The Top 5 Advanced Reader Management Platforms compared, to help you leapfrog your competition in terms of garnering the essential first reviews for your masterpiece.
Having early reviews for your book shortly after it’s launch, is an extremely important factor that drives your books success. However, getting early reviews for a new author can be very challenging, given the amount of time it takes organic reviews to build up. This is why running a group of advanced readers who can generate early reviews for your book, should be an integral part of any author’s book marketing campaign.
Given how important advanced readers are for a book’s commercial success, a number of specialised platforms have been established that make it easier for authors to find and manage their advanced readers and drive the early reviews of their books. This post compares the top advance reader platforms that can help you leapfrog your competition in terms of garnering the essential first reviews for your masterpiece.
What is an Advanced Reader Strategy?
The advanced reader strategy revolves around your being able to identify a set of readers who will volunteer to read your book prior to it’s release and to give you a review on it’s release, typically in exchange for a free copy of your book. These advanced readers are typically found amongst well wishers from your existing networks, but you can also find some book reviewers online that are willing to be advanced readers.
The standard places to identify a list of volunteers who are willing to be your advanced readers include
- Close associates: your friends, family or colleagues
- Social Media networks: your friends/followers/fans on social media networks
- Email Lists: subscribers to your email newsletter (if you have one)
- Social Media Groups: both Facebook and Goodreads have a number of reviewer groups where you can identify book reviewers that are willing to operate as advanced readers
The Top 5 Platforms for managing advanced readers
The following are some of the most recommended platforms used by author’s in order to find and manage their advanced readers.
Book Funnel is focused on managing and delivering your Advanced Reader Copies, and it does this very well. One of the biggest challenges author’s face while dealing with advanced readers, is that every reader has their own preferred reading device (with different file formats required). Additionally, a number of readers don’t know how to side-load a book on their preferred device that has not been bought at a store.
Book Funnel has the following key features:
- Secure ARCs: your review copies are sent to your advanced readers via a unique, non-shareable download link, that prevents onward sharing of your link and allows you to track download stats
- Advanced Security: Private links, expiration dates, download limits, watermarks and restricted downloads all help ensure greater security on your reader copies.
- Group Promos: BookFunnel makes it easy to organize group promos with other authors in your genre.
- Direct Sales: Book Funnel can act as the delivery platform, if you wish to sell ebooks via your own website
Book Funnel Pricing: Book Funnel has 3 pricing tiers
- First-time Author ($20/year): 1 pen name / 500 downloads per month / upto 5 books
- Mid-list Author ($100/year or $10/month): 2 pen names / 5000 download per month / unlimited books / other advanced features
- Best-seller Author ($250/year or $25/month): 3 pen names / unlimited downloads / unlimited books / other advanced features
Book Sprout is a comprehensive advanced reader management system, that helps you manage the entire advanced reader value chain. The following are some of the key elements of their service
- Manage Advanced Reader Copies: manage your advanced reader copies centrally, across all popular book formats.
- Manage Advanced Readers: the ability to find advanced readers amongst Book Sprout’s 40,000+ reviewer community, as well as being able to bring your own ARC’s onboard
- Automate Processes: completely automate the distribution of your ARC copies, along with follow-up and reminder emails
- Advanced Analytics: dashboards to help you see readers that are actually reviewing and those that are not.
- Pirate Detection: ability to identify and block pirates. If an ARC is found online, can identify which reader’s copy it was.
Book Sprout Pricing: Book Sprout has free and paid plans. The Free plan allows you up to 3 Pen Names and limits the number of reviewers to 20 per ARC. The Paid plans are $10/ month (unlimited pen names, 50 reviewers per ARC, advanced features) & $20/month (unlimited pen names, unlimited reviewers per ARC, advanced features)
Net Galley helps connect authors, with readers of influence who are seeking to recommend new books to their audience. Net Galley’s big differentiation is that that their readers are Professional Readers (typically librarians, book sellers, educators, journalists, reviewers or bloggers) and not normal readers that are seeking free books. The Net Galley service can be very helpful to try and garner Editorial Reviews, that can be used to increase credibility to your book listing.
Net Galley Pricing: Net Galley charges a set-up fee and a monthly subscription rate, that depends on the number of books that are listed on the site. While you need to contact them via an online form for an individual quote, the service costs ~$450 for a 6-month standard title listing with add-ons for inclusion in a monthly newsletter.
The Hidden Gems ARC Program is a reviewer connection service, that sends your ARC to the Hidden Gems large list of reviewers that have been matched based on genre interest. Hidden Gems claims to have an industry leading review rate of over 80% (unverified), due to their matching reviewers based on genre interest and a constant clean up of their reviewer database.
Hidden Gems ARC Program is one of the more reputed reviewer connection services in the market, and is typically booked for months in advance. It is recommended to plan ahead.
Hidden Gems ARC Pricing: ~$3 per reader / 50 reader minimum order – $20 non refundable deposit / max fee of $400 for 140 readers / fee is per reader and not per review
Prolific Works (earlier called Instra Freebie) is a document management and readers connection service. Similar to Book Funnel, it helps manage your ARC’s and deliver them to your list of advanced readers. It also promotes your giveaway to their community of readers, who are willing to share with email id in exchange for a free copy of your ebook. This can be a valuable way to build your email subscriber list.
Prolific Work Pricing: Prolific Works has 3 pricing Tiers:
- Basic – Free: unlimited giveaways, 1 pen name
- Plus – $20/month: Basic + adding subscribers to an email list + advanced giveaways
- Pro – $50/month: Pro + add 4 additional pen names
Library Things Early Readers Program (bonus free platform!)
Library Things offers a FREE service, that allows you to participate in their monthly free ebook giveaway program to their list of members. You can select the number of free books that you are willing to give away, and members who display interest in your book are chosen at random at the end of the period.
Readers are required to leave a review of the free book they receive on Library Things and are also encouraged to leave reviews on other platforms.
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