What are ARCs?
ARCs are Advanced Reader Copies, sometimes called Advanced Review Copies, Galleys or Proofs, and are early copies of books that are sent out to different book influencers (bloggers, librarians, booksellers, etc) before a book goes on sale to get early reviews and generate buzz about the book to encourage purchases.
ARCs are more expensive to produce then a finished copy of a book so there are always a limited number of ARCs that are printed. Some publishers and authors also send out eARCS or use sites such as NetGalley and Edelweiss to distribute them which I will explain in more detail below.
ARCs are unfinished copies and may be a little less polished than the final copy (i.e., there might be more typos). They might also slightly differ from the final version in terms of wording, arrangement, etc)
Where do you get them?
Physical copies can be requested from publishers and may also be sent out by P.R. companies and book tour groups, such as TLC Book Tours. If you would like to learn about how to request physical ARCs from publishers, I write about that here.
A few publishers have forms you can fill out to be added to their blogger list or to request a particular title.
NetGalley is a great place when you are first starting reviewing books especially if you prefer digital books. In addition to books that you can request to review, there are always Available to Read now books which you can download instantly. Check out their website and register for an account so you can start getting your first ARCs. Registering is really simple but you want to make sure you include your social platform information and all the locations you review books on your profile for publishers to look at when considering your review request. If there is a certain publisher you want to look at, be sure to check out their approval preferences to see what they are looking for in a reviewer and the kind of information they like to see in your profile. For example, here is the approval preferences for Berkley Publishing Group.
Edelweiss+ is another great source for digital review copies. Go to their homepage and select “Create a Free Account” to sign up. Similar to NetGalley, you want to complete your profile so that publishers are more likely to grant your review request. Edelweiss+ gives you an indication of your profile strength which is a nice feature. When you request a review copy, you can include a message to the publisher about why you are requesting that title, which may help improve your odds of getting approved.
BookSirens is another source of digital review copies. I’ve found on this site that there are often titles and authors I haven’t heard of before. You can set up genre preferences so you only get recommendations for books in those genres. Unlike NetGalley and Edelweiss+ you do not usually have to request a book but can start reading right away.
BLog tour & pr companies
Another great place to receive ARCs to review are from blog tour and PR companies. There are also occasional opportunities to interview authors, ask them to write guest posts, and more.
- Fantastic Flying Book Club
- TLC Book Tours
- Rockstar Book Tours
- Storygram Tours (Instagram)
- Xpresso Book Tours
- Lola’s Blog Tours
- Inkslinger PR
- Give Me Books PR
- Candi Kane PR
- Social Butterfly PR
Who can request them?
There are those who recommend you should not request ARCs until you’ve been blogging for a certain amount of time or have a certain number of followers. My philosophy is that if you do not ask, the answer is always no. There’s no harm in asking, even if you have only been blogging a short time. I started requesting eARCs on NetGalley as soon as I started blogging. Personally, I did wait until I had reached 1k followers on Instagram before I sent my first request to a publisher for a physical ARC but I know people who received ARCs with less followers than that and as I said, there is no harm in sending a request.
You do not necessarily need to have a blog to request ARCs. You just need a space where you consistently post reviews, whether that be on Instagram, GoodReads, or Amazon. Until recently I did not have a blog and was signing up for ARCs using only my Instagram account.
On a separate note, requesting ARCs should not be about just getting free books. You should have an honest interest in reading the book and in sharing the review and genuinely want to help the author by promoting their work. Remember that physical ARC copies are limited so you shouldn’t request a copy you have no real intention of reading.