if i could have had informational one post when i had just started blogging, this would be it.
i had no clue what the deal was with arcs and review copies, and i read about every single blog post about this topic that i could find. so today, i’ve compiled all of my collective knowledge of arcs that i’ve learned over the past year. i am definitely not an expert, and i haven’t received hundreds and hundreds of physical arcs, but still i wanted to share what i know.
what the heck is an ARC??
an arc, or advanced reading/readers copy (also called an “uncorrected proof” or “review copy”) is a copy of a book that is sent out pre-release by the publisher to bloggers and other peeps in the media to raise awareness of the release of said book. first and foremost, arcs are publicity tools, so they are mostly sent out to those who have access to a large audience of people.
although arcs may just seem like “free books,” it’s important to know that arcs are definitely not free for publishers– because they are produced in an extremely small quantities (often times, only a couple hundred are produced), they are actually more expensive to produce than a regular book. this means that publishers have to choose carefully who to send arcs to in order to maximize awareness and impact of the publicity campaign.
how can i, a newbie book blogger, get an ARC?
i’m glad you asked! i have several tips/methods for newbie bloggers who want to get into the arc game.
overall, it is much harder for new bloggers to get arcs because A) publishers don’t know if you’re actually serious about blogging (or just want free books) and B) new bloggers usually do not have the followers and views that will help publishers sell a book. that, of course, is the point of arcs– to help publishers sell a book.
BUT even if you are a new blogger who is serious about book blogging and reviewing, there are several ways to get arcs!!
tip 01. when you’re new, e-galleys are your best bet.
when i say “e-galley,” i mean an e-book version of a book that you can read on a kindle, phone, computer, etc, etc. e-galleys are cheaper for publishers to produce and MUCH easier for publishers to distribute than the traditional paperback physical arc.
you can get e-galleys from websites like Netgalley and Edelweiss. i’ve only used Netgalley for my e-galley requests because i am #shallow and like the design of the website a lot more than edelweiss. sooo idk anything about edelweiss. sorry.
for netgalley, basically, you just create an account (you have to have a blog to do this), find books you want to read that are available in your country, and push request. you won’t always get accepted for every single book you request, but eventually, i assure you that you will get accepted for a book.
now let’s talk about the netgalley ratio: it’s the ratio of how many books you’ve been accepted for vs. how many you’ve given feedback/written a review for. basically, this is how publishers decide whether to accept you for a book. if you have a high ratio, publishers are more likely to accept you for a book because they know you will give feedback and are reliable. the moral of the story is: don’t request toooo many books because what if you get accepted for all of them?? then you’re in trouble, good sir.
tip 02. sign up for newsletters like Shelf Awareness Pro, Publishers Weekly, and the NOVL.
i’m not talking about the actual newsletters here (although sometimes they’re pretty interesting), but the ads in these newsletters. many times, these ads lead to an ARC request form or giveaway. this is how i’ve gotten most of my physical arcs such as: Blood Rose Rebellion, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, Otherworld, The Apprentice Witch, etc.
these newsletters don’t always have ads for YA books in them, so you have to take it day by day and look everyday. PRO TIP: the newsletter usually comes out 7:15 central time. you usually have to be early in order to actually be sent the books you request, so be there and be square!
NOVL (the YA division of Little, Brown books) also has a monthly newsletter that includes an ARC giveaway / review program. however, this program seems to be pretty exclusive and depend a lot on social media presence. i’ve personally never been sent a book from this newsletter, but i’ve seen others who have.
**make sure to sign up for the Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter and NOT the readers one or else you won’t get the arc ads!**
aaand an ad to request a copy of The Hazel Wood! (that i most unfortunately missed out on)
tip 03. blogging for books
this is a website where i get finished copies of books for review such as Goodbye Days & Ink and Bone. you HAVE to prove that you have a blog in order to register for this one, and it depends what books you can request based on your blog traffic and followers.
just like the newsletters, Blogging for Books doesn’t always have YA books on offer, so you just have to check back every other day or so to make sure that they haven’t listed something new!
tip 04. ooor you can request ARCs directly from the publisher (challenge mode)
this is the hardest way for newbie bloggers to get arcs, and a lot of the time, you won’t get sent the books. buuuut i would still recommend using this method if you have been blogging for at least six months (or whenever you feel that you’re ready to), because it shows publishers that you are dedicated to your blog.
i’ve requested books directly from publishers a few times before and gotten sent a book once, i think?? (i got sent All the Crooked Saints) but then again, my blog is reeeally small still, and you’ll probably have more luck if you have a larger number of followers and views. (i’m hoping to grow my blog a good amount in the next few months and get added to the mailing list for some publishers. it’s another one of the reasons that i switched to wordpress.)
from what i’ve heard from other bloggers, it’s also EXTREMELY helpful to have a strong presence in social media, not just your blog, when you’re requesting.
where do i find publishers’ email addresses?? wellll, you should go to the publisher of your choice’s contact us page, and use the one for the publicity department.
i know it can be intimidating sending an email directly to the publisher, but JUST DO IT. the worst they can say is no, and that’s that. you have to start somewhere, right?? when you’re writing an email to the publisher, be sure to include the following things:
- your name + blog name and link
- a small blurb about you and your blog
- the name and author of the book(s) you would like to request
- # of blog followers
- # of blog views per month
- # of followers on various social media
- INCLUDE YOUR ADDRESS AT THE END OF THE EMAIL. a lot of the time publishers don’t have time to email you back, and not including your address probably decreases your chances of getting the book.
final thoughts about ARCs
- REMEMBER THIS— receiving arcs / not receiving them doesn’t necessarily make you a better or worse blogger! arcs don’t define your blog’s worth. creating content that you love and that is helpful to people is the real goal here.
- arcs are NOT the end-all-be-all of book blogging, and they definitely shouldn’t be your only reason for blogging! while arcs are fun to receive, i’ve found that the expectation of getting these books wayyyy outstrips the reality. sorry to burst your bubble people.
- also remember: you are required to read and review all of these books before they come out, so don’t request too many at once. i would also recommend making a list of all the books you have requested so that you don’t end up having way too many books to read in a short period of time. make sure you don’t forget to review and send the link to your review if the publisher has requested that you do this!
- oh! i almost forgot: my biggest tip: only request books you ACTUALLY want to read. just like with regular books, it’s hard to read arcs that you aren’t interested in, and you’ll just be miserable*. plus, there might be another blogger somewhere who really wanted to read that book (like, it’s their most anticipated of the year), and you’ve taken that chance from them. #guilttrip
- don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive arcs at first. just work hard on your blog, review some more books, and you’ll get there eventually. <3
- finally: after you’ve read and reviewed the an arc, DO NOT by any means sell that arc. it’s illegal, and and arcs are actually not worth any money. instead, hold a giveaway for your blog followers, give it to the library, trade it on twitter, etc, etc. and if you ever see someone selling an arc, report it. the proceeds most definitely are not going to the author, and again, it’s illegal.
*only slightly joking.
what are your experiences with arcs, physical or other?? do you have any other tips for new book bloggers wondering about review copies? what are your tips for directly contacting publishers?? what books were you most excited to receive in arc form?