Hello again! I’m back with Part 2 of my ARC requesting tutorial…thing. If you missed the first part, you can check it out through the link below. Since I already covered all that stat business, time for the best part: requesting! I’ll be talking about requesting both electronic and print ARCs so depending on what you’re interested in, keep scrolling! This post is going to be a long one, so fair warning.
Due to the length of the originally planned post, I have broken it up into two posts.
PART 1: BUILDING YOUR BLOG STATS // PART 2: REQUESTING ARCS
Okay, my stats are pretty good. Now what?
You’re feeling pretty good about your current blog stats. You’re interacting with your new friends and followers. Everything’s looking great! But now you want to get out there are start reviewing some ARCs. But it’s important to remember one thing:
ARCS ARE AN OBLIGATION
When you receive an ARC, you are not required to review it. The law isn’t going to come down on you if you don’t or anything like that. HOWEVER, the publisher decided that you were a good choice to receive that ARC, and ARCs are meant to be read, to be promoted. They are not just free copies of a book that you should hoard and never do anything with. So thing about a few things before requesting a title:
- Do I want to read this book? Don’t request a book just because it’s popular.
- Do I think I will like this book? You may not in the end but if it sounds like you’ll enjoy it your reading experience has a better chance of being a positive one.
- Can I commit to reading and reviewing this book right now? Don’t go request-crazy if you know you don’t really have the time to dedicate to the books.
But how do I get them?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Electronic ARCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A great way to get started with ARCs is to request electronic ARCs, or e-ARCs. You can do that on websites like NetGalley and Edelweiss, where publishers will post books available to either request or read now (meaning you can simply download the book to read without approval.
If you are newer to reviewing, it tends to be easier to get approved for eARCs compared to print ARCs so these can be great options to get on a publisher’s radar.
Of the two, NetGalley is probably the easiest to navigate and a great place to start for reviewers. There are a few things you’ll want to do before you start requesting:
- Make an account
- Complete your profile
- Your bio is where you can talk about who you are, what you review, as well as WHERE you review and what your current stats are (monthly views, followers, etc)
- Don’t forget to list your social media pages!
- Add your Kindle email (if you have one) – trust me, it makes life a LOT easier
- Select the genres you like
Once you have everything set up, you can go Find Titles and explore! NetGalley breaks the books into genre so you can search by that. You can also look at books available for request or available to read now.
Available for Request titles mean that you will need the publisher’s approval before you can access that book. You can either be approved or denied. If you are approved, the book will appear on your Shelf and you will be able to download it, as well as provide feedback.
Read Now titles are ones you can download without publisher approval. These can be a great way to give yourself a bit of credibility as a NetGalley reviewer.
Make sure to only request books that are approved for your location (US, UK, AUS, etc) as a publisher may not be able to approve your request from outside of that country. These are noted on each book’s page with the country’s flag and a label.
Wish for It!
For some titles, you won’t see a request button but, instead, a Wish for It! button. Publishers will randomly grant wishes to reviewers and sometimes they will announce it on social media, sometimes they don’t. These titles are not available for request in the usual method.
The Feedback Ratio
On your account page you’ll see a feedback ratio listed and the NetGalley recommendation of 80%. Essentially this number is how often you provide feedback in comparison to how many books you’ve been approved for. It’s a good idea to keep this number pretty high by reviewing books as soon as you can. A higher ratio can mean better chances at getting approved for titles.
But don’t go request-crazy!
NetGalley makes it REALLY easy to request eARCs. Too easy, sometimes. It can be tempting to request a lot at once but, remember, if you get approved for those books they’re going to bring that feedback ratio down unless you can get to all of them.
Edelweiss can be a bit tricky and often times it is easier to request through NetGalley if the book you’re looking for is on both (this is not always the case). Once more, you’ll want to set up an account and fill out your profile.
When you go to request, you’ll see that Edelweiss has books To Request and To Download that work much like NetGalley’s requesting and “read now”. You’ll be able to either place your request, which requires filling out a small form, or download a title using the button to the far right of its box.
Once more, publishers will need to approve any request you make before you have access to a particular title. But one thing Edelweiss DOES have is access to publisher catalogs which is a great way to see what books are coming up.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Physical/Print ARCs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Now I know this is probably what you were really excited about, right? How to get those coveted ARCs you see people post about online. I’ll tell you now that who you know definitely helps but it’s also a fair amount of luck. I’ve had publicists recognize me from my social media accounts and I’ve been contacted by imprints I’ve never heard of before. You never know sometimes.
But let’s say there’s a particular book you REALLY want to read and review on your blog. There are a few steps to take.
1. Figure out what publishing house/imprint the book is from.
You can usually find this on Goodreads.
2. Locate the publicity contact for that publisher.
Now this is likely where you got stuck. An easy way to find these general publicity emails is to check the contact pages of the publishers in question. Some may have forms instead, so you may have to submit your requests through those instead of via email. I’ve included a list of LINKS below to the contact pages of some of the big ones.
I say links and not emails because you might not be a young adult reviewer reading this, you may want to contact a smaller imprint, and so on. This way you can determine which email is the best one to contact.
Not sure which publishing house the imprint is in? Google is a great help for that. I also recommend making a spreadsheet or document with which imprint is under which publishing house. This way you have a quick reference and it will save you a lot of time.
Already have a contact for the imprint you’re requesting from?
A contact would be someone who may have responded to your previous email(s) about a book. You can also sometimes find a publicist’s contact information on the back of physical ARCs. If you already have someone within the imprint you have established a working relationship with, then send those requests to that person.
3. Email your request!
Hopefully at this point you have an email either dedicated to your blog or at least one that isn’t from 6th grade that you’d be embarrassed to share with anyone else. So make sure to use that. But what to include? Generally, my introductory emails include:
- Who I am and where I blog
- What kinds of books I read (brief)
- The book I’m interested in (I include the TITLE, AUTHOR, and RELEASE DATE)
- WHY I’m interested in it (doesn’t have to be a long explanation)
- If you’ve reviewed previous books in the series or by that author and enjoyed them, link them here too!
- My blog stats (follower count, monthly views)
- My mailing address and email for NetGalley/Edelweiss (if you’re under 18 please check with your parents about sending your mailing address out to publishers)
- A thank you!
Make sure you proofread your emails!!
These emails don’t need to be very long. Just enough to tell the publicist who you are, what you want from them, and why you’d be a good fit for that book.
Once you’ve completed these 3 steps…. you wait. You might receive a response. You might just receive the book in the mail. You might get both. You might get nothing. Personally, I’ve had better luck with some publishers compared to others. It’s a matter of time, patience, and persistence.
That’s all I have for you! I hope this (far too long) guide was useful to you.