Acquiring ARCs 101

June 8, 2017 Tutorial 23

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.

i-will-rule

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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.

research

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.

Stake Out

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.

death-note

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.

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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:

Kindle

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.

Requesting ARCs

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.

TBR

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Want some more tips? Check out these useful posts:

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What are your tips for new bloggers when it comes to ARCs?

23 Responses to “Acquiring ARCs 101”

  1. Pamela

    I still have no idea how to get physical ARCs from a publisher aside from being on a list (somewhere???) of teen librarians. I would get some random ones at work, but mostly I just use Edelweiss and NetGalley. Usually there’s only one or two books a year that I’m dying to read that would be worth a physical ARC.

    I really don’t understand the black market ARC thing. I haven’t had enough caffeine this morning to be coherent on the matter, but I honestly just don’t understand outside of people being greedy.
    Pamela recently posted…Infinity Born (with endnotes!)

    • Bec

      I only have a vague idea haha and it still mystifies me!

      I stay out of all the ARC associated drama. People passing on ARCs to give more people the opportunity to read them I get, but selling them is ridiculous. The publishers state they don’t want them sold. It’s so rude to take advantage of people’s desperation/ want of a privileged item

      • Pamela

        Yes, I really appreciate it when I see bloggers trying to get Own Voices titles to marginalized bloggers/readers–that’s really cool. But selling them? Nope. You’ll be able to buy the actual item for far, far less when it actually comes out, AND boosting it on any sales list AND giving the author, you know, money!
        Pamela recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Unexpected Beach Reads

  2. Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    This is such an incredible post (including the initial kidnapping spiel, that made me LOL). I definitely think it takes guts to make up your mind about e-mailing a publisher and going through with it. Rejection can be hard, and when publishers ignore you and leave you hanging, that’s harder, but doing things with research, respect and timeliness always helps. Great post, and I also really love your photos!
    Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks recently posted…Book Haul // Book Expo ’17

    • Bec

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      It takes me a few days to press send on an email to a publisher requesting a book. It’s terrifying! I don’t mind the lack of reply. I just assume I’m not getting it, then it’s a pleasant surprise if the book arrives!

  3. Tyler H. Jolley

    This is a great article! When I was first published it was through a smaller press. They are gold for acquiring arcs, albeit they are from new/lesser known authors. You can usually sign up right on their website or facebook page. :)

    • Bec

      It’s so weird being referred to as “best of” haha. I’m just a mediocre blogger who’s been at it for a long time! ARCs come eventually but, like you said, I don’t get my hopes up that they’ll ever come pouring in.

  4. kris @ lemon-notes

    Omg I laughed so hard at the first chunk of the post! The ransom note OBVIOUSLY has got to be written in death note There is absolutely no other way to go about this!!
    I got approved for my first book on Netgalley a couple weeks ago and I just about lost my mind. I was so shocked! However, I’m still getting through it, and really struggling with it because I don’t really like it. It’s a debut novel too, so that makes me feel even more guilty about not liking it so much.
    Also, I work at a bookstore so I have a few physical ARCs because I’m super lucky that publishers send them to the store. HOWEVER, I don’t see myself actually asking a publisher for one personally any time soon. Not only is my blog a youngin, but talking to business-y people gives me so much anxiety. I’m glad I’m not the only one!
    kris @ lemon-notes recently posted…An Extremely Brief History on Braille | RAMBLING ABOUT BLINDNESS + MY SUPER SECRET SPY PLANS

    • Bec

      Not only do you get ARCs, but it opens up places for coveted publicist jobs ;D

      YAY THAT’S SO EXCITING! Yeah a lot of the books on NG can be hit and miss, with so many small press/ indie publishers on there. There’s no need to feel guilty though. Books are like food, everyone has different tastes, and most publishers understand that.

      Working at a bookstore, you might as well just take advantage of what is sent to your work and review those! Start approaching publishers when your blog is more established and if it’s a very particular/ exciting book you really want.

  5. ShootingStarsMag

    I love that you have to repeat the first part is a joke. LOL You never know with some people though…

    This is all great advice for new bloggers though – and maybe some that just have never sought out ARCs before. It might be hard to win, but entering contests on Goodreads is another way to possibly get an ARC. They mostly just want you to read it and review it on that site. :)

    -Lauren
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…New App that Lets You Try on Clothes at Home

    • Bec

      It can really get awkward when people don’t understand you’re using sarcasm so I have that disclaimer just in case haha

      Thanks! I enter Goodreads giveaways all the time! Have yet to win but I will always enter haha

  6. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    LOL! the first bits really made me laugh :D I remember when ARCs were such a big deal for me and then I went to BEA 3 years in a row, and I’m still drowining in ARCs I will likely never get through the pile D: Now I basically just read whatever hahaha

    Anyway, the more serious part was a really great guide for newer bloggers – I wish I’d found a post like this when I was starting out^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: A Court of Wings & Ruin

    • Bec

      ARCs have always been a big deal, but the hype has definitely died down a bit. I don’t know if that’s because the community is smaller, interests have changed, the fact I’m not spending as much time in the community, or what. BEA still looks like it would have been amazing to go to though! Just for the experience if nothing else.

      Having a list of resources for different things is so useful when you’re starting out and trying to figure out where to go/ how you can do things.

  7. Jen

    Loved this! The first part especially, made me laugh. I definitely agree with the tips below that, I’ve gotten a good amount through giveaways and several as e-ARC’s through NetGalley. I’ve tried Edelweiss, but prefer NetGalley. I’ve also won a few through Goodreads giveaways, but not in awhile, still enter them though lol. As for requesting through publishers, I haven’t yet as my blog is fairly new.
    Jen recently posted…Most Anticipated Reads: July

    • Bec

      EW was good for me because it made me restrict how many I requested haha. For a while I thought Goodreads giveaways were lies because I never won one, but you’re one of the rare success stories hahaha

      • Jen

        I see that lol, maybe should give EW another try down the line… and as for Goodreads I’m still baffled by how they select their winners, but not complaining at all about my wins lol, somehow won two of them last week, but again running dry. I think it’s all luck of the draw.
        Jen recently posted…Infinity

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