Advance Reader Copies: FAQ’s
Q: What is an arc?
A: An arc or advance reader copy is a promotional tool that publishers provide for booksellers, journalists, librarians and bloggers. It is an uncorrected proof of book, sort of like a rough draft, but not that raw. There may be minor misspellings and grammar mistakes.
Did you know that a “galley” is different from an “advance reader copy”? I didn’t, look at me learning something for this. According to Wikipedia… and who knows if this is really accurate. A galley is an uncorrected proof… “which were usually bound in plain paper covers and without illustrations. Galley proofs differ from ARCs in that ARCs are printed in full color and in the same format as the published book, while galley proofs are generally printed in black and white and are significantly larger in size than the market book. Publishers who produce their galley proofs in electronic form do not use them as ARCs.”
IMO: As I mentioned above advance reader copies are a promotional tool. I believe as a blogger if you are thinking about requesting or accepting advance reader copies, you are also accepting the responsibility to market them. You can easily “promote or share your love of reading” by buying your own books or going to the library and borrowing them.
A: This is one of the most common questions that I get asked… or a variation of the question… HOW do you get arcs.
It’s not all that simple of an answer.
I know that for someone that may have just discovered my blog and has viewed an In My Mailbox post (where I share the books I receive for review weekly) it would seem that advance readers copies are easily attained. What you have to remember though, and what I think most people overlook, is that I’ve been blogging about Young Adult literature for almost four years now, and that has a lot to do with why I get arcs and why I get the amount that I do.
I never contacted publishers or an authors for arcs when I began blogging. In all honestly I wasn’t even aware that it was a possibility. I started reviewing books I had borrowed from the library and books I had bought. A common misconception about book blogging that I’ve seen recently, is that you have to review advance readers copies. You don’t! I had been blogging for around six months when a YA author contacted me with a review request. Shortly after that I started receiving review requests from publishers.
And here’s why:
Dependability: I’ve “proven” myself to be a reliable blogger. I don’t blog for three months, take six months off… come back for a few more months and then disappear for two. You get the idea. I’m not saying that you have to blog everyday, but I am saying that you need to be dedicated, consistent. As much fun as blogging is, it’s also “work.”
Quality: I post reviews, interviews, discussion posts, book news, etc. Your reviews don’t have to be the equivalent of a two page paper, but at the same time, you don’t want a one sentence review. Find what works for you, whether it’s a few paragraphs or four. Quality is subjective, but to me, a quality post is something that’s informative, entertaining and fun. One of the main points that the publishers I met at Book Expo America had to say was that they are more concerned about the quality of your posts than how many people follow your blog and how long you have been blogging.
Stats: Advance reader copies are promotional material, and because of that publisher are more likely to send you an arc if you have people reading your blog. I don’t know what a publisher considers good stats, I don’t think there is a magic number. Use your best judgement.
A: There are several places where you can obtain advances readers copies besides contacting publishers or authors. Sometimes you don’t even need to be a blogger/bookseller/journalist/etc.
Random Buzzers is an online book community by Random House publishers. You sign up and participate in activities, reviews, quizzes, etc to earn points. You can use those points for books and advance reader copies.
MacTeenBooks/The In Group is a program for teens to receive review copies/advance readers copies and in return share a review. To be a part of The In Group you much be between the ages of 13-18.
Harlequin Teen Panel. Help Harlequin decide which cover to use, read advance reader copies and other fun stuff. Must be between the ages of 13-17.
Facebook is also another place to use. Several publishers offer advance reader copy sweepstakes and such, a few examples: Griffen Teen & Bloomsbury Teen.
Sign up for the Shelf Awareness newsletter. There are often “advertisements” that have links to request advance reader copies. It’s also a great way to stay up on bookish news.
Goodreads has, Goodreads Giveaways. There are several different giveaways you can sign up for.
For Bloggers a great place for advance reader copies is Netgalley! Netgalley is available for international bloggers but I’ve read that most publishers only accept your requests if your blog is in English.
Before you request be sure to check the request criteria for each publisher. Most of them want you to include in your bio; how long your blog has been active, how often you update you blog, a link to your blog, blog stats, twitter & facebook stats, and they prefer that you submit your review on Netgalley with the review link to your blog post.
A: Most of the time you want to contact publicity, marketing or press. Honestly, I’m still confused in that aspect. These email addresses are available on almost every publisher website, you just have to look for them. Most of the time there is a “contact us” link.
And to give you a leg up, I’ve listed some of them here for you!
Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feiwel & Friends: email@example.com
Henry Holt BYR: firstname.lastname@example.org
Square Fish: email@example.com
St. Martin’s Press: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following four links are made available thanks to The Book Blogger Convention. These documents were provided at the Ask The Publisher Panel:
Random House: email@example.com
A: Well, it’s best to introduce yourself and your blog. Tell them how long you’ve been blogging and what other ways besides blogging do you promote literature… if you do. Let them know what times of books you review on your blog and what genres you prefer to read. Including some stats would be a good idea as well. (Make sure your stats are reliable. Google analytics is a great tool for this. Remember that page views and unique visitors are two very different things.)
Include the title(s) that you wish to request and then of course your contact information. Which is your mailing address. Most pubs want a home address and not a P.O. box.
A: This could be for a variety of reasons. I know how crazy my inbox can get at times, I can’t imagine how crazy it must be for a publicist.
From personal experience, sometimes I’ll get a follow-up email to a review request and sometimes the books will just show up at my house without me ever knowing if they got my initial email.
Give them some time. Don’t expect a reply back the next day or even in the next week. Give them a few weeks, if you haven’t head back send a follow-up email.
A: Every publisher has a preference for this, so it’s best to ask the individual publisher. I’ve asked a few publishers myself, you can find the answers here, Dear Story Siren: Publisher Edition.
A: All (almost all) publishers put out a seasonal catalog. You can find them on the individual publisher website or you can check out Edelweiss which lists every book catalog known to man! Well, I don’t know about that for sure, but it seems like it!
A: No, they don’t. As far as I know it’s an international rights issue for the US. My advice is to find publishers in your country.
A: Don’t be afraid not to read an unsolicited book. I recently asked at a meeting with a publisher if they expected us to read every unsolicited book that they sent. And the answer was “of course not!” There is no expectations from them when it comes to them. If you read it, great! It not, not a big deal.
If it’s a book you aren’t interested in reading at all, find a blogger that is. Pass it along to a friend that is a reader. I have a classroom that I adopted that get a lot of my arcs, or I even have a few patients at work that I’ll take a goodie bag of book for. Worst case scenario, throw it away.