Welcome to bloggiesta everyone! Today I’ll be running a mini-challenge all about requesting ARCs. I actually started blogging completely unaware that advanced review copies (ARCs) existed. I was shocked when I received my first invitation to review a book and thrilled when I found out about the sites that allow bloggers to request books. I’ve recently graduated to requesting physical ARCs and specific books from publishers, so I’m hopeful I can offer you all some useful advice on the different ways to request advanced review copies.
There are three main ways bloggers receive ARCs, which I list below. I’ll devote a section of this post to each method.
1. Author or publisher e-mails you
The first is the easiest and most accessible to beginning bloggers: list your blog in various blogging directories, write a review policy, and let them come to you. Here are my two favorites directories: Book Blogger Directory and Book Bloggers International. Book tours also fall into this category. Two which I’ve found some of my favorite reads through are TLC Book Tours and Historical Fiction Book Tours. Novel Publicity Book Tours also looks really good to me and even if your blog isn’t big enough to join their blogger list, when I applied at least, they would still evaluate your blog and give you advice on improving. Although the bulk of the books I obtain access to in this way are indie books, I’ve been surprised by the publishers who have reached out to me as well.
2. Request Websites
There are three main flavors of request websites which I’ve discovered. The first type of request website are giveaways through book focused social websites, including Goodreads First To Read and LibraryThing Early Reviewers. These sites allow any users, not just bloggers, to enter giveaways and reserve the right to select winners randomly. The second type of request website are sites set up specifically for bloggers to request books from a variety of publishers and these include NetGalley and Edelweiss. Finally there are sites set up by single publishers. These are sites which often have strict requirements that not every blogger will find worthwhile given the other methods available for receiving ARCs. The sites I’m aware of are Penguin’s First To Read site and Crown’s Blogging For Books program.
3. You e-mail the author or publisher
I have one site I reference most often for advice on e-mailing publishers and that’s the One Stop Publicity Resource from Jenna Does Books. She provides a template for e-mailing publishers as well as a number of publisher’s contact e-mails. Here are the few things I would add to that. First, from talking to more experienced bloggers, I’ve heard that requesting ARCs 3-5 months in advance is ideal. Second, I would strongly recommend not copying the e-mail provided exactly. I suspect publishers get a lot of that e-mail! I’ve personalized my version in a number of ways. For instance, “I would be honored to review your upcoming title” sounds too self-effacing for me to say it seriously, so I usually say I would be thrilled to review their book. And I lay out my stats in a list, not a paragraph, like so: Facebook follower – XX, twitter followers – XX, with the social media names as links to my profiles. I think these are some of the stronger parts of my letter, so don’t hesitate to make your letter your own.
Last but not least…
For this bloggiesta mini-challenge, I want you to try a new method of requesting books and let me know in the comments what you did. Either add your blog to a directory; write a review policy; make an account on a book requesting website; apply to be a tour host; or e-mail a publisher to request a book. Or, if you’re already doing everything you want to request ARCs, instead leave a comment giving advice for other bloggers on requesting ARCs. Then fill out the rafflecopter. The winner will receive either a $15 Amazon Gift Card or a book costing up to $15 from The Book Depository, their choice. Happy bloggiesta!