Be prepared for me to answer all your questions about the universe and…ARCs.
How do you get ARCs? What are they? What about digital galleys?
Can I ACTUALLY GET A FREE BOOK IN THE POST AND IT’S A BOOK IM REALLY EXCITED FOR AND IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN PUBLISHED YET? Because… yes, you can!
I have had a quite a lot of people asking me “So how did you acquire this beautiful review copy?” which lead me to just thinking… well young pineapple that requires A LOT OF TALKING so do sit down and take out a pen and paper because 1) this will be a long post and 2) you shall need to take notes on my fabulousness.
Advanced Reader Copy (ARC): These are sent out to bloggers, authors and other influencers to review and spread the word about the book before publication. It’s a marketing tool to help create buzz about a book, and hopefully, generate more sales for a title. ARCs are essentially “free” copies of a book in exchange for a review/promotion.
Finished copies: Whilst ARCs can have typos and errors and still be quite flimsy, finished copies will be polished and final. What you have seen in bookshops or libraries is the final product.
Proof/Review Copy/Galley: Proofs, review copies and ARCs, can be used interchangeably. They’re all words for early copies you get of a book to review from a publisher.
Unsolicited ARC: an ARC you did not request but the publisher sent you one despite this. Usually, you email the publisher for the book, but in this case, the publisher has sent you the book 1)as a ‘reward’ for reviewing a previous title of there’s or 2) because they think you’ll enjoy it so they are being nice 3) you’re on their mailing list. It’s up to you whether you review unsolicited ARCs because you didn’t request them. Some book bloggers review all their unsolicited books while other readers don’t even have time to read these ARCs. It’s totally up to you.
Mailing List: Publishers will sometimes have a separate mailing list which is a list of bloggers they send out proofs to regularly.
E-ARC: It’s in the name! it’s an early copy of a book, but just i the format of an ebook.
HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE ARC?
NOW THERE’S AN ACTUAL DEBATE ABOUT THIS. It’s like GIF and JIF and how you pronounce it. I personally pronounce it with the letters A.R.C not “ark” like character “arc” because I’m a queen. I AM INTERESTED to see what you guys say? and if you say “arc” then we can’t be friends. just kidding. or am i.
So, now the big question, HOW THE HECK DO I ACTUALLY GET AN ARC?! It’s all good to know about the controversy of how to pronounce the damn word, but I know you want to get your hands on one. And so little marshmallows of the universe, I shall be going into the deepest depths of how to get an ARC. Get ready for some dense explanations.
#1: EMAIL THE PUBLISHER
This is probably the safest way to secure ARCs. But, there’s an actual whole lot more depth to emailing a publicist. There are tonnes of rookie mistakes you can make when you first start out so follow the steps below.
1. What book do you want to request?
Now if you are innocent like me, you might be oblivious to upcoming releases and then miss out on an ARC you would have really loved to review. And by the time everyone’s receiving the proof, you are crying inside like “WHY NOT MEEEEEE?!!” and screeching “I wishhhhh.” Trust me, I have been here before.
Obviously, choose a title that hasn’t been published yet (that is the whole point of ARCs) and with a publishing date, some time away. Not a year away. But not like in the same month. I would suggest choosing titles that are going to be published 2 or 3 months away from the current time.
IN RECAP: choose a book that is going to be released in a couple of months and that you are genuinely excited to read. You can find 2019 releases (month by month) here.
Mistakes you could make on this step:
- Looking for any book that looks mildly interesting…and requesting because you are desperate. Look, I know firsthand how tempting it can be to send out so many emails to all different publishers. And you might get 0 replies back…probably because you’re requesting titles you’re not genuinely interested in. Don’t just request books for the sake of getting FREE STUFF. You will regret it.
- Requesting a book where ARCs have already been sent out. Some publishers have a set time where they send out all their proof copies. Not all publishers do this but some do! To check this, you can visit the publisher’s twitter and see if they liked tweets of bloggers receiving the title. This means they’ve already done their mailing and probably don’t have more to send out. This doesn’t mean you can’t request the book! Definitely go ahead and try, but keep in mind this fact.
2. Find the publisher
I’ve read a lot of ARC request guideposts and this step is almost ALWAYS glossed over. It’s just like “go to the publisher’s site” and dosen’t really EXPLAIN what that means but I made a lot of mistakes doing this.
First thing you need to know. Books are published in different countries. A publisher might only have rights to sell the book in a certain place. And that means they can’t send an ARC to YOU because they haven’t bought the rights. SO. You need to be more informed.
You need to find the publisher for YOUR country if there is one. Goodreads DOES tell you the publisher, and you can find the different versions of it, but I would recommend searching into google “[insert title][insert country] publisher” for e.g “Six of Crows UK publisher” and you should find something! Google may still give results of where it’s published in the US but look for something that indicates its’ your country. Like for me, Waterstones UK shows that it’s going to give me the publisher contact I need which is Hachette.
Now I know what publisher to contact.
Mistakes you could make on this step:
- Finding the wrong publisher so they can’t ship to you.
- Thinking “oh this us publisher has a UK branch, so they’ll be publishing it too!”. For example, there’s Simon and Schuster US and Simon and Schuster UK but they don’t always publish the same books! The US branch publishes American Panda but the UK division doesn’t.
- Spending hours looking for a publisher for your country. If you’re outside the US (or the UK), the book probably isn’t published in your country. But THAT DOESN’T MEAN the US/UK/WHATEVER publisher hasn’t bought right to sell it worldwide if your INTL. (I’ll talk about this later, in the next step) so you still have a chance (maybe?)
3. Find the publisher’s email
I have a list of publisher’s emails (these are not personal contacts but the general ones) and forms. This covers a lot of publishers but I’m sorry If I don’t include a particular one.
PUBLICITY CONTACTS FOR UK ONLY:
- Simon & Schuster: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Bloomsbury: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Macmillian Children’s Publishing: email@example.com
- Hodder UK: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hot Key Books: form
- Walker YA books have a blogger call out to be added to the mailing list so look out for that. (UK)
- Scholastic: email@example.com (rarely work with people outside the US but it is worth a shot)
INTERNATIONAL + OTHER CONTACTS
Ships internationally unless otherwise specified. Thank you to Lia @ Lost In A Story for letting me use her list of emails for this part! Check out her post here. (As you can see some “US” publishers have rights to sell internationally)
- Abrams and Chronicle Books: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Abrams Books: email@example.com
- HMH Teen: form or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Macmillan: email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pegasus Publishers: email@example.com
- Penguin Random House: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Rock the Boat: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Usborne: form
- Text publishing: contact form (UK, US and AUS, scroll down to bottom)
- Penguin: form (US only)
If the publisher you want to contact…is not here? Then search up the publisher name, find their website, and look for “publicity or media contacts” and find out who you need to email!
Another way to find out exactly who to contact for ARCs is to go to the author’s website. Go to ABOUT or CONTACT and they’ll usually leave a link to their publicist who deals with their titles and you can send your email to them! DO NOT ASK AUTHORS FOR ARCS…it’s weird? Unless they offer it to you but that’s tricky business since it can get personal when you don’t like the book. The safest way is to receive ARCs through publishers.
4. Write and send that email.
I admit this is a huge step. Your email, if you’ve got the other bits right, is what makes or breaks you get that book you want REAL bad. So my tip. Don’t embarrass yourself and write a good email!
First, let me show what my email mostly looks like (I’m not going to include everything because that’d just feel weird.) when I’m contacting publishers. (Don’t copy and paste this for your emails – it’s lame)
- italics – what I actually write/close to what I write in my emails
- blue – my thoughts on why you should add this/explanation
- - things I won’t write but you can fill in as it’s specific to the book, and yourself.
I’m Ilsa and I run a YA book blog, [your blog name, your site link]
This is where I discuss bookish topics, review books and post content such as monthly recaps, blogging tips and listicles. (talk about your audience, why you a passionate about your blog, and explain when you started] this is important for you to seem HUMAN! it sets you apart from everyone else requesting, making you seem like a real individual!! that’s really important. don’t make this too long, but make sure you aren’t generic. make this specific to YOUR blog. )
I’m emailing you to request [title] by [author] on [date]
[insert why you want to read this book.] you can be as personal as you like. talk about representation, or that your friend loves it, or that you like the snippets you’ve seen on the author’s twitter, or that that premise excites you because of whatever reason! maybe you liked books it’s been compared to. be genuine and honest about why you’re excited about the book. don’t be too fangirl-y, but you don’t have to be too professional in this place either. this would also be a good place to –>
1) reviews for a prequel or other titles in this series (if it’s not standalone)
2) reviews of previous works you liked by the same author
3) reviews of books published by the SAME publishing house you’re requesting from ]
Here are my statistics for my blog, [site.com]
- [number] of blog followers
- [number] on average for unique views per month
- [number]page views on average per month
-  comments on average per post for 2019/2018
- My upload schedule is [how many times you post per week/month]
You can also make a separate list for how many followers you have on social media related to your blog. Publishers care a lot about Instagram and Twitter following
[Then tell them about WHERE you share your reviews (Twitter, your blog, Goodreads, Amazon etc)]
optional: include what genres you usually review on your blog e.g YA contemporary and fantasy.
Here is my mailing/shipping address if you do decide to send me an Advanced Reader Copy of the book!
[FULL MAILING ADDRESS]
Here’s a little tip that IS optional. If it’s your first time talking to a publisher or you’re just starting out, it’s really handy to put this bit in:
In the circumstances, you can’t send me a review copy. I would much appreciate it if you told me why you can’t send me an ARC at this time whether it be the size of my audience, shipping restrictions or anything else.
Thanks so much for your consideration.
your name and your email. it seems stupid to put your email here because they can just see who emailed them but do it anyways, spell everything out for the publisher and make it easier for them to contact you.
Blog // Pinterest // Bloglovin // Goodreads // Twitter // Instagram (hyperlink all your social media’s again, so they can easily see your platforms)
5. Wait for a reply…or something in the mail
After you send of an email, there are various things that could happen.
(1) you get an email back from the publisher.
THIS IS GREAT NEWS! Most of the time? The publishing house has seen your request, and someone has replied to you. This could be a decline of your request saying they don’t have any copies left to send out, or that they will be sending a copy out soon.
(2) you never get a reply and nothing turns up
Many publishing houses are busy and they won’t reply to your email since they gut hundreds every day. And you might wait for something in the mail…and you never get anything. Try not to feel disheartened! try again, with different publishers or the same one, and don’t give up ❤
If you don’t get a reply back…please don’t spam the publisher with multiple emails. It’s annoying and just gives you a bad name. Be patient and polite.
(3) you don’t get a reply…but you get the book
Hey! Sometimes the publishers see your email and don’t have time to talk to you, but they send it out anyways! This is super cool and I don’t know if this has ever happened to me if i’m honest but it could happen! It’s a possibility.
6. If you get the book, review it.
If you’ve requested a book from a publisher and they send it to you, try and review it. This is why it’s important to only request books you know you want to read otherwise you might end up with loads of books that look nice on your shelf but make you an unreliable reviewer as publishers can’t trust you to review the book.
Obviously, bookworms have lives and sometimes it’s impossible to review a book. In this case, you can contact the publisher, explaining your situation and I’m sure they’ll understand.
Read a book and then review it..HONESTLY. I know there’s pressure with ARCs to give them glowing reviews since YOU HAVE TO BE POLITE BECAUSE YOU GOT A FREE BOOK…but no. Give an honest review, cross-post it and send the link(s) to the publisher so they know that you’ve reviewed the title!
There are a few debates about WHEN to publish your review, a week before or after the release date is always a good idea. Don’t be too stressed out if you’re months late to release date, publish your review but try and not make it a habit! Publishing your review on the release date can also generate more sales! Here’s what ACTUAL publicists say about when you should post your review, this is an awesome post!
You can also find out more information here.
There’s a whole tag on Twitter dedicated to ARC trading called #arcsfortrade. You can also try #booksfortrade as well. This is where bookworms search for old ARCs or new ones and trade them! While you can trade ARCs, you cannot directly sell them. It hurts the authors and you’re just not supposed to do it, okay?
Diverse Book Bridge is on hiatus right now but when they’re back up and running, they offer marginalized teens ARCs that represent them! It’s FREE. I have got two books from here, and i can’t wait until they’re back from hiatus ❤
Most of these sites are specifically for requesting e-galleys.
- Netgalley UK and Netgalley – only for e-arcs
- Edelweiss – https://www.edelweiss.plus/ – only for e-arcs
- Bookish First – win books and review them
- First To Read – US ONLY
- Book Bridgr -UK and ROI only. You have to be approved after registration to use the site. Not many YA books? – Physical ARCs
It’s easy on site like Netgalley to request loads of books because you think you’ll never get accepted for any. Trust me you WILL, and then you won’t be able to read all the books and your feedback ratio will be bad.
you can find more alternatives here.
#4 BLOG TOURS
I have participated in two blog tours in my life and so I’m not exactly an expert in this field. How you can participate in a blog tour –>
- You’re emailing a publisher, they’re sending you an ARC, and they ask you if you’d like to join a blog tour!
- You sign up to one yourself. You can find people who host blog tours here. Sometimes you’ll see a tweet on twitter and it’ll be advertising a form to enter a blog tour.
What is a blog tour I hear you ask? It’s essentially when you recieve a free copy of a book (e-book or physical) in return for reviewing at a specific time. They’ll be other people on the blog tour. You’re all given the book, and then given a date to review it on your blog. Everyone posts on their dates, usually staggered one after another, and the blog tour is advertised by whoever is hosting it! They’ll usually provide you with a banner with the other blog’s who are participating to put in your post.
MISTAKES YOU COULD MAKE:
- Join a blog tour and then…not be prepared in time. This sucks and you have to email the host that you can’t do it anymore. All graphics and plans have been made and it feels bad because you’ve essentially messed up the schedule
- You skip your date…and don’t notify anyone. Don’t do this folks.
#5 STREET TEAMS
And last but not least…the least common is street teams. These are pretty rare in the community but they still exist. I wouldn’t rely on these to get ARCs, they are sometimes just a way to get them. What street teams are basically a group of people who get swag, exclusive sneak peeks at the book, fanart and they help promote the book.
How it usually works is the author posts a sign-up link for a street team, someone will approve or deny a request, and a certain amount of people will then be officially part of the team. Some street teams allow all members an ARC (e-arc or physical) and sometimes only sneak peeks are provided. Promotion and supporting the book is essential to being part of a team. They’re rare but they exist! This was such a long post and took
Phew! This took me forever to make, so please share it? It genuinely took me hours to put together!! I’m so tired now but I hope this helped you.
I hope this post was helpful and I’m SORRY it was so long. I have a feeling I left out loads of information so please tell me if I have. Tell me about your experiences with ARCs? If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments. And if you want o leave more words of wisdom under this post, feel free to do so.