Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Requesting ARCs

July 18, 2014 Blogger Events 56


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…

The Challenge

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

56 Responses to “Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Requesting ARCs”

  1. Jancee

    I’ve actually done a couple of these things recently. I added my blog link to the Book Blogger Directory. In addition, I created an account on Netgalley and have received my first e-book ARC of the new Jennifer Holm novel. So we’ll see how things go from here.

  2. Amber Barnes

    This is such an awesome blog post. I’ve been wondering for a week or two now what “ARC” stood for (my guesses, “a review copy”, “advanced review copy”, “advanced reading copy”). I don’t have my own book blog, I’m still struggling with the right name, unfortunately. However, when I get it up and running, I’ll be sure to think about this article. 🙂

    Okay, this might be a bit forward, haha, but would you mind making a blog about, well, creating a book blog and some good tips sometime?

    • DoingDewey

      Aw, thanks Amber! I’m glad I could help 🙂 I like the idea of writing a post about how to start a book blog, but I think it could take me a bit to get to, so I’m also going to send you an e-mail with a bit of advice now and I’m happy to answer any questions you have via e-mail as well.

  3. Karen

    Ive not had great experience with LibraryThing early reviewers because so many of the ones that would interest me are available only in the UK. NetGalley has worked better. I’ve not tried GoodReads option though so thanks for that idea

    • DoingDewey

      Wow, that surprises me! As far I’ve noticed, most of their books are available in the US, but it’s possible we’re looking at different genres or I’m just not paying enough attention to the giveaway details. Ah, looking at your blog, I see that you’re in Wales, so perhaps you meant not available in the UK, which wouldn’t surprise me. I’m glad you’ve had more luck with NetGalley though and hope you’re able to find some good books through GoodReads too 🙂

  4. Ellie

    I’d add Twitter to this list, at least from my experience in the UK. Loads of publicists will tweet if they have proofs available to bloggers. Following publicists in general and chatting with them about all sorts is a great way for them to get to know you too. They’re more likely to say yes if they know who you are beyond your blog.

    For UK and Ireland bloggers, do check out which has Headline and Hodder titles – you can request both print and ebook versions, as well as giveaway copies and Q+As.

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks for suggesting some resources for UK bloggers! I’m really only familiar with resources open to US bloggers. I love your advice about twitter! There are very few publicists I interact with on a personal level, but it’s something I’d like to do more and I’m sure twitter is a great avenue for doing that.

  5. Andi @ Estella's Revenge

    I have literally already done all of these except Blogging for Books (I refuse!). I’m sure you’re not surprised by that at all. lol I think this is a great tutorial for so many bloggers…especially the ones who might be shy of actually emailing publicists directly. Great stuff!

  6. Neira

    I’ve tried a few times, but never actually succeded! I am shy about that stuff and it’s hard for me to just ask them for the ARC :/

    • DoingDewey

      I know I’m generally pretty nervous about sending request e-mails myself, but it’s gone well so far, which is giving me more confidence. The worst that has happened is not getting any response. There certainly hasn’t ever been anyone who’s seemed unhappy to be asked. I’d encourage you to keep going for it 🙂

  7. Wesley at Library Educated

    I just signed up for Penguin! Thanks for that tip. I didn’t know anything about ARCs when I started, I did (and still do) get most of my books from the library so the fact that someone would give me a free book was like WOOHOO! Happy bloggiesta!

    • DoingDewey

      I think it’s exciting too! I get most of my non-ARC books from the library too, unless there’s an audiobook I really want or I can get an author to sign my books. Libraries are the best 🙂 With the Penguin program, pay attention to when their digital files expire. I had a problem with the expiration date being earlier than the review deadline once, but their tech support were good about getting it fixed.

  8. Shannon @ River City Reading

    All great tips! Like Andi said, I’ve used all of them except Blogging for Books, which I also won’t participate in because of the language in the expectations. I’d echo Ellie’s comment about Twitter being a good resource as well. The one thing I’d mention about the link from Jenna Does Books is not to focus so much on getting followers just to get ARCs, but just make sure you have a site that’s regularly updated with good content. I didn’t have anywhere near her suggested 300 followers when I started requesting from publishers, but I did have a solid blog and I think that’s more important.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s a great point Shannon! Now that Bloggiesta is over and I’m taking the time to read through comments, I think I might update this post later or write another post to share some recommendations on when it’s appropriate to ask for an ARC. I definitely think having a solid, well-written, consistently updated blog is more important than any specific number of followers and also think focusing too much on stats and followers can be bad for a bloggers happiness.

  9. tanya

    I wish I’d had this when I started blogging. Now, I’m pretty dialed into all the outlets for getting ARCs but in the beginning it’s hard to know where you can go for ARCs. If you’re in the UK Waterstone’s website also had ongoing contests where you can win ARCs to review on their website.

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks for the UK tip! I’m definitely less familiar with the avenues not available to US bloggers. Hopefully some new bloggers will find this and find it helpful too 🙂

  10. Melissa Beck

    Thank you so much for doing this post!! I am new to blogging and it showed me that I am doing some things right (Netgalley and Edelweiss) but I could be doing more. I am going to work up the nerve to email a publisher for an ARC. Challenge accepted 🙂

  11. Jennine G.

    I asked other bloggers when I saw them giving credit to publishers for the free book. They were more than helpful, pointing me to sites such as NetGalley and Edelweiss. Other bloggers have also pointed me to publisher email lists and such to have an opportunity to relieve books of my choice as well. ASK OTHER BLOGGERS! Lol.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s such good advice! I was always too nervous to ask other bloggers when I first started blogging, but know fellow bloggers are by far my favorite resource for learning new things 🙂

  12. Sarah @ Sarah's Book Shelves

    Thanks so much for this! I’m a relatively new blogger, so posts like this are so helpful! I, too, had no idea about ARCs when I first started blogging! And I was thrilled when TLC Book Tours contacted me to participate in a blog tour. Through them, I discovered NetGalley, which I use a ton. I also just signed up for Edelweiss as part of this challenge. I have never emailed publishers directly for ARCs, but now I know where to come when I’m ready to do that.
    One question – I’ve applied (and emailed) to get added to the Book Blogger Directory several times over the past 8 months and have still not been added or heard anything back…any ideas?). I did just email to get on the BBI Index – I have been featured on that site through their survey tool.
    PS – I decided against Blogging for Books as well 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, I love the TLC Book Tour ladies. They’ve sent me some of my very favorite books and they’re always so friendly. I’m afraid I don’t know what’s up with the Book Blogger directory. I probably joined about 2 years ago, so it’s possible they’re no longer updating now. As you do start requesting books from publishers, edelweiss is a great resource and I think previous bloggiestas have included challenges for learning how to use it well. It’s the best way I’ve found to search through upcoming books. I’m actually giving Blogging for Books a try, but I haven’t gotten around to doing my first review for them yet. I’ll withhold judgement until I see how strict they are about enforcing their rules 🙂

  13. Tamara

    So, I know people won’t believe this, but I’m shy about requesting books from publishers. In fact, until you mentioned this, it never even occurred to me to email a publicist directly and ASK for a review copy- I’ve always either waited on them to email me OR went to Netgalley.

    Sometimes, I do get books by chatting with various pub people on Twitter- BUT again, they DM me and ask.

    I think sometimes I’m afraid to ask for a book b/c I don’t want to seem tacky and pushy (not saying that people who ask are- more of the whole “if X wanted me to have a book, then X would approach me”.

    These are great tips!!

    • DoingDewey

      Ha! Yes, that does surprise me! Even just knowing you through the internet, you come across as a very engaging, outgoing person. I honestly don’t think I’d have been brave enough to start requesting books if it weren’t for a publicity guy I met at ALA. He actually e-mailed me and offered to send me any books I requested. I was hesitant to take him up on it at first, but he always seemed happy to hear from me and to meet requests as well as he could. That made me feel less intimidated by the whole process and so far, most of the publicists I’ve contacted have been equally accommodating.

      I also feel a bit nervous about being too pushy by asking for copies, but I always make sure to say something like “Although I prefer physical books, I have a kindle and am happy to accept mobi or pdf files”. I also often say “I’d be happy to do an advance review if you have a review copy available” so it’s clear that I’m interested in the book either way, not just if I can get it for free – I might choose to do a later review on my own even if I don’t get a copy. I can see choosing not to request books though. I think with netgalley and publisher’s e-mailing you, it’s probably often not necessary.

  14. Kristen

    I just joined First to Read, not sure what I’ll find on there, but looks interesting. I’ve taken a look at Blogging for Books, but haven’t found anything I like on there yet.

  15. Steph

    I have played with many of these methods but I did add my blog to the Directory, thank you for sharing.

  16. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    Amazing post, Katie. I don’t think I have anything to add seeing that you already discussed all the ways on how to request ARCs. And I have to say that I haven’t been successful with step number 3.

    And thank you for sharing some new ARC websites here. I almost enrolled myself in Penguin’s First To Read program but after reading the Program Terms, I was like “Oh, No!.” It’s only open for US residents. Sighs. Anyway, EW and NG are still awesome sites to get ARCs.

    Well, I almost forgot, you can also add to your list which is owned and founded by a fellow book blogger. The site also offers self-published books for review.

    Lovely post, Katie!

    • DoingDewey

      Unfortunately, my impression is that it’s much harder to receive ARCs if you don’t live in the US. Honestly, when I think about living in another country, that’s always one of the first things that comes to mind! Realistically, it’s not the most important thing to think about, but it’s definitely something I’d miss.

      Thanks for sharing the blogger directory! I’m going to go check it out 🙂

  17. Rachel Noel

    I ended up doing the Book Lovers International – Survey. It was intense. I was greateful for the quiz that they have, though. It was the first personality test that was incredibly accurate.

    I’ve also been using Twitter to chat with some publishers and authors and have been able to request ARC’s that way. Of course, they’re indie publisher/authors, but I’m still happy with it.

    • DoingDewey

      I really liked their survey too! Although some of the questions were hard to answer, I thought it was valuable because it made me think about I want to characterize my blog.

      I love twitter for chatting with other bloggers and occasionally remember to include author usernames in my review tweets, but I haven’t used to request ARCs at all. Great suggestion!

  18. Hillary

    I added my link to book blogging directory. I use Netgalley and Edleweiss mostly. I am shy about contacting publishers. Maybe I should get over that. LOL

    • DoingDewey

      I’d recommend giving it a try. So far, the worst that’s happened to me is not getting a response. That can be discouraging if it happens enough, but there certainly hasn’t ever been anyone who’s seemed annoyed at me for asking or anything like that 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      What did you think of their requirements for reviews and cross-posting to other sites? If you didn’t follow all of their requirements, have they said anything to you about it? I have a book from them that I’m hoping to read and review soon, but I think I’ll probably ignore some of their requirements and stick to my normal review content and amount of cross-posting. Then I’ll see if they have a problem with that and decide from there if I’ll continue with the program.

  19. Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    Awesome post — it’s exactly what I advise new bloggers — thanks for pulling this together in one place! Like a few others, I’m less enamored of Blogging for Books but really appreciate NetGalley and Edelweiss. I’ll also add that having a consistent presence seems to help — when I started blogging, I reviewed new releases from my library so as to have timely content. After doing that for six months, I started getting publisher offers.

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Audra! I’m happy to have put together a helpful resource 🙂 I’m hoping to get to reviewing my first book for Blogging for Books soon and then I’ll see how strict they are about their listed requirements. If they’re relaxed about bloggers meeting their requirements, I might stick with them, but otherwise I’ll have to get my ARCs elsewhere. I love Netgalley and Edelweiss too 🙂 I never seem to be able to get new releases from library in a timely fashion! I’ll have to figure out the right amount of time in advance to place a hold. So far, I’ve always been early enough the book isn’t in the catalog yet or late enough that there’s a line!

  20. Angie @Angela's Anxious Life

    I try to not request too many ARCs since I don’t read as fast as some other bloggers. But I do request the crap out of some graphic novels LOL. That’s because I can read them in like an hour. I really only go through Netgalley and Edelweiss. I’ve tried to email publishers in the past but never got a response. This is a great post.. especially for those new to blogging who seriously have no idea what to do (like me at one time).

    • DoingDewey

      I definitely need to cut down on my ARC requests. I love them and have found some of my favorite books that way, but I also miss having more unscheduled reading time. I’d like to try to read more graphic novels, but so far I haven’t given them much of a chance. I’m glad you think this could be helpful for new bloggers. That was my hope putting it together 🙂

  21. Melissa Beck

    I took your advice and worked up the nerve to email two publishers. I received emails back within 24 hours and now I have two ARCs on the way. Thanks so much for a great article!!!

  1. Sunday Post [48] | kimberlyfaye reads

    […] Wondering how to get ARCs and looking for some resources to help you out along the way? Check out the great post from Katie at Doing Dewey about Requesting ARCs. […]

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