If you’re new to book blogging or bookstagram (Instagram mainly used for books) you may be wondering how bloggers are getting access to Advanced Reviewer Copies aka ARCs.
After posting my recent blog post about starting bookstagramming, a lot of friends were asking me how to email publishers and what I include in e-mails to publishers. I am by no means an expert, but thought I’d share my process with you – and hope that it helps! Here are a few follow up questions I had from that post and an example of an e-mail template!
How do you access ARCs?
There are various different ways to access ARCs. Possibly one of the best or easiest ways to get access to ARCs are digitally via NetGalley.
NetGalley is free to sign up and it is a great way to request and download thousands of books across many different genres. NetGalley was discussed in a previous post and you can read about it here if you’d like: How To Start Your Own Bookstagram
On some occasions book bloggers will also have access to physical ARCs. When I first started my bookstagramming/book blogging journey, I knew that bloggers could get access to e-ARCs via NetGalley, but I didn’t even know that publishing houses would send physical ARCs to book bloggers too!
Of course physical books look nice and take better pictures, but it isn’t always easy to acquire physical them. More time and therefore more money goes into producing a physical ARC. A lot of times these physical galleys are also limited and therefore publishers and publicists have a very limited reach on who has access to them.
How can I increase my chance of getting approval of ARCs?
Your best chances of getting approved of any kind of ARC, whether that’s an e-ARC or a physical ARC is if you try to cultivate a relationship with the publisher. Building relationships take time and the more time you put into a relationship, the higher your chances are of receiving an ARC you really want to read. Publishers like to see that you have been consistent with leaving reviews across social media and that you are active on your account.
As a book blogger/bookstagrammer/influencer you are providing publicity for a book and generating buzz! What are you doing that will help the publisher in getting other reviewers/book readers to pick up the book? These are the statistics/information that you should be adding into your e-mail request!
Your analytics and numbers as they relate to your blog or bookstagram are important, but so is how you showcase the ARC. As a book blogger, you are providing publicity for a book that you are reading. Are you leaving your reviews on as many platforms as possible ie: Blog, GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookBub? If not, then you should probably start doing that and sending review links to publishers/publicists once you’ve done so!
How long have you been book blogging? The longer that you have been blogging and the stronger your relationship with a publisher – the chances of you getting access to ARCs is typically higher.
What to include in an e-mail request to the publisher for an ARC?
Okay, so you’ve been doing this a while and have been consistent and actively book blogging. You’re ready to e-mail a publisher and ask for an ARC. What’s your next step?
I always start with finding out what the publicity e-mail is for the publishing house. There are many different e-mails and usually different e-mails for different imprints. So try to find out what imprint is publishing the book and then look for that e-mail address.
If you google “how to request an ARC” there are so many great and wonderful articles that are out there. I will leave you an example of what I generally put in my e-mails and you can add or take away from it to make it your own! The best part about it is that no two e-mails will be the same.
Example of an e-mail request:
My name is [NAME] and I read and review [GENRE OF BOOKS YOU READ ie Romance, Thrillers, Historical Fiction] on my book blog – [NAME OF YOUR BLOG IF YOU HAVE ONE] as well as on [OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS IE: INSTAGRAM, GOODREADS]
I would like to request a copy of [INSERT BOOK] ISBN [NUMBER]. I have been a fan of [AUTHOR] for a number of years and would love to be given the opportunity to read an ARC of [INSERT BOOK].
>>Insert all relevant statistics from your social media platforms next ie: Blog, Instagram, GoodReads, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media platforms that you may use.
>>Also include links to all of these platforms, so that publishers may verify how active you are on your social media accounts.
If you consider me for this opportunity, my NetGalley email address is [INSERT EMAIL]
My mailing address is as follows: [INSERT YOUR ADDRESS]
Thank you for taking the time to read this email!
A few things to consider
You may at one point be requesting an ARC because it’s a favorite author, or the premise sounds so interesting to you, or you may be an own voices reviewer wanting to read a book that you identify with. Whatever your reasons are – try to incorporate them as much as possible within your e-mail request! This shows a genuine reason for wanting to read a book.
Always try to include as much relevant information as possible. If you prefer to read only physical ARCs and not NetGalley, then omit the NetGalley e-mail. I typically include my mailing address so that the publisher can have it on file.
Play around with your template and see what works best for you. I have formatted mine on many occasions based on how I feel the letter represents me.
The subject line in my e-mail request usually looks like this: [NAME OF BOOK] ARC REQUEST
Try to remember to be courteous and professional. After you’ve sent off your e-mail, you may not ever hear back from the publisher. Publicists are extremely busy and don’t always have a chance to e-mail you back. You may get an approval from NetGalley or the physical book may just end up being delivered to your doorstep.
If you’ve e-mailed the publisher and haven’t heard a response back, try to be patient and not send more than one request. Chances are that the publisher has seen your e-mail and either determined that they will send you the book or that for whatever reason you don’t qualify for a galley at this time.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear anything back or get denied an ARC. Try for another book in a few months when you’ve had a chance to grow your account. Perhaps by that point you will have made more contacts as well.
What to do if you get the ARC you requested?
You have e-mailed the publisher and got a response back and are approved an ARC (yay!) – what are the next steps?
The publisher has taken time to approve you for an ARC (either an e-ARC or a physical ARC), so it would only be professional to read the book before the publishing date and leave reviews for the book.
It’s completely understandable if life happens and you aren’t able to read and review before publishing date, but any buzz that you can generate is usually appreciated.
Some publishers tell you exactly when they’d like for you to post on your social media – typically within a month or a few weeks before the book is published. Others leave it up to you and your discretion.
After reading and reviewing, I find it very important to always e-mail the publisher with review links. A lot of times they can forward these links to the author or use them as publicity for the book.
What happens if you requested an ARC, but it’s not what you expected?
It’s not a great feeling when you’re really excited to read a book you’ve been anticipating and then it’s totally not what you were expecting.
If it’s a book I have requested on NetGalley I will leave my honest feedback. I usually discuss at what point the book stopped working for me and my reason for discontinuing.
If it was a book that the publicist sent you directly, I definitely make it a point to e-mail them back. I inform them why the book wasn’t working for me.
Whatever your reasons – I always try to be upfront and honest. You will not love every single book that you read and that’s okay! Try your best to be professional and courteous when you discuss your reasons for not continuing with a book.
I hope that this post is helpful if you are trying to contact a publisher to request an ARC. Please let me know if you have any tips or if you have any questions!