Welcome to Book Blogging 101, a weekly feature on Parajunkee’s View that answers your questions and strives to share great book blogging tips and some helpful hints to help you on your way.

When is the appropriate time to start asking for ARC books? I have been blogging for six months now and I would love to start receiving books from publishers! – Sarah@Catchingbooks

When you receive ARCs for review, do you always get to keep them or do you have to send them back? I’m a little bit confused on how the whole ARC business works! – Andie

While I’ve emailed publishers multiple times now, requesting ARCs and such, I usually don’t get a response. Sometimes the book gets sent and sometimes it doesn’t, but I’ve only had someone respond to me with a name attached once. I’m just wondering how I should go about requesting ARCs in the future, when I don’t have a personal contact to email, I just have the general publisher’s email address. Thanks! – Anna from Literary Exploration

How do bloggers get ARCs? I feel like book bloggers treat it as a big secret or give vague answers like “There’s lots of different ways…” What are all the ways YOU know of? And how on earth do bloggers get publishers to send them paperback ARCs in the mail?! – Jessica

It would seem a few of you are very interested in ARCs. Time to do another ARC BB101.

Let’s do basics first.

What is an ARC?

An ARC (advance reading copy), ARE (edition), or galley is a process in the publishing industry. ARCs are produced in the time before the book is published and used as a marketing tool. Much like a movie would have advanced screenings, in the publishing industry this is an ARC. ARCs are sent to other authors, librarians, book-sellers and journalists/reviewers to get them talking and excited about the release. ARCs can sometimes look different from the published version, with similar but different covers and they are usually never published with a hardback. As a blogger you have to understand that these ARCs are out their for marketing purposes, they are not the finished version, they will have typos and even scenes that will not be in the final copy. It is asked that you do not quote from an ARC and take into consideration some formatting issues.

Facts about ARCs:

  • ARCs are a marketing tool and publishers usually produce anywhere from 500 to 5000 copies of the book. Smaller print runs mean more money per book. Book Bloggers are usually only a small percentage of who get’s an ARC. ARCs are also sent to celebrities, print magazines, radio hosts — anyone that will spread the word about the book. They are also used as promotional tools at conventions.
  • ARCs are usually distributed by the Marketing departments or publicists
  • ARCs can not be sold
  • ARCs are not finished, they are usually produced around 3 – 5 months before release date and last minute editing can occur after they are printed.
  • Galley proofs are also being sent out as ARCs, these usually have no cover, but are bound and typeset

How do you get ARCs?

The first step would be to request them. Publishers are not going to be able to track down and locate all of the good quality blogs out there in the bloggyverse, so you have to say “hello!” Send an email and tell them about yourself. Let them know what book you are interested in reviewing. Tell them a little bit about your blog. A little bit. They don’t need the entire run down, just a short, precise intro with a nice request. Don’t forget to include your mailing address and be professional and polite. Also, don’t request a million books. I really suggest only requesting one or two from a given publisher. If you put in this monster request they might think you are just being greedy.

Did I mention to be polite and professional? That is a big big one. Treat it like you are sending a cover letter to a potential employer.

What are they looking for in a blogger?

I’m not a publisher, but I can tell you what I’ve heard. The general consensus is a six month probation period. Blog steady for six months and then after that time you’ve proven that you are in it to win it. Post quality consistent reviews and articles. Quality – not just meme after meme โ€” posts. A consistent schedule, don’t quit for a week and then come back and post a few reviews, disappear for a month and then come back. Reliability is a big issue. I’m pretty sure they are looking for some good numbers on your blog also. Comments on posts, some good traffic, a few followers. Remember you are their marketing tool – and what good is marketing if no one sees it? It would be like putting a billboard in the middle of the desert.

How do I get an email for a publisher?

You go to their web sites! They usually have emails listed right there on their contact pages. Here are a few:

Simon & Schuster: Contact Page
Tor/Forge: torpublicity@tor.com
St. Martinโ€™s Press: publicity@stmartins.com
Random House: Contact Page
Hachette Book Group: Contact Page
HarperCollins: Publicity Page
Scholastics: MediaRoom Page

If you’ve had books sent to you from a general contact email — a lot of the books will have a paper insert, like a press release inserted into the ARC. Check those inserts for a contact name. This is probably who you should contact in the future. Sometimes the ARCs will have the contact info stamped on the cover. A sticker or even printed on the cover.ย  If not, just keep on sending requests to the general emails. Always introduce yourself, always list your request. A lot of the times it will be an intern that is checking those accounts and they change a lot.

What are other ways that I can get my hands on ARCs?

ARC Tours! – Those are always fun to participate in. Find a blogger that is hosting an ARC tour and jump on board. They send it to you and you pass it along to the next person.

Publishers have programs like Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab. They send an email and you get to choose which book you want to read. The Galleys are usually in digital format and read right on your computer, but you get a hold of the book way before publishing date.

NetGalley.com is probably the best way to get in touch with publishers and read eARCs. You search their database – just like you would peruse through Amazon and you request books. They publishers have requirements of what they would like to see in a reviewer, but most requirements are easy to be met. This is also probably one of the only ways an international blogger can get their hands on US galleys. Most if not all publisher cannot send ARCs to international bloggers because of licensing restrictions, so NetGalley is the place for you!

Goodreads and Library Thing have giveaways and early reader programs also. Those are both excellent sites to join.

Blogger giveaways. You’ll find there are a few bloggers out there that are willing to part with their ARCs.


Proper ARC Handling

Now there are a few ways to treat ARCs properly. The best thing you can do is ask whomever sent them to you. I know personally that Amazon sent me an email that stated explicitly that I was to UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES pass my ARC on to anyone. They couldn’t be donated, given away or passed on. So, they sit on my shelf collecting dust. A shame really.

Other publishers and authors want you to pass on the ARCs. They authorize giveaways and swaps. I’ve hosted giveaways for my ARCs or I’ve passed them on to other readers or bloggers that wanted to read them. The best thing you can do is ask them. Sometimes they’ll have you wait until after the release date or right before. It really depends on their marketing schedule.

I’ve never heard of having to give an ARC back. The only time I had to “pass” along an ARC was when I was part of an ARC tour. Then I just forwarded my ARC to the next person on my list.

Libraries unfortunately, cannot accept ARCs, they can only put finished novels on their shelves.

It is considered very raunchy to sell your ARCs. After BEA and ALA you will see tons of ARCs placed on eBAY and sold for ridiculous amounts of money. Usually these people are reported because most ARCs specifically have the NOT FOR RESALE stamped plainly on the cover. Check out this disclaimer on Pocket’s ARCs.

ARCs are not for resale**Requesting ARCs from Authors**

I know a few of you have stated that you’ll go through the author to get ARCs. This is an acceptable means, but don’t be surprised if the author comes back with a negative, or no response at all. This is just one person that gets tons of emails, instead of a large company with lots of interns. Most authors don’t even have in their possession a considerable amount of ARCs for distribution or if they are new to the publishing industry are not a big part of the marketing process.

Some authors will speak to their publishers for you and have an ARC sent to you via the publisher. Most will do this if you are a known fan – meaning you’ve spoken to them before, praised their books etc., or have written reviews for other books they’ve written. Don’t expect a positive response if the first communication you send them is “Hey I Want An ARC.”

I hope this helps you in your ARC endeavors. The main points I can’t help but reiterate when you are in pursuit of that illustrious ARC:

  • Be Polite
  • Be Professional
  • Don’t Be Greedy
  • Make sure you have a blog that is consistent with quality content
  • Don’t request a book just because you can, make sure you like the sound of it and would purchase it in a bookstore if you had the chance

XO – Happy Thursday, Talk Less, Read More.

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…bring it on.