DISCUSSION: All About ARCs (Advance Reader’s Copies)
Hello everyone! So, if you’re a part of the bookish community, you’ve probably heard of the acronym/thing “ARCs”. For me, I didn’t know about them until like 2 yrs into blogging (as I never really interacted with people who talked about ARCs) and now they are everywhere lol Anyways, there are probably a bunch of people out there who don’t really know what ARCs are and/or have a bunch of questions about them and/or want some advice on how to get them. Luckily for you, this post is here to give you the lowdown on everything ARCs! Let’s begin….
What are ARCs?
So, before we get to the nitty-gritty of ARCs, we first have to go over the basics. The first thing to know is that ARCs stands for Advance Reader’s Copies (aka, exactly as the title of the post says lol). I’ve also heard Advanced Reader Copy (still, ARC), Advance Reader Edition (ARE) and galleys. TBH, most people just say ARC and that’s it.
Now, the second thing to know is that there are two types of arcs: print arcs, and, digital arcs (aka e-arcs). That’s really all there is to it lol
Why do ARCs exist?
ARCs are, first and foremost, promotional items meant to entice people to buy/read the book. The hope is that someone will read the ARC and tell everyone about it which will then prompt people to preorder/buy the book!
Ways To Get ARCs
Giveaways – one of the easier ways for people to get ARCs (reviewer or not) is through giveaways. There are a ton of giveaways by bloggers, authors and various companies that are just waiting to be entered. Here are some places where you can find giveaways….
- Goodreads: depending on the giveaway, GR giveaways are hard to win but they have soooooo many giveaways so…*shrugs*
- Social media: usually Twitter or Instagram, sometimes Facebook
Publishers – Getting on a publisher’s list is hard as you usually need to have blogged for at least 6 months to a year, with a lot of content and views. Plus, there’s the possibility that, even then, you might not be added or you won’t get ARCs for a while. Nonetheless, you can still email to ask for an ARC and/or to get on a blogger list and see what they say. Some publishers might request that you use a specific form, though, to contact them like PenguinTeen or HMH Teen does. If you want more info on how to contact a specific publisher, check out my book publicity contacts directory!
Edelweiss & NetGalley – So, Edelweiss and NetGalley are the two biggest names in the eARC market, both in the US and internationally; they are the go-to for publishers sending out eARCs to reviewers. As usual, the publishers still have their own private guidelines and rules but, in general, it’s easier to get an eARC than it is to get a physical ARC, especially if you live outside the US.
Books For Trade – As the name suggests, you can trade books and ARCs to get other books and ARCs. I’m not going to get into it here as there’s a whole lot to discuss but, if you want a better and more complete explanation of BFT, and want to know how to do it (+ learn some tips & tricks), check out my post answering your FAQs! You’ll also get a free download to help you track your trades and the amount of money you’re spending on shipping!
Conventions – another way to get ARCs is by going to bookish conventions and festivals. Many of the ones listed are located in the US, and there are a variety of ones you have to pay tickets for and ones that are free entry! Personally, I’ve only been able to go to Book Con and I had a BLAST! It was so much fun to see my friends & authors and get a bunch of new books/ARCs!
- Book Con
- Book Expo
- American Library Association Annual Conference (ALA)
- NoVa Teen Book Festival
- YA Lit Con (YALC)
- Texas Teen Book Fest
[RELATED: Book Con: FAQs, Advice & Tips]
Blog/Book Tours – something not many people know about is that, outside of the regular publisher-created blog tours, there are also blog tour services who – depending on the post you do – will send a digital or physical review copy (usually it’s digital). Some tour companies I’ve come across are:
ARC Adoptions: now, in recent years, there have been a few ARC adoption programs created that essentially are people getting ARCs that have been read by someone else, usually in exchange for shipping cost, though sometimes it’s free. The following three programs are the main ones I found:
- Diverse Book Bridge
– so a couple wonderful Twitter people ( @SierraWritesYAand @eveIynstjames) created an ARC adoption program focused on getting diverse books into the hands of the diverse bloggers/reviewers they are about. For example, a book with a Muslim MC would go to a Muslim blogger, a book with a black MC would go to a black blogger etc. They’re currently on hiatus as they expand but it’s an amazing program that you should totally support!
- Miss Print’s ARC Adoption Program – So, Emma from Miss Print put together this thing where you can request to adopt an ARC from Emma under the agreement of you reviewing it by a specific date! It’s really cool and nice so y’all should check it out!
Libraries and Stores: so, sometimes, you might get lucky and a library or a bookstore might just freely give out ARCs their library/store/employee got. Personally, I haven’t experienced this myself but a few friends have with their libraries and/or some indie stores so I’d suggest checking them out for yourself! It never hurts to (politely) ask if your library or local indie bookstore has an ARC section or if they have any ARCs they’re giving away.
What To Do With An ARC When You’re Done Reading It
So, you read the ARC and aren’t interested in keeping it (for any reason) but you don’t really know what to do with it. Well, I’ve got a few ideas for things you can (legally and ethically) do with an ARC when you’re done with it:
- lend or gift it to a friend
- do a giveaway
- donate it (don’t give it to goodwill though as they will resell it)
- to a library or school
- to a prison or juvenile detention centre
- to a homeless shelter
- trade it out (booksfortrade, arcsfortrade)
- use it for art – leave this as a last resort, though, bc ARCs are meant to be shared among readers if you’re not going to read/keep them yourself and there’s no going back/putting it back together once you turn an ARC into art
Get a free printable of more things you can do with an ARC here!
(Other) Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you sell/buy ARCs?
- No! It says on the ARCs/manuscripts directly “Not For Sale” sooooo don’t sell them. As for the buying, same kind of thing. Don’t buy them on eBay as the person selling it should know full well they shouldn’t be doing that! The only weird/iffy part gets to when a store like Goodwill who runs on donations and has basically no connection to the literary community is selling them. At that point, I might just get the ARC (and then trade/give it to a friend if I want) as, again, they are a corporation that has no connection to the literary community. The people working in the stores have no idea what the difference between an ARC and a finished copy is and don’t really care when you bring it up to them (believe me, I’ve told Goodwill multiple times and they don’t understand or care). Another weird/iffy part gets to when an ARC is really old (like Harry Potter or something) and the book has been out for a long while (HP first came out 20 years ago). At that point, some people say it’s just another collectible thing and really doesn’t have any more hold on the “not for sale” while others say it’s still an ARC and you shouldn’t buy or sell it. Honestly, you can decide what you think in that instance as I don’t really know what to think. But for recent ARCs (aka books that came out in the last 5 years/will be coming out), DO NOT BUY OR SELL THEM! The author makes no money from their hard work and it does affect their book sales.
- Is it okay to ask the author for ARCs?
- Unless the author specifically says on social media or their website that you can ask them directly for ARCs, the answer is probably no. It’s not because they don’t like you or anything it’s just that (1) they don’t really get to decide who gets ARCs or not, that’s the publisher’s/publicist’s job and (2) authors get a limited number of ARCs themselves that they probably want to keep for themselves, give to their close friends & family, and maybe give away on social media/their blog.
Things To Consider/Know
- ARCs aren’t the end all be all: readers and publishers care more about your content over you having a million ARCs. Plus, ARCs always come out as finished copies anyway, which you can buy or read at the library or some other way.
- This is the American take on ARCs. Therefore, some things in this post won’t be able to be applied to those living outside the US.
- Going off that, it’s also likely more difficult to obtain and read ARCs if you are not in the United States, especially re: physical ARCs.
- Don’t ask people who have ARCs and aren’t specifically trading them if they would trade with you or let you pay shipping or buy them etc – you would think this is such a weird thing and an easy no-no but I’ve had that happen to me and some friends soooooo pls don’t
- ARCs are technically not free. I know you might be like, “but you’re not supposed to buy or sell them, how are they not free???” Well, the answer comes from the fact that ARCs are still things. They are still books whose pages have to be printed and covers have to be made (even if they aren’t the final cover) which all costs a bunch of money and publishers make 100s of them so that they can send to bloggers/reviewers in hopes of getting publicity and attention towards the book. This is also why numbers (views & subscribers/followers) matter to publicists – they want to get the book seen by as many people as possible – so it makes sense that ARCs get sent to those who have the most eyes on their blog/YouTube channel/bookstagram. Essentially, this all leads to the fact that, yes, ARCs may come at no cost to you but, they’re a huge cost to publishers which explains why they are picky about who gets one. I’ve seen a ton of people categorize ARCs as free hence why I felt the need to explain.
Tips & Tricks
Now, some extra tips I have for you in getting to the “I have ARCs” stage are:
- In requesting ARCs
- When requesting ARCs from a publisher via email, it’s better to ask for only 1 to 2 ARCs max at a time, especially if you’re emailing them for the first time.
- Also, if you want to request via email, I’d say email at least 3 months in advance of the book’s release date, maybe around 4 or 5 months – especially if it’s a really popular book – as that is usually when the ARCs start getting distributed.
- Don’t be afraid to also ask to be on a publisher’s blog tour or social media campaign for a book too! The best thing is they will say yes, and the worst thing is they will say no, so just give it a try! IMO, asking to do more for the book helps you stand out from the other people wanting just an ARC
- Give examples of/links to other posts you’ve done or reviews so the publicist can see what you do. This is especially helpful if you’re asking for a book by an author you’ve already read and reviewed before as you can show them that “hey, I loved your previous book [xyz] and my review of it can be found here!” (and the “here” is where you would link to your review).
- Include your address in your initial email. I know that some of you guys might think publicists will immediately email you back asking for your address if you don’t put it but that’s probably not the case. Publicists don’t have a lot of time and it takes more effort to email back a blogger who may or may not send the address back vs just straight up sending the book to a blogger who did already send you their address.
- Know that it’s not the worst thing in the world if you don’t hear back from a publicist. I mean, I like it when they email back so I can have peace of mind but, again, publicists do not have a lot of time on their hands to email every single person back with an answer of yes or no. TBH, there have been times where I and my friends emailed publicists and gotten no response for weeks before the book showed up at my door and/or gotten a response weeks later of “hey, you’re on the blog tour!” That’s not always going to happen but it could so don’t fret if you don’t get an immediate response.
[Related: Book Publicists Contacts Directory]
- In general
- Don’t be afraid to post your weird/different content idea just because you don’t see anyone else doing something like that. TBH it’s actually more awesome if you’re doing something that you don’t think you’ve seen before; it can get you more views/subscribers, and possibly attract publicists who want you to use their book to fit that weird/different content. For example, if you really love makeup and books, it’d be awesome to create makeup based on a book cover. Personally, I haven’t seen a lot of people do that so that’d be great!
- Make connections and build your network of friends, followers, authors, and publicists! I know your end goal might be to get ARCs and review them but that shouldn’t be all you’re doing. It’s important and great if you can also build a network of people within the blogging/publishing community that you can talk to, lean on and maybe even get/trade ARCs from.
Other Awesome Posts About ARCs
- Ask A Publicist by Brittany from Brittany’s Book Rambles
- ARC Tips by Emma from Miss Print
- How-To: NetGalley and Edelweiss for Newbies by Amber from The Book Bratz
- How To Request (And Hopefully Receive) Physical ARCs by Heather from The Sassy Geek
- A Super Basic Guide to Requesting Physical ARCs by Lauren from Wonderless Reviews
And that’s all I can think of for advice, tips, and questions! If you have any questions for me (to add), feel free to comment below or Tweet me! Now, what new thing did you learn about ARCs/how to get them? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks, have a great day/night and tata for now!