Introducing our ARC service…
The History Quill’s ARC service gives you the opportunity to share your historical fiction book with our ARC readers. We will invite them to review your book on Amazon once they have finished reading it, thereby boosting your social proof, credibility, and sales.
All of our ARC readers are real historical fiction readers. They are subscribers of The History Quill Book Club to whom we send opportunities for ARC projects. They joined our list because they love historical fiction, and if you’re a historical fiction writer, they are your target audience.
Our ARC service can be used shortly before publication of your book, in which case we invite ARC readers to review it once it has been published, and it can also be used for already-published books, in which case we invite them to leave reviews once they are finished reading.
The benefits of our service
Your target audience
All of our ARC readers are real historical fiction readers: your target audience. We have detailed information on each ARC reader’s interests and preferences, including preferred subgenres of historical fiction, which means we will match your book to the appropriate readers. This sets us apart from other ARC services, whose readers are often generalists or prefer different genres.
Trust and reliability
It’s incredibly difficult to find trustworthy, reliable ARC readers who are in your natural target audience. Our service resolves this problem: we hand-pick ARC readers for each project (unless you wish to do this yourself – see below!). We take detailed information from them, including their address and their biographical information, to ensure trust. We deter unreliability by barring readers who do not finish reading the books they have been assigned.
Compliant with Amazon’s rules
Our service is fully compliant with Amazon’s rules. We invite our ARC readers to leave customer reviews on the Amazon listing for your book. However, it is not mandatory to leave a review, and nor do we influence the content of any review. Our ARC readers are not paid; all they receive is a free copy of your book, which is permitted. This means all reviews are voluntary, unpaid, unbiased, and compliant with Amazon’s rules. What you pay for is for us to distribute your book to our ARC readers. We guarantee a minimum number of registrations for your book, but we do not guarantee reviews.
You’re in control – if you want to be
When it comes to picking your ARC readers, you have two options: either you can indicate your general preferences and leave the selection process to us, or you can pick your ARC readers yourself from those who have applied to join your team. Once the ARC process is over, you can request that certain readers join your ‘street team’ for future projects. This means you have the option of playing a direct role in managing your ARC team if you want to.
When your ARC readers have finished reading your book, we ask them to inform us about any typos, formatting problems, or other minor issues that might have slipped through during your editing process. We will aim to calibrate the timetable of your ARC service so that you receive any such feedback several days prior to the publication of your book, allowing you to make changes if they are required.
We have created a secure system for delivering electronic book files to your ARC readers, ensuring they can only be accessed by members of your ARC team and, even then, with time and download limits. We also vet everyone who applies for an ARC project, even when you’re making the selections yourself. Together, these measures help to guard against piracy and protect your book.
How it works
Send us a booking enquiry
To get your ARC project started, send us a booking enquiry via one of the buttons on this page. You’ll need to tell us about your book, including its subgenre/s, historical period, and word count. You’ll also need to tell us what date you would like us to invite your ARC readers to leave reviews on Amazon (this should be at least one day after publication). We’ll then be able to propose a start date for your ARC project. For a typical book of up to 120,000 words, an ARC project will take five weeks from the start date to the review date.
Complete your booking
We’ll review your booking enquiry and send confirmation that your book is suitable for our programme, as well as a proposed start date. We will then send you instructions to complete your booking, including paying the fee.
Send your book files and other information
Before your ARC project begins, you’ll need to send us your book via email in electronic format. We’ll need PDF, EPUB, and MOBI files to accommodate our ARC readers’ varying reading devices. Please see our FAQ section for information on how to generate these files. Don’t worry – it’s straightforward and free. In addition, you’ll need to send us a short blurb for your book, a longer description, and an author bio.
When your project begins, we’ll advertise your book to our list of ARC readers and invite them to request to join your ARC team. You then have the option of providing us with your general preferences for selections and letting us do it for you, or you can select your ARC readers yourself from those who apply.
Reading and reviews
Once selected, your ARC readers will read your book. When they are finished, we ask them to tell us if they noticed any minor quality issues, such as typos or formatting errors. We then inform you about any errors they found. When your chosen review date comes around, we contact your ARC readers and invite them to review your book on Amazon. Reviews may take up to 72 hours to appear, though usually they come through quicker than that.
Add ARC readers to your street team
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you’ll have the option of adding particular ARC readers to your ‘street team’ for future ARC projects. This means they will receive special notice of future projects and will be automatically selected to join your future ARC teams.
Our ARC reading schedule shows the availability of slots over the coming months. Each month contains one slot for ARC projects, with two possible start dates: the 1st of the month and the 15th. Once the slot is used up for a given month, regardless of the start dates, it will no longer be available for bookings. We are currently taking bookings up to six months in advance.
Please note: a slot on this calendar refers to the start of an ARC project, not your review date. For a novel of up to 120,000 words, find your preferred review date on the calendar and count back five weeks. Count back six weeks for novels between 120,000 and 160,000 words. If the date you reach is coloured green, it is available. If it is coloured red, it is not available. If you need some help with this, don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com.
We guarantee 10–15 complete ARC registrations for your book. Complete registrations means ARC readers who request to join your ARC team and then complete the process for accessing your book files.
Projects for books of up to 120,000 words will take five weeks to complete from the start of your slot. Projects between 120,000 and 160,000 words will take six weeks. Longer books will have bespoke timelines. Please select the length of your book below to see the pricing.
Frequently asked questions
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I'm new to this. What is an ARC reader exactly?
An ARC (advance reader copy) reader is someone who reads your book prior to publication and then, hopefully, leaves a review for you. These early reviews can give your book a significant boost in the first few months, and beyond.
How is this different from your beta reader service?
ARC readers read a polished version of your book that is ready for publication, with the aim being to generate early reviews, whereas our beta reader service involves beta readers reading a rougher draft of your book during the revision stage, with the aim being to generate feedback to inform your revisions.
Are you sure this complies with Amazon's rules?
Absolutely! Amazon is clear that you are not allowed to pay someone for a customer review. However, our ARC readers are not paid, either for reading your book or reviewing it.
Nor are you paying us for reviews. You’re only paying us to distribute your book to our ARC readers and provide you with a minimum number of registrations for your book, but we don’t guarantee any reviews at the end of this process.
We do invite your ARC readers to leave a review, but they don’t have to, and we don’t influence the content of any reviews, so there’s no guarantee they will be positive. All of this means we comply with Amazon’s terms and conditions. Similar paid ARC services have been running for some years, including well-known ones like Netgalley.
Do I need any permissions to use this service?
If you are the sole author of your book and are self-publishing, you don’t need any permissions.
However, if you have a publisher for the book, you will need their permission to use this service. If you have a co-author or co-authors, you will need their permission. And if you are a publisher, you will need the permission of the author/s. These permissions may already be covered by existing agreements; if not, you will need to seek specific approval.
Who are your ARC readers?
All of our ARC readers are historical fiction fans. They have signed up to our reader-facing book recommendation service, The History Quill Book Club, and they are interested in a diverse range of subgenres, from action/adventure and mystery/thriller to historical romance, drama, and historical fantasy. Most of our ARC readers are either UK or US residents, but we are also open to ARC readers who are resident in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the EU.
How many ARC readers will I get?
A minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15. In the future, we will aim to increase these numbers as the service develops.
What subgenres of historical fiction do you accept?
We accept a wide range of takes on the historical fiction genre, including (but not limited to) time-slip, dual timelines, thrillers, romance, drama, action/adventure, mystery, children’s, YA, alternate history, and historical fantasy. We do reserve the right to turn down any project if we don’t feel it’s a good fit for us. If you’re not sure, just get in touch and ask.
At what point in the writing/publication process should I use the ARC service?
You can use the ARC service just prior to publication to help generate early reviews for your book, and you can also use it for an already-published book if you would like more reviews. Whatever the case, your book must not be enrolled in KDP Select while we are distributing it to our ARC readers. You can enrol it in KDP Select once the book files have been distributed and the reading process has started.
What if my book is part of a series?
If your book is the first in a series or is a standalone within a series (i.e. it can be read without having to read previous books in your series in order to understand and enjoy it), then you can proceed as normal.
If your book is part of a series, is not the first book, and does not stand alone, we can certainly still accommodate it. We will ask you for a short synopsis of the series so far, which we will share with your ARC readers. This will give them the context they need. We will also instruct them to only apply for your project if they are happy to read a book that is part of a series, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
What if my book is over 160,000 words?
No problem! Use the booking enquiry form, and we’ll get back to you with a bespoke price and timeframe.
What if my book is very short or a novella?
We are happy to accept short novels and novellas, but we do not offer discounts for these.
How can I send you my book?
Books must be sent to us electronically, via email. We require PDF, EPUB, and MOBI book files to accommodate our ARC readers’ reading devices. These files are straightforward to create and convert using free tools. We recommend Reedsy Book Editor and Calibre. We can provide assistance with this process if required.
Tell me more about the selection process for ARC readers.
We can conduct the selection process for your ARC readers, or you can do it yourself.
If we do it, we’ll ask you a couple of basic questions to gauge your general preferences, and then we will complete the selections using our own judgement. This can be advantageous for you. First, it saves you time. Second, we have the benefit of having built personal relationships with many of our ARC readers and having detailed knowledge of their preferences. We will use that to vet the applicants and hand-pick the right people for your project.
If you prefer to have more control over the process, we’ll give you detailed information about the ARC readers who have applied to join your ARC team, including their biographies, reading preferences, the reason they want to join your team, and any pertinent history related to prior projects they have completed for us. You can then decide for yourself. This can be a good option if you want to be more involved.
My book contains graphic violence, sex, and/or bad language. Will this upset my ARC readers?
Before we advertise your book to our list of ARC readers, we will ask you whether it contains any of these things. If it does, we will put a warning on the application form recommending that ARC readers who might be offended by them should not proceed. This helps to ensure the right people apply.
How do you prevent piracy?
Whenever you share your book with others, there is always a risk of piracy, and no one can eliminate that entirely. However, we have taken a range of precautions to substantially reduce the risk. Your book files will be uploaded to a secure content restriction system that only allows authorised people, namely your ARC readers and our team, to access and download them. Even then, there are limitations on how many times the files can be downloaded and how much time your ARC readers have to download them.
We also require our ARC readers to provide us with a range of information to help us ensure they are acting in good faith, including their biography and interests, why they want to join your project, their contact information, and their physical address. Whether you’re selecting your ARC readers yourself or we’re doing it for you, we will review this information and make sure it stands up to scrutiny before the selections are made. We require all our ARC readers to agree to our terms and conditions, which legally obligate them to keep your files confidential.
Do you accept international clients?
Yes! We welcome clients who are resident in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and any EU country. If you are not resident in one of these countries, unfortunately we won’t be able to accept your business at this time.
How do I pay?
You can pay by credit or debit card.
What are the full terms and conditions?
You can view our full terms and conditions here.