You all know I love and read a lot of Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs). I can’t say I know many readers who aren’t attracted to ARCs, or interested in obtaining them. Over the past year or so, I’ve received more than ever, which honestly isn’t saying much since I’ve only been around the book scene for a few years, but still. This has lead to some chats with book-buds about how to find or request ARCs. One thing I’ve discovered through these chats…
People are Cagey!
Yes, ARCs are a bit of a luxury item. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t…) buy them, they are extremely limited in quantity, and sometimes they differ a great deal from the final product. For those reasons, some ARCs reviewers seem a bit hesitant to reveal the secrets behind requesting ARCs. Some people outright refuse, or even spread misinformation. I’ve heard of people saying you can’t ask for ARCs until your audience is X-number of followers, or your blog has been active for X-number of months. Neither is true.
I received my first ARC through an email request after my blog was live for only a couple months. At the time I had less than 2K followers on Instagram, and I was not yet writing for The Convention Collective. That request was to Tor.com publishing. I highly recommend starting with them if you are interested in reviewing ARCs. They are very communicative, and motivated to work with readers.
A lot of people have great guides on how to request ARCs, what info to provide in your request emails, and when to send those requests. I always point people to NovelKnight. Austine has an amazing repository of publicity email addresses, and a very helpful guide on requesting ARCs. If you don’t feel comfortable emailing, you can always start with NetGalley! You can read my guide to starting your NetGalley account here. It’s free, no emailing required, and some ARCs are available to all members. That’s right, you could read your first ARC today.
Anyone can get an ARC!
I understand the fear; some ARC readers are worried that bringing new reviewers into the request pool will lessen their chances of receiving that precious ARC. Honestly, I don’t care. Particularly for myself, a very white person, I know there are plenty of readers out there with a more interesting and valuable perspective than my own. I like to think I approach every story I read with an open mind, but I am only 1 person. If the same pool of people review every book, that’s not good! We should want diversity in the reviewer pool the same way we want diversity in the author pool!
I know how hard it can be to keep up with a long list of review titles. This year I have fallen way behind. This is another reason I enjoy helping people learn how to request ARCs. It becomes too much sometimes, so you need a big reviewer pool to pick up the slack.
As long as your intentions are good, and you aren’t going after ARCs sheerly to say you own them, you go after those ARCs! Don’t let anyone tell you your following isn’t big enough, or your opinion doesn’t matter. Books are for everyone, not just people with 10K+ followers on instagram. Once you start requesting, you’ll be surprised at the responses you get. I’m always happy to help people send their first request, or track down an email address.
If you are an ARC snob, I would say this. When you keep your tips for success a secret, I feel like you want me to fail. It’s not a good feeling, and I prefer when people try to help pull me up, not hold me back. Obviously if a publisher has asked you not to share a contact email, or something of that nature, you have every reason not to. Otherwise, be open, be kind, and understanding.
One other point I would make is this, you don’t have to review ARCs to be an awesome book blogger. Sure it’s fun to read a book before the release date, but people will still be interested in your opinion after it hits shelves. If you want them, you can get them! But there is nothing wrong with sticking to those beautiful finished copies.
I hope this has struck home for some of you. The book community can be a bit gross at times, and this is just one of many ways that gross-ness expresses itself. I am always open to chatting more about the process of ARC requesting. Hit me up in the comments, or on instagram. Happy Reading!!