You asked, and I shall deliver! In this post, we will chat about some various ways you can get early access to new releases in the form of Advance Reader Copies, or ARCs!
Before we get into specifics, let me start with biggest rule of thumb when it comes to getting ARCs: If you don't ask, the answer will always be NO.
Now, with that said, there's several different ways you can get ARCs. This post is going to go through the four most common ones that I personally utilize.
The most common, and easiest, way to get ARCs is to sign up to a website like NetGalley. NetGalley is the only website I use, though there are several other similar websites.
To get ARCs from NetGalley, you make an account, fill out your profile, and start requesting books!
Okay, okay, that makes it sound way easier than it actually is. You actually do have to put some work into it. I recommend following NetGalley's suggestions for completing your profile, as this is the biggest thing publishers look at when choosing to accept your ARC request.
NetGalley sends ARCs either to their shelf app, or they can send it directly to your Kindle. If you want the ARCs to be delivered to your Kindle, you'll have to provide your Kindle email, which you can do by following these instructions.
To start out on NetGalley and improve your chances of being approved for the books you really want, you should start by reviewing the "Read Now" books available on NetGalley. These books do not need publisher approval to get early access to, you can just download it and start reading!
Each individual publisher has different things they look for when deciding to accept your request. If you want to know what these are, you can look at their descriptions on their individual NetGalley pages. Most publishers are looking for a consistent social media presence, history of reviews, and a high NetGalley review percentage (usually around 80%).
It takes time to get to this, so don't give up, and just keep requesting books you want and reviewing "Read Now" books. If you want me to go more into detail about NetGalley, please let me know! I could easily write an entire post just about this!
Direct from the Publisher
Another option you have is to get ARCs, both physical and electronically, directly through the publisher. This is one of the most difficult ways to get ARCs in my opinion, but also one of the most rewarding.
To get an ARC from a publisher, you're going to have to reach out to said publisher. Nearly every publisher will have a "Contact" or a "Media Inquiries" section on their websites. Most of them will at least have an email address to direct media inquiries to.
Some of them (looking at you Penguin Teen) will even have details on how to specifically request ARCs. LISTEN to their request if they want specific details from you. The fastest way to get your request ignored or rejected is to not follow instructions.
If there are not specific instructions, you have a little more leeway and flexibility in how you approach requesting an ARC. To start out with, I recommend building your reputation for writing and posting reviews on whatever channel you use. You don't have to have a huge following, but you need to show that you are consistent and will follow through with posting about the book if you receive it.
Starting out, I recommend you begin by requesting an ARC for a specific book, rather than just a broad "gimme all the ARCs" request. Eventually, after you've gotten a few from the company, you can request to be added to their influencer list to get more releases.
Most traditional publishers will send out ARCs 4-6 months before the publishing date, so be sure to time your request right! When writing an email to a publisher, I recommend including the following elements:
Your name and social media handles
Where you post reviews at (Instagram, Blog, Twitter, BookTok, etc.)
Your statistics for your various socials. The numbers they typically look for are: follower count and content engagement numbers
The book you are requesting and WHY you are requesting it (This can be as simple as "I've read the previous books in the series and just love it so much")
How you would be able to receive the ARC - most are sending eARCs now, but include your Kindle email if you have one, as well as your physical address
If you have them, links to other books you've reviewed from that same publishing firm. Again, this shows consistency and dedication to their company.
Send that bad boy off and cross your fingers! Don't get discouraged, keep requesting books. Sometimes, you'll get a response either saying "yeah, here you go!", sometimes you'll get one declining. Sometimes you won't get a response at all, but you'll get the book, and sometimes you just won't get a response. But keep trying. There are a LOT of people requesting, and they can't fulfill every request.
My best tip to getting noticed by publishers is to tag them in your reviews. Again, this is all about consistency. If they see you posting about their books, the next time you request one, they might recognize your name.
Direct from the Author
Direct from the publisher works great... if the books are traditionally published. But if they're not, your best bet is to go straight to the author. Indie authors have more control over who gets their ARCs than traditionally published authors, who typically have no say whatsoever in who gets an ARC.
However, indie authors have preferences just the same as traditional publishing companies when it comes to requesting ARCs. Once again, the general rules comes into play here: If you don't ask, the answer will always be NO. But, you need to ask tactfully.
If you've never read or posted about the author or their books... the answer will likely be no. Again, this goes back to loyalty and consistency. Authors, just like publishers, reward people with ARCs who are loyal and already post about their content. So, tag authors when you post about their books! (Note: but don't tag authors in negative reviews.)
So your first step, is to be a fan FIRST. Then, go to the authors social media pages or their website and look for the same thing you looked for on the traditional publishers websites. There will likely be a contact email or an FAQ of some sort explaining how to request an ARC.
Don't be discouraged if indie authors tell you no. They have much less freedom in offering free copies of their books than traditional publishers do, just based on the nature of how they publish. But keep showing your support and keep asking.
I'm going to use Scarlett St. Clair as an example, simply because I've gotten ARCs from her and know how she works. For Scarlett, she has an FAQ on her Instagram and her website that details how to request ARCs, and the answer is that: you can't. She only provides ARCs to her street team, which is a kind of hype team. A lot of indie authors do this, because the street team does double duty as a marketing tool. So, if I wanted an ARC of Scarlett's books, which I did, I stalked her page looking for the Street Team applications to open. In the meantime, I posted about her books... A LOT. Again, loyalty and consistency.
ARCs are fun, but they are a commitment. Don't request one if you think you either won't be able to post about it, won't like it, or (if it's part of a series) haven't read the other books already. Free books are fun, but they're a REWARD, not a right, and definitely not a given. You have to work to get them. Follower count does matter some, but more importantly, your passion and consistency matters the most.
The last, and most unpredictable, method to get ARCs is through giveaways! These are pure luck of the draw, but can often get you some nice books!
Giveaways for ARCs can be hosted by the author, by the publisher, of by a third party. The best way to find these giveaways to enter is to follow authors and publishers you're interested in, as well as book tour promotion companies, which often do giveaways too. Another way to enter giveaways is through Goodreads, which pits you against thousands of other people, but is still a viable option.
You can also keep an eye out on author and reader groups on Facebook. Groups like that, especially bigger ones, often have giveaways for ARC copies!
There's no trick to giveaways, except to just enter the ones you see! However, if you end up winning the giveaway, make SURE you post about it and post about the book once you get it. Winning an ARC giveaway, or any giveaway for that matter, and then not posting about it or acknowledging it is the quickest way to be excluded from future giveaways.
I know a lot of these tips sound like schmoozing and sucking up, and it kind of is, but it's more that you are showing your passion for books and for authors you want to support. Most people who want ARCs would likely read the book anyways, and that's what you want. Publishers and authors give ARCs to people who are passionate about their product, so let that shine!
Give these methods a shot and let me know how it goes!! If you have questions, or need more specific information, I'd be happy to chat more about this! Either email me at the Contact tab, or message me on Instagram!
Thanks for reading!