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The Ultimate Guide to ARCs – what are they, requesting sites and tips, and more!

Hey everyone! Some weeks ago, I did a poll in Twitter asking you if you’d like me to write a post on everything ARC related. I let you decide since I’ve seen this kind of post quite a few times on other blogs, so I didn’t know whether to do it or not. 98% people voted for me to do it so here I am.

What will you find in this post?

If you don’t know what an ARC is, you definitely will after reading this post. If you’re familiar with ARCs, then I hope you’ll take some new tips with you and also clarify some doubts you may have. This post is aimed for everyone who’d like to know more about ARC whether you know something or nothing at all.

The Basics

What are ARCs?

ARC stands for Advance Reader Copy. These are early copies of books that bloggers, librarians, booksellers, etc., receive in exchange for an honest opinion before the release of the book. They can be physical or digital. Digital ARCs are usually called eARCs (Electronic Advance Reader Copy).

Who are they for?

As I said above, they’re made for bloggers (and other book influencers), librarians, booksellers, and other people who basically have the influence to make people buy books. They are not made for the general public.

Why do publishers send them?

Publishers send ARCs in exchange for honest reviews that are made through the influencer’s main platform (your blog if you’re a blogger, your youtube channel if you’re a booktuber, etc.). ARCs are a promotional tool, since they give the chance for people to read reviews of the book even before is out, and when it’s freshly released. Basically, their purpose is to give early feedback and visibility for the book.

Websites to get ARCs

NetGalley

This is the main site I use and the one I recommend the most. Here are some basic things you need to know:

Profile tips: Make sure to fill all the info (name, country, bio, type of reviewer, kindle address, social media links, etc.), as the more complete your profile is, the higher are your chances of being approved.

Your bio is one of the most important things in your profile, probably the most important. Be precise and clear on your info, give your stats (number of followers on each platform, monthly blog views, blog engagement, etc.), and be specific on what kind of books you like and which type you don’t.

This is NOT a place to share your age, favorite colors/foods/movies, and all that personal stuff you usually add in a bio. See this as your blogger/reader CV. And please, keep it short.

Feedback ratio: This will show the amount of books you’ve been approved for and the amount you’ve reviewed.

NetGalley’s suggested feedback ratio is 80%. Example: Out of ten (10) books you’ve been approved for, you’ve reviewed eight (8). While a minority of publishers doesn’t care about this, most of them do. It helps them know how high are the chances that you will review the book you’re requesting. My suggestion is to keep this ratio as high as you can.

One way to improve your feedback ratio when you’re just starting is reading a book that’s available as “Read Now”. You don’t need to request these titles and wait for an answer; they’re instantly available for you to read. I recommend everyone that wants to start with NG to do this.

Requesting tips: Please, don’t request every book you see. Keep in mind that by requesting, you have the responsibility to read and review that book (at least if you care about your ratio and being a reviewer publishers can trust with their ARCs), so please be sure you want to read a book before requesting it.

If you have to, make a list of all the books you want to request and give it a day or two to reflect on whether you actually want to request them right away or can wait until they’re published for reading them. Having a long list of ARCs to read can make you feel overwhelmed, and like a chore rather than something you do for pleasure.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Unlike Edelweiss (we’ll learn about this page in a minute), you don’t need to add a paragraph on why you’d like to request certain book. Just press that request button and go.
  • Not long ago, NetGalley started to include audiobooks in its page. It also launched an app where you can listen to these audiobooks once you’re approved for them, and read the regular titles.
  • It’s easy to use and navigate.
  • Most publishers have an “Approval Preferences” page where you can get an idea of how likely it is that you’ll get approved for the book, the things you should and shouldn’t do once you’re approved for one of their titles, and more.
  • Some publishers auto-approve reviewers. This means you’ll be able to read every book by those publishers without having to request it and wait for an approval. This usually happens when you’ve request and reviewed certain amount of books by the same publishers, but every publisher has its reasons to auto approve someone.

Cons:

  • International readers aren’t able to request all the titles. If you’re not US or UK based, chances are that around 40-60% of the books are “Wish for it”. Publishers rarely grant wishes, so the chances of getting those ARCs are slim to none.
  • Not every title is available on NetGalley. Most of the times when you can’t find a title here, chances are you’ll find it on Edelweiss.

Edelweiss+

This site is similar to NetGalley. I haven’t got much luck on this one and I mostly use it for those titles available as “Download” (the equivalent of NetGalley’s “Read now”). That’s why I rather link to helpful posts from people that do succeed at getting ARCs from Edelweiss, because it’ll be much more helpful for you.

BookSirens

This site, much like NetGalley and Edelweiss, allows you to request ARCs. It’s mostly used by indie authors, who give a limited number of “spots” to review their book. That means that if there are 20 spots, only 20 reviewers will have the chance to review that book.

BookSirens gives you recommendations based on the genres you like and sends them to you via email. I have an account, but I haven’t used this site yet. I suggest you to check out this post to get more info on it.

Publishers

Yes, another way to request ARCs is doing it directly to the publisher’s email. You can usually find their email in their websites, and you can easily check which book belongs to which publishing house by searching the book on Edelweiss. You’ll see a gray line just about the title and cover of the book that will say something like “HarperCollins” “Penguin Books”, etc. That’s the publisher. (of course there has to be other ways, but that’s how I do it)

I have been pretty lucky with this particular strategy, but I’d like to explain it in depth in another post. What I can tell you now is that if you’re reaching to the publisher, be polite and straight to the point. State why you want to read the book, why they should give you an ARC, and your social media platform stats.

If you don’t want to wait until I do my post on how to reach out to publishers for ARCs, Beth at BooksNest did an amazing job with her post. Check it out!

General tips on ARC requesting

  • Don’t go around requesting every ARC you see. I said this earlier but it’s SO important. Be realistic regarding the number of books you can read in a certain period of time, and if you see that you cannot read the book before the publishing date, it’s better if you just don’t do it. Also don’t request a book you’re not sure you’re going to like because by doing so, you’re taking the opportunity from someone who wants to read the book more than you.
  • Don’t request a second book from the same publisher if you haven’t reviewed the first one yet. I mean, this should be obvious. If you request but never give the review you’re promising, chances are you’ll get your requests denied until you review the book(s) they gave you earlier.
  • Built confidence on yourself as a reviewer from publishers. You can do this by reviewing the ARCs they give you on time, promoting the book if you liked it and tagging them on social media, and writing detailed and objective reviews. Also, a trustworthy reviewer will never leak the ARC to any site, sell it or share it with anybody else. The book they give you is for your eyes only.
  • Keep track of the ARCs you have. I have an Excel spreadsheet where I keep track of my ARCs with some basic information such as:
  1. Title
  2. Author
  3. Publication date
  4. Publisher
  5. Status (read and reviewed, read but not reviewed yet, pending)
  6. Extras (for example, if I have this ARC because I’m part of a blog tour, I add the date of my assigned post)

What you should NEVER do with your ARCs

When a publisher (whether directly or through one of the websites I mentioned before) gives you an ARC, they are putting their trust in you. These books are unreleased as of the date you receive them and doing anything inappropriate with them can cause great damage to the author, such as a decrease in the sales (if we’re talking about a leak). Here are some basic things you should never do with the ARCs you have.

  • Selling them. In almost every ARC you get, you’ll see a disclaimer stating that you cannot sell the ARCs.
  • Leak them. The ARC you receive is meant to be for your eyes only. Sadly, some authors have had their books leaked on the internet even before their publication for some irresponsible reviewers that don’t know how to respect the job of a writer.
  • Spoil people. This especially goes for ARCs of sequels, but it can apply to any book. It’s not good to go around telling other readers who dies or who ends up with who. Save what you know for yourself.
  • Go against the publisher’s rules. If when you receive an ARC the publisher tells you that you can’t quote the book, then don’t do it. If they ask you not to post your review until two weeks before publication date, do as you’re told. Please always follow the basic rules publishers set to you.

What you CAN do after you read your ARCs

If you don’t want to keep the ARCs after you read them, whether because you didn’t like them or they’re taking up too much space, here’s what you can do with them.

  • Trade them or gift them. While you can’t sell your ARCs, you can trade them for another ARC you’d like to get. This is usually done through the #arcsfortrade hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Similarly, you can gift them to someone you think will enjoy it. It’s even better if you gift them to an OwnVoices reviewer, because that will help to gather for OV reviews that will give a realistic insight on the representation of that book.
  • Delete them. If it’s an eARC, you can just delete it off your library.
  • Donate to a library. I don’t know if this is a “thing”, but I think donating the ARCs to your local library it’s a very good thing to do. That way many other people can read them, knowing it’s never going to be sold anywhere.

That’s all for this post! Almost 2k words *wipes forehead*. But I hope it was helpful! Let me know what your thoughts are and if you have anything to add, tips or anything, please tell me!

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17 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to ARCs – what are they, requesting sites and tips, and more!”

  1. Thank you for this post! I’ve been anxious about starting to request ARCs especially since my follower count is pretty low, and I am a slow reader compared to many in the community.

    I think I’ll start with the “download now” option you suggested just to get my confidence up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Starting with Download Now is an amazing idea! Don’t worry about the follower count, of course some publishers take that into consideration, but what’s more important is the feedback ratio you have and that they can trust that by giving you an ARC, they’ll get a review in return!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post! This was super well written and cohesive! it makes me so sad that some people sell/leak/spoil ARCs, when I get one I’m like I must treasure and revere this gracious gift from the almighty publishers lmao. Also I’m pretty sure you can’t donate ARCs to libraries since they’re not allowed to have them in circulation, but maybe giving ARCs to friends and family or charities would be good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m really happy that you like the post Kay✨ and same, I really try to respect the ARCs I get and their authors/publishers as much as I can (not only by protecting the content but also following the rules of the publishers regarding what I can/can’t do with that ARC)
      And thank you for clarifying! If libraries can’t have ARCs in circulation, then it’d be great to donate them to a charity💛

      Like

  3. This is such a great guide! I definitely used the “read now” option on NetGalley when I first started and admit to being easily excited when requesting. I think at this point, there’s so many amazing books I can’t keep up sometimes so being more selective with the ARCs I request has honestly been life changing 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! Just a few months back I requested any book I remotely wanted to read without thinking in the amount of time and dedication that demands. It’s not only about reading them but also preparing the review on different platforms; and it can be stressing when there’s SO many. Now i’m in a self-imposed requesting ban because of that lol

      Like

  4. This was a great post!! I still have a long way to go keeping track of my stats so I can share them on Netgalley and with publishers, especially international ones, but I’ve been very lucky so far, and incredibly grateful for everything. I guess most of what’s lacking me sometimes it’s the confidence and to believe in myself on why I should receive the ARCs :/

    Like

  5. Cielo, freaking SLAYING it as always and thank you thank you thank you for this list, it’s super helpful. I use Netgalley mostly but I’ve requested a few on Edelweiss. Got rejected on most of them but some actually approved haha. And omg DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT BOOK SIRENS!!!????

    Anyways, you’re the bestest xx

    Like

  6. This guide is so helpful! When I first started blogging I knew nothing of arcs and NetGalley and the few posts that were around weren’t nearly as comprehensive so I just ended figuring some stuff out on my own. I still only mostly use Netgalleybecause it’s easy to use and it keeps busy enough as it is. Edelweiss is confusing as heck and I didn’t even know about Book Sirens! Thanks for writing this!

    Like

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