Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why most traditionally published authors can't send you an ARC for review: Hint--it isn't because we're mean

I've recently received several requests for Venom ARCs. I am super duper excited that people want to review my debut (let's face it--every author's biggest fear is that no one will read her book) but I can't send you an ARC. Here's why (and why it's probably a waste of your time asking authors you don't know for ARCs over the web.)

The average newbie author gets a handful of ARCs to give away. The publicity department gets hundreds. That's pretty basic math. I have heard of some authors getting twenty to thirty ARCs to give away, but I have also heard of a lot of authors getting two to five.

I got ten. Let's look at where they went:

1. The first copy was being circulated around to other Apocalypsies in a blog tour.

2. As luck would have it, some steampunk metal monster at the post office ATE copy #1 so now copy #2 is going on blog tour.

3. The Venom deal came about in a non-traditional manner and I acquired my awesome agent, Jennifer Laughran, after the deal so she didn't get copies from the publisher. Obviously, one should go to her.

4. Like 99% of authors, I have a circle of crit partners who have all been excited to read the finished product. One copy is being circulated among them. After they have all read it, one of my crit partners wants to submit it for consideration for a local contest.

5. Did you play the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes blog hop contest? The Apocalypsies will be doing a summer and fall contest too. One of my ARCs is promised for that.

6. A well-known, published author and blogger who routinely features new authors on her blog is going to do an interview with me closer to release date. One of the ARCs will be given away as part of that feature.

7. One copy went to Lindsay Cummings, the writer/blogger who was kind enough to do my cover reveal. Lindsay routinely receives TONS of free books for review from publicity departments. How does she do this? She maintains an eye-catching, error-free blog with timely, thoughtful reviews. She also networks at conferences and on twitter and has amassed an impressive 1500+ blog following.

8. To be given away on my blog as part of an awesome Venom prize pack! I have been dreaming up this contest for weeks and I am super-excited about it. Check back in about ten days for more details.

9. Same as #8.

10. Held in reserve just in case that post office monster gets hungry again or something else comes up. (I live in a world where it pays to expect the unexpected.)

I didn't list all those out for you to be snarky or mean. (I'm really very nice, I swear.) I listed them because I figure most authors are utilizing their ARCs in a similar manner and thought it would illustrate to you the futility of emailing authors to ask for free galleys.

Notice who is not in the above list: my mom, my brother, my sister, my besties, any 'significant other' types, the people at Award Winning Teaching Hospital where I sometimes work, the people at the coffee shop where I wrote the book, my fellow writers in the SCBWI-Missouri, my fellow Literaticult members, other author friends, bloggers I have interacted with on a regular basis via twitter, local indie booksellers, librarians, awards committees, and finally ME. Yes, even I do not get an ARC of Venom, so don't take it personally, okay?

The good news for you is:

1. Where in the World is Venom?!?! is going to start in about ten days. What is WITWIV, you ask? You'll have to come back and find out. My blog readership is still tiny so your chances of winning an ARC (and a whole smacking lot of other good stuff to boot) are decent, and all of my ARC contests are open internationally :)

2. I used to be a reviewer (under a different name) so I do have some basic tips to help you score free books. I am going to post them in a separate blog in a week or so after I turn in some revisions.

In the meantime, try googling "Penguin young readers publicity department." Voila--the address you need to request a review copy of Venom. They're busy people and they may not respond. If they don't, email them again in September and ask for a bookplate for review. Make sure you have a professional-looking blog first. Make sure to actually do the review if you get a book for free. Make sure to email them a copy of review so they know you followed through.

You can substitute in almost any publisher for Penguin and find contact info for publicity/marketing. Happy emailing, and again, I am really thrilled about your interest  :)


  1. Can I just win some Easter Pez, please?

  2. OMG Stuff. Are you my brother? He'd totally prefer Pez to a 432 page book with lots of lacy dresses and kissing. I will add-in some Pez to the awesome prize pack just because you asked nicely...and because Pez is awesome.

  3. Hi! I just came across this post from a link on Twitter, and not only is the post informative, something to definitely keep in mind... but your book is now on my "looking forward to" list! Lots of lacy dresses and kissing? Sounds like something I'd definitely want to read! And then I read the description in the link from the cover, and got even more excited! I've subscribed to your blog, can't wait until it comes out! ^_^

  4. Yay! Every time I get a comment or a tweet like this it's like a big chocolate bar of happiness :)

  5. Wow, I never knew that you, the author, only got 10 ARCs. Who would of thought? Haha, AHH! I just can't wait until Venom comes out. I'm even more excited considering it has a cover like *that*. I just sent an email to the publisher people and put everything they required in the email so *fingers crossed* My hands were trembling when I typed it! I hope they accept the request. I am just dying to read your novel already! :)

  6. Monica you are adorbs. You are totally going to win one of the WITWIV ARCs, I feel it. Also, some authors do get more, but not enough to even hook up all the local librarian and bookseller types, so definitely not enough for all the eager bloggers.


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