Please note the first part of this post is not serious in any way. Actually useful tips are at the bottom :)
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that ARCs are needed to become a Big Blogger. Every successful bookworm sleeps on a pile of the hottest ARCs, sent especially to them from publishers. Little under-bloggers scrabble at their feet for the honour of glimpsing into the ARC pages.
It can takes years for a little blogger’s magnificence to be acknowledged and their own ARC pile established. But with these quick and easy steps, I can help you get ahead of the game and overthrow the current successful bloggers.
Do your research
Research is important for anything in life. The more knowledge you gain, the better prepared you will be, and so the more success you are sure to have. Failure is much more likely if you just go in flying by the seat of your pants. Luck is a myth.
Collect the supplies
Always be prepared. Always. It will save you so much time in the future if you plan ahead. Develop a draft plan, buy what you think you need, and have it ready. More stuff can be bought as you further develop the idea.
Stake out the location
You need to know your target inside and out. Patterns, access, surroundings. Figure out the weak points of your plan, opportunities and weaknesses you didn’t realise. Take everything you learn from watching and turn it into a solid idea.
Develop your kidnapping plan
This is where all your research pays off. You already have an idea of who to get your hands on, and your stake out has given you ideas for where, when, and hopefully how. Now just put it all together and come up with the plan.
Prepare the ransom note
Don’t forget the end goal! I know kidnapping people and pets is fun and all, but there is always a reason! Our reason is ARCs. The hostage is your leverage, but you need to clearly state what ARCs you want and when to ensure the plan is an overall success. There’s no fun giving the hostage back for money just to buy already released books.
Enact the plan!
Everything is ready! Go forth and collect your bookish riches and gloat to the peasants who don’t have the precious ARCs.
In case you missed the memo before, This Is Not a Serious Post. Don’t actually go kidnapping publicists to get your hands on coveted ARCs. There are plenty of legal ways to go about it!
First things first, ARCs are not the be all end all of book blogging. Sure they can be a nice bonus, but you don’t need to receive ARCs to have a successful book blog. It’s great to see thoughts on anticipated releases, but I for one love seeing reviews of older books I missed when they were released!
Saying that, this post is about how you can go about getting ARCs so some actually useful tips:
eARCs (Netgalley, Edelweiss)
Netgalley was the place I first when for review copies. It’s very easy to use and request books. And there are so many on there! It’s a particularly good site for finding self published releases, and there are some great reads in the “Read Now” section. The only downside is that it is so easy to go on a requesting binge, and before you know it you’re drowning in eARCs. I’m still trying to catch up to books I requested 3+ years ago.
Edelweiss is a bit better for controlling the requesting binges. When you have to request a book, you have to give a reason for it. It’s almost like emailing a publicist, but you’re doing it through a third party website. It is also less user friendly than Netgalley in my opinion and can take a while to figure it out.
#BooksforTrade and Giveaways
My first ever physical ARC (SEIGE & STORM) came from a giveaway! It was the best. I don’t always see these that often but they do pop up every now and then. And it’s always worth entering because you’ll never know what you’ll win!
Recently I’ve seen more ARCs in #BooksforTrades on twitter. Normally people are trying to swap them for a more coveted book. If you’re lucky enough to own a book they want (and you’re willing to give it up), you can get some good books through trades. I’ve never participated in these because I’m a book hoarder, but I know a lot of people who’ve scored well.
The last option is requesting ARCs from the publisher/ author directly. I haven’t done this all that often because I am super self conscious and awkward and anxious. I think I’ve emailed maybe one or two publishes to ask to be added to their blogger database (one was in response to them saying “hey bloggers come hither”. The other I emailed because I wanted to be added but I’ve never gotten an reply, nor have I been added to a list to receive catalogues). It’s terrifying okay.
You don’t always have to send an email. Sometimes you might get lucky and have a publisher or author come to you with a review request. It’s so great when that happens! Self published authors in particular will send you review requests. In all my years of blogging I think maybe two publishers have emailed me asking if I wanted to read a book/ be added to their list. Authors though I’ve lost count of (unfortunately I’m turning a lot of these down at the moment because of lack of time).
Anyway, onto requesting ARCs. There are a few more strict guidelines I’d suggest following before you contact a publisher asking for a physical ARC:
- Have a search to see if there are requirements/ guidelines.
Some publishers have requirements that need to be fulfilled before they send a blogger ARCs, or maybe they have a preferred method for request submissions. You’re much more likely to be approved and sent an ARC if you follow their rules and guidelines. These can usually be found on a media page.
- Be blogging for at least 6 months.
There is no rule saying you have to have any blogging experience before requesting, but tbh it looks a lot better if you have an established readership. Only limited ARCs are printed for each book, and publishers are going to prioritise bloggers with an established readership, especially if it’s a highly coveted ARC
- Know what book you want and request it a month or more before the release date.
Publisher catalogues can be hard to find, but they exist. Have a look at the books coming out and request something from the latest catalogues. Publishers usually send out ARCs months in advance, so if you request something immediately before its release there is a chance you missed the sending date.
- Start with a less popular book.
Again, there’s no reason you have to follow this but I personally would feel so awkward if the very first book I request is a super popular one everyone is after. It just feels greedy. There’s nothing wrong with it, but my personal opinion is help share their less well known books first and they’ll appreciate it.
- Don’t request a tonne at once.
Again, it can look greedy if you’re requesting like 10 books at a time. Sure you might be truly interested, but if it’s your first time requesting from them I feel like starting with 1-2 book requests as feelers are better.
- Have a reason why.
I always think it’s nice to give the publisher a reason why you want the book. You love the author, you’re really intrigued by the concept, you loved the previous books in the series. ARCs don’t exist just for you to get your hands on free books. They’re a marketing resource for the publisher and expensive to make.
Want some more tips? Check out these useful posts:
- How to Receive Physical ARCS – Information & Good Practices @ NoseGraze
- A Book Blogger’s Guide to Requesting Review Copies @ Parchment Girl
- How to Get ARCs: A Step-by-Step Guide @ Small Review
- All You Need to Know About Publishers, ARCs, and Etiquette @ Book Nerd
- A Book Blogger’s Guide To: ARCs @ Bookish Serendipity