I think you all probably know that I have had shockingly little success with writing ARC requests, despite me being lucky enough to receive a lot of ARCs in general.
If you haven’t read my transparency post about stats (find it here!), I talk a little bit about requesting physical ARCs and my success rate.
Which is pretty (very) low, when compared to a lot of people’s image that I get a lot of ARCs (and I am fortunate enough to get a lot! But not through the methods you expect.)
In this post, I talk a little about the ones I have written, and why I think this is a declining method for obtaining ARCs.
In my entire blogging history, I’ve written 5 ARC requests:
- Macmillan ARCs in general (26 January 2018)
- This Splintered Silence (1 April 2018)
- Darius the Great Is Not Okay (12 April 2018)
- The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali and other Scholastic titles (23 May 2018)
- An Affair of Poisons (9 August 2018)
I know in the transparency post I said 6, but I’m pretty sure that included my request for Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, which Natasha was kind enough to actually forward herself to her publicists.
So I’m obviously not counting that now, as I feel like it’s a little skewed in my favor.
Every single one of these requests I just mentioned that I’ve written in the past year are me, in the dark, sending an email into the great void of the internet with my fingers crossed.
And frankly, it’s not a very good method.
Here’s the type of response I got for each:
(Also, understand that I hold 0 hard feelings towards the publishers + publicists! I know they’re doing their best and trying to do the best for these books & I really appreciate that they take the time to even accept these requests!)
- A reply to fill out the Fierce Reads form! Which I have done . . . and it is pretty outdated.
- No reply.
- No reply. But I was invited to join the blog tour a couple months later, so honestly this is a win in my book!
- Reply! Very nice reply from the publicist who was super nice. It’s just that nothing ever arrived, and I’m kind of losing hope. RIP.
- No reply. I had lost hope, but I got a copy in the mail last week, so I think this is actually a win? I managed to win an ARC from Addie, so I gave the duplicate away already so someone else would be able to read! (This is different from what was reported on my last post.)
So actually, in retrospect, my track record is pretty good! If we look at the best possible outcome, it’s a 50% success rate!
But still…the two ARCs I did receive through emailed ARC requests (which I totally don’t mind!) is kind of a small number compared to the number of ARCs I receive from other methods.
So, here are 4 reasons why I think this happens:
1. Putting Yourself Out There Is Scary
I think a lot of the reason why these sorts of requests are becoming less and less popular is because it’s frankly, kind of scary to put yourself out there.
It’s really uncertain to send your email to a random email you found somewhere. It’s sending a request that you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into to a random void in the internet, and hoping that a response will somehow make its way back to you.
I think the fact that you have to put it out there with the chance that it might not even be looked makes the whole situation look bleak–in other places, you’re pretty sure they at least glance at it. But with these, publicists could get dozens a day and just delete delete delete delete.
2. It’s a Lot of Effort
Writing a review request (at least for me) is something that’s very personalized and heartfelt.
I spend at least 30 minutes analyzing every sentence of my email so it concisely yet effectively conveys just how much I would love to read and promote and review the book. A lot of the time I write these for #OwnVoices books, and I put a lot of effort and love into each request.
Plus, I don’t just do the COPY+PASTE thing. I really write my heart out (concisely) in each request, which is why it’s kind of draining to write a lot of these (for me at least).
3. It’s like putting a part of you into a message, and then someone leaving you on read.
To emphasize (2) even further, it’s really like someone leaving you on read after you declare your undying love for them.
I feel like the combination of making something so heartfelt, and then never getting a reply can be gutting. On Netgalley (or even filling out a form), I tick some boxes and click requests, and I don’t have as much emotional investment in my request. If I’m denied? Eh. No biggie.
But with these, I do a lot more than tick boxes, and it makes the silence a lot more deafening.
4. It can get discouraging.
Following up with (3), the whole heart-on-the-line & left-on-read thing just gets discouraging. I mentioned how it was draining, and I found it a lot better for my mental health to just not bother, or request in easier ways.
Through forms. Through giveaways. Getting ARCs from friends vs. publishers.
It makes me a lot happier than ripping my heart out to just fill out a form. I lose that emotional connection, and I’m not as discouraged or hurt when I don’t get a reply.
And obviously I’m not warranted a reply in ARC requests and I don’t have to have one. But with situations like writing an email, you have to have a lot more hope to write an email than you do to tick some boxes, so the expectations are generally higher.
In summary, I think writing ARC requests is not the method for me, but it still might be something you like to do! This post isn’t to shame anyone who does it, it’s just to provide a little transparency + my thoughts on the situation.
I think it’s sort of a dying art because with programs like Bookish First and other ways to get ARCs from secondary sources, it’s becoming less necessary to reach out to publishers about it, especially if you’re a little on the small side.
(It might still be necessary for INTL bloggers though!)
No one is entitled to an ARC. But you do try from time to time, and I’ve learned that I like to try through other methods besides writing an email (or just y’know, wait. I’ve also learned patience.)
Just thought I would share this and finally finish that post that went up blank (oops) so y’all wouldn’t die of anticipation.