ARC advice: How to get ARCS/or How to make your requests more successful!(with UK publisher contact list!)

 

Want to know how to get ARCS? Want to know how to make your requests more successful? Want to know what ARC means?! You’ve come to the right place!

This post is the second in a series of advice posts for bloggers/bookstagrammers!

There are already some ARC advice blog posts which are extremely helpful but they all focus around how to contact US publishers, not UK ones, so this is going to be a little different. I’ll share my general advice and then share some UK specific advice as well.

ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy, and they are proof copies of books sent out by publishers to reviewers. These can also be called ‘Unfinished proofs’. For the purposes of this post I am referring to physical ARCs, but I will briefly talk about e-ARCs and netgalley (and there will be a whole post dedicated to this soon, so keep an eye open for it!)

Publisher’s send these a couple of months before the books general release to get an early pool of reviews, and to hype up publicity.

Publisher’s are looking for reviewers who have audiences, be that on twitter, Instagram, blogs, or YouTube. Some publishers and authors may also be looking for diverse reviewers so they can truly have a wide pool of reviewers from different backgrounds, I’ll talk more about this and sensitivity readers later.

Getting started

So, you want an ARC.

Before we go any further, let’s discuss audience numbers. I’ve seen bloggers say they’ve received ARCs from 40 followers, but these comments were all from American bloggers, and were a number of years old. I’m going to assume things are either different in the UK/ or things have gotten a LOT more competitive over the last couple of years, because I didn’t receive my first ARC until I hit 9,000 followers on my blog.

Though, looking back, that was probably also down to mistakes I was making in my ARC requests (I’ll get on to that later). I would say wait until you have 300 followers before you request physical ARCs, and it’s also best to have been on your chosen platform for longer then six months. This shows that you are dedicated and reliable. Of course there is nothing stopping you from requesting from 40 followers, but introducing yourself to publicity people as a blog with an established following is a good way to start your relationship!

Until then you can always use Netgalley, an e-ARC website, to apply for e-ARCs!

Researching the book

Goodreads is a good place to look for anticipated releases. Some amazing people on GR collate monthly lists of upcoming releases, which is a really good place to start. Keep in mind ARCs can be released up to nine months before the release of a book, but are most often sent at around 3/4 months before (in the UK anyway).

So, you’ve chosen a book you’d like an arc of- what next?

Find out who the publisher is!

Goodreads will tell you who is publishing in the info section, but you should also check your local amazon or book depository, just so you can be doubly sure who is publishing in your country (GR has been wrong on a couple of occasions for me, even on the UK edition).

Then head over to their website, find their contact page and head to the publicity contact. Bigger houses will have different email addresses for different imprints, so make sure you are emailing the right imprint! (You should be able to tell which imprint is publishing, because it will be the publisher listed on the book’s info).

Send an email

Yes, it’s that simple.

Your email needs to convey a number of things- who you are, your address and how many followers you have on what platform. Any impressive stats, like visitor number if you are a blogger, or number of likes on a normal post if you are a bookstagrammer, should go here.

ALWAYS start with your most impressive stats. For instance my stats start with city-of-fiction.com’s follow count, and then it’s likes on book photography posts. I then mention I also have a bookstagram and name the follow count, because that’s the least impressive.

Let’s take a look at an example email.

Dear Macmillan’s Childrens (always start with the publisher/imprint name!)

{INSERT ADDRESS HERE}

I am writing to inquire about receiving an ARC of Hearless by Marrissa Meyer, to be released in February 2017. (isbn 000100100001)

I currently run the blog city-of-fiction.com which focuses on YA fiction and has 10,000 followers, and growing.

It has

  • been running for two years
  • book photography posts which receive 10,000 likes and more

I also run an Instagram account, which has 5,600 followers. 

Please see this example review, which is on Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Thank you for your time,

Katie

Make sure to link all the things you want them to see! This makes it a lot less work for them. Also, make sure to make your address easily find-able, I put mine at the top of my emails so it’s accessible for send outs.

When talking about bookstagram I tend to use instagram, just because I don’t want to presume the publicity person knows all the lingo we use (and in my experience working with publishers not all of them do know about book photography, it’s a relatively new thing especially with UK publishers).

Wait

Getting ARCs is 20% research, 5% writing the email and 75% waiting. Most publisher’s won’t send you an email to say they are sending anything, a copy will either show up or won’t.

In some cases you may get an email back, and it may be from a personal email address instead of a publicity one. Save this email address and use it for contact in the future.

If you don’t get an ARC

If one doesn’t arrive all you can do is be graceful and continue to try.

You can always analyse your mistakes. Maybe you emailed too late and ARCs had already been sent (you can normally tell because of what other local bloggers/bookstagrammers are posting, or tweeting to the publishing house).

It might be that your email was not addressed to the right people, or that it was sent too early and then got lost. Learn from these mistakes and try your best to follow publishing houses on twitter to see when ARCs have come in, and email ASAP.

If you do get an arc!

Thank the publishing house on social media- every social media you can manage! Tag them, tweet them! If they can see you are doing a good job of bring in an audience they will start to recognize your requests and remember who you are!

Advice for my UK people!

Unfortunately for us in the UK not all releases are actually published here, some are published in the US and just so happen to get sold here online via Book Depository/amazon. You need to be looking at who is publishing the book in the US via goodreads (which defaults to the US edition), and then look it up on Amazon UK to see if that publisher changes. If it does, it’s probably also being published here, but if it doesn’t (and the price is a bit high) then the likelihood is it’s a US release.

Always make sure it is a UK publisher, you can do this by checking where they are based on their website. Once you get used to applying for ARCs you’ll start to remember publisher’s that are UK based, and ones that aren’t.

List of UK publishers and their publicity email addresses

(These are all the email addresses that are already available on their respective websites, I’ve just listed them to make it easier for you!) These are for YA/children imprints, so be aware you will need to find separate ones for adult books.

Simon and Schuster- childrensbooks@simonandschuster.co.uk

Penguin- HVenn@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk– Harriet Venn (Publicity for teen books)

Macmillan Children’s (& Mykindabook)- childrensbooks@macmillan.co.uk 

(Macmillan want at least 1,000 followers from reviewers)

Hodder and Stoughton (& Chapter 5) – publicityenquiries@hodder.co.uk                            

Hot Key- enquiries@bonnierzaffre.co.uk

Bloomsbury- publicity@bloomsbury.com

Usbourne– amyd@usborne.co.uk

Chicken House books- through the contact form on their website

Harpercollins UK- childrens.publicity@harpercollins.co.uk

Walker UK are the only UK YA publishing house I know who do blogger/reviewer call outs every six months. They announce these on twitter without any prior warning and close it once they have enough people. One has just happened this April so the next will be in Autumn. Keep an eye on their twitter from September if you want to be on the next blogger list.

So what about diverse reviewers and sensitivity readers?

More and more publishers and authors are on the look out for both diverse reviewers and sensitivity readers- which are two separate things.

Sensitivity readers normally read a manuscript, a non-bound not finished copy of the book and are asked to give their honest opinion about characters and the way culture has been used in the book. This normally happens if an author is writing about a culture that is not their own, i.e. if Japanese culture was used a Japanese sensitivity reader with knowledge of their culture would be needed.

Sensitivity reading is a hard job, some people have said to me before it’s like having the responsibility for your whole culture, and it can also be difficult (but necessary) to criticize the author if they’ve made mistakes. Sensitivity reading is a growing trend, and many people see it as a necessary step for authors and editors to go through before a book is published, so they are in constant need (and often paid!)

Authors and editors will normally tweet about needing sensitivity readers, or will approach people themselves.

Sensitivity reading is very different to reading an ARC because

  • it is a completely unfinished copy of the book that WILL change
  • it won’t be a physical bound copy
  • You shouldn’t be discussing the books with others
  • the book is not sent to you for publicity purposes
  • You need to be able to criticize the book if necessary

And diverse reviewers?

This is a lot like receiving an ARC, but authors are seeking out a wider range of reviewers.

Normally started by a call out for diverse reviewers on twitter by the author, these call outs will ignore stats like followers in favor of having better reviews from people with different backgrounds. This is also a good way to make sure no one is offended by the content of the book before the book is released, but in most cases the ARC will not change between this stage and the final copy.

Even though it could be tempting if you are not a diverse reviewer PLEASE don’t try and get a review copy through these kinds of call outs, it ruins the system which is there to make sure authors can see all kinds of reviews before a book is released.

That being said, all the below can be considered diverse

  • PoC (non white readers)
  • Disabled
  • Mentally diverse (especially when it comes to books with mental health/diversity rep)
  • LGBTQA+
  • Other minorities (religious minorities, etc.)
  • And other things I am sure to have forgotten.

Sometimes the author will be looking for certain types of diverse reviewers, so you’ll know whether you can apply.

Other things to remember!

  • Physical ARCs are not free books, they cost the publisher’s a lot of money to make. Be grateful if you receive one and always thank the publisher publicly. You can also tag the author in your posts, they love to see people enjoying ARCs!
  • Keep an eye on publishers on twitter!
  • Ask to be added to their mailing list (after they’ve sent you so many ARCs, you can always ask to be added to their mailing list (though I’ve often found this doesn’t always work, and you should still send individual emails if there is an ARC you really want)).

Mistakes I was making (don’t do this!)

It seems rather obvious now, but there was no one to tell me nor was there any blog posts about UK ARCs, so I was sending my emails to US publishers, who just weren’t responding at all. Generally overseas publishers will not send books internationally (unless you have a massive following). This is because shipping costs are through the roof, and they might not be the people publishing the book in your country.

I was also sending very short emails with unformatted text, now all my emails are in pink (hey, it catches your eye!) and I have the most important information in big font and bolded!

Make sure to clearly introduce yourself and your platform as concisely as possible, and put your address in a accessible place, like the top of your email (mine was at the bottom, and since I’ve moved it I’ve had a lot more success!)

AND GOOD LUCK!

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4 thoughts on “ARC advice: How to get ARCS/or How to make your requests more successful!(with UK publisher contact list!)

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