The hot topic in the bookish community that always seems to get everyone all riled up is ARCs, and since I have no problem ranting about things that annoy me, I thought why not talk about ARCs. But this post is not a rant. I’d like to think of it as more of a discussion with some helpful tips for bloggers. (And maybe a rant.)
I know we’ve all requested an ARC just to see if we would get approved. I’m guilty of doing this on more than one occasion. You might not have any interest in the book until you hear about it from other bloggers who Raved over it. But something crazy happens, and all of a sudden you have 20 ARCs on your NetGalley dashboard, and you’re wondering how you will possibly read all the books. What happens is you either feel guilty and start plowing through the ARCs to make it on time for the pub date or you just close out your web browser and don’t log back into NetGalley until you feel like tackling your ARCs. I’m the type of person who will feel guilty and start marathon reading and writing.
This post is not meant to offend anyone who requests a book and doesn’t review but more to show the negative and positive aspects of requesting ARCs. I also thought I’d give a few tips about where you can find ARCs and how to request them.
- You were given the book under the pretense that you were planning to read and review the book. It’s only fair and decent that you return the favor by at least attempting to read the book, even if it’s the worst piece of trash you’ve ever read and want to Rant all day about it.
- The review copy sitting on your shelf or Kindle has now gone to waste, and therefore, someone who wanted to read the book no longer has the opportunity because the publisher hit their max limit. There’s nothing I hate more than people who brag about books they’ve gotten to the people who did not receive the same title, only to say, “Poor me, I have so many ARCs I can’t read them all.” This infuriates the people who did not get an ARC when you act all cavalier about not reading the book they would’ve read and reviewed. And it’s also immature.
- You’re not doing yourself any favors for future approvals if you don’t review the books you are given. There’s nothing to say that you wouldn’t get approved for another book, but if the publisher keeps track of what blogs they give books, then I’d say your chance of another hot release is probably lower than if you had sent in your review. Sending your review is also a good way to establish a rapport with a publicist, which can increase your chances of getting more ARCs.
- If you requested the book on NetGalley, your rating will suffer because of it, which will lead to less approvals. The average approval rating on NetGalley is 80%, so keep reading and reviewing if you want to keep that score up.
- If you received a copy on Edelweiss, the book is archived with no option to download if you don’t read it by the date indicated. I noticed with NetGalley that even after the book is archived you can download the book to your Kindle or Adobe Digital Editions Apps, but Edelweiss does not have this feature. The book is only available during the specified time period. You can’t wait until you feel like reading it when you get approved on Edelweiss. It’s also incredibly hard to get approvals on that site. Not reviewing a book will definitely not help with future requests.
- You get to read a new release months ahead of the general pubic. And you know how the most anticipated book of the year ends! That’s an exciting opportunity that most of us take for granted. ARCs are a privilege. You are not entitled to ARCs just because you’re a blogger. That’s something to keep in mind. It’s like getting a driver’s license—it’s a privilege not a right. I’m always extra thankful for getting the chance to review an unpublished book.
- Once you’re on a publisher’s mailing list, you get the opportunity to choose which books you want to review, take part in blog tours, receive exclusive content, and you if you’re lucky, you might also score a guest post or interview from the author. This is another awesome perk of getting those ARCs read and reviewed in a reasonable time frame.
- If you review enough books, the publisher might add you to their auto-approval list. And maybe you’ll even score some free books for a giveaway courtesy of the publisher.
- NetGalley: The easiest source for ARCs is NetGalley. All you have to do is sign up for an account, link your blog and social media accounts, and add some basic information about your reading preferences. You have the option to “Read Now” or browse through titles to request. Some people are hesitant about requesting a book, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You only have to click one button. It’s that simple.
- Edelweiss: I was approved for 1/5 books I requested on Edelweiss, and this site is notoriously known for denying mass amounts of bloggers ARCs. From what I’ve read, they’re more likely to grant a request to a librarian than a blogger. You still have the chance of scoring an ARC, but I would say your chances are lower than if you requested the book on NetGalley.
- Penguin First To Read: This is another site through Penguin where you can get ARCs. I do not like this site or understand the purpose of the points system. It says you can get more points by sharing and liking posts, yet the buttons are always grayed out when I click on them. You can also get more points by reading excerpts. I haven’t gotten any points by reading excerpts, but you better believe the button where you can buy the book always works.
- Blogging for Books: I have never found anything I like on this site to even ask for a copy, but I know some bloggers who have received good books from this site. It’s free to sign up for an account. They have a very limited selection. It’s nothing like NetGalley in terms of books. If you were already denied a copy of the book from NetGalley, you cannot ask for one on this site.
- SocialbookCo: To become a member you have to fill out the form and get approved for the Book Review Program. I was approved, but I haven’t found any titles I want to request. You also get commission if you review a book and people you referred buy it through their site. At the moment, they have Me Before You, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and a few others for review. I’ve already read two of them and don’t have interest in the rest. But at least they have some titles you might want to check out for free.
- You can contact the publishers directly via email or snail mail. You will need to know which publisher you want to contact for a particular book, and from there, you will need to know which imprint to find the correct mailbox to send the request. The Big Five Publishers are Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, and Penguin Random House. That should be enough to get you started and dig from there to find the right imprint. There are smaller publishers that you can also contact directly if you know what you’re looking for. I’m on several publishers mailing lists for review copies, blog tours, interviews, and guest posts, though I usually only ask for the books.
I know there are more sites, and I don’t use them, but if I missed any ARC sites you think I should’ve included, please let me know in the comments.
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