So I’ve had a few questions lately about how I got into reviewing books for publishers. I only review for a few publishers, but when I first started out I had no idea what ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) even were or how you could get them. So I thought I’d write a short (or not so short) post on how to go about getting them, for someone who was like me who is thinking about contacting publishers but no idea where to start. I’m by no means an expert or anything, but I’ve made some rookie mistakes so I have picked up a few tips along the way that I thought I’d share. Quickly before I start I want to mention that these tips are just based off of my experience with Australian publishers. I have no idea if it's different in other countries, but I would assume it follows the same sort of principle.
So the first thing you need to do is make sure you actually have a blog. They recommend you have it up and running for at least 4 months before you contact them at all. I can’t speak for all publishers, but the few that I review for do not accept social media sites such as Instagram or Tumblr as blogs. Also, I wouldn’t recommend you start blogging just so you can eventually get sent books. I know everyone says it but honestly, you can tell when people are in it just for the ARCS and it just won’t be enjoyable.
Next I’d recommend that you stay active on their social media pages. If they keep seeing your name popping up (not incessantly spamming them though), then you can get the right contacts. That’s kind of how I got into it. I had emailed a few publishers but never heard anything back, but then I won an ARC of We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach on Simon and Schuster’s Facebook page so when I reviewed it (even though it was a bad review because I absolutely hated the book) I sent it to the Facebook page and they responded asking me if I wanted to join their blogging team!
Be professional. When emailing publishers, it is really important to be as professional as possible. Whenever I email publishers for the first time, I make sure to give a little information about me, just basic things like my name, age and location. Then give a little background to the blog, when you started it, how many subscribers you have and amount of unique views and page visits per month. It’s also helpful to mention what sort of books you read. It’s better to right off the bat say you don’t read fantasy books, or you only read contemporary. That way, if they start sending you unsolicited books (meaning books you haven’t requested), then it’s less likely they’ll send something you don’t want to read. Also, include in your email your address. I feel like this is absolutely KEY. Publishers are busy people, and therefore they don’t have time to respond to the endless amount of emails they are probably receiving every day. If you include your address then once they read your email, if they like the sound of you they will more than likely put you onto their list. I’ve had this happen to me three times so I definitely recommend it.
Use NetGalley. A lot of people don’t use NetGalley because the books offered there are only eBooks and a lot of people have some sort of prejudice about eReaders, but honestly NetGalley is the easiest way to get ARCS.
Finally, as cheesy as it probably sounds just have fun. If you don’t have fun blogging, then it’s going to show. Publishers want people that are honest and entertaining. I don’t know if I’m very entertaining, but I am honest and I do have fun and thoroughly enjoy blogging.
To those people who actually asked me, I really hope this has helped! Even if you didn’t ask I hope it’s given you some pointers. Let me know if there are any other tips I’ve missed! I’m sure I have.
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