Friday, April 10, 2015

Requesting Review Copies from Publishers | Book Blogging Tips (#1)

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When I first found out that book bloggers can get books for free, it absolutely took me by surprise. Of course, even though I wouldn't have admitted it at the time - I wanted desperately to be one of those bloggers. 

I guess each of us knows that being an avid reader can have you have to dig deep into your pockets sometimes.


1. So How Do I Get Review Copies?
  • Have a book blog
  • Choose which upcoming releases interest you
  • Email the publisher 
  • Receive and review the book
  • Repeat
In theory this sounds extremely easy. You'd be surprised - in practice it's exactly as easy as that. In order to be approved for reviews you have to meet certain criteria that are different from publisher to publisher and from country to country. I'm German, so I can only tell you about my experience and the things publishers have told me. Of course, if you're from a bigger country, like the US or Canada, where there are many more book bloggers than in my country, your competition is bigger and you might not get every book you want.

2. When Does My Blog Qualify?
  • You've been blogging for at least 6 months
  • You have a decent amount of page views per month (500+ at least)
  • You publish comprehensive, detailed reviews that include your impressions on the characters, the plot and the writing
  • You have a decent and readable blog layout
  • You publish posts regularly (it doesn't matter whether it's 5 posts per month or 50 - just be consistent)
  • You're able to read and review the book within the given time frame (2-8 weeks usually)
  • VERY IMPORTANT: You crosspost on at least two other platforms (Amazon, Goodreads, LovelyBooks, LibraryThing, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
Of course the criteria differ for every publisher. When I first started out, I thought that the most important thing to consider is the amount of followers.
For publishers the main goal is obviously to get their book out there and have people talk about it.

As a small blog you have to crosspost and advertise way more than a bigger blog. There are some publishers that won't even consider you unless you've got an impressive amount of followers, but you won't know until you try. 
When in doubt, just ask. I promise you, the people in the publishing industry don't bite and will respond to your emails very kindly.

3. How Do I Ask / Who Do I Ask?

There is no success formula, everyone does it differently. Here's what I do:
  • Introduce yourself and your blog briefly
  • Include page views, follower count, unique visitors statistics and all other blog statistics that you can get your hands on
  • Mention where you crosspost
  • Mention the focus of your blog (genres that you mainly review)
  • Tell them what book you want to review and why they should choose your blog 
  • The most important thing is to be polite and still thank them for their time and consideration even when you don't get the book
I know writing emails to publishers can seem scary and make you nervous, but I promise you, you'll only meet kind souls.
You're going to want to start out with small publishers first. Every publishing company has either a request form on their website or an email contact listed.  

Do your research on the company and the upcoming releases before you request. Don't get discouraged if you don't get approved for review copies. Build your blog, improve your content and try again later.

If you're just starting out and don't have that many page views/followers yet and don't want to take the plunge to ask the publishers directly, there are alternatives to get review copies:

  4. How Many Books Should I Request?

You should only request books that you want to read and will read! 
Don't go and request a thousand books, just because you may get them for free! I can not emphasize this enough. ARCs/Review Copies are like a contract with the publisher. 

You're obligated to at least try to read them. Printing those copies costs a lot of money. If you're just here to snag the free copies, publishers won't send you anything anymore and believe me, they will notice if you don't send them the links to your reviews in a timely manner.

If you don't like a book or don't want to continue reading, you may always contact the publicist and tell them. But only, only, only request books you intend to read.

5. What Do I Do Once I Received the Review Copy?

Read and review it, while keeping the time frame in mind.
Most publishers expect you to send them an email with all the links to where you published the review. 
It's even nicer if you thank them politely and let them know in the email when you really loved the book. 
Now repeat. :)


Do You Have Any Tips on Getting Review Copies? 

11 comments:

  1. This was a really informative post, thank you! Now I just have to pluck up the courage to email some publishers... (eeek)
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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  2. Thanks for posting this. It’s really helpful. I have so many published books that I need to review that I haven’t even tried requesting an ARC yet.

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  3. Great post! It's actually a pretty good idea to share this with all of us! Your tips are really helpful and so, so right. Especially the "how many can/do I request" tip. Be careful with which books to choose and think good and long about it (at least I would).

    Netgalley is such a thing ... for example. They have so many books on there and you could request the hell out of the site but (1) it's not even sure IF you get a copy and (2) if you do get one (or maybe even more) a while later - because it still takes some time till you actually get them - ... well, do you even still WANT to read this book? It's a curse if you're a mood reader, I can tell you. :D

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  4. Same, especially since you don't get the ARCs right away. I get a heart attack every time I get a new ARC in the mail that I didn't expect haha

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  5. This is a very helpful post - I remember once I found out I could request ARC's and I went crazy requesting them lol now I'm sane and I have calm down. I do agree, that we should try to read all the books we request as well. Great post <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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  6. I haven't tried NetGalley yet - mainly because I don't read ebooks/ don't have a kindle. It's the same with ARCs I guess, if you request a book that isn't out for review until about a month later. Requesting review copies is definitely risky business.

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  7. Yeah, we all did. I had a lot of anxiety about it too. I mean there's something very stressful to having 10 books lying around and a time frame to read them all. Well, most publishers don't really give you a deadline, but I tend to want to read them as quickly as possible.

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  8. This post is awesome!! Thanks for sharing it! I've never requested a book directly from a publisher, but I do use Netgalley. I think you're probably right about being a blogger in the US though. There are SO MANY bloggers! And so many of them have tons more followers than I do! Maybe after I finish one year of blogging I'll try direct emails!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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  9. Just keep up your lovely content. Blogging needs time, hell I have only been around for half a year and I still don't have even half as many followers as the majority of the bloggers in my country. Who cares, blogging is for you! Do what makes you happy, no matter whether you're a small or big blog.

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  10. This post is so informative. Even I had no idea about how bloggers get the books and post reviews. This post explains it all. Great post, loved reading

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