Book Blogging #2: How to Get Review Copies of Books (ARCs)


I started this new feature on my blog with advise on books and blogging with my post on How to Get Free Books last week.

Today I want to tell you more about the services of NetGalley and Edelweiss as a way to get free books in exchange of reviewing them online.

I have been using NetGalley for over a year now and I’m very happy with it. It’s very easy to use. Basically you register there and request the books you want to read. I after you’ve read them you have to provide feedback and it’s desirable to publish your review on your site/blog, Goodreads or other platforms for readers and on booksellers sites (Amazon, B&N, ect.).

Now, the tricky part is the approval of your requests. Initially, I was often declined, since my blog was new, I didn’t have many reviews posted there or elsewhere. As a good way to start, I’d suggest that you check out the Read Now section which lists books free for download. It’s important to provide feedback on the books received regularly, even if you didn’t like the book. I, personally, try to maintain my request/review ratio around 60%, though it’s better to be keep it higher than that.

People often go overboard with requests because initially they don’t get many approvals and then suddenly they get far too many review copies to be able to go through them.

The publishers providing copies of their titles for review have different criteria for approving reviewers. Some don’t approve request outside US at all, the UK publishers also provide titles only to UK-based bloggers. 

Edelweiss offers the same service but I have more difficulties with it. As an international reader based in Bulgaria, I can't really use the search option. The only way for me to see the titles available for review is through the email they sent me every week.

This site works in a slightly different way than NetGalley. You have to register with the site and provide some general information about you/your blog but when you request a specific book, you also write a short note explaining why you want this particular title. I get the feeling that Edelweiss offers more YA titles, while NetGalley gets more adult and romance titles but this is pure speculation on my part based on personal observations. 

So far, Edelweiss is not working very well for me and I get more rejections than approvals there and very often I don’t get any response. Still, I check regularly the title offered for review and place my requests when I see something that I like. 

Here is some useful tips for you on how to request ARCs:

-          Start with Read now books (there such sections both on Netgalley and on Edelweiss)
-          Don’t be shy when requesting, you never know when you will be approved, at the same time
-       Go only for books you really want to read, otherwise you will loose the desire to review them
-          Provide honest feedback regularly
-          Don’t depsair if you get declined often. 
-          Sing up for the site’s newsletter, it’s a great way to learn for a limited-time only read now books

Lately, I’ve noticed that some of the companies organizing book tours and promotional events also offer copies of books for review.

-          InkSlinger PR
-          Xpresso BookTours
-          AToMR Book Blog Tours
-     IndieSage

Note: I will be writing a seprate post on PR companies prganising book tours, blitzes, etc. soon (I hope)

Now, if you are a blogger, it’s good to have a section on the blog with your Review requirements/criteria. In this way authors can send you copies of their books for review. I’m swamped with books to review at the moment and I recently went back to work fulltime, so I’m not accepting review requests. I did make an exception recently, since the blurb of the proposed book intrigued me and it ended being a wonderful surprise (Complicated Creatures by Alexi Lawless). 

That's pretty much all I have gained as personal experience in requesting and reviewing ARCs. Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I'll try to answer them to the best of my abilities and knowledge. Your own thoughts and tips on requesting and reviewing ARCs are most welcome!

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