Also know as “advanced reading copies,” “ARCs,” and “galleys,” these pre-publication copies of books are one of the perks of being a book blogger. Here are some ways to get your hands on them.
1. Participate in Blog Tours
This is perhaps the easiest way for new book bloggers to cut their teeth on review copies, because blog tour companies are always looking for willing reviewers. The agreement is simple: in exchange for a copy of a book, you will read it and post a review of it on a specific date. Just beware not to over book! (No pun intended.) I find that two blog tours a month is quite enough for me.
Here’s a list of a few blog tour companies. I’ve done tours with all except Promo 101:
2. Subscribe to Shelf Awareness
Shelf Awareness – Daily Enlightenment for the Book Trade is an email newsletter delivered to your inbox each business day. It is full of information about the publishing industry – and advance reading copy (ARC) offers! Many of the ARCs I receive come from this source.
3. Sign Up For Reviewer Programs
Many book-related websites have programs for distributing ARCs to their members. Note that your chances of receiving additional books from these sources are greatly increased by posting reviews of the books you obtain in a speedy manner. Here are a few of the most popular programs:
4. Subscribe to Publisher’s Newsletters
A great way to keep tabs on your favorite publishers is to subscribe to their newsletters. Many of the newsletters have information about how to get ARCs. For example, HarperCollins has a “First Look” newsletter that is specifically geared to reviewers. Here are a few of the newsletters to which I subscribe:
5. Directly Contact Authors and Publishers
This one takes guts, but it usually pays off if you do it respectfully and professionally. This method works best if you are after a specific book. Linda Formichelli has put together a great list of publishers and their preferred methods of receiving book requests. Google searches for authors and publishers work well too. I’ve found that it’s best to do your research on the book, the author, and the publisher before you contact someone asking for a book. Also, be prepared to share information about your blog and your blog’s audience.
BONUS TIP – Establish a Review Policy
It’s best to post your review policy on your blog prior to accepting review copies. Your policy should clearly delineate your preferred method of contact, your preferred genres, and your reading and posting policies. Here are several examples of detailed review policies:
Okay, now you’ve read my list. How do you get your hands on those precious ARCs?