Advanced Readers Copies, or ARCs as they are more commonly known, are a big deal in the book blogging world. What is an ARC? ARCs are bound uncorrected versions of books that are created before the book’s release date in the hopes of gaining publicity for the book.
Who gets to read ARCs? ARCs are shared with different people in the book world – and this does not mean just book bloggers. Librarians, professional reviewers (for newspapers, magazines, etc.), and many others are in need of ARCs, not just book bloggers. While book bloggers are a huge part of the book world, we are not the reason ARCs are created.
If you’re new to this whole blogging thing, you might be wondering how one can go about receiving ARCs. Well, there are a whole bundle of ways.
There are a lot of really good programs out there that you can receive ARCs from. This is a really good idea, especially for new bloggers, because a lot of the time it also means you have to network a bit, and post more on your blog.
Here’s a short list of programs that get ARCs out to readers/bloggers:
- Goodreads: First Reads – Giveaways are listed by publishers/authors, and members can enter to win. If you do win, it’s best to review the book in a timely manner on Goodreads (and make sure you fill out the form on the website saying you’ve read/reviewed it) so that you are more likely to receive ARCs in the future.
- Library Thing: Early Reviewers
- Shelf Awareness – Sign up to their daily newsletter, and look for ads in the newsletter about ARCs needing reviewers!
- Netgalley – Netgalley is a widely loved tool in the book blogging world. Fill out a profile with all of your blogging info/stats/etc. and request different E-ARCs. The publishers will review your profile, and you will get an email saying if you have been accepted to review the book or not.
- Early Birds ARC Review – This is a group in conjunction with Hachette Book Group that offers ARCs for review
- Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
From the Publisher
Maybe you see some bloggers receiving ARCs from the publisher or author. Maybe you wonder how they made those connections?
Well here’s the deal: Publishers can’t read your mind. They can’t magically know your address and ship off a bunch of ARCs to you. The best way to go about getting ARCs from publishers is to ask them in an email.
But, you have to remember a few things:
- If you have only been blogging for a very short amount of time and have little to no stats, this is not the time to be emailing publishers and requesting ARCs. Yes, it can be exciting to be a part of this awesome book blogging community, and you’re probably really wishing for an ARC, but be patient. You don’t want to come off as if you only started blogging to get free books (which is something that is not appreciated in the blogosphere). Let your blog grow before you request anything. I personally started getting attention from publishers when I had about 700 GFC followers. I’ve been blogging consistently for a year and a half, and I spend A LOT of time on this blog. Do I consider myself to be well established? Not in the least. I am constantly finding ways to improve my blog, gain readership, and find a place for myself in the blogging community. I’m lucky if I get 1-2 ARCs a week, and it took me a long time and a lot of work to get to this point. My message: work hard, be patient and friendly, and it will pay off.
- Publishers are busy. If a publisher doesn’t get back to you quickly, don’t panic. Also, don’t continue to email them and harass them about your request. If you don’t hear back and you don’t receive anything, chances are your request has been declined. Maybe this is because you do not have enough stats or because your email was unprofessional. Let some time pass. When your blog becomes more established and you think you are ready, try emailing them again.
- Be professional! I cannot repeat this enough. Literary Exploration has a really great post on what to include in a request and how to be professional. In your request, include your name, blog URL, various stats from your blog, links to your Goodreads/Shelfari/similar site profile if you have one, the book you want (author, title, ISBN), a quick note on why you are interested in reviewing that book, and your address.
- Only request books you want to read and review! If a publisher accepts your request and sends a book your way, it is your responsibility to read and review it (most likely within a timeline). Think hard before you request any books, because you will be tied to them if you get accepted.
- ARCs are not free. In fact, they cost the publisher more to make because they are printing so few of them, and get no monetary compensation because no one buys them.
- Don’t get mad at other people if they have more ARCs than you. Sure, I complain on Twitter sometimes about weeks when I don’t get anything in the mail, but I would never dream of telling a blogger they “hog ARCs” or some such ridiculous statement.
- Make sure you have a detailed and informative review policy.
- Keep track of your stats so you have accurate information to give publishers. I use Google Analytics because they are very precise and fairly easy to use.
So, what’s all the fuss about ARCs? I know I find myself getting jealous from time to time when I see another blogger with an ARC that I wish I had. But in the end, are ARCs really a measure of your status as a blogger? I have to say no. Personally, I value a friendly blogger with good content over a blogger that gets lots of ARCs.
Like I said, I don’t consider myself to be the know-all on ARCs. These are just a few tips I’ve learned while blogging. Tons of bloggers have excellent posts on this subject, so here’s a list of other posts you can check out and get advice from:
Presenting Lenore: New Book Blogger FAQ
The Story Siren: Advanced Readers Copies – What You Need To Know
Peachtree Publishers: Yes, We Do Read Your Review Policies
Alexandra Bracken: Dearest Book Blogger
Bookalicio.us: Why Aren’t Publishers Getting Back to Me?
If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave a comment! Or you can email me (chloe.yabookloverblog(at)gmail(dot)com) or ask me a question on Formspring. I hope to post more informative posts for bloggers in the future, so if you have a suggestion or a topic you would like addressed, tell me!