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Sunday, January 29, 2012

There are No Such Things as Free Books!

Inspired by a discussion that happened on Twitter a couple days ago about ARCs and review books, I thought I would provide some information based on my personal experience with publishers and authors and receiving books for review. Just remember I am in no way an expert on this subject and these are just my personal opinions based on experiences, and I would absolutely love to hear from other bloggers about their experiences! I’ve actually gotten a lot of information from more established blogs like The Story Siren, Parajunkee, and Books with Bite, so this is just how I used their insight.

Review books ARE NOT free.
Let me just get this out of the way and tell you, no, there are no such things as free books and if you start a blog to get “free” books you will fail miserably because people will just know that that is what you are all about. When I look at the amount of time I spend on my blog (I actually keep a log of how much time spent and what I did every day!), Twitter, reading, writing reviews, emailing publishers, I probably spend about 20-40 hours a week just doing bloggish things. 40 hours a week that I am NOT getting paid for. When I review a book, I take it seriously, I take notes about what I like and what I don’t, and I spend a long time writing up my reviews because I want people to appreciate my input. When authors/publishers send me review requests I research the death out of that book because I cannot accept something I know I won’t like. Which leads me into my next topic!

Don’t accept/request books you won’t like.
I feel like this should just be self-explanatory. If I get a review request for an adult fantasy novel, I will kindly decline to review their book because honestly it’s not my thing. I remember when I first started blogging and I got a lot of review requests for self-published books. Of course, in my excitement that an author wanted to give me a copy of her book FOR FREE so I could review it on my blog I immediately jumped at the chance without doing any of the proper research on the author or her book, and sat down to start it. It was horrible. A terrible, terrible book that had an incredible amount of spelling mistakes and a horrible plot line. You know what I did? I wrote a semi-positive reviewing thanking the author for sending it to me because I just didn't know how to write a negative review about a book that was given to me. I’ve regretted it ever since, because I feel like I’ve lied to my fabulous readers and since then I’ve been a lot more picky. Let this be a lesson! DO YOUR RESEARCH AND DON’T GET GREEDY!! This definitely ties in with ARCs and requesting them as well!!!

When can you ask for ARCs?
So, I just started getting attention from publishers, I have a few personal contacts, I’m on several mailing lists, and I have publicists emailing me with review requests for legitimately good books. This has not been happening long so I don’t have a lot of information about it, but I can share some of my experiences about how I got here!

I have to say, however, that ARCs are a privilege that you will get when you have established your blog “well enough” in the publishing community. What do I mean by “well enough”? Pam from Bookalicious is one of the most established blogs out there. She’s going on her fourth year of blogging and she gets about 1500-2000 unique visitors A DAY. I get about 4,400 unique visitors a month. In no way, shape, or form do I consider myself well established. My blog is almost a year old, I’ve been blogging consistently for about 7-8 months, and I have a little over 1000 followers. So if you want to start asking for ARCs I would do it after at least 6 months of consistent blogging and a good number of unique visitors and followers, but that’s just my opinion! Some bloggers get a great following in a shorter amount of time and that is just how they’ve established themselves! However, I did have an experience with Flux where I requested a book after only being around for about 3 months and I was kindly told that they do not accept review requests until you've been blogging at least a year! The best way to establish yourself is to network, network, network!!! Plan on spending a lot of time on Twitter, go around to a lot of blogs and comment, comment, comment!

What kind of information should be included in a review request?
This has always been kind of challenging for me. I’ve done a lot of requesting since I started blogging, and gotten a lot of nothing, so when emailing publishers you have to be prepared to get nowhere for a long time. Once you establish a good relationship with a publisher and you get a few personal contacts it will make things a lot easier, but that takes a LOT of time and energy!!

My typical review request looks like this:
Subject: Review Request: (TITLE) (AUTHOR) (ISBN)
To Whom It May Concern:

Hello and thank you for your time. I am a YA book blogger and I run the blog, Literary Exploration. You can find it here: http://www.literaryexploration.com/ I have 1050 followers, 1044 Feedburner subscribers, and an average of 4,400 unique visitors a month. I am writing to ask if you have Book Title by AUTHOR (ISBN NUMBER) available for read and review? I am very interested in reading and reviewing it because of (give reasons WHY you want this book!).

If you have any copies available for read and review you can send them here:
Name
Address

I post all of my reviews on my blog as well as on Goodreads. You can find my Goodreads profile here: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4645069-anna I am also willing to post my reviews on other sites (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) when requested.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,
Anna @ Literary Exploration
That’s just how my requests look, I’ve formatted it over time and so far it’s worked well for me. I know a lot of bloggers do different things and that works for them! You can always request multiple books in one email, but if you’re just getting in contact with publishers I’m not sure that’s a good idea, although I’ve never tried it so maybe you can help me on that?! You just have to find what works for you and your personal emailing style. Eventually your goal is to get a personal contact that you can simply address by name, and you won’t have to send in this general info email anymore! The main thing is, DO NOT REQUEST BOOKS YOU DON’T ACTUALLY WANT. Only request what you really, really want, because you will be required to review them!! And always be respectful and professional when talking to publishers. They're taking time to look at your blog and send you books, so don't be rude if you don't get what you ask for. 

That’s where my knowledge ends! I’d love to hear from you guys, and learn about your experiences so let me know what you think! How has reviewing gone for you? Do you have any horror stories?! Let me know! 

102 comments:

  1. great post! i really found many insightful information. Personally I've requested 2 books in one email and i've gotten a reply personally from a publicist. I think it just depends on what books you order and how popular they are. Also thanks on the Flux heads up! I wanted to email them about a book I've been dying to get, but I'm going to wait an extra six months before doing THAT.

    But yea, the moral of the story here for me, DO NOT request/Accept books that you won't like or just won't have THE TIME to read!! I am buried in NetGalley books + author requesting reviews, and I am solidly booked till mid march, which means that there is no time for me to read some of the books that i bought :(

    - juhina

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    1. I'm so glad this was helpful! The other thing about Netgalley is that they have a ratio of books requested to books reviewed and if it's too low you'll be denied a lot of books, so you HAVE to review netgalleys if you request them and you want to get more sometime!!

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    2. yea i know! I have officially started my Netgalley book requesting ban. Since I share the blog with my sister we do read a lot of net galley books! However many we have come out in june/july. It's too far to start reading them now!

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  2. Excellent post. Many people are unaware of how much work goes into a successful book blog. This is why authors really appreciate what bloggers are doing. You sacrifice your time to share news about books.

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    1. It's so true! You have to be really passionate about what you're promoting to be successful in the blogging community, and the passion is what shows!!

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  3. Wonderful post Anna! You really did a great job highlighting the best way to be a respectful and professional book blogger.

    I'm definitely not an established blogger, but I've been very lucky with my contacts. It does take a lot of work, and sometimes it's all about the timing too. I guess it's just easy to forget that none of us are entitled to books just because we have a blog. Hopefully, everyone will be more professional after these crazy weeks. :)

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    1. I couldn't have said it better myself! I'm in no way established, but I've managed to develop some good relationships, and when publishers say they can't send something, they can't send it! It's not the end of the world, I'll get to read it sooner or later!!

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  4. Great post! I agree with ALL of this 100%

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  5. So glad you enjoyed it :) I think it's important to remember that there are thousands of us publishers can't keep up with everyone!

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  6. Thank you so much for this post. A lot of great information here. My blog has been around for almosy 5 months and I keep hearing that 6 months is the magic number when it comes to publishers taking your blog seriously. Honestly, I'm happy with whatever I can get in the genre I enjoy, and I don't mind waiting longer in order to get my blog well established and noticed.

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    1. Well I freakin love your blog, and you obviously work hard at it so you're going to do GREAT when it comes to pubs :) I think if you're committed and passionate about what you're doing, you won't have any issues!

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  7. I enjoyed this article Anna..thank you for posting. I in no way rely on ARCs for my reviewing. Actually I rarely ask for them ( Im a bit shy on that)Being able to read a book when I want and reviewing when I want to my readers, thus giving them an honest opinion, not one that is forced because I had to get it read, is much more important to me than a free book here and there

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    1. You are so welcome! I think a lot of bloggers lose sight of why they started blogging, because we love books, and end up with piles of review books! It's important to enjoy what we do and not let ourselves get too overwhelmed!

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  8. Woot, Woot!!! I hope a lot people get your message!

    I've been following The Story Siren and Parajunkee since I started blogging so I hope I'm learning the etiquette correctly. I, personally, thought I'd get into blogging for free books but turns out, I don't really want that! I want to promote books and authors and "meet" people in the community. But it's my hobby. I can leave my site for a day or two and it's all okay.

    I hope fellow bloggers can take your advice and only hoard what they'll read! And go buy a book to support the authors :)

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    1. I honestly didn't even realize I'd be able to get free books when I started blogging, it just turned into something that happened. I think it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of it which can distract us from our true passion for reading!

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  9. Hey Anna great post!

    I remember when I first started out I wanted to request everything but, now that I've been blogging for over a year; I have become more selective I only request books I know I will read and that I have the time to read. You're right between reading, writing reviews, and networking blogging is very time consuming.

    I thought I'd share a horror story from a few months ago. There was this blog (now gone) but they requested everything just to get free books and they didn't even post their own reviews. They actually plagerized other bloggers (friends of mine) and also stole a review from VOYA. In the discussion on Friday it reminded me of them; it's bloggers like these who give the rest of us a bad name. I also learned after that to copyright my blog.

    Hugs
    Jaime

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    1. OMG I HEARD ABOUT THEM! I can't believe people would be so greedy as to actually copy other bloggers just to get free books. HOW RUDE. People like that give bloggers a bad name, and it's just embarrassing!

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    2. No way! That is horrible. I wouldn't think of trying that so it shocks me to hear someone else has. Eventually that sort of stuff is bound to catch up to you. You can't fake what you aren't after all.

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  10. Great post! I'm nowhere near being established enough to request ARCs, but I definitely appreciate any information about what to do once I start. :)

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

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    1. It's always good to collect as much info as you can!

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  11. Your insight is invaluable. Being relatively new (6 months into blogging) I still am hesitant when it comes to ARCs and review requests. I'm learning something new everyday when it comes to blogging and it always helps when more established bloggers share this kind of info, so thank you Anna! I especially appreciate you sharing your email format for a request. At this point I want to make sure my visitor stats and blog is more established before I go contacting publishers. I have so many of my own books to read still (and some author requests) that I'll use more of their reviews to gain a little more experience. You've definitely helped clear up some questions for me though and I'll be using your advice in the near future!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

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    1. I'm glad I could help you out! I started requesting books when my unique visitor stats were at about 3,000 a month, and I'm sure you could request with less as long as you're consistent and write honest reviews!

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  12. Great post Anna! I definitely learned a lot from this so thanks! :)
    I have been blogging for a year but I honestly didn't do it to get free books. I love reading and I don't have any friends or family who read so I was looking for somewhere to talk about books. I did not know what I was getting myself into at all but it turned into something I absolutely love. I definitely didn't realize how much time it takes but I definitely spend at least 20 hours a week too. I may not be physically at my computer writing reviews but I carry books and notebooks with me everywhere now. I have yet to request a book from a publisher still. I can't agree more with "there's no such thing as a free book" and also about respecting publishers.

    Thanks for the advice!

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    1. Well you know how much I love you, so I''m sure you could send in a million requests and get ALL OF THE BOOKS EVER! I definitely look up to you when it comes to blogging, so the fact that you enjoyed this means a lot :D

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    2. Love you too you are so sweet! It is pretty much the opposite I totally look up to you when it comes to blogging!

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  13. I was shocked when I first found out that bloggers can get books for review. I got into this a year and a half ago because I love reading more than anything else, and I wanted to start sharing my recommendations with others. Getting books has been a lovely benefit, but the thing I love the most is belonging to such a fabulous community. I've made some awesome friends around here.

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    1. I was shocked too!! I started out reviewing only my book that I had around the house or from the library and then started seeing ARCs on people's sites and I was like "WHAT THIS IS REAL?" It's definitely a reward for showing your enthusiasm for books!

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  14. OMG, you should see my email requests for review books. They are so gushy and over-the-top with book enthusiasm that it is actually embarrassing. I have ALL CAPS and !!!!! and OMGZZZZZ and AMAZING and BRING IT. Ummm, yeah, I get a little (a lot) carried away.

    I showed a few to HD awhile back and he was like "No way Melina!!! That is so YOU!"

    Surprisingly, despite getting my crazy on, I still receive nearly every book I request. AND most of the time, they say they like my enthusiasm. Hahaha, maybe I can get away with it because I am young.

    I love how you explain how it all works & give an example too. This is a huge help to newer bloggers.

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    1. Publishers definitely love enthusiasm!!!! I always send follow up emails that are like "OMG YESS SO EXCITED THANK YOU!!!" and my contacts are like "HAHA love the enthusiasm!!" so it's definitely good to let them know you appreciate it!

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  15. This is truly such a great and genuine post!
    I'm a newbie book blogger, I've been blogging for a while with my other hobby and always managed to sneak my love of books onto there, but then finally convinced myself that it was time for another blog to share my fave reads and thoughts about them! I didn't know about ARCs until I started networking, lol! I think that it would be a huge honor to get one, I'm actually curious to see what one actually looks like; I have asked around to see what the protocol is to acquire one, but it's not a big deal for me. I enjoy book browsing and adding them to my wishlist. I love to enter contests too, for fun!
    I really don't mind waiting until new ones are released :) As a newbie, I feel like some people won't "talk" to me because they feel that all newbies are out for freebies, so it's been a bit hard to make any sort of contacts so far; but I'm patient, and I hope to meet more people that feel the same way that I do - blog for the love of reading thousands and thousand of pages :)
    Thanks again for your POV! ~ margie

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    1. I think it's really about showing you love what you do and that you're willing to spend the time and energy in promoting the books you enjoy! Publishers just like to know you're committed to spreading the word about good books, and that you won't just bail on them once you get what you want.

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    2. I feel you on the feeling like some folks won't talk to you because of being a newbie. I'm in the same boat having only been blogging for the last five months. If you ever need someone to talk with, feel free to drop me a line. =^-^=

      Cameron @Ldyskyfire

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    3. Do you feel like other bloggers won't talk to you, or publishers?

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    4. I've not done much talking with publishers as of yet, though the few I have spoken with are nice. Mostly I've found it hard to talk with other bloggers. There are some that are some that are really sweet and easy to talk with and there are others that are almost impossible to talk to.
      I wouldn't say that purposely shut people out, but more like they are just hard to approach, especially on Twitter. If you try and join a preexisting conversation I've sometimes noticed that the conversation stops entirely or I'm grudgingly accepted into it.
      It's not really any different than in real life when trying to talk with folks you don't know. It takes practice and confidence (which I not exactly have in spades). ~shrugs~

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    5. I've only been blogging for a month, I haven't dared to talk to any publishers yet... but I agree about other bloggers - I don't get why they ask you to follow them, especially via twitter when they have 'open discussions' (join in and we'll discuss the latest issue) and then they totally ignore the newbies or the conversation stops. Why open it up to everyone then? Sometimes I think it may also be because I'm older than most of the book bloggers I have found - the well established bloggers seem to not want to be bothered too, sigh...

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    6. I have been at it a year but not so much in the social side and I still feel like I get ignored by more experienced bloggers. Don't know if it is my imagination or not. But not everyone it going to be interested in what I have to say. I try to just brush it off and keep going. But I am usually always happy to talk to other bloggers new or old.

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    7. I think it really sucks that this has happened to you :( I always try to be really welcoming to new bloggers, after all we all started somewhere!!

      I know on Twitter, some people just have an issue with people they don't know jumping into their conversations, but I mean, it's Twitter and it's public so...

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    8. Thanks for letting me vent a little, lol! I'm not going to let it get to me anymore :) I'm happy to have found your blog and a few others that have been so sweet, inviting and informative! I truly appreciate it! Thanks :)

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  16. Also, don't forget about the shipping of ARC's if/when the publishers/authors do send them out. I have had an author send me her book but didn't know about the media mail & the shipping on the package was around $9. Just another thing to keep in mind when you're requesting. Make sure that this would be something that you would spend your money on (book and shipping) when placing a request. <3

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    1. yes this is so so true! Publishers not only have to pay to create the ARCs but they have to send them as well!! And I've had authors ship books to me which costs a lot as well! It's not cheap, and bloggers are essentially an investment, so be serious!

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  17. Great post Anna!! It had great information for every blogger. Sharing information is the best thing, and connecting with other bloggers is awesome because you meet soo many new people! I want to meet all these authors and bloggers because we all have the same interests about the books we love. Publishers and authors are awesome, forming a relationship with them is a great privilege. ARCs are for review, they arent free!

    AWESOME read!! <3

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    1. I definitely agree that information should be shared! I know I've had a lot of questions for bloggers who aren't too willing to spread the love of info, but others have been more than willing to help me out, and I just want to help out those who are a little lost with things!

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  18. Just deleted my previous comment because honestly I'm not sure it it's "safe" to be so "open" lol!!!

    Anyway yeah I've been blogging for a little while now so I am newbie and it can totally be tempting to want to request books like crazy. I wish I had this post back when I first started blogging :) Awesome post!!!! Honestly if I want to read a book I just buy it or borrow like all the other readers out there! Thanks for the advice :)

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    1. Hahaha I totally agree! If I get denied a review request, I just ask to borrow it, or I buy it when it comes out! It happens, I don't feel like I'm entitled to them AT ALL!

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  19. Great post Anna! :) I've only been blogging for 4 months so I guess I was lucky with one or two publishers but yeah, when it comes to the others, I probably won't try again until I've been blogging for at least 7 months.

    And I completely agree with you on the only request books you're really interested in part - at first I accepted literally everything. Which didn't work and now I ended up with a bunch of books, I'm running out of time and I don't have much time to read my own books.

    Great advice! :) xxx

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    1. Yeah, I think 6 months is just a generalization. I've read a lot of info about that's what they like, but I was getting approved for books when I had only been consistent for about 3 months, so it really just depends on the publisher!

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  20. Awesome post Anna!! I totally agree. :)

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  21. Yay Anna you rock! I already read this and gave my opinion so you know I agree! :D Lots of comments too already! ;)

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  22. I've only requested a couple of books through e-mailing publishers, mostly because I prefer e-copies of a book. But once you're in contact with one or two, and they see that you follow through, they tend to seek you out. I have contact with one who pretty much knows specifically what I like now, so I'll get surprises in the mail.

    Also, a great way to 'prove yourself' is to send the link of your review to them. That way they can see that you're actually doing what you claimed.

    Great pot Anna.

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    1. lol... that should be post, not pot. haha

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    2. YES! Harper will ask you to email your review to them when it's up, when they agree to send you a book. But I always send my reviews in to the publishers, they like to see what kind of reviews you write and if you're being thoughtful about it.

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  23. I have to add that I love that you applied what you felt was right for you and your blog. That is so important for bloggers to do! Take advice and mold to fit you and your blog. It's so important to do your own thing as a blogger.

    I wish I had something more intelligent to add vs "Awesome post", but I really agree with what you've said. There's nothing else to add. Keep up your great work with your blog!!

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    1. Yes! I'm so glad you liked it :) You have a lot more experience than me, so your input is definitely valuable!

      I definitely think it's important to be yourself, you're working with publishers who are people too, not robots!

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  24. Amazing post, Anna! I learned so much I just might bookmark this page! ;)

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  25. Great post Anna! There is alot of very useful information here that present bloggers and future bloggers will find most helpful! Keep doing what you're doing :)

    MaryAnn
    Chapter by Chapter

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  26. Wow this is such a helpful post. I need to mark it somehow so I can refer back to it. I just started blogging about three months ago and am too timid to actually email publishers. Also, I have a huge TBR pile waiting for me so maybe in a few months more I will be more active about requesting ARCs.


    Ning @ Reading by Kindle Fire

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    1. You're so welcome! It'll be here, so I hope it helps you in the future :)

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  27. Awesome post! :D And very helpful. I don't intend to request books for a while, because I've only been blogging for about four months now, but I'll definitely refer to this when I do. :) Very helpful post!

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  28. Thank you for this post. I love hearing opinions about this kind of stuff from a known book blogger like you. I've actually read like this in The Story Siren and did help me too. This serves as a guide for every readers who wants to start book blogging. And I totally agree that book blogging is not all about free books and stuffs, but it's the passion. Thank you so much again. Great help!

    Von @ Mr. Book Wonder

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    1. Yeah, when I first started out I read a lot of into on The Story Siren's site, but you still have to tailor it to what your goals are and your personality!

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  29. Awesome advice! I have recently started trying to expand my book blog and have wondered how other bloggers received such fantastic ARCs. You are so right. Blogging is time consuming, but that time is important. Thanks for being candid about what it takes to deserve ARCs and "free" books for review. You have described the process well. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences!

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    1. I read my own books and entered giveaways to win ARCs for awhile! When you read ARCs that you win or borrow from other people you can always send your reviews to the publisher too! There's an email on the back of the ARC and I sent reviews to them a few times, which ended up getting me more! They like to read your reviews, even if they didn't send you the book!

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  30. I think that another key thing to factor in is whether you (as an individual) are actually the right kind of person to do reviews for a publisher, or whether it's in your best interest to buy books and review them.

    I know that what I have found, personally, is that I do better if I review stuff that I bought during a Chapters or Amazon shopping spree. It can be very hard to tell if a book will be what *think* it will or not at times, and nothing is worse then agreeing to review something only to have it not work out.

    I do take risks here and there, since I love working with authors and part of the joy of blogging for me is discovering books I would not have read otherwise. But I must be honest and say that I've found I sleep better, and tend to have a better mood toward things, if I'm careful about how many due dates are looming in on me. (Typical Aquarius, I suppose? :p)

    There is ***no*** shame in reviewing books that have released already! I don't know *why* I ever thought that people cared more about ARC reviews, but (yet again, in the name of honesty) there *was* a time when I *did* and I would sit there thinking "Boy I can't wait to do that!".

    *shakes head* I'm more interested in discussing books a lot of the time, and tend to talk about how they are written just as much as how I felt about them. (My reviews tend to mix these two things a lot.) What I've found is that people tend to comment more / talk more on reviews for books that they have read. Whereas they don't necessarily chat as much on books they are thinking they might buy.

    I strive to to cover both things on my blog. And when I *do* get contacted for something that I already wanted, or that I research and end up wanting, I am always absolutely off the wall excited. But the thing I've learnt to remind myself is that every book I take on from someone else is a book I've purchased that is getting put further back in line.

    And *personally*, I have learned that if I disrupt the balance in my reading too much, I get really grumpy!

    Anyway, just my thoughts. Fabulous article with some really great advice!

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    1. yes yes yes I could not agree more!!! I love reviewing books, because I love telling people about what's coming out and I love working with publihsers! I have the drive and the want to do it, so I don't mind a little stress from a growing review pile! Of course I never request TOO many to the point where I won't be able to read my own books. It's all about finding balance!

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  31. This is such a great post! I also fell into the trap of accepting books at first just out of sheer joy that I was being asked to read it. I have enjoyed my blogging experience SO much better after realizing what a diservice this did for me and my blog.

    I still haven't written a publisher for any books yet...I'm kind of a chicken :)

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    1. Haha I don't think you need to be a chicken at all!

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  32. This was a really essential post for newbie bloggers to read. Thanks for taking the time to write it all out. I'm a newbie, but I've been stalking the book blogging world for a while and know a bit more about publishing than most. So I realized that blogs were A LOT of work, and that publishers won't give those *coveted* ARCs to someone with only a few followers.

    But blogging has to be about more than getting free stuff. And honestly, I like discussing and gushing about books, and it's hard to discuss or gush with people if the book isn't even out yet. I'm fine with waiting til the book is at the store and paying to support the author's hard work.

    And if you really want free books... there's something called the library... :P
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

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    1. I definitely don't do it for the ARCs, I only request what I really want and what I would be willing to buy anyways, and I never request more than one or two at a time from a publisher. I don't want to overwhelm myself or lose my motivation!

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  33. Thanks for writing this post! It was really helpful for me as a newbie and cleared up things I've been wondering about. I didn't even know ARCs existed before book blogging. You're so right when you say there isn't things such as free books because you have to put so much time and effort into blogging. Time is money, after all! I especially appreciate that you added the form you used for requests because I was wondering how people formatted that and yours is a great guideline! I'm a bit nervous about contacting publishers but since my blog is new, I have time to figure it out. Thank you again for writing this post. :D

    elena • novel sounds

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    1. When I first started requesting books I actually googled "Review Request Template" and while I found a few bloggers who gave their review forms, I wasn't as happy with them, so I ended up tailoring it to fit me :) YOU HAVE TO use your own voice! Publishers will know if you're just being generic and greedy though!

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  34. Absolutely loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing your insight! I had no idea when I started blogging that authors would want to give me their books to review, but I definitely learned very quickly not to accept every book! It is so true that you have to do your research! I am just curious...how did you gain so many followers in a year? I am relatively new in book blogging and I have only 100+ so I was just wondering if you had any advice on that.

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    1. Ohhh goodness the great Follower Debate! I will definitely be doing a post about this, haha, everyone asks how I got so many followers, and honestly I don't really know! Possibly giveaways? Giveaway hops? Blog hops? I spend A LOT of time commenting on other people's blogs and I post meaningful comments that make people want to check me out I guess?!

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    2. I will be looking forward to that post :) Thanks for the advice! I didn't think about going around to other book blogs besides on Memes.

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    3. Oh I always post on other people's blogs... I mean what's the point of following if you're not interested in their content!

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    4. I know this post is from more than a month ago, but I just wanted to say that I initially followed you Anna because of one of your giveaways, and then after I entered, I started seeing your comments on other blogs and liked what I read, so I was quite happy with my decision to follow your blog!

      I found this blog post from one of your more recent ones, and I've literally been sitting here for the past hour reading all of the comments and your responses and I think it's so great that you respond to practically all of them! I'm overwhelmed with the amazing community that is book blogging and it really is such a great hobby for me who started because I just wanted to talk and gush and squee about all the books I love, but it's becoming much more. I check my blog and the blogs I follow before I check my email every day... which says a lot about me because I'm obsessed with my email. haha

      Anyways, sorry for the long comment, but keep up what you're doing, it's doing wonders for all these people and more to come!

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    5. Thank you so much! I'm glad you kept following after the giveaway :) I think the blogging community is definitely a fantastic one, and everyone is very helpful and nice about everything :) I really hope to be blogging for a long time (if life permits it!!) because it's something I really enjoy doing and I have a passion for :) i'm glad to know that I've helped you and inspired you in some way :D

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  35. Terrific advice! New follower here. Looking forward to reading more from you!

    Amber
    http://falln2books.blogspot.com

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    1. Fabulous!! Glad I could be of help :)

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  36. Thanks for this helpful and informative post! I like how seriously you take the privilege of receiving ARCs for review- that's a really solid ethic.

    I've been blogging for about a year too, but I haven't really dipped my toe into the waters of contacting publishers to request books. I feel unworthy! So I appreciate that you shared what your basic request looks like, in case I ever work up the courage. :)

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    1. You should definitely go for it!! I was scared at first, and I got rejected a number of times, but eventually you realize that publishers are your friends as long as you're willing to market their books! They want publicity as much as you want to read their books! Try requesting smaller titles, that they might have a lot of copies of, because they'll be a lot more willing to send those!

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  38. What a brilliant post - well done for pointing this out to people who blog purely for "free books". I don't actually have that many followers, but I know I spend a lot of time in my week getting blog posts written/scheduled, and making sure everything's ticking over okay.

    Thanks for the information on requesting ARC's - if/when the time comes for me, I'll definitely be referring back to this!

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    1. Agree, I think it's important to do it because we love it and not because we want free stuff. Those are just perks haha, but we're not entitled to them!

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  39. Thanks you for these informations, it's will be very useful for new blogger like me ( less than 6months^^;;)

    all teh best

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  40. I am going on seven months of blogging, and I have decided recently to focus on older books to remind myself that I do this because I love books, not because I want to be popular and get free stuff.

    I also haven't felt like I am"good enough" to start requesting ARCs yet. I am working on my stats, but just don't feel like I am "there" yet.

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    1. I'm sure you're completely good enough! You crazy. I actually don't read many older books as it is, I don't know why. I usually read new releases and what's available RIGHT NOW in front of me. I think it's mostly because I read all the hype about them and then want them NOW!!

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  41. Thanks for the great advice! I totally agree, I spend a TON of time on my blog every week because I love it, not to get free books. And I've had some similar experiences with self-published authors wanting me to review their books. Now I say no most of the time.

    NetGalley is an awesome resource for newer blogs to request eARCs as well!

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    1. Netgalley is definitely a great choice, but people need to remember that they HAVE to review the books they request, otherwise they'll have a poor percentage when it comes to requests vs. reviews and will get denied a lot of stuff!

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  42. I just tried this weekend for the first time. Was told they didn't have any more of that particular ARC. I like the way you format your request way better than my attempt. I think I will try something more like yours next time. How early do you request an ARC of a book? The one I tried is three months out from publication. I have been blogging a year but just reading and reviewing. I wasn't trying to socialize so I don't have the numbers.

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    1. Yeah usually when a book is really popular they get a lot of requests for it so they run out fast. I've had that happen, but it's better to request smaller titles when you're just starting out, because they'll have more copies of those.

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    2. Butting in slightly... The Story Siren has some REALLY great info at her blog on when to request ARCs in her "dear publisher" posts. A lot of publishers seem to think three-four months before publication is a good time to request, but I've seen a couple requests in - and been approved - at five months pre-pub!

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  43. Fab advice post - I wish I'd read it when I started my blog!

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    1. Well I'm glad you read it now!!! :D

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  44. What an insightful post! Thank you for writing it. It definitely helps all newbie boom bloggers like myself. I'm in a different situation than most people only because I started reviewing books from my old employer which is a teen magazine and in doing so I already had some publisher contacts in place. I also love that your advice includes to request books you'd actually read! I definitely started requesting all or any books and when I did I would be disinterested in reading it so that was a mistake that I made. Maybe one day when I am blogging for a year I'll have a better understanding of the community. Everyone in the book blogging community is so helpful and friendly. I love it! Kudos Anna!

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  45. Great post Anna! :) I completely agree with you on the fact that you should only request books that you would LOVE to read, not just like! There are so so very many books out there, so only spend your time on one's that you are desperate to read!

    I too have only just started talking to publishers, and I agree with you that it's important to take things slow and not be, I want that book and that, and that too. You've only just started your relationship with them, take it slow. Just because your a blogger, doesn't mean all your all that.

    Also, bloggers who think ARC's or books are free, are kidding themselves! Yes, the publishers provide them for you, but in return you are required to write a review! When I write a reviews, I don't chuck something together and send it on it's way, before I publish the post, I take time and effort. Until I'm happy with it, only then will I publish it. And writing my review, starts as soon as I open a book, as I jot down notes whilst reading.

    Also, I spend a lot time on the net. I don't really think of it as networking, but it is. I spend time on twitter, replying to other bloggerss posts and reviews, emailing, writing reviews, working on posts, ect! I know my mum, doesn't get what I actually do on the net all the time, and when she asks me, I reply: stuff. Until you actually have your own blog, you have no idea how much time and effort goes into planning and running it

    Thanks for sharing your awesome thought with us. :)

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  46. YES. To this ENTIRE post. These are the types of discussions I want to start doing and hosting at my blog. And? I totally totally agree with you.

    I've been lucky in that so far I've adored every review request I've accepted, but I HAVE been picky and turned down ones that ignore my review policy or that just were NOT my cup of tea. If you get backed into a corner like you did with the one book, then it's awkward, writing a negative review. I had one DNF that was a review request. I hated doing it to the author, but it was a horrible book, and I gave it halfway and had to give up. Hardest thing was writing the author and politely explaining WHY I couldn't finish it. But. I think you will get more notice THAT way - by being a blogger whose reviews others trust.

    And like you said, for the love of all things holy, don't request an ARC just because. Request it because you need it like you need breathing!

    I want to say SO much else, but basically? I agree with this entire post, Anna. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  47. Books are DEF not "free" you have to work hard for all you get & follow through on your commitments.

    It is hard. You have to be realistic about what you can commit to. Not everyone will be able to get to certain levels, nor should they feel bad if they are not at Parajunkee's level in 6 months (for example).

    I totally understood what you meant about the self pub/indie books. I got so many requests for them & being excited as all get out I accepted them & almost ALL of them were DNF's or they were just plain ol terrible :(
    It made me sad as can be to have to tell them it wasn't a good fit for the blog. I learned a VALUABLE LESSON. I felt so good getting requests I did not look into the book or its theme. Less than 5 were books I truly enjoyed and loved reviewing.

    I have a question for you Anna, do you (personally) still review a book that is a DNF, you did not like,etc. on your blog or do you only review books you can say something nice about?
    I am having a hard time with that. Me being a bit stricter with what I accept has helped that.

    It takes longer for the infrequent blogger (such as myself) to climb up that ladder. But never give up. If you truly enjoy blogging & reading then keep at it, if it becomes a dreaded chore or you are depressed/angry over lack of followers, arcs sent to you, comments, etc. then it is no longer fun & u have to re-evaluate your priorities.

    One gal I know started a blog & gave it up after a few months because it was no longer fun, it was stressful. She went back to causal reviews left on amazon & goodreads & chattin in groups on goodreads & is happy as can be.

    I posted an article I found about ARCS & think I may re post it.

    Check it later & let me know what u think.

    Thanx for the gr8 post & insights & for letting me jibber jabber :)

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    1. Sometimes I review books if they're DNF only if I don't have anything else scheduled for that day, but most of the time I don't, just because I don't have time haha!

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  48. this is amazing thank you so much for this :)

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  49. This really helped, im starting to get my own arcs from publishers but I'm still fairly new to this myself. This really helped thank you :)
    Lily @ lilysbookblog.com

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  50. Great, helpful, informative post. As a new blogger, I found loads of tips here. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate it!

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

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According to FTC guidelines I must point out that all of the books that I review on my blog were either purchased by me or were given to me by the author/publisher. All words and opinions expressed are my own and I do not receive any monetary goods for writing reviews. I will state in my review which books I have received for review and which books I have purchased/borrowed. All images and synopsis are taken from Goodreads.com unless otherwise stated.
 
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