When It’s Okay to Start Requesting ARCs from Publishers

At what point in your blogging career is is appropriate to email a publisher about ARCs. I have used NetGalley for reviews as a smaller blog. But now that my blog had grown I was wondering when was a good time. Thank you! šŸ™‚

Amber

Hi Amber!

The very vague, general rule is that you should wait until you’ve been blogging for six months before requesting Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) from publishers. However, it’s also important to realize that there are exceptions to every rule. šŸ˜‰

Some bloggers make incredible progress with their posts and followers after even 3-4 months. For others, they may not have progressed very far even after six months.

What publishers look for

Ultimately, I don’t think publishers care a ton about when you started blogging. Of course, eyebrows might be raised if you start requesting them after only a week or two. But once you’ve proven that you’ve been around for a little while, publishers focus more on these other factors:

  • Consistency. They like to see that you post fairly often. This shows that you’re serious about your blog and put a lot of effort into it.
  • Engagement. They look at how many comments your posts get and how often you interact with your readers.
  • Relevance. Publishers often say that when handing out ARCs they look for blogs that make a good fit. For example, if you mostly review sci-fi books and most of your readers love sci-fi, then you request a contemporary romance, you might not get approved. The publisher might prefer that the ARC goes to a blogger that focuses more on contemporary romance. Or sometimes it might just be about the general ‘vibe’ of the blog. Does it seem like a good fit for that publisher or that specific book?
  • Reach. Ultimately, ARCs exist to help market books. That means sending them to places that will generate buzz, hype, and sales. This means page views, follower numbers, email subscribers, and comment numbers.

Everyone progresses at a different pace

Blogs don’t progress at the same rate. One blogger may have 500 followers and thousands of comments after only three months of blogging. Another blogger may have only 300 followers and a few hundred comments after nine months of blogging.

So although the six month ‘rule’ does exist, it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. Ultimately you have to look at your own blog and make a judgement call. Do you have a decent following? Do you update your blog frequently? Do you have active engagement on your posts?

Even if you’re not sure, you can still send a request. The worst thing that will happen is that they say no. If that happens, wait a few more weeks/months and then try again. šŸ™‚

When did you start requesting ARCs from publishers?

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35 comments

    1. Haha yeah that’s nice. šŸ™‚ I don’t even request physical ARCs anymore, I just read eARCs from NetGalley and Edelweiss.

      1. I am starting to get this way. I don’t have many “relationships” as it is, but it seems that there have been changes, like one leaving, and the information isn’t forthcoming or not updated. If I am SENT one, awesome lol

  1. I started at around 6 months. I know of two pubs that wanted 1 year under my belt – and once that happened, they were happy to send copies. I have had one ask how many comments I get, per month, before sending a book I had requested.

    But like I said in my other comment, I am not requesting physicals ARCs anymore. šŸ˜›

  2. I’ve been blogging for years. I never tried to get ARC’s from publishers. I have gotten several books directly from the authors though but I don’t believe they were ARC’s. I just do my thing and every once in awhile an author will contact me. I don’t think I’d like to be under all the pressure to read and get reviews out by a certain time etc. I like going my own pace. It would be awesome to get books early and read them, but with that comes a lot of extra responsibility that I’m not sure I have time for.

  3. This is so helpful Ashley! Even though I’ve been blogging for over a year now, I still haven’t requested any physical ARCs and just stick with NetGalley instead. I’d rather focus on trying Edelweiss before anything else. I’ve just always found that I come up with the question: “what do I do with the ARCs once I’m finished?” I have so little space anyway for my finished copies that having an ARC would just take up too much room on my shelves. Ebooks are just easier for me, and if I like the book enough I’d rather go out and buy a finished copy! But it’s always nice to know some general guidelines; thanks šŸ˜€

    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted: Weekly Update #39 (August 10) – The Unexpected Haul
  4. Thank you for answering my question! šŸ˜€ My co-blogger and I decided we were going to wait until the beginning of 2015 and our blog growth before we decide if we want to request physical ARCs or not. Thank you for the advice it is really helpful! šŸ˜€

  5. My first request.. I believe it was around 6 months and it was declined. I’m an international blogger, so it’s harder to find a publisher willing to send an ARC. They said they had strict requirements from int bloggers, so I still wasn’t big enough at that time. But now I’ve made two contacts (and I had one with Strange Chemistry, but unfortunately they quit šŸ™ they had such good books) and I’m thrilled with that šŸ™‚ I like to keep it small.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Fairytale News 40. Do you comment on older posts?
  6. Now this might sound incredibly stupid on my part, but I didn’t even know you could just contact a publisher and request a book out of the blue! Well, I knew it was possible, but I would never ever dare to do so myself. For some reason publishers seem unapproachable to me. I was living with the impression that if they want you to review their book, they will find you and contact you. No need to bombard them with emails whenever you want to review one of their books. I work in publishing myself, and there is nothing more annoying than fighting the email war. Also, I would never know who to contact and how not to sound incredibly lost.

    I think I received my first eARC a few weeks after I started blogging. I had a tiny following (still do) and it was an indie author, but I was still thrilled.
    A few months into blogging I decided it was time to sign up at Netgalley. Everybody seemed to be getting books to review from there so I thought, and why the heck not? Every book I requested I was approved for (even though, might I mention again, my following was non-existent – probably around 40 at the time). By now, I am no longer a big fan of Netgalley. Many of the books sound great in the description, but once you start reading them, I’m almost always disappointed.
    Soon after, Little, Brown Publishers contacted me and asked me if I would like to start reviewing books for them. They gave me a link to their catalog and they told me to pick whatever I’d like. About once a week a Press Officer contacts me with ARC offers they think I might be interested in. Since then, that is the only way I “request” ARCs. They even ship the books to Germany. Recently they also started first sending me the books and then asking if I’d be up to reviewing them. Which kind of sucks because I sometimes feel pressured into reading and reviewing books, which I usually wouldn’t, but they seem understanding when I say that I really don’t “feel” the book and thus won’t review it. They even still let me keep them!

    But it is a lot of pressure and after having read a few similar posts I have come to the conclusion that something is definitely not right here. Maybe they have me confused with another blog? Maybe they think I have a wider reach than I actually do? They never even asked for any details regarding my followers etc. After having read so many posts and comments about people really having to try multiple times to receive certain ARCs I feel more and more that this was all a lucky mistake. šŸ™‚

    Karolina@ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted: Top Ten Books Iā€™m Not Sure I Want to Read
    1. You never know! Highly unlikely they have you confused with someone else. I would say once you have some time under your belt with Little, Brown, start requesting whatever you want! Refer to that relationship. They picked you for a reason!

  7. What a useful post, Ashley! I had nothing like to go on and so just kind of jumped in- sort of. I had written reviews for Library Journal for two years and so, although my blog was new, I was able to leverage my old connections. Still, I did not request ARCs until I had fulfilled a number of the items you list- consistency (I post 3 times a week and still do) and relevancy. It’s been over two years now and thanks to other outlets (BEA and ALA) I don’t request as much as I used to.

    One more thing I would add? If you do get an ARC and you review the book- let the publisher know. Send them a link to your review! It’s the best way to keep yourself on their radar and build your brand.

    Catherine recently posted: The Story Hour
  8. Good post! I waited until I hit about the year mark because I was a little slower to gain followers, and because I was so. scared. to send out that first email! I got back such a sweet, bubbly, positive response that I’ve been a lot more brave since (hello, it’s just an email!). I’m not sure what I thought would happen. My blog would implode? It’s funny how much emotion we attach to those big blogger steps!

    Anyway, good info. Seems like I had to search about 6 different places to get a feel for whether or not I was “ready.”

  9. Hi Ashley,
    I found this very helpful, it made me question my own blog. Unfortunately my blog is one of those that is making small progress after almost a year of blogging. In a reading slump at the moment, so I won’t request anything. Also, I want to make sure I am consistent with everything like blogging, comments etc but I also want to gain more following before I do that as I am sure that is the reason they will say no.

  10. I know what you mean! I’ve been blogging for almost a year (granted, I’ve only been super serious about it since January) and I have 56 followers. I’m counting June as the “6 month mark” but I’m definitely slow growing and it’s frustrating that I have to wait to request books because I clearly won’t get any. I had a fellow blogger who, at 6 months, had 400 followers and was receiving Arcs left and right! She disappeared soon after and I have no idea where she went. I’m just really frustrated at how few followers I’m getting even though I post pretty consistently (about 4-7 times a week) and reply to most comments I receive, any advice?

    1. To get more followers you really have to get outside your own blog. Just posting on your own blog or replying to comments on your own blog doesn’t get you very far. You have to get out there in the blogosphere, meet new people, and form connections/relationships.

      For example:

      – Get on social media
      – Join Facebook groups
      – Participate in Twitter chats
      – Comment on other peoples’ blogs
      – Post your reviews on Goodreads (with a link back to your site)

  11. Ironically, I received my first ARCs — note the use of the word received — before I ever started book blogging on anything other than GoodReads. This happened two ways. I’d gotten back into GoodReads through a variety of factors mostly including just reading more, and attended BookCon that one lonely year it was in Chicago, because The Raven King was about to come out and I was super excited to see Maggie Stiefvater (not to mention hosts of other people) in my hometown! I was, to state it mildly, overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the sheer number of publishers handing out free ARCs there and the number of book bloggers, bookTubers etc that I ran into. After that, I discovered NetGalley, started beta reading for Riptide Books, and now BookishFirst. I’ve never requested an ARC specifically from a publisher in writing, but I have requested ARCs from those types of venues that cater to individual readers.

    It’s getting more comfortable with these types of venues that’s really made me want to get into book blogging and think that I could do it. I’ve actually just created my first book blog – it’s still an absolute newborn. I definitely want to thank you for this blog and your coding tips! It’s invaluable and I’m sure I’ll be back here a lot on my journey. (PS: I know my about page needs work but I’m linking to it so you can be brutal if you feel inspired to be, haha.)

    Faye recently posted: Hello world!
    1. Congratulations on your new blog Faye! That’s very exciting. šŸ™‚

      I went to that con in Chicago too! I only went for the BookExpo America days though – not BookCon, so I guess we just missed each other!

  12. Thank you for the information! That was exactly my question; how do they actually judge my blog as the one of “influence” as they call it. Now I know it’s too early to bug them now. Good that there are so many other books to read šŸ™‚ You will probably be surprised to get a comment on a 4-year-old post. The post is very useful today too! šŸ™‚

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