Midnight Blogging 101 is a sporadic feature where we share advice, tips and tricks for your blog.
Hello people of the universe! Sorry about our absence over the past few days. Our web host – RFE Hosting – had some issues with hackers and all the sites they look after went down, ours being one of them. BUUUUT that issue was fixed yesterday, thankfully, and we are back!
(completely intentional .gif choice because THE 100 IS COMING BACK SOON AND I AM SO READY)
Anyhow, it has been half a year ago since I did a tips and tricks post so I thought it was time. And today? We are talking about ARCs!
How do you get arcs if you’re international? – Jenna
How to be as successful as you guys? how do you ask for ARCs and when? – Anonymous
how to get an ARC or free copies. I live in Indonesia, so it’s kinda hard to get publishers send copies to my country, I’ve tried asking once, and they said they don’t send out copies abroad. Do you have any suggestions? – Anonymous
What is an ARC?
you are incorrect.
In the book world, ARC stands for Advanced Reader’s Copy. It is an uncorrected proof/manuscript that is usually bound into book form and is then sent out from the publishers to the media (booksellers, librarians, book reviewers such as The New York Times or book bloggers etc.) before the actual release of the book. The purpose of sending these out to the media is so that they can read + review the book in advance to help build attention on a certain upcoming release.
They often look something like this:
But, they can also just be a finished copy that is given to a member of the media ahead of the book’s official release date. It really differs from publisher to publisher and country to country.
ARCs and Obligations
If you request an ARC, it is expected that you do read the ARC/review copy and write an honest review in exchange. Seems like common sense, but there are people who think that they can just request ARCs for their own benefit. ARCs are to provide further publicity for a book, and if you cannot do that, then don’t go around asking for ARCs. ARCs may be sent to you free of charge (apart from the expectation that you write a review), but they are sure as hell not free to make. In fact, ARCs can cost as much as it does to make the final book. Requesting an ARC is like signing a contract saying that you will, in the best of your ability, provide an honest review for the book if the publisher were to send it to you.
Of course, if the ARC/review copy is sent to you unsolicited (meaning you didn’t request it, the publisher just thought you might like it) then you should not feel pressured to review it if you don’t want to. When I first started receiving unsolicited books for review, I got it into my head that I had to read and review every single one of them – but that isn’t the case! That simply took the joy out of reviewing for me. Never feel that you must review unsolicited review copies – but if you can and want to, then go ahead!
When Should I Start Requesting ARCs?
Please please PLEASE do not start a book blog for the sole purpose of ‘getting free books’. Book blogging is a hobby, a passion, and while getting ARCs does sound amazing, they’re only one of the gazillion benefits you get out of book blogging.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend you to start requesting ARCs from publishers/publicists until you’ve been blogging for at least 6 months. The reason why I say this, is that many publishers will not send you books until you have been blogging for some time – and the main reason for this is because it shows you are dedicated. Anyone can start a blog, but to actually maintain it for over 6 months is hella hard, it shows you’re 100% into this, that you have experience with reviewing. Publishers will feel confident in sending you a book for review if you’ve got the passion + experience.
Do Statistics/No. of Readers Matter?
Yes, statistics DO matter in regards to requesting ARCs. If a publisher/publicist is to send you a book to read + review, how is this going to help build up the attention/hype for this book? A blog with relatively large numbers of readers can do this. Publishers are in a way, investing in you. They send you an ARC -> you read it and review it honestly on your blog -> readers of your blog see this -> maybe they’ll become interested in the book -> buy it the next time they see it at a bookstore.
I wrote a post on getting more people to read your blog, which hopefully you’ll find helpful in terms of gaining readership and page views.
Along with having 6 months of blogging experience, I wouldn’t recommend you request any books for review until you have at least 100 followers. The higher amount of followers you have, the more likely the publishers will want to send you an ARC for review.
So Then… HOW do I Request a Book for Review?
I still remember sending in my first request for an ARC and I was COMPLETELY terrified. I feared the rejection and once I sent the email I was basically refreshing my inbox ever 5 seconds. Yup.
Things to note before sending in an ARC review request:
- Publishers/publicists are super busy! Trust me, I completed 2 work experience placements at 2 different publishing houses last year and they got emails every 2 minutes. No joke. So don’t be sitting at your computer refreshing your inbox every 5 seconds because chances are, they might not respond until the next day or hell, next week. In fact, they might never respond! They might even read your email request and send you the book without replying, because they’re just that busy. But, this could also mean they won’t be sending you the ARC. And that’s okay too.
- Rejection sucks, but it’s nothing to fret over. Publishers might not send you an ARC for a number of reasons, they might’ve not seen your email, they might’ve run out of ARCs to send out, they might have hella high expectations in terms of blog statistics… the list is endless. The best thing to do is just accept it and move on – it isn’t the end of the world. You can always try a different publisher!
- If you don’t get a reply to your request, you can send up a follow-up email. I would wait 2 weeks until doing this, as I have had instances where I get responses to my emails 2 weeks later. When sending a follow-up email, don’t just ask them if they saw your ‘previous email’. In most cases, the publicist already has forgotten what you are referring to as they get a large volume of emails daily. I reckon your best bet is to also include your previous email (by forwarding it) or rewriting it altogether in that follow-up email. Don’t badger them, though, one follow-up email is more than enough. You can always try again in another 3-4 months with a request for a different title.
- Keep your email within reasonable length. Don’t make it too long, as publicists don’t have all day to read your request, but not too short either, as otherwise, you may not seem sincere enough.
- Always provide your mailing address at the end of the email in your request. Some publicists might want to send you the book, but might not have time to ask you for your address, hence, ignore your request altogether.
- Keep your email professional. Not too formal, of course, but not too casual either.
- Only send an email request to publishing houses in your own country. I live in Australia, so I send requests to only Australian publishing houses. Most publishing houses don’t send abroad due to rights/permissions and crazy high shipping fees. There are some publishers who do, but those are few in number – I’ll talk more about this later on.
So, I haven’t sent in an ARC request in FOREVER (as now I am on a number of publicists’ mailing lists so I just simply ask them for a title without sending in my stats + intro about me) but if this is your first time interacting with a certain publisher, this is how it should probably go (this is just a rough template that I whipped up):
Dear [insert publicist’s name here],
I hope you are well.
My name is [insert name]. I’m a passionate [insert genre, for me, I would write YA] book blogger/reviewer from [insert country]. I am just writing to request [insert book title + author here – you can request more than one ARC, but I wouldn’t request more than 3 at once, otherwise you’d seem greedy even if you’re not trying to be!] from your [insert publishing imprint here – if you know it] imprint if you have it available for review? [Include a sentence explaining why you want to read the ARC.]
I regularly post book reviews, discussion posts and blog tips over at my blog, [insert blog name here, ensure you link them to it as well]. I have been blogging for [insert number of months/years], and try to make my reviews are honest as possible. Here’s sample review that I wrote recently on [insert book title + hyperlink], if you’d like.
My blog statistics are:
[insert your blog statistics here in dot point form – feel free to include your statistics for Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads etc. as well]
My mailing address is:
[insert address/PO Box address here]
Thank you for your time and consideration!
[insert full name]
Where do I Find Contact Information to Reach Publishers?
So Mel, you told us how to write a review request but how do I actually find all the publicists’ email addresses??
Normally, on the publishers’ website, you can find the email address where you can send your review request to. Sometimes this takes a lot of searching and link-clicking, but most publishing houses’ websites are pretty easy to navigate. Also, sometimes you’ll have the direct email to a certain publicist whereas other times you’ll be directed to an email something along the lines of: firstname.lastname@example.org. Both are fine.
Usually, if you go to the publishers’ website of the book you want to request, head to the very bottom of the homepage, you’ll find a ‘contact us’ link or a ‘media/publicity’ link. Click on that, and you should find the email you need in order to send your ARC request.
But What About International Bloggers?
Now, unfortunately, most publishing houses are situated in the US, the UK, and Australia, and aren’t willing to send books abroad. So what about all the international bloggers? Where can you guys get ARCs? I’m not an international blogger, so I can’t exactly offer any insider tips, but I do know of some US publishers who do send ARCs abroad to INTL bloggers, but (I imagine) you would have to have rather high stats in order for this to happen.
List of publishers that I know send ARCs internationally:
Of course, aside from print ARCs, eARCs are also a great idea for all bloggers!
eARCs – What Are They and Where Do I Get Them?
eARCs are basically digital formats of ARCs. You can request them on Edelweiss or Netgalley from the publishers, and once they approve your request, you can download it onto your e-reader, computer or mobile device! Bless technology *nods*
Hopefully y’all find this to be helpful! Don’t forget though – ARCs are just one of the benefits of book blogging and do not let them consume your whole life! Also, our co-blogger applications are closing on the 18th of Jan!
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