How to Get ARCs + Free Books to Review
I’ve been seeing this question of how to get ARCs and free books circulating around a lot - usually with newer book reviewers/bookish influencers. I thought I’d put the questioning to an end and help you get a step ahead in the book reviewing game! I’ve been researching all the solutions to this because there are some other book bloggers posts on this, but some appear to not have all the latest and recent options out there.
Let me start off by saying if you’re here just trying to get free books for the heck of it leave this page now. These tips are for people who actually care about the book and author’s well-being in the publishing industry. Book reviewers help make it possible for books to reach a larger audience which helps the book, the author, and the publishing industry as well. If you attempt to get a free book just for the sake of reading it (without any intent to review or bring to the attention of other readers) eventually the author/publisher will find out when they realize you’ve never published any information on the book. That means, they won’t approve you for future ARCs and free books to review. You will have wasted all of the involved parties’ time as well as the money that goes into producing the actual ARC which there is limited supply for so keep that in mind.
The way in which you receive your ARC is going to depend on a few different things:
Level of Influence/Presence
Meaning, how far of a “reach” or influence you will have in getting this book into the attention of your intended audience. Usually, this means how many people are following your: book blog (subscribers), Twitter, Instagram, YouTube (subscribers), Facebook page (likes), Pinterest, Goodreads, etc.
2. Book Format
Which type of format for a book are you willing to accept for a review copy? Naturally, publishers like to hand out eBooks to book reviewers because of a) time and b) cost. They’re able to get digital copies into your possession faster via e-reader sharing/emailing which doesn’t cost them a dime, but keep in mind they usually still are limited to a certain amount of copies to hand out. They have to eventually make money off the physical copies after-all.
If you’re only willing to receive print editions of ARCs your amount of approvals you receive will be based on your influence, what I mentioned above, and the number of physical copies the author/publisher has on hand to give out. Publishers and authors only have so much funding to put towards a book campaign so they have to use that money wisely. You have to respect that.
3. Where/Whom You Ask for an ARC
Something very important you should keep in mind is who you ask an ARC from. You’re probably going to have higher chances of getting a review copy from say, a self-published or indie author. The reason why is because usually they are literally doing everything or a majority of the book campaign themselves. They live for a chance to have beta readers and book reviewers to read their work as well as promote it for them. That takes a load off their plate and helps distribute it across more platforms in less time. If you don’t have a lot of followers or subscribers yet, your best bet is to ask newer authors with book debuts versus asking publishers - it’s a win/win situation.
Publishers are going to be more choosey with whom they trust to get their books out in the world. Book reviewers with large followings mean they already have a trusted audience as well as the numbers to reach more readers. I’d recommend waiting to ask publishers for a while, maybe 6 months to a year, to give your platform a chance to grow and gather a following. The higher count you have the better the chance you’ll have in receiving a physical ARC if that’s your preference.
Okay, now onto the good stuff! Where the heck do you ask for digital/physical ARCs? Let me tell you fellow book nerd!
You’ll find these formats of books from either your favorite publishers or bookish platforms, but generally, you’ll find them from certain websites.
If you’re starting out and/or prefer receiving digital books you will have a good chance of getting them through Netgalley! This book organization is simply amazing! This is where I started off with my book reviewing of ARCs and I surprisingly received quite a few eBooks to review! Go check out the website and sign up to become a member so you can start getting your first ARCs! The registration process is pretty simple, but don’t forget to update your profile with all your social platform information so you can be considered higher on the totem pole for a review copy.
Another great digital review copy galley is Edelweiss+. To sign up go to the Edelweiss+ homepage and click the middle option “SIGN UP.” Then plug in your info. and follow the prompts to finish setting your account up. In a way, I kind of like Edelweiss+ more because you’re able to have saved settings for your favorite book genres/tags in which you can search for again and again without having to go through the trouble of looking up your favorite topics/genres in the future. You can even add friends on their site! It’s a pretty nifty book reviewer social platform in itself.
First to Read
This is a fun e-galley website run by Penguin Random House which gives readers a chance to win early access to a digital book via its Adobe Digital Editions. Every month the publisher puts new books on digital display that members can enter a drawing to win a digital copy. The cool part of this website is that over time you rack up points on your account by visiting the site, interacting by reading excerpts, requesting ARCs, writing book reviews, taking part in surveys, and sharing site content on your socials. When you’ve collected enough points you’re able to apply them to a chance of receiving a guaranteed copy (I say chance because it’s based on first come, first serve). Once you register you receive monthly emails for when the next selection of books are up for you to put in entries for (as of right now the next offerings begin August 14, 2018). If you’re unsure of which apps/e-readers are compatible with the offered digital books take a look at their list.
***NOTE - Unfortunately the First to Read program has been shut down, but they now have a Reader Rewards where you basically get points from purchasing books and can use those points towards new books. You can sign up for Reader Rewards here.***
Epic Reads Insiders
An insiders community for YA book lovers provided by HarperTeen (HarperCollins Publishers) where you get the chance to participate in polls, surveys, and other events strictly for members only! From time to time they will provide you with a digital ARC for taking the time to complete their surveys. In the past, I’ve known them to even give you the option of choosing between three books! Pretty nifty stuff! You won’t be offered ARCs quite as often as the other options and websites I’ve mentioned, but it’s still a pretty cool program to be a part of! I get the hunch they may be updating Epic Readers Insiders due to them putting a hold on new participants, BUT they stated on their website to check back in September 2018 to join!
If you do advanced searches on Amazon you’ll find there are actually a lot of already published free (and low cost) eBooks up for grabs on their site. Take a look at the latest deals and feel free to click whichever genre you’re most interested in by choosing from the menu bar on the left for Kindle eBooks.
There are surprisingly a lot of options to look into if you’re looking to get your hands on a physical copy of a book you’re excited about.
This is a “first look” book review website by “an editorially independent division of Netgalley LLC.” Basically, you get a chance to read excerpts of new and upcoming books to be released, then you post a small review of your opinion on how good you think the book sounds to you. When you do this you’re automatically entered into their raffle to win a physical copy of the book! Even if you’re not a winner, you’re still rewarded with points with which you can spend later on pre-published books after you have enough points! Sweet deal, right? You’ve got nothing to lose here so go sign up now! Another nice perk they offer are other book giveaways which they update daily as they become available on their lifestyle blog and just to give you an idea how often that is - they offered 17 bookish giveaways last month in July 2018.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Teen Young Readers Division
HMH Teen offers you the chance to sign up through their online entry form for ARC requests. Simply enter your personal information and social media platform stats, then you’re good to go! They even give you option to mark which formats you prefer - physical ARCs and/or e-ARCs. They also offer book giveaways!
Penguin Random House Teen and Young Readers
Penguin Teen and Young Readers also has online forms for book bloggers to enter their information into their database via their Tumblr page. After you’ve filled out the Blogger Request Form you can fill out their ARC Request Form to request specific book titles. Note: the ARC Request Form link I’ve provided may not be valid at a future date - this one is currently for Fall 2018 entries.
Hachette: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
The Novl is a website that offers a sign up for their email subscription newsletter so you can win ARC giveaways and in return, all they ask is for you to review the books. I’m not completely sure if they send you a digital or physical copy, but from the way they describe it on their sign up page - it sounds like they’re physical ARCs. They also have sweepstakes you can enter every month for a chance to win their “NOVLbox” which is a box full of books and other book nerd items put together by well-known authors and other bookish influencers.
Simon & Schuster
Riveted by Simon Teen offers ARC book sweepstakes over on their site from time to time and the average seems to be about 1-2 times a month. Also, something awesome about Riveted is that they show no favoritism there - they will talk about books even from other publishing houses! Learn more from their welcome page!
The more direct approach to receiving physical ARCs would be to contact the publishing house directly. Lucky for you I’ve already done all the work of finding that information. Many of these were found by either searching online as well as from other book bloggers that I can’t seem to remember whom I found from due to how long ago I started researching. Just remember, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Don’t take this information lightly and please review the books that they send you!
NOTE: Some of the following publishing houses may or may not still be taking emailed requests for ARCs so please keep this in mind. This may be due to their change of policy or that particular contact is no longer working for them. Also, please be kind and courteous to whoever you contact! They are doing you a favor after all! 😊
If you have any other programs and ways to get free books/ARCs please comment your suggestions below so we can share the wealth with other book bloggers!
Publishing Houses & Imprints Contacts
Hachette Book Group
Little, Brown & Company | Little Brown Books for Young Readers | Jimmy Patterson | Back Bay | Mulholland Books
HarperCollins Publishers (book blogger program: http://www.booklookbloggers.com/join)
Amistad | Harper
Avon | Harper Voyager
Custom House | Dey Street | Harper Paperbacks | William Morrow | William Morrow Paperbacks
Harlequin Teen | Mira Books
HarperCollins 360 | Harper Legend
I write for a newspaper, magazine (online service, etc.); how do I request a review copy of a book?
Email your request to Vida Engstrand, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karen Auerbach, Publicity Director, at email@example.com. You may also contact our Publicity Department by phone at 212-407-1551.
For general inquiries*
Farrar | Straus | Giroux
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
St. Martin’s Press
Penguin Random House
Ballantine | Bantam | Dell Books
Berkley | Nal | Ace | Roc | Daw Books | Perigee | HP Books | Celebra | Jove | Onyx | Prentice Hall | Prime Crime | Signet
Blue Rider Press
Crown Publishing Group
Doubleday | Nan A. Tales | Double Day Religion | Currency | Black Ink/Harlem Moon | Double Day Graphic Novels
Random House Audio
Random House Children’s
Random House | Villard | Random House Trade Paperbacks | Spiegel and Grau | Modern Library
Riverhead Trade Paperbacks
Penguin Young Readers
Vintage and Anchor Books
Simon and Schuster
Children’s Publishing (All Imprints)
Simon & Schuster and Free Press