Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fantastic ARCs and Where to Find Them

One of the questions I hear most as a book blogger is, "How do you get ARCs?" In the last few weeks, I've noticed a lot of people discussing ARCs more (and in a different way) than normal.

Convention season is upon us and, with ALA Midwinter and TLA just behind us and several others ahead over the next few months, I'd imagine there will be many more discussions. This time of year, people on the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter, the snarky comments always start. A couple years ago this prompted me to make a post about ARC entitlement. This year I'm going to talk about how bloggers get ARCs in the first place and how you might be able to snag a few to review.


If you're brand new to blogging or just haven't cared about ARCs thus far, you might be wondering what an ARC even is. Well, friend, let me tell you - ARCs are magical. ARC stands for Advance Reading Copy. They give booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and others an opportunity to read and share reviews of books before they're released to the general public. I can only speak as a blogger, of course, but I get excited about ARCs because they give me the chance to help create hype for books I'm excited about. I'm able to read them early, review them, and tell everyone how amazing the books I'm reading are, hopefully causing others to be equally excited and possibly preorder.


Of course, some of us collect ARCs of books that are already published, maybe years in the past, just because we adore the books and want to own it in every possible format. My oldest ARC is 28 years old and I will love it and cherish it forever! Sometimes ARCs are released with no cover, then with a cover. Sometimes the cover gets changed and another ARC is released. Sometimes there's a manuscript first and sometimes other countries have different covers on their ARCs. The possibilities are endless and honestly it's a problem because will my collection ever be complete??


This is what everyone really wants to know! How do you get ARCs? Heads up: it won't happen quickly. I've been in the blogging community for four years and I've just recently found myself on some major publisher lists. Even then, there are tons and tons of requests I never hear back from! While it may seem like some bloggers get ALL the new books, most of us are very grateful to get a few, so make sure your expectations are realistic. Here are the ways I know of to obtain ARCs:

  1. Netgalley - This is the absolute best way for a new blogger to read advance copies! Netgalley is a website that allows bloggers to request eARCs. There are no emails to be rejected or ignored, you just hit the "request" button and your wish is granted or not. If it is, you can choose to send the book to your Kindle or other eReader. When you're done, leave a rating and review on Netgalley and you're done! Just don't go crazy requesting because every book you're given to read will affect your ratio and your ratio will play into publisher decisions later on. 
  2. Blog tours - If you google "book blog tours" you will find several amazing online tour companies. These are companies who host blog tours for upcoming books and will provide eARCs (and sometimes physical copies) to blogs who are chosen to participate. 
  3. Email requests - If there's a specific ARC that you're after, you always have the option to email the publisher directly. Contact information can be found on publisher websites. Just email your request with a little info about who you are and why you want to review a book and you just might get to read it! Just be aware that it's not unusual for these emails to go unanswered. 
  4. Conventions and festivals - A big way that a lot of bloggers get ARCs is through book events like BEA and YALLFEST. Some you have to apply to go to, but they're all amazing if you get the chance to go!
  5. Goodreads giveaways - If you're feeling lucky, you can enter Goodreads giveaways! I've never had great luck with them, but someone has to win, right? 
  6. Trading - And we've come full circle. There are groups to trade on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. Trading ARCs is another way many people get ARCs, but you have to have something to get something. Some people are more picky than others and that's perfectly okay because what they are trading belongs to them. If you only have older paperbacks to trade, you probably won't be able to get the most popular upcoming ARC through trading, but who knows? You might get lucky!


So what if you've tried all the ways I've discussed and STILL can't get your hands on an ARC? Don't despair! Each and every ARC that's out there being swapped or sent to booksellers is going to be a published book very soon. You may have to wait a bit longer to read it than the librarian you know who got an early copy, but you will ultimately have the chance to read it! And if you're searching for that one ARC that's at the top of your collection wishlist, keep collecting and keep looking. You never know when someone might be willing to make a deal!

Are there any ways I've left off the list?
What is your most anticipated upcoming book?
Let me know in the comments!