One of the questions I get asked the most is how I get ARCs.
What are ARCs? Advanced Reader Copy. It’s a book given to a person by an author/publisher/PR Team to get feedback and help hype up the future release. Often they aren’t the finished manuscript and contain typos and other situations that require the attention of the author.
I will be honest and admit that I don’t read these that often. There’s a big responsibility because you not only have to review it and be honest, you have to be responsible with deadlines, empathic and constructive on your feedback, and possibly promote it to your audience in case you’re an influencer in the world of books.
Authors who publish it the traditional way will most likely have ARCs available through their publishers. The best way to try your luck is to reach out to the publisher or fill out their influencer form and wait to be accepted as their influencer. They often only give free copies to bookstagrammers and popular tik-tokers though, so it can be very discouraging. I will leave here some popular publishers, check them out if you’re interested:
If you can’t find a tab for the influencer program, look for the contacts so you can reach out to them via e-mail.
Indie authors don’t have the backup from publishers when comes to promoting their releases so they depend a lot on their fans and general readers. Most indie authors I know have an ARC team: a group of people who gets the early copy of the book, read and review it to promote it before the release. This group gets every single early copy of their books so this is a dreamland for fans.
The best way to know when authors open their ARC team for new members is to follow their fan page on Facebook or Instagram. While authors give priority to influencers, they also give chances to people without social media.
The spots are always very limited, good luck!
Many indie authors hire PR Teams to help them with their book release and these companies have their own backlist of reviewers but they also accept ARC requests. Make sure you follow your favourite authors because they always post the information needed or you can always follow PR companies on social media for more information.
Beware they usually go for people who can, not only, review but also promote. Some of them have limited copies, others give arcs to everyone who requests, others don’t care how big your audience is but others have those numbers as one of the most important reasons to accept your request. Some recommended PR Teams:
- Valentine PR (their client list includes Ana Huang, Lauren Asher, Emma Chase, Jodi Ellen Malpas.)
- Wordsmith Publicity (their client list includes Emery Rose, Kate Stewart, Jennifer Hartmann, Becka Mack.)
- Social Butterfly (their client list includes Kennedy Ryan, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Melani Harlow.)
Now, NetGalley is one of my favourite places.
The website is like a huge catalogue. You can find book ARCs in all genres in one place. While Thriller seems to be the biggest category there, you can also find good romance variety.
Publishers and indie authors like to use it and don’t think only unknown authors use it. Lucy Score, Tijan, Katee Robert, Tessa Bailey, and Kennedy Ryan are some of the well-known names you can find there.
The thing with NetGalley is how hard it can be to be accepted to review an ARC. I will leave here some tips:
Elaborate your About Me – talk about yourself, your love for books and what they can expect from you as a reader. Select the genres you like to read and provide your social media links. If you own a bookstagram and/or TikTok, mention on your bio your current follower count and how active it is. You should also mention your favourite tropes in books so those delivering the ARCs know you’re passionate about it. All of this showcases your interest and commitment. Have them understand your value as an influence and/or reviewer.
Watch out for the Ratio – NetGalley uses ratio to see how frequently people review the book they get for free. The ratio is publicly displayed on your profile and most senders care if is too low. The website recommends you keep it at 80% or up. I definitely recommend you to have it around 90%, if not 100%.
Read Now – The question I asked the most to myself was how to be accepted when I had never been. The truth is that many of them will reject you for not having reviewed it before. But don’t worry! The website has the section for ‘Read Now’ where publishers/authors leave their advanced copies up to grabs and download instantly. Use this option to help you get books under your belt and kick off your experience.
Avoid mass requesting – Please, only read books you know you will like or you are genuinely interested in. Not only mass requesting books will bring your ratio down, but it also won’t be an enjoyable experience if you are getting the book just to have it and isn’t fair for the author/publisher and other readers.
Download the copy once is available – Every book is achieved one day and the issue comes with the fact you won’t be able to download the copy after. Meanwhile, your ratio will drop because it will appear as sent. You can read and rate books after they’re achieved so it’s not a nightmare when comes to deadlines but make sure to always have the copy on your advice as soon as it is available for download.
Getting ARCs is like a russian roulette and most times pure luck. Don’t feel discourage if you’re declined often. Everything takes time to build and we can’t expect results fast.
I hope I’ve helped you with some insight. See you next time!