I’m finally sitting down to write about a topic I promised to talk about a few months go: how do you get physical ARCs when you don’t live in the US/UK?
I’ve always been told that it was absolutely impossible to get ARCs as an international reader. Publishers would never ever send me ARCs because the shipping is just too much, and it wouldn’t be worth it. The only ways to get physical ARCs for me would be to win them in a giveaway or maybe trade them, but that’s it. Then, a few months ago, I sent out a few requests, thinking nothing would ever come of it, and a few weeks later I had my 2 first ever physical ARCs! So, it’s obviously possible, but you just need to know how. And I’m here to help you.
So, how do you get physical ARCs as an international blogger?
Step 1: Have an established blog
You’ve probably visited a number of these ‘guide to physical ARCs’ posts and you’ve probably heard this before, but make sure that you’ve been blogging for at least 6 months! Publishers want to know that you take blogging seriously, and that you’re not just trying to get free books out of it.
But while having an established blog is important, having good stats is even more important. Someone who has been blogging for a month and has 1.000 followers is more likely to get accepted than people who’ve been blogging for a year and have 20 followers. This is, of course, because ARCs are promotional tools, and the more followers/views a blog has, the more books are likely to be sold. I personally got my first ARCs when I had 2.500 followers (combined over WordPress, Instagram and Twitter), but you might still be able to get ARCs even when you have a lot less followers. I simply don’t know.
Step 2: Find the books that you want to request
This is probably the easiest step, because when you’re a part of the book community you’re constantly bombarded with books that have not yet been released yet. You can also try publisher’s catalogues, which you can often find on Edelweiss, or just Google ‘name of publisher’ + catalogue. It always helps me to add the books I want to read to Goodreads, and to add them to a ‘to be released’, ‘2018 releases’ or ‘to request’ list, just so I have a clear overview. For example, here’s my 2018 releases Goodreads list.
To be even more on track of it, you could also make a spreadsheet where you can order every book by it’s release date. I’ve been doing this recently and it helps a lot.
Step 3: Find out if there are ARCs available
It’s very helpful if you find out if there are any ARCs available for the title you want to request, so you won’t send publishers an unnecessary email, which saves both you and them time. I’ve found that the easiest way to look if there are any ARCs out in the wild yet, is to search the hashtag of a certain book on Instagram (just the title, minus the spaces, with a hashtag in front of it) because chances are that if there are ARCs, someone has posted a picture of it already. Another option is to check the author’s social media accounts, because they usually let you know once ARCs are available. But that might require a bit of a search if they’re very active on social media.
If you can’t find anything, just wait until 3-4 months before the release date. Usually there’ll be some ARCs by then.
Step 4: Find the publisher
Again, an easy step. You’ll already know the publisher if you’ve found the book you want to request in their catalogue, but if you don’t, just search the title of the book on Goodreads and you’ll be able to find the publisher that way. It’s usually right under the synopsis.
Step 5: Find the right contact
This is usually the trickiest part when it comes to requesting ARCs as an international blogger. A lot of USA based publishers just aren’t going to send any ARCs to international bloggers. However, quite a few publishers have a special international publicity contact that you, as an international blogger, can send an email to, and where you’re a lot more likely to be accepted.
Here are a few of them:
Penguin: fill in this ‘INTERNATIONAL Blogger Program Fall ’18’ form
Sadly, I still struggle with finding a publisher’s international contact information a lot. If I can’t find the contact information, I usually send my request to the “normal” (aka US) department, but add that if they have an international department, they’ll send it their way or maybe give me the contact information myself.
Step 5: Write the request email
This is for a lot of people quite a hard step, but I promise you that it’s really not as scary as it seems.
There are a few things you have to state in your e-mail: your blog and social media links, your stats, the book you’re requesting, and your mailing address. My requests often look like this:
To whomever it may concern,
My name is Laura and I’m a book blogger at a blog called Green Tea & Paperbacks (bbliophile.wordpress.com) where I review young adult and middle grade books. I would like to request an Advance Readers Copy of:
- [Title, author] which is set to be published on [date]
Maybe add a reason why you want to request it here.
As of [date] I have:
- Number of blog followers
- Number of weekly views + comments on my blog (you could also do daily/monthly views, I’m honestly not sure why I went with weekly)
- Number of Twitter followers
- Number of Instagram followers
Here are some of my latest reviews:
- Have links to about 2 or 3 of your ‘best’ reviews here
If you consider me for this opportunity, my mailing address is:
- Mailing address
Thank you for your consideration,
[Name + blog link]
When writing this email try to be as formal as possible, but don’t stress out about it too much. A publisher isn’t going to deny your request just because you made a grammar mistake or something like that.
There are a lot of request e-mail templates online, so if you want to draw some inspiration from those, Google is your best friend!
Step 6: Send the email
Sending out an email to a publisher can be quite a scary thing, but it’ll be okay. You can do this. The worst that could happen is that they might say no, or not reply to you at all. And there’s nothing awful about that. Just try it and who knows, maybe you’ll be able to read one of you most anticipated releases soon!
- Try a nearby publisher! Because I live in The Netherlands, which is quite close to the UK, I often also try my luck with UK publishers. And because shipping from the UK to The Netherlands isn’t a ridiculous amount of money, they sometimes accept my requests. So this is definitely worth a try.
- Maybe try your luck with some less popular books, and don’t start your book-requesting journey by requesting books from super well known authors. Because almost everyone wants these books, and publishers will get a lot of requests for them, they will usually only send out these requests to the absolute most popular bloggers.
- If publishers don’t reply to your email right away, or at all, don’t send them a lot of follow-up emails. Sometimes they don’t reply to your e-mail, but send you the ARC anyway. Publishers are super busy, so please respect that.
But if you haven’t seen or heard anything from them, a follow up e-mail would be totally fine. But one is enough, after a month of two. Don’t bombard them with e-mails, because that’s just not productive.
- Sometimes, when there aren’t any ARCs available or publishers simply can’t afford to send you any, they will send you an e-copy of it through Netgalley, which is great as well!
So, I think that’s everything I have to say on this topic! I really hope this post helped some of you, and if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them and I’ll try my best to answer every single one of them.