Good Morning and welcome to another discussion/advice post here on Always Trust In Books. I am opening up a discussion about ARC copies, where to obtain them and giving some advice on the various pitfalls and misunderstandings that can accompany them. Now I know that all levels of bloggers may be reading this post and I am probably telling quite a few people what they already know. I want those people to step forward and share their own advice concerning ARCs too so get involved.
This post is for those starting out who may be unaware or disheartened in the pursuit of material to review on their blog. I wish I had some of this advice when I started out as it can be a challenge when you don’t understand the dynamic between bloggers and the book industry as much as you will in later on in your time as a blogger. I will share various websites and channels you can inquire about ARCs as well as where you can come across them in general. I will also share a few insights into what authors/publishers expect when you eventually start receiving more books than you could ever read. I hope you enjoy this post. I hope at least a few bloggers can benefit from it in some way.
Sources of ARC Copies In The Book Community
Most readers/bloggers will have heard of NetGalley but for the select few who haven’t this is a huge influential website where publishers share upcoming releases in e-book format. It has its own built in communities, awards system and can be a great stepping stone into the world of book reviews. I owe NetGalley a lot as it helped me build experience and confidence in quite a few key areas of blogging.
BookBridgr (UK Only)
Bookbridgr was another huge part of my beginnings as a book blogger. This is a book proof website run by the book company Hachette Livre which encompasses a wide range of brilliant publishers including Headline, Hodder & Stoughton and Quercus. Yes they send out physical copies but it is usually a first come first served attitude so you will have to be nimble. They also have their own community and it is a well managed one. Bookbridgr put me on the map with one of the key publishers in the U.K and I will also be grateful for that.
Readers First (UK Only)
I was a bit late to the Readers First party so I don’t really use it as I am already up to my ears in ARCs. It is a point based review website that gives out physical proofs in exchange for honest reviews. The more reviews you write the more proofs you can access. It is a great idea and certainly encourages consistency. Check it out and get involved.
Goodreads and Social Media Giveaways (Worldwide)
If you are signed up to Goodreads then you will be able to participate in the constant proof giveaways that are available onsite. They take little or no effort and can provide a good return. I haven’t had much luck with it myself but I know lots of bloggers who do get the chance to review plenty of great books. There are also so many giveaways on social media. There are many publishers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that offer limited edition proofs for a lucky few so keep your eyes peeled.
Getting In Contact With The Publisher Directly (Worldwide)
This is definitely the most intimidating pursuit of books starting out. Emailing a publisher to request a review copy can be daunting but it is incredibly beneficial to you as a blogger. Not only do publishers send proof copies but they may also add you to their blogger list or think of you for future events such as blog tours or other releases. Publishers are incredibly accepting of bloggers requests and liaising with the publicity people can be a lot of fun. I have made some great connections through direct contact with publishers and they always think of me when new books are due release. As long as you are clear and responsive with your emails you will see an immediate influx of proofs straight to your door. There are plenty of posts about what to include in these emails so seek one out and get started.
There are also some publishers that let bloggers apply to be added to the reviewer lists. Hideaway Fall have a sign up page on their website and always welcome new bloggers with a brilliant goody bag. Also keep your eye out for directory pages that advertise blogs. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it can bring you in a decent stream of interest in your blog via email.
This is more of an occasional source when you have built up some connections within your blogging community. You may see a book you are really interested in reading and it is okay to ask another blogger (country specific usually) if they would like to swap. I have done it several times and it can be beneficial for the both of you. You can share thoughts and opinions about the books as well as shout outs on social media. It can be a bonding moment for you and another reader that can open up more opportunities for posts in the future.
Things To Consider When Requesting or Accepting ARC Copies
Here are a few pointers for newcomers about ARCs and what the authors/publishers expect when they send them to you.
First off, receiving books for review is both exciting and elating. Having your blog being noticed is important and sharing reviews for upcoming releases will put you on the map. The important thing to remember is that if you request too many proofs and don’t deliver on your reviews it can affect your reputation within the blogger community. Start with a few and work your way up.
Publishers and authors are only looking for an unbiased opinion. They aren’t expecting you to love every book they send you. It is unnatural to love every book you read. There will be criticisms and flaws in your reading experience and it is okay to share these thoughts. Just make it constructive and try to think objectively as well. If you start receiving negative feedback from publishers, authors or readers about your reviews then it is time to cut ties with them, there is no reason for you to have to put up with it.
If you have read a proof and you didn’t enjoy it or ‘DNF’d’ it because you couldn’t get on with it then you can share your thoughts with your readers but try and promote the book in other ways to show your appreciation to whoever sent you the ARC. Host a Q&A, share an extract or ask the author to provide a guest post about the book. Share these with your readers, help them make their own minds up about the book. You will boost the blogs reputation and increase your confidence with your writing at the same time.
- Have I missed any vital sources of ARC copies?
- Do you have any advice to new bloggers about finding/requesting ARCs?
- Do you agree or disagree with what I have said here today?
- What is your main source of review copies?
- Have you got your own ARC stories you want to share here?
Thank you for stopping by to see another attempt at kindly advice from me here at Always Trust In Books. I am enjoying sharing my experiences and tips as a blogger here and I hope you are too. Please get involved with the discussion points and help out newcomers with your plentiful advice. I love seeing new blogs popping up all the time and I want everyone to have the same experiences I have had so far. I hope people leave this post with at least one piece of helpful advice whether it is my own or yours so please share if you can.