Friday, April 22, 2011

ARC Requests

As Jennifer's book gets closer to release, I've been inundated with requests for Advance Reading Copies, a.k.a., ARCs. Some people know how to do this well. Some don't. If you are one of the latter, here's what you need to know.

Include your name as well as your blog, magazine, or newspaper name and a link to it
Include threats if you don't get a free book. 
Spellcheck and proof-read your message. You're sending this to book people, and bad spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation cause us physical pain. 
Say you just want to read it for fun. That's why the publisher and author want you to BUY the book.
Mention the format(s) you can accept, including paper copies, PDFs, Kindle, Nook, etc. If you're unsure which your e-reader can use, just mention which kind you have. And if you prefer a paper copy, please include your mailing address. If you live outside the US, get an e-reader, since overseas shipping is wicked expensive. 
Expect to get a lot of free books if only three people follow your blog or read your e-zine. You need to build up your readership so you have an attractive platform. 

Let us know what you and your magazine, newspaper, or blog can do to promote the book. We're usually happy to consider giveaways, guest posts, and interviews, too, so it never hurts to ask. 
Have your friends email the publisher and ask for extra copies for you. It doesn't come across very professionally.  
Mention where the review will be seen, for example, if you also post to Goodreads, Amazon, Library Thing, Barnes & Noble, etc., mention these, as well. 
Accept an ARC for review, and then NOT read it. It is acceptable to start a book, realize it isn't something you like, and tell the publisher that you'd prefer not to review it. Most of us prefer silence to a bad review. But at least give it a shot, especially during the active promo time frame of the book. 
Be honest when you review a book. If you don't like it, you can say so and tell us why you didn't like it, although we hope you won't be mean about it. Your integrity as a reviewer makes the books you DO like really stand out as special. But feel free not to post a bad review all over the web. Really. In fact, we're happy not to have a 2-star rating pulling down our Goodreads numbers.  
Sell (or try to sell) ARCs. Feel free to give them away to other reviewers, to friends, or in a contest on your blog, but don't sell them. Not cool. 
Post your review in a reasonable time frame. Most of us would prefer to have the review up around the release date, in the period about one month prior to about three months after, give or take. Don't accept more ARCs than you have time to read. 

Here's the deal; publishers have ARCs made up early so they can send them out to reviewers or others who will generate buzz for the book. They cost more than books from the regular print run--usually about twice as much. We need to justify the expense of printing and mailing the ARC, which means we need to believe that enough of your readers will buy the book based on your review to make back what we spent.

That being said, most publishers will be happy to let you help get the word out.

Happy weekend! Make sure you get your vote in for the Spring Writing Contest before the Sunday deadline!


Emily White said...

Great advice! It's always interesting to find out how these things should work. :)

Mflick1 said...

I agree with Emily. Your advice is great. I have one question (new to the ARC world), who do I look to contact at the Publisher's office? Will there be a clear cut person for each ARC or is it more general then that? Thanks.

lexcade said...

your blog looks like Christmas. Or Italy. Actually, I prefer Italy.

Great advice concerning the ARC thing. What would you consider an acceptable "platform" for blogging about the book?

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Mflick1, If the publisher has a contact form, that's usually a great place to start. At a small press, we all pretty much know who is working on which book. At the large presses, they often have a drop-down option on their contact form for "ARC Request" which will make sure it gets to the right intern.

Lexie, I'm flexible about the platform. Obviously, newspapers and certain magazines used to be the main place to find reviews. Now blogs are standard, too. However, since Spencer Hill books are aimed at a YA audience, we're open to other platforms like Facebook, high school papers, etc., and we'll always consider other options as new ways develop. The main question is, will enough people read the review and buy the book to justify the costs of printing and shipping the ARC? We have several criteria we consider, but the main one is the number of readers.

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