ARC Team rules

I know this isn’t the fun part of joining an ARC team—the fun part is clearly the free books! But I take the ethics of requesting reviews from readers seriously, so these rules help you know what I expect from you, and what you can expect from me.

I expect that you will…

Share your honest opinions

I insist that each and every ARC team member share their honest thoughts on my books. If I find any ARC team members posting reviews that don’t reflect their genuine opinion, that is a one-way ticket off of the ARC team. Of course I want you to love my books, but I know that not every book will fit every reader. Just be honest and constructive both about what you love and what doesn’t work for you.

Communicate with us

Your ARC application commitment for leaving a review is {{ subscriber.arc_commitment }}, so please email us with a new timeframe if you will take longer for a given book. Assuming you leave your review in that new timeframe, you’ll still be eligible for future ARCs.

Keep ARCs private

As part of your application, you’ve taken the anti-piracy pledge. I take this seriously because I’m not a celebrity author who sells millions of books per day. I’m always willing to help out a reader who contacts me and truly can’t afford one of my books, but every book that someone downloads from a piracy site or social media directly hurts me as an independent author.

Each ARC copy is unique to you, and our ARC delivery service can tell us if pirated copies came from an ARC team member. Violating this is as “zero tolerance” as not leaving honest reviews.

Read your review reminders

I will send some standard reminders with each and every email sharing that it’s time to post your review. These are important, so read them every time just in case something changes. With how often Amazon changes the rules, I’ll always keep these as current as I can to make sure that my ARC team is following both ethical practices and Amazon’s reviewer terms.

Respect that ARC copies aren’t final

The only restrictions I will make on what you put into your reviews relate to typos and formatting issues. Because I want you have enough time to read, ARC copies are often prepared as soon as the final story copyediting is complete. But the ARC might also come before final cleanup of the manuscript, so please don’t assume that any typos still exist in the published version. Feel free to share any you find with us privately, and we will make sure we check for them. But give our talented proofreader and formatter the benefit of the doubt and don’t mention any typos or formatting issues in reviews.

Leave Amazon reviews

While I acknowledge the value of, and appreciate, reviews on other ebook sites, the fact remains that Amazon reviews make the biggest difference for an independent author these days. You have committed to reviewing on Amazon as part of the application process, and I will indeed be expecting every ARC reviewer to leave a review on Amazon, even if you leave reviews other places.

Disclose the ARC or not as you are comfortable

Amazon continues to hide reviews that suggest a relationship with the author, so reviews that disclaim that reviewers received a copy in exchange for a review might get hidden. We won’t ask that you avoid such a statement, but we also won’t insist that you include it as we have in the past. Handle disclaimers in whatever manner makes you comfortable. If you do include them, just add them at the end so people know what you think about the book first.

Confirm once your review is live

Please share your review with us once Amazon confirms it’s published by adding the link in Booksprout.

You can expect me to…

Send complete stories

While I may still need to send a book to a proofreader or a professional formatter to squash niggling typos or make the ebook pretty, you won’t get early drafts of my books. If a story isn’t finished for publishing, it’s not finished enough for the ARC team, and I’ll delay the launch.

Make any ARC emails stand out

You’ll still be getting the standard newsletters and other emails from me, and most of the ARC team communication will take place in the Booksprout ecosystem, but it’s important that you open any ARC team emails. To make this easier, I won’t get cute with emails I send you guys about ARC team business. I’ll make sure to include “J.S. Morin ARC Team” in any miscellaneous emails I send regarding the ARC team.

If you know how to set rules in your email account to prioritize emails with these subject lines, you’ll be all set.

Leave you enough time to read ARC copies

I always try to leave around 2 weeks for you to read ARC copies. But my wife (she helps keep me and the ARC team organized) and I are only human. Every now and then we slip up and forget to leave you enough time for reviews. When this happens, we always make sure to apologize and ask that you do your best, but we won’t hold late reviews against you.

Remind you when it’s time to leave your review

The ARC platform I’ve chosen, Booksprout, will send you a series of reminders for every ARC: beforehand to nudge you to finish up reading, on the day of release, and a reminder if you’re a couple days late. The same “only human” disclaimer aside (or unanticipated changes in Booksprout’s platform), it’s only fair that I help you honor your review timeframe commitment in any way I can.

Make files easy to receive

I use BookSprout to deliver your ebook files directly to your favorite device because I know what a pain it can be trying to read a book you’ve downloaded. They also have a customer service team who can figure out how to deliver to any device. If you have trouble getting your ARC copy, email them at (yes, .co, not .com) any time.

Understand that you are also only human

Yes, I certainly will remove an ARC team member who downloads all my books and never leaves a review, or who habitually “doesn’t get around” to reviewing for a month after launch. But if you’re a solid ARC team member who has had a run of bad luck or a major deadline at work, or even if you’ve just joined and something comes up, just tell me. We’re all human, we’re all doing our best in this busy world, and we’re all in this ARC team together. I’ll always treat you with patience and courtesy because, at the end of the day, you’re doing this to help me out.