Review copies/ARCs/galleys those brilliant books that the publisher will let you have for “free”. How do you get them? Why do you want them? Do you accept them all?
I am going to outline my experience in obtaining review copies from publishers in Australia. This is just what I did, each person is different and I am sure publishers work differently in each country.
What’s a Review Copy?
These are copies that publishers or author send out to reviewers / influencers to either provide an honest review for or feature in some way on their social media.
Why do they send them out for “free”?
It is all a part of the marketing strategy for each book. The more engagement a book has then the more likely copies will sell. So in theory the more engagement you have with your following the more likely publishers will want to send a review copy to you.
How Did I Start to Getting Review Copies?
My experience was different for each of the major publishers, so I have detailed info for each below. Again, this is based on my experience in Australia but basically look for “Media” or “Publicity” on their sites and go from there. If you can’t find these sections email “Publicity” directly (there should be an email for them in the Contact Us sections).
1. Have a look through the Book Brochures. They have two for each month: the general catalogue and a children’s catalogue (teen titles are in the children’s so make sure you look there YA fans).
2. Write down which title(s) you would be interested in reviewing
3. Head over to the Media Review Request Form and fill it out.
When filling out the form make sure that you detail all of your engagement stat’s- instagram followers, blog followers, Goodreads followers, Twitter followers.
Allen & Unwin are the only company who told me that I needed to increase my blog following, despite my instagram following before sending me a review copy. They did however send me a book that same week, so I am not sure.
Allen&Unwin have some books on their catalogues that are published by Bloomsbury. You need to request these directly from Bloomsbury.
For Bloomsbury you will find their New Book Brochures in their “Trade Information” section. You need to scroll down to “Adult Trade” or “Childrens” and look for the latest catalogue (they are biannual). Again, YA is in Childrens.
1. Select which titles you may like to review
2. Compose an email stating who you are, where you review, your follower stats, where you would promote your review, which books you wish to review and what genres interest you. It’s good to add your address too.
3. Send it to the relevant address for your country, which can be found in Contact Us
Someone from Bloomsbury will normally send you an email in response. For future titles you would like to request contact this person directly. Do not share their details around its just not cool.
They may also send you some books you don’t request from time to time, which is great. And they often package their books up with cute wrapping or little trinkets.
HARPER COLLINS / HARLEQUIN
Harper Collins in the US were the only company to reach out to me to send me a review copy. I then reached out to the Australian publisher because it made more sense. For Harper Collins you are looking for “Media and Publicity” on their site. You can then find a publicity catalogue for each month to look through.
1. Browse the catalogue.
2. Write down which books you may like to review and the contact for each book (they will be different for each).
3. Compose an email stating who you are, where you review, your follower stats, where you would promote your review, which books you wish to review and what genres interest you. Send it to the relevant contact for each book. Again, it is good to add your address too.
Like Bloomsbury you will normally get an email in response. After your first review just send an email stating which books you would like to review to the relevant person without going into detail on who you are.
For Hachette you will need to go to Media Resources and create a media log in. This is very simple to do. Once you have created your log in you will be able to access their catalogues, then:
1. Pick which book(s) you would like to review and write down the titles
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining who you are, your address, your stats and which books you would like to review.
3. After you receive your first book, follow the same process the following month without the introduction and stats in your email.
Penguin work a bit differently to the others. They don’t have a catalogue that you can browse online via their site, they send one via email. This is what worked for me:
1. Compose an email, similar to what you did for Bloomsbury, state all your stats and that you are a reviewer who would be like to be added to their Penguin Highlights email list. If you are interested in Young Adult you must specify that you would like to be added to the Penguin Teen Highlights list as well. Send this email to email@example.com
2. Once a month you will be sent an email (or twice a month if you get Teen and the generic). Have a look through the catalogue and pick which book(s) you might like
3. Send an email to the relevant contat person requesting a review copy
There is a blogger Galley request form for Penguin Teen but in my experience it was better to email instead. I filled at the blogger form and didn’t get a response. I sent an email and got a response within a couple of business days.
They do some times send books outside of what you have requested in hopes that you will review or interview the author. It is up to your discretion if you take them upon the offer or not.
Penguin also has so specifics about info they like you to include in your review: RRP, publisher etc. I will outline in the next section the standard info I included in all reviews to cover each publishers requirements.
Pan Macmillan work similar to Penguin. You need to draft an email introducing yourself with all your stats, address, what genres you like and ask to be added to their Media/Publicity Review Copy email list. Then, if they are happy with your stats etc you will be sent an email from them monthly with the books that coming up for publication. It as simple as:
1. Browsing the catalogue and selecting which title you would like to read
2. Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking for a review copy of the books you like.
They also have requirements around standard info that should be included in the review, so make sure that you make note.
1. Be honest with your review but don’t put down the author. It isn’t necessary and it won’t do you any favours
2. Post your reviews as close as possible to the publication date. But do not post before hand unless given consent from the publisher.
3. Be aware of media embargos! These mean you cant even post a picture of the book on social media until the publication date. If you do you will be asked nicely to remove it.
4. Feel free to say no. Publisher will send you books you didn’t request or ask you if you would like to review a book that you aren’t interested in. It is easy to feel obliged to say yes but this isn’t going to do anyone favours. Just politely decline reviewing it.
5. Keep track of what you request. I got myself into a bit of pickle a few months back when I literally got 8 books in one day to review. I didn’t plan out when they would be coming in and I had to read like crazy to meet my deadlines. Think about it, if you request one or two books from each publisher than that is 7-14 titles. I am now better at planning out which books I am interested in for each month. This means not requesting everything I want to read but being selective.
6. Be professional. I can’t stress this enough. Be professional as much as possible. Publishers are running a business, so try to conduct yourself accordingly.
7. Some standard things to include in your review: Author, genre, pages, publisher (and imprint if applicable), RRP, release date, cover image and if possible a buy it now link. It is also best practice to state that you received a copy from the publisher for review.
Gosh, I think that is it!! If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will be happy to help!
Happy reading x