Friday, January 13, 2017

All About ARCs

Over the past year, you've probably heard me mention the term "ARC" quite a few times and unless you're a book blogger or some other kind of book insider I'm betting you're wondering what ARC stands for. 

What Is An ARC?
An ARC is an Advanced Reader Copy or uncorrected galley proof of an upcoming novel, used for review and promotional purposes. They can come in both e-book or physical format.

Who Gets ARCs?
ARCs are expensive to produce so they're not available for everyone. Not all books get ARCS made of them and only a set amount of a book are made and they usually go to book bloggers, reviewers, librarians, and booksellers since the main goal of an ARC is to garner publicity for the book. Always remember, especially if you're an author: Reviews = Greater chance that someone will buy the book.

Question: I blog about books, how do I get ARCs?
I know a lot of other blogs have covered this subject before, but you have to consider a few things before requesting ARCs. 

1. How long have you been blogging? 

If your answer is less than six months I'd try reviewing books that you've purchased/borrowed/gotten from the library for a while, building up a book review portfolio if you will. Most publishers are looking for established blogs with a certain number of page views/month or subscribers. That number varies by each publisher but they still look for people that have been blogging for a while.

2. Are books the sole focus of your blog?  Do you blog about other stuff (clothing, crafting, makeup, etc.) most of the time and just throw in a book mention here or there? Yeah, you probably shouldn't request a book ARC if that's not what you blog about. You'll just have to wait for it to hit bookshelves. 

3. Are you really going to read the book?

Since there is a limited number of ARCs made and distributed it wouldn't be fair for you to request a book and then not read it when the publisher could have given it to someone that would read and review it. I mean if you try reading it and can't get into it or it ends up in the DNF pile that's one thing, but requesting a book just to say you got it before someone else is not good. 

4. Are you willing to write an Honest Review?
Really, the whole point of ARCs is to create buzz for the upcoming release, which includes book reviews. In the world of getting ARCs, writing a review on a book you've requested should be a requirement in my opinion. The review doesn't have to be super long, but I think the publisher, as well as potential buyers that might read your review, are looking for what you did/didn't like about the book. "What if I don't like the book/do not finish it?" You ask. Well, in the case of not liking the book, it's okay to say that you don't like it for whatever your reasons are. As long as you're being honest about your opinion that is all that matters. {You are not required as a review to give a positive review of any product just because you've been sent the product for review. That is called "buying a positive review" and is completely wrong. If Amazon even thinks that might be what's going on the can and will remove your review.} The same goes for not finishing the book. You don't need to finish a book to write a review on it... just tell them honestly what you didn't like about the book that caused you to not finish reading it. 

Now on to the fun part...

Question: Who/Where do I go to Request an ARC/eARC?
So you've been blogging about books for a while and you're finally ready to take the seemingly scary challenge of requesting an ARC from a publisher, but where do you start? As I mentioned above there are two different formats for ARCs: Physical (paperback) Advanced Reader Copies and eBook Advanced Reader Copies. 

There are two main sites that I know of that you can request eARCs from for review: 

Netgalley
Netgalley is the main site I use for eARCs and it's easy to sign up for and use. 

To Sign Up:

1. Visit: http://netgalley.com and click on the orange box that reads: "Become a Member"
2. Fill in all the information and hit register. 
3. Once you're registered go to your profile and fill in all of the stats for your blog such as how long you've been blogging, your page views per month, your follower count, your preferred genres, and anything else you think you want the publishers reviewing your profile to know. 

You're all set! Now just search through the books being offered in your preferred genres and when you find something you're interested in hit request. The publisher has the right to review all requests that come to them. Do not feel discouraged if you get turned down. It may be that they met their limit of eARCs they were planning to send out or some other reason that has absolutely nothing to do with you as a reviewer. 

Edelweiss
Edelweiss (https://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com) is similar to Netgalley but uses a slightly different process when requesting books.

Once you've registered and found a book you want to request do the following:

1. It will ask you what you're requesting as; i.e. blogger, academic, bookseller, librarian, etc. Choose which applies to you.

2. Fill in a description of your role: This is where you tell them your name, your blog /url, stats, etc. 

3. Additional Message: (Specific reason for requesting this title): Here you tell them why you want to read and review this book. Have you read the previous book in the series? Are you participating in a blog tour for the book? Are you a fan of the author and would love the chance to read his/her next book? Put that information here. 

4. Hit submit and wait to be approved or denied. 

Physical ARCs
Physical ARCs are a bit harder to get in my opinion. I myself have only gotten three so far, one of which was from an indie author I love and another I got from a blogger friend of mine that was done with it and was nice enough to give me their copy so I could read and review. But how do you reach out to a publisher to request a review copy? (Remember: don't contact an author for review copies, they are not in charge of sending them out - the publisher is!) 

1. Find the publisher's website of the book you want to request. (Always have a book in mind... do not just email a publisher and tell them "send me whatever you've got.")

2. Locate their contact information and if they have a specific contact for their publicity department (this is who usually handles review requests.)

3. Compose and send an email review request with some info about your blog, a link to your blog, and your stats, how long you've been blogging as well as which book(s) you're interested in reviewing and why you would like to review that book(s). If you've read and reviewed a previous book by that author or in that series it doesn't hurt to include a link to that review on your blog.  Also and most IMPORTANT: include your full address. How can they send you a physical ARC if they don't have your address?

You may or may not get a response from your email. Publishers get tons of emails from people every day and can't always respond to each one personally. Don't take that as a bad sign. Now you wait to see if you receive a Physical ARC. Don't take it personally if you don't. In the end, there are probably thousands of reviewers requesting the same book you are, with only a limited number of ARCs. 

So you've received an ARC. Now what?
So you've been lucky enough to have been approved for an ARC and you are now in possession of an ARC / eARC of the book you wanted. Now what?

1. Read the book!!! (This is why you requested it after all.)

2. Write a review of the book and schedule it on your blog. (I recommend not posting the review until around the week of the book's release but some publishers will give you specific guidelines)

3. Send in your feedback (if you have an eARC through Netgalley or Edelweiss you'll be able to give feedback right on the website. Alternately you can email the publicity department of that publisher with your review or send a hard copy to their office if that is what they prefer.) 

4. Post your review on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, and any other outlets you choose to post your review on. (I recommend doing this on the release date.)

5. Remember: ARCs are uncorrected galley proofs, they are not for sale so please do not try to resell them! 

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So there you go, now you know a little more about Advanced Reader Copies.

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