Welcome to my first official Tips and Tricks post! Today I’m going to be talking about requesting e-ARCs (I will try to do one on physical ARCs in the future, once I have a bit more experience with them). If you have a book blog, you probably have been wondering about, or trying to get some ARCs. So, I’m going to share with you guys what I do when requesting. Update: I’m noticing this post is actually really similar to a pro NetGalley article that I read ages ago, and that you can find here.
While there are a few different sites you can use to request digital ARCs, I have found the most success with NetGalley. It’s very user-friendly, and the requesting process, as well as what publishers look for, is pretty straight forward. After you’ve created an account (it’s free), here are the steps I recommend taking.
1. Fill out your bio: This is super important! Publishers look to your bio for personal information about you as a reader, as well as some of your reviewing stats. In mine, I include why I started reviewing books, as well as the sites I review on, and the kinds of books I most enjoy reading. Then, I include a list of stats for my various reviewing platforms (ex- Blog: average of X monthly views, X comments per post, X likes per post, and X followers). I wouldn’t include too much info in here, but enough that the publishers get a sense for your style. Don’t be afraid to switch up your bio if it isn’t working!
2. Look at approval preferences: Each publisher will have a list of their preferences on their page for the kind of info/reviewers they send Galleys out to. Some may have really high standards–for example they only send out to reviewers who have reviewed a high number of titles they have been accepted for, or prefer people who use certain reviewing platforms over others. Some may have directions for reviews, like “post reviews as soon as you finish” or “wait until publication to post reviews.” Others don’t really care!
3. Take advantage of “read nows”: Unfortunately, using NetGalley involves a certain amount of paying your dues, so to speak. You probably won’t be accepted to review the most popular titles right away (unless perhaps you have amazing stats). To build up your profile, you can read books that don’t require approval from publishers, that are in the “read now” category. When I first started, I reviewed lots of short stories and children’s books to boost up my ratings quickly.
4. Don’t request too much at once: I know, it’s SO HARD not to go overboard. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a copy of every unreleased book out there?? But try resisting that urge. You never know how many you will get approved for, and it can be really overwhelming if all of a sudden you have 20 books to read, and a 0% feedback ratio. Then if you come across a book you really want, you don’t look very credible to the publisher.
5. Review your titles: You’re probably thinking “wow thanks for that obvious tip,” but I think people underestimate it! NetGalley recommends having an 80% feedback ratio, which is harder than it sounds. Sometimes you get a rush of approvals all at once, so it’s a good idea to stay on top of your reviews. Plus, publishers like when titles are reviewed in a timely manner.
6. Don’t get discouraged: It can be really tough when you don’t get approved for that book you’ve been dreaming about. It’s happened to me several times, but don’t take it personally! There aren’t enough ARCs for everyone to get, and sometimes it may just come down to timing. Use rejections as tools to boost your profile in the future. Is one publisher in particular rejecting you? Take another look at their approval preferences! Try tweaking your bio a little. Or, it may just be a matter of building up your platforms and NetGalley credibility more.
Those are all of the tips I can think of for now. If you have more, have questions, or think I misconstrued anything, please let me know! While I do have a fair amount of experience, I don’t pretend to know everything about requesting ARCs (not even close). This is just what has worked for me.
Please feel free to tell me what you want to see a tips and tricks posts about in the future (: