An ARC is an Advance Reading Copy. This is the next to the last version of a novel, the author's one last chance to catch errors. By this point, major changes cannot be made.
Stone Cold Case has been through my own editing process, my Beta Readers' critiques, and three editors at Five Star publishing, each with different roles. Even after all that, typos and mistakes can remain.
Here is how I use my ARCs:
1) I gave my Beta Readers copies to check for typos, grammar errors, and minor mistakes in plotting or character. A Beta Reader is a non-professional who volunteers to read a work prior to publication, offering suggestions for improvement. They are wonderful people who enjoy being involved in the creation of a novel, and getting a sneak peak at a new work.
2) I will seek book blurbs from authors who write amateur sleuth novels, and reviews from online bloggers with a following of mystery readers.
3) Readers love free books. I know. I have dozens I've received at conferences. The ARCs are good promotional bling. Goodreads offers book giveaways. Winners often write reviews and post them on Goodreads. A month or so before the release of my novel, I will offer a Goodreads Giveaway of several ARCs. Some bloggers like guest authors to offer a book. The postage spent giving away ARCs is worth getting my work into the hands of new readers.
I also give a few away with no expectation of anything in return. My daughter drew the map for book two, and she was thrilled to see her artwork in book form.
Timing is important. For book one in my series, Stone Cold Dead, I began promotion too early. This time, with book two, I plan to ramp up promotional efforts for the September release starting in late July.
If you are a reader interested in reviewing a free advance copy for Goodreads or your blog, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.