So if you’re like me, you’ve been eyeing several books coming out later this year, and thought, “I would literally do anything to get my hands on this early.” And the good news is, if you have a blog, booktube, bookstagram, or take part in any bookish social media, you probably can! I’m sure many of you reading this post are familiar with ARCs, or advanced readers copies. However, you might be confused on what they are, or how you can get them. I’m going to do my best to dissect this in the best way possible, so that you can learn from my mistakes and get some ARCs of your own!
First of all, let’s take a look at what ARCs really are. They are copies of books given from publishers to people, as part of a marketing campaign to promote hype and excitement over a new release. These can be in a physical or digital form, but with the rise of COVID-19, most ARCs are now digital (aka e-arcs). Since these books are distributed so much earlier than the release date, they often differ from the final copy, though very slightly. In exchange for receiving these ARCs, publishers usually ask for a review in return, on varying platforms.
Now that you know what an ARC is, let’s jump into the fun part! I’ll be covering details on how to receive ARCs on three major platforms. If you’d like to hop to a specific section, just use Ctrl + F or find on whatever device you’re on and search for any of the following topics:
- “1. Netgalley”
- “2. Edelweiss”
- “3. Emailing Publishers”
- “4. Book Tour Groups”
Hopefully that will help you navigate this post! Now, let’s move onto Netgalley, the first topic I’ll be covering.
NetGalley is the #1 easiest way to receive ARCs, mainly due to the fact that they’re in a digital format. Most of the books on here can be downloaded onto your Kindle or electronic device. The reason why this is so much easier to receive is that it significantly reduces the cost for publishers. They do not need to pay to produce the physical ARC and ship it around the world.
To join NetGalley, head on over to netgalley.com and create an account. To do this, scroll down a little and hit “become a member.”
Afterwards, you just put in a little information, verify your e-mail address, and you’ve made your account! It is super easy, and anyone can join.
Afterwards, you should go to your profile and fill it out. To do this, log in, and hit your name on the top right corner of the screen, right next to “sign out” and “help.” You should be able to edit your entire account this way, and you totally should! This greatly increases your chances of getting an ARC, because publishers will be familiar with the ways that you may choose to promote their book. I mean, if you needed to promote something and had the option between someone with a blank profile and someone with a fully detailed profile, it’s pretty obvious what the choice would be!
Connect all of the websites or social media accounts you own, since publishers may choose to review them in order to determine if they want to grant you an ARC. I personally have my Instagram, Goodreads, and blog linked there, as those are my main platforms for posting about books and leaving book reviews. It doesn’t hurt to connect every platform you talk on, and it can only help you! Though make sure to attach your primary platform where it says “my primary blog/site!”
You should also add information about yourself in your bio. This is where I talk about why I’d like these ARCs, where I’m posting these reviews, and my statistics. I feel like these three are the most important elements that give a brief overview of myself, but feel free to add anything else you think seems relevant! To clear it up a little, here is a look at my bio:
Hello! My name is Allison and I am a huge fan of reading! I review all of the books I read, and I cross-post my reviews to both Goodreads and my blog. On my blog, I receive around X views monthly. In addition to those two, I promote these blog posts on my Instagram. I have over Y followers with an average of Z likes/Y Comments per photo. Thank you for considering me!
I opted for a short and to the point biography. In the beginning, I opened it up with a short introduction. Afterwards, I discussed where I would post the reviews for the books I read. Finally at the end, I talked about some of my blog and Instagram statistics, and thanked the publisher for their consideration.
I feel that this method gives the publisher the clearest view of who you are as an “influencer,” and how granting you this book would benefit their marketing campaign. After all, this is an investment for them, and unfortunately, this is a place where this stuff does matter! In fact, if you’re looking to grow your Instagram and widen your reach, I have a guide right here that I posted a few days ago.
And after you finish completing your bio, it’s time to find some ARCs you want to request! Please do not go overboard with this though! NetGalley is the easiest way to request ARCs, but sometimes, this can backfire on you. There was a time where I went insane on requesting these things (literally 20-30 books, no joke it was insane), and I requested WAY too many books that I wasn’t going to read. I was so obsessed with the idea of getting an ARC and their elusiveness, that I requested so many books that I shouldn’t have requested in the first place. In the end, I struggled to meet the deadlines on reviewing these books, and reading them in the first place, since I wasn’t totally set on many of them. I’m a total mood-reader, and it was miserable (and definitely ruined my enjoyment on some of them).
Don’t be like me. Only request books you are excited for, and want to read. It isn’t fair to the yourself or the publisher to request books you simply don’t care about. Now, I’ll only request around 2-3 books a month, and I’m happy with that. I only request books that grasp my attention in the first few sentences, and it’s made for some more satisfying reads overall. Since it’s been a really slow year for me, it’s allowed me to read some interesting titles, while also getting to some books on my back-list!
Now that you’ve gotten my warning, it’s time to find some of your new favorite books! To find these books, simply hit “find titles” on the upper bar, and a ton of books will show up!
There are a ton of options and the left-hand bar will show you a lot of different book categories. Among these are “auto-approvals,” which you may not know about. Basically, if a publisher thinks that you would be a great asset to their outreach campaign, they will auto-approve you for every single book by them. This is pretty rare, and I wouldn’t count on it happening to you (it hasn’t happened to me either lol) but it’s nice to know that it can happen!
Now going back to the topic at hand, Netgalley has so many amazing categories and books available. You will truly find something you’re interested in here, and I advise you to just scroll through and explore a bit! Once you find a title that you’re interested in though, hit the title, hit request, and this screen will pop up!
I honestly just click each box, because usually books I request fit all of boxes on there! I feel like it also shows that I’m invested in the book, but I don’t think it matters that much. You can then hit “send request” and your request will go through! The time it takes for publishers to accept or deny your request varies, and it can be as fast as a day, or as slow as a couple of weeks. There were definitely times where I’ve gotten accepted/denied and literally forgot I requested the book, since I’ll get updated weeks later.
If you go to the upper bar again and hit your shelf, all of the titles you’re accepted for will appear. Additionally, you should receive an email if you are accepted or denied for anything. If you don’t get an email, it usually means that the publisher hasn’t made a decision yet. You will get emails no matter if you are accepted or denied, as long as the publisher made a decision (which was definitely disappointing at first, because I thought that you only get emails for acceptances).
When you’re accepted for a title, you can hit the title name and send it to your Kindle, or download the book as an EPUB. Make sure to give feedback after you read though before the publication date! It’s mostly self-explanatory, and you can do it by hitting “give feedback” on the page of the book or on Your Shelf. I also post the reviews on my Goodreads/blog to stay true to the biography I’ve written.
And that’s it for NetGalley! It’s super easy, and my favorite place for requesting e-arcs.
Edelweiss is VERY similar to NetGalley, but it is harder to score e-arcs on there. It’s much less lenient, and I’d suggest NetGalley over it. However, there are some books that are on Edelweiss, so it never hurts to check it out. I recently got denied for Blood and Honey, which was very depressing (totally not the reason why I like Netgalley over Edelweiss). The link is here though, and I’m going to take you through it a bit!
As always, we need to start with creating an account. When you’re on this screen, hit create a free account, and enter in all of your information. You’ll need to verify your email address, and once you do so, your account is all created!
The layout of this one can be a bit confusing, but it’s something that you’ll eventually get used to. Like Netgalley, we’ll need to update our profile. Hit your name right next to the toolbar with the tools, smiley face, and bell, and it’ll take you to your profile. You will need to add in all of your information in the “basic information” part of screen.
Once there, you should be able to add in your links first. Hit the pencil icon, and you should be able to add in a wide variety of links. Literally enter everything you have, because nothing will hurt you. There isn’t any section to link your Instagram to (which I find quite sad), so I personally attach the link in my profile bio, which I’ll get to in just a little bit.
After that, hit the save icon in the bottom right corner, and you’re all set for links! But, we still need to fill out our bio! There’s a section for you to enter in whatever you want at the bottom hand of the screen. I’d just advise you to write something similar to what we did for NetGalley! I basically copy & pasted everything, but attached my Instagram link in addition to that, since I couldn’t attach it anywhere else.
And after that, we are done with our profile! Make sure to save everything, and it’s time to find a book you want to request! To do this, hit “review copies” on this bar at the top of the page.
As I’m writing this, there are over 5,000 books on here, so obviously a lot of choices. That’s why we get to do the honors of sorting everything out! If you already know a book you want, you can try typing it out on top, but I usually sort by a category to find something interesting. I like sorting by category, but you can also sort by publication date, format, and language!
If you see something you like, hit request, type in a blurb about why you want to read it, and then you’re done! Like NetGalley, it’s now just a waiting game. I know I didn’t elaborate as much as NetGalley on this one, but there are so many overlaps, that it would totally have been repetitive. Both websites are very comparable, and a lot of the advice I have overlaps between the two!
3. Emailing Publishers
Okay, so this is your MAIN WAY to receive physical ARCs (though many publishers are still offering e-arcs with this method). This involves reaching out to the publicity departments of the publishing houses and directly asking for copies of a book you want.
In this, you should first identify a book you might want to read. This is so that you can ask the publishing houses directly for an ARC of that book. Once you’ve found a book that interests you, email them! I’ve attached a few of the popular ones, but they’re super easy to find any I haven’t included. Just look up “____ publicity” and some type of contact information will show up 90% of the time. Many of these emails are specific for the exact book imprint, so make sure you’ve checked up on that! For those of you who are unaware, each publishing house has many imprints that focus on specific genres or types of book. You can usually find this book-specific information on sites like Goodreads.
PRH Imprints: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/media-queries/
Macmillan Imprints: https://us.macmillan.com/about/contact
HarperCollins Imprints: https://www.harpercollins.com/corporate/media/publicity-contacts/
Simon and Schuster Imprints: http://about.simonandschuster.biz/media-contacts/
Hachette Imprints: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/press-publicity/
Once you’ve found the email address that corresponds to the imprint of the book you want, it’s time to draft an email up! I personally like to go into a little more detail with this compared to Netgalley or Edelweiss, since it is much more specific and targeted. Since I don’t want you all copying a bland form, here’s a few details I would include, and it’s up to you to spin it your way!
I. Include a brief introduction
This just means saying “hi” and introducing yourself! Talk about your name, love of reading, what genres you love, and a little bit about yourself. Remember, there’s another person on the other side of the email! You want to seem friendly, enthusiastic, and excited! You just want to appear as a good, positive person. I wouldn’t write more than a couple sentences for this, and it should remain quite brief.
II. Talk about why you’re interested in the ARC
Why do you even want this in the first place? Does the title interest you? The synopsis? Have you read the first book and desperately need to know what happens in the sequel? You want to seem genuinely interested in the book here! Obviously, don’t go totally in detail for paragraphs, but you definitely want a couple of sentences on why the book interests you so much. Remember, this is an investment for the publishing house, and they want to give ARCs to people who will enjoy the book!
III. Talk about where you’re active
Give a couple sentences here on which platforms you’re on! You can talk about where you mainly post on, and what type of content you post. I like giving a brief description on what I do on my Goodreads, blog, and Instagram here.
IV. Talk about your statistics and include links
Here’s the good stuff. Talk about all your statistics for all the platforms you just listed! For Goodreads, I might talk about the amount of friends I have or the amount of likes I get per review. For a blog or Instagram, I might talk about my pageviews, followers, likes, or comments. For Twitter, I might talk about my followers and likes. For Booktube, I might talk about my subscribers, views, and likes. A lot of these statistics are “obvious” and it’s on you to include what makes sense. It’s important to include these statistics to make the decision easier on them! You also want to include links to these platforms so that they can check it out for themselves!
V. Include your Mailing Address
Make sure to include your mailing address! Once again, you’re trying to make it easy on the person you’re emailing. If you include it here, they will not need to send a response to you asking for it. It is much more efficient, and what I personally do for all my ARC requests.
And that’s it! Send in your email and wait for a response. Though please know that you won’t get a response all the time! Most of the time, you will only get a response if they have accepted your ARC request. However, I have also heard of some cases where publishers will send ARCs without notifying you via email, so be on the lookout in both your email and real mail!
Special note: If you’re looking forward to receiving notices and opportunities for upcoming ARCs from Penguin Random House’s Teen imprint, they have an influencer database that you can apply to. If accepted, you will receive an email almost every month with potential opportunities, as well as access to a Google Form where you can request ARCs quarterly. I’m a part of it, and I can say that it’s a really great opportunity if you are a fan of books from PRH and are interested in requesting ARCs from them on an ongoing basis.
You can find information on the first bullet of this page right here: http://www.penguinteen.com/faq/
4. Book Tour Groups
This is one I don’t see too often, but is just as valid as the others! It is mainly for bloggers and bookstagrammers, and similarly gives access to ARCs in exchange for a photo taken or a review. However, these are usually focused on a very specific set of dates, which leaves for much less flexibility. Additionally, they only operate a few tours at any given time, meaning that there will be less ARC choices. However, because there are many tour groups available, you can usually find something you’re interested in! Please note that there might be a greater barrier to entry for these tour groups, especially if requesting a popular book, or using a popular tour group. This is due to the sheer amount of popular bloggers and bookstagrammers that sign up for them.
Here are a few of the ones I’m aware of, but there are plenty others that aren’t on this list! If you know of any good ones, let me know and I’ll add it to this list!
The former two are hosted on their website, while the latter three require you to go into their link in bio and complete various Google forms. For the most part, they will ask for your name, Instagram/blog handle, and a coupe of your statistics.
And I think that’s it for this post! i”m pretty sure I covered most of the methods to getting ARCs, though please let me know if I missed any. as always, feel free to ask me any questions you may have, and I’ll be happy to answer them for you! Tell me if these tips helped you as well!
Happy reading and ARC hunting!