“How do I get ARCs?” “You got to read X book early? How?” “I don’t know how to reach out..”
Disclaimer: By no means am I an expert in the game that is pleasing the publishers. I myself have only just recently started requesting ARCs from publishers to mildly mediocre success. But this is what has worked for me about 1 in every 8-10 requests I make.
1. Must have an established presence. This can be online (blog, bookstagram, etc.) or physically (librarian, bookstore employee, etc.). I started off with a bookstagram account and using online reviewing services such as Netgalley.
2. Figure out what sorts of books you want to read. The most common mistake is requesting any and everything. When you’re reaching out to a publisher or using an online reviewer service, know what you read. If you’re not a fan of horror, don’t request it just because it’s the “big name” book that’ everyone is talking about. Publishers send books to reviewers for free, expecting you to read it and share your thoughts with the people who follow you. If you wouldn’t normally pick it up at B&N or Amazon, perhaps steer clear. Which brings me to my next point….
3. Your end of the commitment. Asking for an Advanced Readers Copy is a bit of an unwritten contract between yourself and the publisher. You are asking them to send you a product for free. The very least you can do is read the book they’re sending and leave a review.
4. Honesty is the only policy. Some people will say not to rate a book lower than 3 stars. I disagree. Be honest. If you felt the book was a 1 star read, rate it so, and explain why in your review. Sometimes a particular book doesn’t connect with you. Why was that? Write in the review.
5. You are critiquing the work, not the author. If you some personal vendetta against an author, leave that out of your review. You are here to tell us about the book: the pacing, character development, plot holes. Just because an author snubbed you at a signing doesn’t change the fact that their book is really good, even if the author is a crappy human.
These are just the things that, in my opinion, a potential reviewer should keep in mind. By no means are these hard and fast rules, just my thoughts. Join me next week for tips on crafting an email request to a publisher to request an ARC.