Indie author: when should I send out review copies of my book?

The world of self-publishing has presented authors with the wonderful opportunity to take control of their writing careers. However, it also means navigating the nuances of book marketing on their own. One of the most effective promotional tactics is to send out review copies of your book, but when is the right time to do so? This article dives into the optimal timing and strategy for sending out review copies as an indie author.

Understanding the Value of Reviews

Reviews provide social proof that can influence potential readers. Positive reviews boost credibility, while a high number of reviews (even if some are negative) suggests that your book is generating buzz. This can influence book sales, rankings on retail sites, and your overall visibility in a crowded market.

Advance Review Copies (ARCs)

ARCs are copies of your book that are sent out before its official release date. The goal is to have reviews ready to go live on or shortly after your launch day.

Timing for ARCs:

  • 3-6 months before release: Ideal for traditional media (newspapers, magazines) and well-known bloggers or YouTubers who often have long to-read lists and might need more time to fit your book into their schedule.

  • 1-3 months before release: Suitable for most bloggers, online reviewers, and other influencers. This gives them ample time to read and review your book before its launch.

Post-Launch Review Copies

While ARCs are crucial, it’s also beneficial to send out review copies post-launch, especially if you didn’t have a pre-launch review strategy.

Timing for Post-Launch Copies:

  • Launch week: Send copies to bloggers or reviewers who might not require as much lead time.

  • 1-6 months after launch: Target online platforms or reviewers who can assist in maintaining your book’s momentum. This can also be an opportunity to address any feedback you received initially and present a revised copy if necessary.

Choosing Reviewers

Ensure that you’re sending your book to reviewers interested in your genre or topic. Tailor your pitch to each reviewer, referencing their past reviews or expressing genuine appreciation for their work.

NetGalley and Other Platforms

Consider using platforms like NetGalley, where your book can be available for potential reviewers to request a copy. This can expand your reach and introduce your book to reviewers you might not have found on your own.

Final Thoughts

Sending out review copies is an art and a science. The timing largely depends on your goals, whether it’s building pre-launch buzz, ensuring launch day reviews, or maintaining momentum post-launch. Remember, reviews are a marathon, not a sprint. Even if you don’t see immediate results, the cumulative effect of accumulating reviews can significantly boost your book’s visibility and credibility.

Update: here’s some fresh advice on getting more book reviews.

I’ve made some images you can use for your ARC cover, click here to check them out and download.

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