Requesting ARCs 101
There are a ton of these posts out there, but there were a lot of questions that I had to dig around for (how far in advance of the release date should you send your request? What imprints go with which publishing houses?) So, I decided to compile everything I could find into a post for beginning bloggers to use as a resource!
So first things first: what even is an ARC and why are they such a big deal?
ARCs, or Advanced Reader Copies, are basically upcoming books that are printed ahead of the release date for bloggers, librarians, book stores, etc to review before the release date. They are a good way to create a lot of buzz around books, and for the purpose of blogging, get people interested in reading the book!
I know that when I first started blogging about the books I was reading, I thought that only the big book bloggers received ARCs and that you had to be special to receive them. This is definitely not the case! You do not need to be a big, important blogger to receive ARCs, although the amount of followers or readers you have could have an impact on if you are approved or not. But I’ll get into that later.
Some things to keep in mind. Don’t request a book just because it’s popular, so if you aren’t interested in it, don’t request it! Don’t request a ton of books if you know that you won’t have the time to read them or write a review on them. While the main purpose of ARCs is to increase interest, if you are accepted you are not required to actually read it, but it’s a good idea to do so and review it, as that will make that publisher more likely to send you more books in the future!
Different types of ARCs
Most people are familiar with the standard physical copies of ARCs. They usually do not have the finished cover art on them, and because they are sent before the publication date, there is also a chance that there could be edits made between the ARCs and the finished copy. They usually have a sticker or banner somewhere on them that says that it is an Advanced Reader Copy or an Uncorrected Proof Copy, and sometimes say not for sale, like the ones below.
The other common type of ARC is an E-ARC. These are e-book versions of ARCs, and are easier to get because they do not require the publisher to actually print copies of ARCs, so if you are new to blogging and requesting ARCs this may be the way to start! Some good places to start with E-ARCs are through Netgalley (which I have used in the past) or Edelweiss (which I have not used). For both of these, you create your account and fill it out to the best of your ability (remember to keep it fairly professional!) and then you can request ARCs for your kindle, computer, or other device.
Where can I get ARCs?
Most ARCs are sent from the publisher, and the main way to get them from publishers is to send them an email with a request. Yes, you need to interact with the publishing house, which can seem really intimidating, but as long as your email is professional and you proofread it, you should be fine! Once you become established, they may start to send you books unsolicited. This has not happened for me yet, but it definitely happens!
Like I mentioned above, if you are new to requesting ARCs, going the E-ARC route may be the easiest and to be completely honest, less scary option. Once you feel comfortable with those then start going to requesting physical ARCs! Of course, you do not need to start with the E-ARCs, I am mainly speaking from experience that E-ARCs are definitely the easiest way to start.
You can also receive ARCs through authors, but keep in mind that they don’t receive too many copies and a lot of the time they go to family and friends. Sometimes, authors will reach out to bloggers to review their books, usually this happens with indie or self published authors. When in doubt, check the author’s website to see if they have ARCs to give, as many of them will mention it somewhere on their website.
Some other ways of getting ARCs are through giveaways. Many of the giveaways I have seen come from Goodreads, and I see a lot floating around twitter, so you can always check the author’s twitter to see if they have tweeted or retweeted about any giveaways. ARC Tours are another way of getting ARCs. You can sign up to be a tour host, although they usually look for blogs that have a larger following, but sometimes they do giveaways with those tours as well. Two tours that I have seen on instagram are @storygramtours and @TLCbooktours.
When should I start requesting ARCs?
Thanks to Fiction and Tea Blog, I determined that requests should generally be sent about 2-3 months before the book releases so that the publishers have time to review the requests and decide if they want to send you a copy.
Requesting the ARC
Okay, so now you know what an ARC is, and you know that you want to read a ton of books before they come out! Well, that is great and all, but publishers are sending out these ARCs (which are very expensive to make) to get people talking about the book and really hype the book up. So my advice is to not request every single book that you want a copy of, because chances are you won’t get around to reading it until closer (or even after) the release date.
The next step is to figure out who the publisher is. This is easily found on Goodreads just below the synopsis of the book. Then once you know who the publisher is, you will want to go to their website and find their email. Usually it is located in the contact us section under publicity. Since this was one of the things I had the hardest time with, I decided to list a bunch of common publishers with their imprints below at the end of this post! Figuring out who the imprint belongs to and if they have a separate publicity email was the hardest part of requesting ARCs for me, because a lot of the time it was never explicitly stated if they had a different email address.
You will also hear a lot that you have to wait until you have either been blogging for at least 6 months, or have at least 500 followers. While this is definitely not the case, publishers do want to make sure that they are sending ARCs to people who are serious about blogging and reviewing books, and aren’t just in it to receive free books. Your stats can have an impact on if the publishers decide to send you the ARC, because they do cost money to produce and send out, so the more followers you have, the more exposure for the book and that is their main reason for producing ARCs in the first place!
Emailing the Publisher
Now you are ready to write your email. Make sure that you sound professional, because you don’t want to give you or your blog a bad reputation for being greedy or rude. Please don’t ask them to accept your request because you really want the book. I’ll include an example of my emails below for a reference. Make sure that your subject mentions that it is an ARC request with the name of the book and author.
Another thing to remember is to include your mailing address in your email, because publishers are always busy and they won’t have the time to email you back and forth to ask for your address. In fact, chances are you won’t hear from them at all whether you were approved or not! So if you don’t hear anything, don’t panic and don’t send a ton of emails asking questions about if you were approved or if they saw your request, as it’s very unprofessional. And of course, keep in mind that if you don’t get approved or receive the book in the mail, the book will eventually come out and you can buy it or borrow it from your local library.
Make sure that you introduce yourself and your blog. If you are requesting multiple books, you can use a bulleted list of the books from that publisher that you are interested in. It’s also a good idea to list your social media accounts if you have any and what kind of numbers you have (followers, viewers, etc.) If you have reviewed books from the publisher before, you can link to those reviews as well. They may not have the time to actually read the review, but they will see that you are interested in their books and are serious about reviewing.
Also, don’t copy my email, come up with your own variation! Of course, a lot of these emails will be pretty much the same thing, but you want to make sure you keep it short and sweet while still showing your personality.
Usually, my emails are something like this:
Dear [Publishing Company],
My name is Katie and I run a book blog called Melting Pages (meltingpages.wordpress.com).
I am writing to inquire about receiving an ARC for [Book Title] by [Author].
I regularly review fantasy books of all kinds on my blog, and I would love to be able to review [Book Title], and I think my followers would enjoy it too!
Not only do I have a blog, but I also have an established Instagram page (@melting_pages) with a little over 600 followers, Twitter, and a Books & Writing Amino account where I have around 400 followers.
All of my reviews get posted to my Goodreads page, my blog, Amazon, and are mentioned on my Twitter and Instagram. I will also be doing reviews on my YouTube channel as well.
Just in case, here is my shipping address:
[Your shipping address]
Thank you for your consideration,
[insert your full name and the name of your blog]
Keep in mind, you may not hear back! I sent a few emails and didn’t hear anything, then one of them I heard back from and they informed me that once ARCs were available they would send one out to me.
I’ve read my ARC, now what?
Like I said at the very beginning, write a review! It doesn’t have to disect the book, you can mention what you liked, disliked, etc.Generally, publishers don’t want the reviews posted too far in advance of the release date, and they will sometimes say when the earliest you can post the review is. To be on the safe side, I would wait until the books release month to post your review.
If you don’t want to keep your ARC after you write your review, you can give it away. I believe that libraries will accept them, and sometimes book stores will accept them as well to determine whether or not they want to purchase the book to add to their shelves.
Giveaways or trading is another way to get rid of your ARCs, the main thing to keep in mind is that ARCs are NOT for sale, so don’t ever try to sell them.
Some Parting Thoughts
Don’t get discouraged! If you are just starting out, don’t expect to get all of your requests approved. Eventually, someone will approve it, then another, then another, then…you get the idea. Not getting ARCs doesn’t make you any less of a blogger, and they shouldn’t be the main reason you start blogging in the first place.
There is no right or wrong way to request an ARC, and everyone has a different experience. The main thing to do is to be polite, professional, and do your research before you start requesting!
Publishers and their contact information:
Like I mentioned before, check out their contact us page for a publicity email. If you can’t find one, then you can send it to their general contact email and it will get passed on to the correct location. Below I have compiled a list of some publishers and contact information. Something to keep in mind with this is that if you are given a direct email to a publicist, DO NOT GIVE THAT OUT. Only give the general email. If there is one in this list that you can’t find, you can always use google to find the publisher!
All inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Central Publishing (email@example.com)
Little, Brown and Co. / Jimmy Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Little Brown Books for Young Readers / LB Kids (email@example.com)
Orbit / Redhook (Orbit@hbgusa.com)
Avon (general; Impulse; Inspire; Red) (Pamela.Jaffee@harpercollins.com)
Carina Press, Harlequin Books (romance) (Michelle.Renaud@harpercollins.com)
Harlequin TEEN (Shara.Alexander@harpercollins.com)
HarperCollins Children’s Books, Blazer + Bray, Harper TEEN, Greenwillow Books, Katherine Tegen, EPIC Reads) (Cindy.Hamilton@harpercollins.com)
Harper Voyager (Pamela.Jaffee@harpercollins.com)
MIRA Books (Shara.Alexander@harpercollins.com)
William Morrow (Kelly.Rudolph@harpercollins.com)
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT (HMH)
Trade books (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Children’s books (email@example.com)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Flatiron (email@example.com )
Henry Holt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Macmillan Audio (email@example.com )
Macmillan Children’s (firstname.lastname@example.org) – [Imprint; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Swoon Reads; etc]
St. Martin’s Press (Griffin Teen, Thomas Dunne) (email@example.com)
Tor/Forge (Torpublicity@tor.com )
Tor.com (TorDotComPub@tor.com )
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Ballantine, Bantam, Dell (BBDPublicity@randomhouse.com)
Berkley. NAL, Ace, Roc, Daw, Perigee, HP Books, Celebra, Jove, Onyx, Prentice Hall, Prime Crime, Signet (BerkleyNALpublicity@us.penguingroup.com)
Crown Publishing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Doubleday, Nan A. Talese (email@example.com)
Penguin Books (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Putnam’s Sons (email@example.com)
Random House Audio (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Random House Children’s (email@example.com)
Random House Trade Paperbacks, Spiegel & Grau, Modern Library (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Penguin Young Readers / Penguin Teen (email@example.com)
Dial Books for Young Readers, Dutton Children’s Books, Firebird, Frederick Warne, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, Minedition, Philomel, Price Stern Sloan, Puffin, Razorbill, Speak, Viking Children’s
Trade Books (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Atria Books (AtriaPublicity@simonandschuster.com)
All Children’s Imprints (ChildrensPublicity@simonandschuster.com)
Gallery Books (GalleryPublicity@simonandschuster.com)
Pocket Books (PocketPublicity@simonandschuster.com)
Simon & Schuster Audio (AudioPublicity@simonandschuster.com)
All General Inquiries (email@example.com)