Should You Print Advance Reader Copies of your Book?

Are advance reader copies (ARC) necessary for the success of your book? Some think that the extra cost is not worth it, but these advance prints can alter your book sales from the very beginning. 

First let’s look at some of the benefits to advance book copies.

Proofing benefits

  1. You can generate reviews for your book before it is published to add to your cover
  2. Sometimes others can pick up on errors you may have missed
  3. When something is in print it can be easier to pick up on mistakes
  4. You can make sure you chose the right paper type and the book feels the way you intended

Marketing benefits 

  1. After hearing feedback about your book you may learn important marketing insights 
  2. ARC's create pre-publication buzz
  3. You can give ARC books to bloggers or others who might write about your book before they are published
  4. You have something to show bookstores and potential buyers before your final books are ready
  5. The ARC can act like a business card when you are at events before your book is released

For the self-published author this extra step could mean a world of difference in your career as an author. As the author you have probably read through your book so many times you don’t even have to look at the pages anymore. Getting feedback from professionals in your field, or an unbiased opinion on your book before you send that final file will not only help you perfect your book, but it will also give you a better understanding of how people perceive the book and your writing style.

ARC copies are a great way to set yourself up for more sales. By collecting reviews from trusted sources in your industry you are providing a type of guarantee to readers that your book is worth the read. How many times do you base your purchases on reviews? If you are like most people when you are making a purchase or trying a new restaurant or store, you first read the reviews. How many times has this helped you make a decision? Well, why would you expect people to be different when purchasing a book? Plus, if you can choose which review to print on your cover you are setting your book up for success from the beginning.

Getting your book in the hands of people with a following also can help your sales. Whether this person has a blog or is an author of a magazine or they are a professional in the field you wrote about. What if you send your new cookbook to a food blogger and they feature one of your recipes in one of their posts? Just think of how many people will seek out your publication after that. If you think about it, it’s like paying for people to advertise your book for you.

So what should your advance copies look like? Often ARC copies are very similar to the final book but will have placeholders for endorsements and reviews. Sometimes there will be no back of the book text or you might just have the title on the book instead of your designed cover. Often the interior of the book is printed on lighter stock and there may still be some errors in the text. Below are some examples of ARC’s we have printed at Steuben Press next to their final prints.

There are many benefits to doing a trial run of your book. Whether you choose to run advance review copies of your book or not, it is a step that every author should consider. 


Jamie Howell received her BA of Arts degree from the Art Institute of Colorado in 2007, focused in Graphic Design. She has a wealth of experience in layout and design, graphics, social media and marketing. Jamie has worked on design for the self-publishing, restaurant and printing industries. She enjoys working with clients and meeting their creative needs.

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Adam Ellis and his staff are amazing. I had complete cooperation and help throughout the process. I can't say enough. If anyone needs a reference, I am here. They did everything to help me finish my mother in law's story of her life efficiently and quickly. Thanks Adam!

– Mary Ralian, Pewaukee, WI

Mary Ralian's book is titled Anna's Story.