Tips for Getting Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)

I have been a book addict ever since I was a child, but up until 2017 I had no idea what an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) even was. After I converted my personal Instagram page to a Bookstagram, I quickly began to see other accounts raving and sharing about these advanced copies. Let’s just say – ya girl was mad jealous! Not only were these people getting to read early copies of books I was dying to get my hands on, but they were getting them for free! Queue frantic internet search and loads of dms later to figure out how to get in on this sweet deal. After being a part of this ARC system for several years, I felt it was time to formally share my how to and tips for any of you who would like to get in on these sweet gigs. 

What is an ARC?

  • Advanced Reader Copies are early copies of books in either print or digital format to help create reviews and buzz prior to a book’s release date. These are not for sale and are primarily gifted from publishing houses.

Who should request ARCs? 

  • Anyone who is genuinely interested in the genre, plans to review and promote the book, and who can read the book in a reasonable amount of time prior to the release date. 

Can I sell my ARC? 

  • Karma says no. If you get a book for free, you probably shouldn’t resell it for a profit. Not to mention, it can get you banned from publishers list of influencers. However many ARC reviewers do join trade groups with friends or blog groups to increase the publicity and swap books.

Do I have to have X amount of followers? 

  • No. Having a large platform can increase more opportunities, but everything listed here is not contingent upon follower counts.
Direct Requests

Most authors have an official webpage for news and contact information for their upcoming releases. If you have an author you love, I’d recommend browsing their website for contact information for their publicist and sending out a polite email detailing why you would love to read the book as an early copy. Publicists are the key persons sending out electronic and physical copies of ARCs – don’t blow up your authors’ dms but instead their publicist! My emails to publicists have yet to be answered, but I regularly received digital ARCs from big publishing houses direct to my inbox (unsolicited), especially for debut books. So, I consider this a win-win! 

Goodreads 

If you are a heavy reader, chances are you are already familiar with Goodreads and their giveaways. Goodreads is a free tracking website to record books you want to read or have read and they often run print & digital giveaways. If a book is on your TBR and a give-away comes up, you can expect an email notification reminding you to enter. I’ve entered hundreds of these giveaways and have only won a single giveaway just this past spring for an ebook. So it is possible to win, but these feel like a shot in the dark. 

Social Media

Whereas Goodreads feels like a shot in the dark, social media giveaways have been more attainable for me whether from the author or the publishing house. Authors usually get a limited amount of physical ARCs to give to friends and family, but sometimes they will share a copy with readers on their social media. I’ve won a few copies entering these giveaways. Publishing Houses are great to follow as well because they not only do giveaways, but they are the first to share news and information for upcoming releases. In order to know what ARCs you want, you have to know what is coming out soon! 

Book Festivals

Not everyone is available to attend book festivals due to location or accessibility, so skip this section if that isn’t for you. I attended my first book festival in 2019 and was blown away with the availability of ARCs and news around new releases. Without trying, I went home with 5 ARCs from my first festival. Other attendees who came with a priority for receiving books easily left with 15+ books. After COVID-19, festivals and distribution dropped a lot. However, a resurgence is happening and more sponsors are attending the festivals once again which means a lot of in person ARC giveaways.

Bookish First

This is my favorite and most reliable source of receiving physical ARCs. Bookish First requires a little work as a reviewer up front but has the opportunity for consistent access to physical ARCs. Each week approximately 2-3 books are uploaded to the site where the user can read the opening chapters then write a short review to be entered into a lottery style raffle which is chosen the very next week. What I love though, is that you don’t have to rely solely on the lottery style drawing to win. With each review, 100 points are earned to your account and once you accumulate 2,000 points you can claim 1 book from a current week without entering the raffle! I average about 1 book per month between the raffle and claiming books with points.

Shameless plug: use my code d7a480e67ceae763c to create your Bookish First account and you and I both will get 100 bonus points!

Net Galley

Ebook readers, this is the place for you! All readers can create a free profile and log in on NetGalley and request digital ARCs direct from the publishers! This platform is primarily ebooks, but audiobooks have been a newer addition lately. NetGalley is all about the statistics, the better you have the higher of a chance you have for approval rates. The more active you are on this platform, the more books you will gain access to. I tend to get an overwhelming approval rate on this platform and try to limit myself on what books I request. Don’t request too many and then not read them, or you will mess up your statistics and make it harder to get approved.

I hope you enjoyed this list and that it helps you begin (or enhance) your journey to ARCs! Let me know if you have other recommendations for accessing early copies that I should share in my next update!

– Coco

3 thoughts on “Tips for Getting Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)”

  1. Coco, Thank you for this wonderful blog. I am an author who has 5 books published and have been looking for a way to get ARC’s and this article gave me a great perspective. My genre is Christian.

    As you are an industry expert, I would certainly welcome any advice you might have.

  2. Hiya Coco! I am a Youth Librarian and greatly appreciate your post about ARCs. I used your referral code for BookishFirst and am looking forward to the lottery and previews of books. Thank you for sharing your code in the post! Happy reading!

    1. I’m so happy you found the article helpful and I wish you luck to win some free books from Bookish First! That’s still my most preferred ARC method and I love seeing the previews of new books releasing 🙂

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