I have been meaning to do a post about ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) for ages, and finally I got a bit of encouragement to finally get my butt in gear and make a post. Christine submitted this BBB Question:
How do bloggers receive physical ARCs? Christine
But how do bloggers get physical ARCs?
Short answer: we contact publishers directly with our requests. After working with you a while, the publisher may decide to add you to a “mailing list”, which is when they start sending you unsolicited review copies. But don’t close out of this post yet, because there are many other things to consider before you go out mass e-mailing publishers. First, let’s look at some requirements.
How big does my blog need to be before I can request physical ARCs?
Honestly, this answer is different for every publisher. Different publishers have different priorities and things that they look for in bloggers. But, from the research I’ve done and the people I’ve asked, I’ve come up with a couple “ballpark requirements”.
- Blogging for at least 6 months.
- A strong, active following. Around 500 followers.
- Post almost every day.
- Your blog is not dominated by memes.
- You review honestly and fairly. When you don’t like a book, you don’t bash the author. You don’t have to sugarcoat things, but you’re still respectful.
- You have good interaction with your readers (people comment on your blog and you reply back).
Again, this isn’t a firm set of rules; these are guidelines that I estimated and put together. Different publishers have different priorities. Some focus solely on page view numbers and follower reach, while others care more about the quality of your reviews.
And, of course, there are exceptions to every rule. You may only be blogging for 3 months, but you might have made huge strides in the blogging community so publishers send you ARCs. That’s great! Although that is probably the small minority of bloggers.
The important thing to understand is that ARCs are not free to make. They cost more to produce than finished books do (since they are purchased in smaller quantities). Don’t be mad if a publisher doesn’t send you ARCs, because at the end of the day, ARCs are for marketing. They are spending money on making these books, and they need to send them to places that will help with their marketing campaigns. That’s why they usually go to more popular blogs.
How do I get in touch with publishers?
I have compiled a list of publisher e-mail addresses you can use. This information is freely available online by Googling the publisher and finding their publicity contacts. These are not my personal contacts. If you get a reply back from the publisher, it will be from a person’s e-mail address (instead of firstname.lastname@example.org it will be email@example.com)—that is your contact, and that’s not an e-mail address you want to share with people out of respect for that publisher.
Everything I post here can be found publicly online, I just compiled it in one easy-to-find place.
- HarperCollins: Sandee.Roston@harpercollins.com
- Macmillan: All imprint contacts are listed here. Or, here’s a select few from that list:
- PenguinTeen: Fill out this form
- Scholastic: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spencer Hill Press: Fill out this form on their website.
Looking for another publisher?
If the publisher you’re interested in isn’t listed here, go to their website and look for a “Contact Us” page. They usually have a list of contacts and you’re looking for the “Publicity” e-mail address!
What do I say in the e-mail?
Remember, when you request an ARC you are basically asking the publisher to make an investment in you. They send you a book for free (which costs them money to make and ship), and in exchange they’re hoping to receive publicity for their book. So make sure you be polite, be courteous, and give them the facts.
Essential Information to Include
- Your name
- The name of your blog
- Your blog’s URL
- The genres you read/review
- What book title(s) you are interested in
- Any extra information about the books (Did you read the first one in the series? If so, link to the review. Did you feature the book in a Waiting on Wednesday post? If so, link to the post.)
- Statistics about your page views and follower counts
- Your full shipping address
I do not recommend that you copy this directly, just because I think it’s a bit lame to use someone else’s words in your e-mail. But this gives you a good idea of what format you should use in your e-mails!
My name is Ashley and I own a book blog called Nose Graze ( https://www.nosegraze.com ). I would love the opportunity to receive the following books to read and review on my blog:
- The Elite by Kiera Cass
- Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
I regularly review dystopian, contemporary, sci-fi, and romance books on my blog, and I feel that the above two would be a perfect fit! I read and loved The Selection and you can read my review of it here. I also featured The Elite in a Waiting on Wednesday post!.
Here’s some more information about my blog’s statistics:
- 4,500 unique visitors per month
- 450 page views per day
- 650 e-mail/RSS subscribers
- 1500 Twitter followers
- 845 Facebook fans
- All of my reviews get posted on my blog, Amazon, Goodreads, and also get advertised on my Twitter/Facebook accounts.
Just in case, here is my shipping address:
Thanks so much for your consideration!
What happens now?
A Sometimes the publisher will e-mail you back to say that the ARC is on its way (or that they have none left, etc.).
B Other times, they might never reply to you but you will eventually get the ARC in the mail! Publishers receive hundreds of e-mails a day and they don’t always have time to reply.
C Or, they might not reply, and you might not get an ARC either. The publisher might decide to not send you the ARC because you don’t have enough followers, or because there are none left, or for any other reason. If this happens, don’t despair! Spend a few more weeks working on growing and improving your blog and then try again.
After you start sending in requests, the publisher might decide to put you on their mailing list! This means they might start sending you ARCs that you haven’t even requested! You don’t necessarily have to review these, but it is nice if you give them a chance! The publishers just send you books they feel you might be interested in. However, if you do request a book, please do review it. If you specifically request a book but do not review it then you are wasting the publisher’s time and money!
Let’s wrap things up
Just to summarize what we’ve gone over so far:
- It costs publishers money to make physical ARCs and to ship them out. Don’t feel like you’re “entitled” to them. They are a privilege and a marketing tool. Publishers send them out to create buzz, hype, and to get the word out about their titles.
- Don’t e-mail publishers until your blog is established.
- When you e-mail publishers, always include plenty of information about your blog, your statistics, and include your shipping address!
- Don’t spam publishers with more e-mails if you don’t hear back.
- Read and review the books you request. Don’t waste publishers’ time and money by requesting books and not reviewing them.
That being said, good luck, have fun, and enjoy the ARCs! Remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get approved for physical review copies. There are still sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss, and they usually have plenty of review copies available!