the mail. There was no letter, no introduction of who it was from. No reason why I should read it and I didn’t read it. So don’t do that.
Jim: [00:10:06] I was just going to say I think you should be able to say to Alexa, “Alexa? Tell me the Alexa score for a particular blog I think that would be cool Amazon should do that.
Thomas: [00:10:17] For those of you listening to a podcast this episode with a friend’s name running in the background we’re sorry for triggering your speaker. Anyway, number four is to send advance reader copies to journalists. I had a somebody on my launch team of my book Courtship in Crisis that was so excited about my book. I think he himself bought a case of books. And then he mailed them to journalists, not that he know, but those he thought would cover this topic and I had journalists reaching out to me from his outreach. And I even had a radio person come to my office and interview me based off of this person. So this is a really powerful way to send out books. I wouldn’t just send out books blind. I think what he did is he wrote a letter along with the book and why it was interesting. But this is really powerful.
Jim: [00:11:38] Well I I’m going to push back on you a little bit and say …. and I want to drill down into what he did to make it stand out and make it different … because journalists get hundreds and hundreds of books and not only journalists but radio talk show hosts and all this kind of thing. And most of them do just go, Oh another one and put it aside or give it to somebody in the station and say, “Do you want to read this?” So what did he do different? That surprises me that you got as much much action on that as you did.
Thomas: [00:12:05] Well my book was on a controversial topic … an interesting topic and I think that helped. So the fact that I was talking about dating relationships and the journalists that did reach out to me were ones who were familiar with courtship and were familiar with the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. So if he’d sent it to like the New York Times or somewhere it wouldn’t have worked. He was sending journalists that he personally listened to and this guy was in my target audience.
Jim: [00:12:34] Ok. So he could reference or show, plus, if he did it right, he mentions the fact that your blog post went absolutely gonzo viral. I’m sure I’m sure that had something to do with it as well.
Thomas: [00:12:46] Right. Sending it along within a letter that says, Why this book is unlike any book you’ve ever read, is what the journalists are looking for … they’re looking for something new … looking for something edgy. You’ll notice that every you four weeks or so journalists go crazy about some new book about the White House. Why? Because everyone wants to know what’s going on inside the White House. And if this unlike any other book that’s ever been written. Why? Because I give you the real scoop. All the other people who gave you the real scoop were giving you fake news. I’m giving you the truth … you should read my book about what’s going on inside the White House, and suddenly it’s like, oh my gosh. It’s more information! We’ve got to have it! I’m not saying you need to go get a job at the White House, but finding that hook that makes your book interesting is powerful and I will say it is harder with fiction. Journalists don’t talk about fiction as much. So you’re going to have to really be creative on why your book is interesting. But for nonfiction if you’re talking about any kind of topic, find the journalists who cover that topic, who have that beat and they’re the ones who are going to be the most likely to cover your book. All right, Jim?
Jim: [00:13:56] Number five, ask your launch team to recommend influencers. In other words, your launch team is going to know somebody who knows somebody or they know somebody … and we did a whole episode on this .. how do you connect to somebody that can be truly influential? Essentially we piggybacked on the idea of the Kevin Bacon 6 degrees of separation and I think most times you can get it down to three. I think in that episode we figured out we can get to just about anyone in the world with three connections. Well you can do the same thing … you might be surprised to find out who some of your friends or people on your lunch team know. So tell that to them. Explain that to them. Is there anybody that you could get to with this book that that you might not have thought of that could be a strongly influential person? Make that list follow up on that. Ask them, “Did you have a chance to get to them?” And again you’ll be surprised at who you can get to with your book that you never thought you might be able to.
Thomas: [00:14:58] And the other thing you want to ask them is who is influencing you. Who are your influencers? So maybe they’re not connected with this person, but there’s a YouTube channel they follow that’s really popular. The number one YouTube channel gets more viewers in a week than the number one TV show.
Jim: [00:15:14] Ponder that for a moment.
Thomas: [00:15:16] So the top YouTube videos have better ratings than the top TV shows. That is the world that we live in. And these YouTubers … there’s millions of them and they’re often a lot easier to reach out to because they don’t get flooded with free books. The TV station does, but the youtube guy doesn’t get flooded with free books and if he holds up your book and talks about it and your launch team is like, Oh yeah. Joe Smith’s news podcast? I watch it every day and if he recommends your book then I’ll buy every book that he recommends. Oh gosh, then find out who Joe Smith is. Get his address and sent him a free copy. That’s the person that you’re wanting to look at, but who the influencers are depends on who your target audience is. And this is why having a launch team is so useful … they’ve become your representative sample of who influences you. Maybe your launch team is influenced by podcasters, maybe they’re influenced by bloggers, maybe they’re influenced by their local talk radio show … there’s a Christian talk radio show or a news talk radio show in their town. I will say from someone who had a talk radio show … I had to come up with two hours of things to talk about every single day. It was very easy to get on my show if you had a book if you could convince me that you were even remotely interesting or remotely fascinating I’d have you on for five minutes, no problem, especially if you give me a copy or two to give out to my listeners. And there’s a lot of small talk radio shows that are like that. Ask your launch team for a recommendation as to who those are.
Jim: [00:16:52] Number Six Thomas … do you like the idea of sending out sign copies?
Thomas: [00:16:55] Yes especially as a personal thank you to the people in your launch team, especially the ones who go above and beyond the call of duty … so one of my influencers, he sent a copy to Joshua Harris, the guy who wrote I Kissed Dating, a guy who read my book and now has come out with a documentary about how he’s changed his mind on dating relationships … and it was all due to one guy on my launch team sending out a copy of the book. So you want to make sure and thank the people who are helping you out. Sometimes everybody on your team gets a free copy. Sometimes you want your lunch team to buy copies of your books, especially if you’re indie, you want to show some legitimate sales and reviews on Amazon. It’s up to you how you handle that. But I would definitely send a personalized thank you to people who really gone out of their way and not just people in your launch team but anyone has really helped you on your book. Did a friend of yours give you a lot of beta reading feedback? Send them a signed copy. It becomes kind of a collectible. When I had advanced reader copies of my book, I was a little nervous that people would post them for sale on amazon and get money but I have not seen that at all. No one is selling their signed copies … everyone’s keeping them as collectors items which has been very encouraging to see.
Jim: [00:18:27] And one more little thing that you can do … this is just supporting your launch team … but if they are buying your book and you’re not necessarily sending them out … take the time to send book plates to them and give them the chance to put that book plate, that sticker (and for those of you who don’t know what a book plate is essentially it’s a sticker and you can go real low tech just buy some from Office Depot, a white sticker that you put on that’s like a address label or you go real high tech and design some really cool looking book plate) but essentially sign it. You write a nice note on it and then you mail it snail mail to them and then they can they can put it in the book.
Thomas: [00:19:03] All right. The seventh way you can use advance copies goes right hand in hand with my other podcast, the creative funding show.On the creative funding show, we talk about how authors can make money outside of their books and the seventh way is to give a signed copy to your patrons. So I know a lot of authors will have a Patreon level where their patrons are donating ten dollars a month and one of the perks that they get at the 10 dollar a month level is they get a signed copy of every new book that comes out and that’s valuable. That’s 120 dollars a year you’re willing to (say you’re writing four books a year) that’s still worth it to you to send a signed copy of each one of your books to your patrons and it makes them feel special and helps them feel part of it. For more on the sorts of ways to use Patreon, do listen to the creative funding show. I will say this is worth it even if you have to buy these copies yourself. It’s still worth it to give copies to your patrons because you want them to feel thanked for helping you out. Novel Marketing has a Patreon page, and we’re very thankful for our patrons and we spend a lot of time with our patrons hoping they get value for the money that they donate and we have a bonus episodes. They get a bonus Q and A episode and they get a bonus bundle … they get huge discounts on all of our stuff so we’re very thankful of our patrons and I will just say … I haven’t talked to Jim about this … but if we ever come out with a novel marketing book our top patrons will all get free signed copies.
Thomas: [00:20:39] So the final way that you can use advanced reader copies is to allow pastors … and if your books are not targeting a religious audience just put any kind of influence here … create a form on your Web site where influencers can request a free copy. And on this form you and ask, “What’s your website? How many visitors do you have? How many Twitter followers? You want to find out if they really are an influencer or not … this can be a very powerful because there’s a lot of influencers would love to get a free copy of your book and will promote your book to their audiences or their congregations or their listeners or their viewers or whatever but they don’t know that they can ask for free copies so just put the free book request form somewhere on your Web site and you may be surprised at the kind of influencers who are requesting a free copy of your book. Putting the form on your website is easy to do if you’re on WordPress. I use gravity forms which is a premium form plugin but there’s also Contact Form Seven, and many other popular form plugins …. even jetpack now has a forum plugin for WordPress. There’s no reason not to have this along with your contact form if you’re wanting influencers to promote your book.
Jim: [00:22:12] Thomas speaking of Patreon, we have a featured patron of the Novel Marketing podcast and this episode it’s David L. winters and he has written a book called Driver Confessional, a Christian ride share driver lands in hot water with the Russian mob. Antonio and his cop brother must solve a murder before it’s too late. And we will have a link in the show notes. If you want to purchase that book or at least check it out, the book is Driver Confessional by David L. Winters.
Thomas: [00:22:43] This episode is brought to you by My Book Table it’s a way to quickly and easily build an online bookstore on your WordPress website. Use it to rank number one on google for your book and to boost your books sales on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble … you can it for free at My Book Table dot com, and if you want the paid pro version, Novel Marketing patrons save 25 percent.
Thomas: [00:23:02] Find out more at my book table dot com and we have an announcement… a couple of exciting announcements. First is, Jim and were digging through our stats earlier for the show. Oh my goodness. We’ve been listened to in over 100 countries including ones you wouldn’t think about like Saudi Arabia and Brazil and the Netherlands and India … we have over 300 downloads in India which is remarkable because our language is not in any of those languages. Bu there’s a lot of English speakers in India. But anyway if you’re an international listener we just want to say thank you for listening.
Jim: [00:23:43] Yeah. Thank you. That’s so cool. Great to have you.
Thomas: [00:23:46] And if any of you have an idea for a future show drop us a line or if you know a good guest or you think you would be a good guest for the show … send us an email, send us a tweet .. there’s lot’s of ways to get in touch. And who knows you might find yourself featured on a future episode.
Jim: [00:24:02] And if you have a topic that you’d like us to cover we haven’t actually said this for a long time so if you have a topic you thought, Oh I really want you guys to cover X, let us know what that is. Good chance we’ll we’ll devote an episode to that.
Thomas: [00:24:17] That’s right. And a quick update for those of you asking. My wife has not yet given birth so we are about a month away now. I think it’s 30 something days away from the due date and I have a theory of a way of managing pain. My wife and I had been discussing this. I came across a study about how people who are playing video games require half as many painkillers after surgery as people who weren’t playing video games. Sounds like a perfect excuse to buy Nintendo’s switch! For pain management. The Ninntendo Switch, you can plug it into your TV, but it also has an eight hour battery and you can play it on the couch or in a hospital bed. So we’re going to experiment with using the Switch as a pain mitigation feature. We had the idea when we were taking a pregnancy class and we were supposed to like do my fingers in a certain way. My wife is supposed to breathe and I’m supposed to count down and the whole point of this was to distract her from the contraction. But it wasn’t very distracting but I thought we could do better. So I’m optimistic.
Jim: [00:25:30] And you can report back to us Thomas right and let us know if it did work.
[00:25:34] That’s right. Although since this is our first baby we don’t have anything to compare to so I don’t know if our findings will be as statistically or scientifically valid but I will I will report back once we have.
Jim: [00:25:45] They might just be opinion.
Thomas: [00:25:47] There are a lot of opinions on this show … for more opinion listen to my other podcasts. Those are quite opinion full, but anyway we appreciate your listening to the show.
[00:25:58] Yes. And I guess there’s nothing more to say except that you’ve finished another episode of the Novel Marketing Podcast with me James L. Rubart and and Thomas Umstattd, soon to be daddy, Jr., giving you novel ideas on how to promote yourself and your writing off line online and everywhere in between. Thank you so much for listening.