ARCs--Advance Reading Copies--are printed by the publisher several months before the release of the book. We do several things with them that we hope will generate sales, including sending copies to reviewers and book buyers for places like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. We also give a few to other authors we hope will give us a nice blurb.
So, if you'd like to receive ARCs, you need to fall into one of these categories. If you do, we'd love to hear from you. We get a lot of ARC requests at Spencer Hill, and most of them are from people who have a book blog, write for a high school or college paper, or have another official outlet for posting or printing reviews. We also send them to the big reviewers like Kirkus and School Library Journal.
But we've been getting a ton recently from people who just want a free book. To those people, I want to say, "Thank you for your interest. Please BUY a copy when it comes out, so we can stay in business and continue to put out awesome books."
The thing about it is, ARCs cost money to print--more than books in an offset print run. And they cost money to ship. For us to send you a copy, we need to believe that your review will generate enough sales to cover those costs. That's fair, right?
Sooo, if you request an ARC, please:
DO include your name and a link to your platform, whether it's a blog, an ezine, a newspaper, a Facebook page, etc. It's also nice to include your stats like number of followers/readers, but this isn't necessary, since we'll check out your platform before sending anything.
DON'T promise a good review. Be honest. If you don't like the book, we'd be happier if you said nothing at all and passed the book to another reviewer who might like it more. If you do post a negative review, please explain dispassionately what you didn't like, rather than just saying, "It sucked."
DO post or print a review in the requested timeframe; we send ARCs out to generate interest around the time of the book launch. It's nice that you want to review books that have been out for a year, but we ran out of ARCs months ago. We may be able to make an exception and provide copies of the early books in a series if you're reviewing the most recent installment. But please read every ARC you receive and post or print your review in a timely manner.
DON'T sell (or try to sell) the ARC. We're happy if you'd like to keep it or give it away to another reviewer, one of your readers, a friend, or your great aunt Edna. But don't sell it; that's considered a really bad faux pas in the publishing world.
DO build up your platform. We're much more likely to send copies to reviewers with a large number of followers, although we also make sure that the reviewer's tastes are a good fit for the title in question. But size matters--we want to get the word out to a large number of people, so the more readers you have, the better off you'll be.
DON'T forget to send a link or complimentary copy of the paper or magazine to the ARC provider when you publish or post it. We'd love to read your thoughts.
DO let me know in comments if you say "arc" or "A.R.C." when you say the word "ARC" aloud. I'm conducting a poll.