Welcome back to our weekly (hopefully) discussion post! This week I want to discuss how to get ARCs, how much is too much, how to communicate with authors & publishers, and how to deal with unsolicited review copies.
How do I get ARCs (advanced reader copies)
This is an age old question that has been discussed to no end. When I first started blogging, I wasn’t really sure what to do. Basically, I used Goodreads as a essential tool, and I went to individual author pages & either emailed the publicist listed there or emailed the author.
Now, a bunch of bloggers will tell you NOT to email the author, and usually that is the case. However, when you’re first starting out, things are confusing, and you sort of have to play by your own rules. I never had a bad experience contacting an author directly. Usually, the author would link be to their publicist or their publishing house & I would go from there. Other times, the author would send to me directly. Now, YaReads was already a big name before I came into the picture, so we already had somewhat of a “rep” that probably got me into a few doors. It might not work the same with brand new spankin blogs. That being said, this really built up my contact list (make sure you keep one of these on a doc on your computer!)
For the most part, when requesting ARCs, try to find the publicist to contact. That isn’t always something you can find right away. So, don’t look for two seconds, get frustrated, and then contact the author. It makes you seem rushed and impatient, especially if the contact information is, actually, somewhere on their website. Use Google, and also contact other bloggers. We have contact lists. Sometimes, we’re more than willing to give you a contact. Not always, so don’t be rude if we say no, but it’s a good idea to make those connections with other bloggers & share resources.
How Much is TOO Much?
Another age old question that you really just have to learn from experience. Heck, even as a 5 or 6 year old blogger, I still always do too much.
When actually contacting the author or pub, request as much as you’re WILLING to read and review. They will remember you, and they will NOT send you anything else if you’re not posting reviews or hosting spotlights. They will email you to check in, and you will look ridiculous if it’s three months later, you’ve requested 10 books, and nothing has been posted. So, request as much as you can actually handle.
My problem is with NetGalley and Edelweiss, two sites where you can request ecopies. Part of my problem is that I’m preapproved with several publishing houses, meaning that I don’t have to request the galley. I just take what I want. And I take faster than I read…..but I’m catching up! So, if you create accounts with these website, I would highly encourage you to….maybe practice self restraint on what you’re requesting…. Also, be sure to leave feedback on those websites. That will help build up your cred and rep.
How to Communicate with Authors and Publishers:
Not a hard question. Be professional and respectful 100% of the time. Type up a professional letter, explaining who you are & a little bit about your blog, and save it to your computer so that you can whip it out at any time. Also, communicate with them on social media. I say this all the time, but if you don’t have Twitter, then you won’t get big. Plain and simple.
Also, be aware that all new bloggers make big mistakes. Trust me, when I say that I can look back 5 years ago and regret an email or two that I sent out to authors or pubs. Just learn from those experiences and rebound. We all mistakes, just don’t make yourself look like an ass when trying to recover.
Finally, DO. NOT. ENGAGE. IN. THE. DRAMA. Some authors & bloggers will get riled up over something on Twitter. Pick and choose what you join in on. If it seems like something really big, just wait. Think over it awhile, to really understand several POVs, and then join in. But don’t be hasty. Make sure that you’re going into the conversation with your own opinions & not just trying to be cool.
How to Deal with Unsolicited Review Copies:
New bloggers are probably like “huh?” What’s that. Once you’ve been blogging awhile, this will make more sense. Seasoned and Veteran bloggers will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Here’s an example: You come home from a long day at work & find 5-6 packages on your doorstep. You get SO EXCITED. You open them up “Woah….these books look so good! I’ve never heard of them! Did I request these?” Nope. Five days later, you come home and you have 2 packages on your doorstep full of ARCs that you did request. And then three days later, you have a couple emails from pubs saying they’re sending you some books they want you to check out.
I LOVE receiving unsolicited review copies. Not only because I love to read, but I send some of these books to my library so that they can use them for their teen program in the Summer. Let’s me real here for a second. You can’t read all those books. Well, at least I can’t. Some of you might be able to. Some seasons, I receive about 50 books in 2 months. I literally can’t read that much. I’m lucky if I read 100 books a year. Last year, I read 20 books.
So what do you do? I would encourage you to email the pubs, after they’ve emailed you, about posting a spotlight or hosting an interview. Sometimes, I’m really just not interested in the book that’s sent to me. And that will happen. I don’t want to showcase books that I’m not interested in…. Those books, donate them. Give them to the library.
Every now and then, be sure to read one of the books. I’ve encountered so many pleasant surprises from unsolicited books. So, do be sure to read the backs of them and see if it’s something that you have time for or that you’d be interested in.
I think I’ve covered everything that I set out to discuss. Sound off in the comment section, below!