If you don’t already know what an ARC is, it is an Advance Review/Reader Copy of books that is made available to reviewers, bloggers, and booksellers, before the actual publishing date of the book to be reviewed. Advanced Reader Copies can’t be sold or are not allowed to be made public, which is why they are the only books I never accept review requests for. These books help generate buzz about a book before it comes out.
Most of my reviews on this blog are ARC reviews as they are the books that are actually sent to me to be read and reviewed.
You should know that I have worked with a lot of authors, publishers, and fellow book bloggers over the 2 years that I have been blogging and these have been my methods and resources. I cannot explicitly explain all the details that go into the work but this is as much of it as I can say.
WHERE DO I GET ARCS
I got my very first ARC after an author contacted me about reviewing a book of theirs. Which is suffice to say how I really got into reading and reviewing books. I do not have a lot of advice about actually asking authors and publishers for review copies through e-mail as I have never done this. Take note, however, that this came after I have already established a decent following and an audience on my blog.
Tip: It is good to start posting about reviews of books you have previously read and loved so that authors and publishers get that you are serious about reviewing their book. They are more likely to send you a copy of a book if they know you are actually going to read and post about it.
I also post my contact details on Goodreads Review Groups such as: Goodreads Reviewers’ Group, Book Bloggers of Goodreads, and Advanced Copies for Review & Book Giveaways. This is a good place to start working with Indie Authors as they are usually willing to give out review copies of their books.
When posting your contact details I suggest to include the following: your email, website, and review policy. I post links of these to my website. These three are the most important, in my opinion, as it ensures that the books that I receive are more or less something that I am interested in. I also make sure that everything that I need publishers and authors to know is on one page (review policy page).
NETGALLEY AND BOOKSIRENS
Do not be afraid of getting eGalleys of ARCs and free books. A lot of the time authors and publishers are not able to send physical copies due to financial constraint and because it just saves a lot of time.
I use both Netgalley and BookSirens to reach out to authors and publishers. Establishing good profiles in book sites such as these is important as they are the first thing that book distributors see. These two sites are more or less the same, the difference being that Netgalley is more publisher-oriented while in BookSirens is more author-oriented.
Netgalley is a great way to receive ebooks, especially if you are just starting out. The entire organization is amazing and have a good system running. The registration is simple and easy but you would still need to update your profile with your social platforms to prove that you are able to get reviews out there. It’s fairly easy to get into the groove of Netgalley but be careful about requesting too many books at a time!!
BookSirens is another book organization that is just as amazing! However, instead of requesting books, authors approve reviewers. After a certain time, reviewers will receive a dashboard that if filled books you can read immediately and leave feedbacks for.
ACCEPT BOOKS THAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN
When are just starting out it is easy enough to accept every ARC and book review request that comes your way. I’m probably not the first one to say this but make sure that you are only accepting the books that actually interest you.
Authors and Publishers can only send so many copies of a book. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get to a book or you aren’t really interested enough to give a wholehearted review (whether positive or negative) it might be better to leave the reviewing to other reviewers that will be able to give it time. It is easy to keep requesting and asking for ARCs and books to review but you’ll have a big problem when you have too much at a time.
Always try to post reviews of all the books that are given to you to be reviewed on time (if you were given one). There is a reason they were given to you. If you cannot post a review then the least you can do is contact the author/publisher about the situation. I’m sure they will understand but at the same time try not to do this too much as you want to be able to establish trust with every author/publisher that you work with.
WHEN YOU CAN’T REVIEW ALL THE BOOKS GIVEN TO YOU
Virtual Blog Tours are essentially a promotion type for certain books hosted by different book bloggers based on a schedule. This is usually organized by Blog Tour Bloggers but there are times when I work directly with the authors themselves.
A lot of the time my list of ARCs and books to review are full and I can only read so many at a time. I never like giving half-hearted reviews so even if I come across a book that I think I like I do not accept all of them for the sake of quality reviews. Though, when there are books that I think my audience, the people who read my blog, will like and match the genres that I read and review I tell authors that I am still willing to promote their book on my blog via Virtual Blog Tours.
VBTs is one of the great ways to get into contact with authors that are willing to do author interviews, guest posts, host giveaways, and of course… give you a free copy of a book to review.
I mainly work with people from Goddess Fish Promotions, Xpresso Book Tours and Silver Dagger Tours when hosting Blog Tours. There is a lot of time and effort put into these VBTs and if you ever have a chance to be part of a Tour my piece of advice is… create the posts that you signed up for and post on time. Again, if you cannot do it, make sure to contact the people organizing the VBTs as I am sure they understand that life just gets in the way sometimes.
It is also important to note that not everyone is accepted into every Blog Tour. VBTs usually have limited slots and are often selected. Different hosts have different systems and procedures to follow and it is too tedious for me to discuss in this post.
Remember: Book Reviewers are essential in making it possible for books to reach a wider audience. DO NOT request books and ARCs just because you want free copies or you were bored because they are real commitments.