Writing ARC Requests + Why It’s a Dying Art

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:

  1. Macmillan ARCs in general (26 January 2018)
  2. This Splintered Silence (1 April 2018)
  3. Darius the Great Is Not Okay (12 April 2018)
  4. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali and other Scholastic titles (23 May 2018)
  5. 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!)

  1. A reply to fill out the Fierce Reads form! Which I have done . . . and it is pretty outdated.
  2. No reply.
  3. No reply. But I was invited to join the blog tour a couple months later, so honestly this is a win in my book!
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

dividerIn 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.

much love, vicky

What are your thoughts on writing email requests for physical ARCs? How did it turn out for you? arc requests

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32 thoughts on “Writing ARC Requests + Why It’s a Dying Art

  1. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of success with my ARC requests, but I’ve usually requested them because I’ve seen others with an early copy, so I know it’s possible, which then offers me some confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The only real luck I’ve gotten is through Tor. They’re fantastic and have responded to my emails and/or sent me what I requested. I also received an ARC of Song of the Dead but, like you, the author threw in her weight and that’s the only reason I received it. But, a few times, I’ve gotten digital ARCs from writing a request. Generally, I have pretty good success with it, but not always.

    Personally, I don’t mind writing ARC requests. My whole career is based on asking people to do things for me. (Social work is basically networking and calling agencies to find out what they can do for you.) So, getting rejected or not hearing back doesn’t slay me. If I was younger, it’d hurt more. But now? Eh.

    – Caidyn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome you’ve been lucky with Tor!!! they’re such a great imprint. and yeah, I’ve never really tried with digital ARCs, but I definitely should!

      I get kind of tired writing them, and tbh I’d just rather wait for the book to come out than write a request. But it’s good you’re comfortable with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They so are! And, yeah. Instead of physical copies, I’ve gotten digital ones. Tor also has something you can get signed up for where they send you offers for digital ARCs.

        I think it’s more that I prefer reading physical books than reading on a screen, too. I get enough screen time per day that I don’t need more from reading.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When I started blogging, I used to request ARCs via email because I thought that’s the RIGHT thing to do. I sent an approximately 4-6 emails for different titles and out of it, I got 0 response which means 0 approval. I accepted the rejection quite well knowing I’m not like any bloggers who already have their name founded and have a great following.

    Now, I know better. It might have been the right thing but it isn’t the BEST thing to do. And with all the physical ARCs I had receive, most of them are via winning a giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, I think there are just a lot of easier + better ways out there if you really want to obtain an ARC! that’s what I thought when I started blogging too, but honestly going through secondary distributors is where I’ve had the most luck in finding ARCs that I actually want to review!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here. I was able to read books I want to review by joining blog tours like Xpresso Book Tours..I might add NetGalley here too but unfortunately when I discovered about it and initially went into requesting A LOT.. my ratio made it harder for me to request there than on Edelweiss.😅

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve only sent three emails request ARCs and it’s exactly like you said. I don’t press the Send button until I’ve over-analyzed the whole email and added my touch. And out of those three, I received one ARC, a finished copy, and one email I just sent a couple days ago, so no answer (yet). I use this method from time to time, but it’s definitely not my first option. But it’s always an accomplishment to me, to press Send, because you’re taking a step forward and that’s always a success to me. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such an interesting post, Vicky! As an INTL blogger, I rely on sending emails, wishing and hoping and maybe winning a giveaway, which happens every two years or something haha 🙂 I feel like as INTL bloggers, we tend to rely a little more on emails than on other things? I know I do, because most of the books on NetGalley are on wish for it for me, Edelweiss has never approved me for anything either and Fierce Reads or other forms from publishers I’ve seen (I can’t recall which one it is now… damn it.) are reserved for US bloggers 🙂 I am so glad you said that you find the emailing process a bit draining, because I do too, I always try my best to pour my heart out in every single request I make, because I want to do my very best to convey my love and want for this book, and it’s hard to find the right words haha 🙂
    That was a great post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah–I think for INTL bloggers you really need that sort of personal aspect to appeal to publishers to send books. things like bookish first and edelweiss/netgalley and the forms are all very US based.

      thank you so much, Marie! I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such an insightful post, Vicky! I’ve been considering emailing publishers lately but wasn’t sure how to go about it and if it would even be a successful endeavor. I haven’t had the most success with Netgalley (but it’s probably because I’ve been requesting more popular books), so I was considering emailing publishers. I’m really glad that you wanted to be transparent and show why it wasn’t for you. I’m not sure if you’ve written a post about it yet, but how would you recommend requesting ARCs then? Do you primarily use Netgalley/Edelweiss? :O

    Much love, Tiffany ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re in the US, honestly I say try through Bookish First when they pop up, and giveaways! Giveaways from pubs, authors, anything. That’s where I get the majority of my ARCs from, truthfully. Also, blog tours from places like The FFBC are so great to help you get that initial boost into obtaining review copies! I think blog tours allowed me to have the access to early books that let my platform grow, if that makes sense?

      I do think it doesn’t hurt to discount emailing, and trying it a few times (esp. with some quieter titles) might be helpful to figuring out if it’s the way you should go!

      Different pubs might be more receptive, and you might end up starting good relationships! I do probably get half of my ARCs from Netgalley/edelweiss, though. The rest are physical (now, though before it was more like 90% digital and 10% phys) and a lot of them are actually author-aided or from friends + giveaways bc I somehow know cool people? lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, I literally just looked up Bookish First and FFBC because this is the first time I’ve heard about them, and I’m blown away. Thanks so much for putting so much thought into this reply! It’s actually really helpful ❤ I'm definitely going to try to participate in more blog tours in the upcoming year. and yea, I think it's really true that authors can be as great of an advocate for bloggers as the other way around. Thanks so much Vicky!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yes, no worries! they’re both really awesome programs + companies (also, I love how the FFBC is free for authors) and I definitely wish you luck!!!

        Like

  7. I’ve definitely had a mixed experience with writing physical arc requests, a few times I’ve gotten surprised and the ARC showed up at my door, and others the publicist replied but usually offered me an eARC instead (which I took cause I’m not here to be picky 😂), but I definitely agree that it’s a dying method of requesting. I think a lot more publishers are just relying on set mailing lists and digital platforms like Netgalley. It takes too much time and effort for everyone to write/read emails!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so helpful! I have a small blog and a small twitter following, so getting access to ARCs has been historically challenging for me. I didn’t know about FFBC or Bookish First, and I’m excited to dig into those more. I’ve gotten several e-galleys through Edelweiss & Netgalley, but I spend so much time in front of a screen I’d much rather have the hard copy in my hands (obviously).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you!!! it’s’ challenging for small bloggers, but I definitely recommend blog tours + different book programs to obtain ARCs!

      Like

      1. That’s helpful! Would you also recommend going to bookcons? I saw a lot of people getting arcs at yallfest but I have no idea how expensive those cons are. Does everyone who goes to the con get some arcs? And I’m definitely going to work on being part of some blog tours!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Honestly, I think it depends on a lot of factors. They’re REALLY expensive (especially when they’re far from you), but I do think that everyone who goes can come out with some ARCs.

        I do think going to Book Con helped kind of jump my blogging in the way that I had more content (upcoming reads vs. backlist) that people were more inclined to read, but I also think it’s a privilege and something that shouldn’t have to be the case but unfortunately is.

        Yallfest itself is free to enter, but going to the cons and staying overnight and eating can be pricy (especially if you go to like BookCon which has a high ticket price).

        I think it is really fun to go though, especially if you’re not just there for the ARCs (you can meet authors and listen to panels and do all sorts of fun stuff!), so if you are in a financially able state (or if you live close by to one also!) I’d definitely recommend trying to go!

        Like

  9. First of all, your blog is so, so pretty! Also, this is a great post! Even though I’ve only been blogging for about seven months now, I have received about 15 physical ARCs. I do find that persisting and constantly (but not too constantly) following up with publishers is good. Also, I started by requesting very unpopular books and working my way up. Finally, if you Google “ARC request form” there are a ton of good links! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww omg thank you!!! and that’s awesome!!! i’m really glad that you’ve been able to get access.

      i’m honestly too lazy to write requests and i’ll just wait for it to come out, haha! but it’s great you’ve had success with them!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am an INTL book blogger so I think I have slimmer chances of acquiring physical ARCs. These days, I just rely on Netgalley. Edelweiss hasn’t approved me since ever. I only send email requests as a last resort, so I agree with you that it’s a dying art. I do it when I am really really dying to read and review a book and I can’t request it on Netgalley because territory restrictions or if I have been denied in Edelweiss. This year (around September) I sent two carefully crafted emails (one to Harper Collins and one to Flatiron) and so far I got no replies from both. I even mentioned that I am willing to receive an eARC. So yeah, I know that publicists are busy people and I got no hard feelings from never hearing from them but it’s hard not to get discouraged writing unrequited emails of ARC requests. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Jennilyn @ Rurouni Jenni Reads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I get that! It’s honestly really bleak feeling sometimes, and I wish the systems were cleared up more easily! Best of luck with you and requesting ❤

      Like

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