One of the best parts of book blogging is the chance to discover awesome new books before they’re published and/or receive free copies of books already published. But this should not be the reason you get into book blogging. I blog because I love reading — bloggers are not entitled to anything.
People like to say that you should wait a few months or whatever before getting ARCs, but just go ahead and put yourself out there (without begging or being obnoxious). I started getting some digital ARCs my first week, but wasn’t getting print copies of books I really wanted until the second month. So keep working on your blog, build your social media presence, and be patient!
If you’re contacting publishers directly, send a brief email clearly stating your basic stats like where you review books, how many followers you have, and how many unique page views you get monthly. You don’t need to have a blog! Often just having a presence on bookstagram or Goodreads is more than enough.
If you’re willing to read e-books, there are a ton of ARCs out there (which may or may not be a good thing). Some stories are in really rough shape…
A few sites to find ARCs when you’re starting out:
- Blogging For Books
- Book Blogging (I’ve never found anything I wanted to read on here, but the site exists).
- First to Read
- Sign up for the Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter and watch the ads
- Crossway (Christian review copies)
A lot of those sites are full of books that I wasn’t interested in, though. I’d say just keep reviewing what you want to read instead and let that enthusiasm show, rather than giving halfhearted 2 star reviews week after week.
Once you start working with publishers you’ll usually be put on a list to receive a form where you just check off the ARCs you want to receive every few months so you don’t have to request anything. And eventually you won’t even need to fill out a form with most publishers; you’ll just get whatever they want to send you in the mail. So that surprise is always fun.
And there are other possibilities for ARCs, like working with PR companies for major publishers or being contacted directly by authors. It’s important to note FTC guidelines when you get finished books for free. ARCs aren’t that big of a deal because they aren’t worth money, but it gets tricky when you’re sent a pile of finished books or merchandise. My understanding right now is that anything with a financial value that you received for free in exchange for a promotion (so not like if you won a giveaway) has to be declared with #sponsor or #ad in social media posts. And obviously if you were paid for that post the same thing applies (and you should note the compensation in your review as well).
But honestly, don’t take anything I said here as any sort of strict rules… it’s different for every blogger. It really depends on which publicists you find to work with, too. I’ve been blogging for 8 months now and things keep changing monthly, so just do your own thing and find what works for you!!