So... you want to be a book blogger? Good for you, it's a fantastic way to meet people with the same interests and do something that's fulfilling. The blogging community are so welcoming and helpful and I have met so many people from around the world in my 3 years of blogging at Ink Scratchers.
Then, when you've been blogging for a little while, you might even get books! That's right, publishers might actually give you books. Sometimes, you'll even get shiny copies of the book before the release date and these may be finished copies (the ones that will be in the shops on release day) or these awesome things called ARCs.
So what is an ARC? You may be wondering. These are uncorrected proofs of the book, meaning that it hasn't undergone it's final stage of editing - they are released any time from a few months to weeks before the release date of the book and the purpose is to build a buzz before the release so that people know about the book before it hits the shelf.
Don't get too excited yet. Publishers wont give ARCs to just anyone. As I said before, these are given to build a buzz for the book, as well as this there aren't that many per book printed and they tend to be more expensive to print than the finished copies. For this reason, publishers want you to have a few things before they send you an ARC:
- A good following: I can't give you an exact number. Some publishers will send you review copies when you have 200 followers, some turn me down at 1300. It isn't just about blog followers though, they want to know about Twitter followers, where you cross-post your reviews and your unique visitors.
- Consistent blogging: Nobody expects you to pump out a review every day, and it's not a massive deal if you miss a week of blogging, but they want to make sure that you are going to review the book in a timely matter so if you haven't posted in a month and then request a book, chances are you'll get a polite rejection. It's also worth noting that some publishers will actually specify that you should have been blogging blogging regularly for at least six months or something before you will be granted access to review copies.
- A good level of professionalism: I don't mean that you should be emailing with Dear Sir/Madam at the beginning of an email. However, you should have a good grasp of grammar and you should get the formality right. Remember that asking for an ARC is kind of like a business deal: They're giving you a book under the condition that you read and review it.
- Enthusiasm: Now this kind of goes with the last bullet point. When you are pitching to a publisher to request a review copy, it's key that you show that you're enthusiastic about that genre. They want to see that you're excited to review it and you don't just want a free book.
It also looks very good if you have an attractive and tidy blog. This isn't as important as your presence, but if your blog is attractive you're likely to get more visitors. I'll be doing a post on how to get a good blog design and how to keep the blog tidy in a couple of weeks.
So we've covered what ARCs are and what you need to do to get them, now let me tell you where you can go to get them. I'm not going to go into much detail since I'll be doing step-by-step guides showing how to get review copies through these mediums next week.
These are both online platforms where you can go to browse and request digital review copies. These are, pretty obviously, review copies in eBook form. There are other online platforms for review copies, but most of them are open to US only and since I'm from the UK I'm not that familiar with them.
Basically, just emailing publishers requesting a title. They may then put you on a mailing list where you'll be contacted if there are other titles that they have review copies for. Once again, I'll explain how to do this next week.