Requesting ARCs (or Advance Reader Copies) can be hard, because not only do you need the right contact details, you also need to convince the publisher you are the right person for their book. You need to show them you’re committed, have an audience and that you are interested in the book they’re going to publish. ARCs are distributed, usually, a few months before they are getting published. They are distributed for the purpose of reviewing, and to spread the word about the book. For internationals, it can be even harder to request ARCs due to high shipping costs and restrictions from the publishers.
This post will be part of what I hope will be a series on different aspects of getting ARCs. This first post will be about physical ARCs, there will be a post containing contact info for internationals and further tips and pointers, a post about Netgalley and Edelweiss and probably a post about other ways of getting ARCs (I’m not sure about the specifics yet). Let me know if this is something you’re interested in! This first post, and guide, is written by the amazing Jess from BookendsAndEndings, so definitely check out her blog and give her some love!
Often, the idea of emailing a publisher to ask for an ARC, or even a finished copy, can seem really daunting or intimidating. I’ve been blogging for a year and a half, and successfully receiving review copies for about a year now, and even still I’m sometimes nervous to request a book. Seeing as I do have quite a bit of experience requesting ARCs, today I’ve got some tips and general advice for doing so.
Quick note – the advice I give is generally how I structure my emails, and obviously you might think this structure would work perfectly for you, but equally, you might want to go for something else. Feel free to use this structure in its entirety or mix and match the advice!
First up, before you even start asking the publisher for an email address or writing the email itself, there are some questions you should ask yourself. How committed are you to blogging? Do you know if the publisher takes bloggers who aren’t in their database? Have you been blogging for long enough to be credible? I’m not saying that any of these things should entirely prevent you from applying, but it is worth bearing in mind that if you’ve only been blogging for two weeks, you don’t care about the book that much, and the publisher only sends books to people on their mailing list, then you might not be successful that time around. (Generally, I would say that after six months of blogging, you seem credible, but I asked for ARCs after six weeks just because I thought it was worth a try, and I knew that I was committed.)
Next up, you need to gather the right information so that you look professional in your email. For me, this is usually checking that I’m emailing the right publisher (and, if possible, the right branch – this isn’t always possible, but if you can, go for publicity or marketing), and checking that I have the right publication date. Goodreads often displays the US and UK publication date, so I need to ensure that I refer to the UK date to match the publishers I’m emailing.
At this point, you can start with writing the email. Introduce yourself to start off with, in particular, your blog and what exactly you review, to make it clear that you’re who they’re looking for to promote their book. For example, I would write something along the lines of: “Hi, I’m Jess, a YA book blogger from bookendsandendings.wordpress.com.”
Next up, you need to explain why you want the book. For me, this is usually why the description appeals to me, and what it is about the book that really makes want to read it enough to request an ARC. It’s particularly useful if you’ve already read a book by the same author, and especially if you’ve written other positive reviews of that author’s books which you can link to.
This is when you move on to stats and numbers. I tend to share my most important statistics, which for WordPress are blog followers and blog views, and for Twitter are followers and tweet impressions. Obviously, this is different for everyone, as it depends on what social media you have, and what your strongest platforms are. This is also a good time to add a USP if you have one – for example, I am a Youth Reviewer for a local independent bookshop, so I share all my ARC reviews with them.
Finally, I close off, leaving my mailing address with them (it is generally better to leave your address with them initially, as otherwise, they have to rely to ask for it, and then you have to reply again), and sign off with something along the lines of ‘thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.’
And that’s that! All you can really do from there is wait for a reason or for an ARC in the post. Another word of advice – if you’re applying to be on a blogger database, I would advise doing something similar, but instead of mentioning books and thoughts around a specific author, instead, mention books published by that specific publisher which you’ve loved or are hyped to read. Best of luck with future emailing!
Thank you so much Jess for writing this great post! I hope you found it interesting to read and don’t forget to check out Jess’ blog!