How to Get and Keep Getting ARCs, Written by a Dinosaur

18 June, 2015 Musing Musers, Random 47 comments

If you want ARCs and if you want to keep getting them then this post is for you. Time to chase down those publishers and consume them like a dinosaur. Professionally, of course. And if you follow this guide, you’ll not only be like the Tyrannosaurus Rex of ARCs. You’ll be a Tyrannosaurus Rex with those little grabby toys so you’ll have reach. Because seriously, those little arms are so fucking annoying.

Jurassic World



I know what you’re thinking about this post, btw.

Gif 1

The reviewing kind of dinosaur, is the answer to your question. And also a carnivore, so be careful what impertinent questions you ask of me. I just want to say that there is no definitive way of getting ARCs. Nothing works 100%. But there are always things you can do to help. And we dinosaurs are here to help you. Help us, eat help you.

First thing is that you have to think about what you, as a dinosaur in the literal sense, have control over and what you don’t.

When you think about it, there are some things you can control when it comes to making your blog a desirable place to send arcs, and there are things you can’t control. You probably think of those things like the cages and pens keeping you in and from noming on all the delicious humans just walking around er… I mean getting your ARCs.

Things you can’t control:

Page Views


Publisher’s response.

Like a bright flare light on a rainy night, you keep your eye on these things, thinking they’re holding you back, but the truth is, they are a distraction. The humans were in a car all along and you were too busy looking at the light, damn it! Sorry, this topic makes me a little emotional.

Reptile Dysfunction

Things You Can Control

How you communicate to publishers.

The content on your blog.

Where you post your reviews.

Door handles (if you’re a raptor dinosaur only though)

How you handle the ARCs you get


And believe it or not, these things can affect you breaking out of your pen and going on a rampage a lot more than you think. Also, it’s good for ARCs. So read on as we explain, but please be patient, this keyboard is hard to reach and awkward to use.

Controlling the things you can control and letting the silly humans deactivate the gates for you:

Put yourselves in the publisher’s shoes. Every day they get emails from bloggers wanting ARCs and the publishers have to decide who is going to be the most profitable to send them to. So first you have to look at your blog from a publisher’s perspective. Ask yourself some basic questions:

How old is your blog? 

If it is under 6 months old they may not consider you stable enough to send ARCs to unless you already have a big following. Think about it. Blogs open and close all the time. A blogger just starting out kind of has to prove that they’re still going to be around in 6 month’s time. A year’s time. 165 million year’s time. It’s hard, but from one dinosaur to another, if you wait until you’re at least 6 months old to start requesting ARCs, you may find your chances improved.

How often do you/can you post realistically?

posting regularly generally helps cultivate a readership and is going to show a publisher that you’re a reliable place to send ARCs because you are a) committed and b) active in the community.

Where do you post your reviews?

Publishers and authors seem to like it when you post your reviews to a number of sites. Not just your blog. Amazon, B&N and Goodreads are good places to look at posting. We don’t always get around to doing this, though we try to for Goodreads, but we know should.

How have you approached the publisher?

When you approach a publisher, the first thing you need to consider is what your email looks like to them. It should be short, concise and lacking in requests that they provide tasty scientists for rapid consumption. It should also be professional so get a friend to check it over.

Your email should probably include:

-Your blog name, URL, your name and links to your social media (I usually have these as my email signature)

-Information (and links) to past publicity you have done for them, with specific examples to books of theirs that you have already promoted.

-Upcoming books of theirs that you are interested in promoting. This doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list, but it gives the publisher an idea of what to send you.

-Your postal address at the top of the email.

-Where you review

-A brief overview of your stats

-A thank you for them spending the time reading your email and the hope that they will respond.

So in effect, your email might look something like this, though keep in mind, this is not a definitive email. It’s just a suggestion. Adding your own touch will always be helpful. Unless that touch is the bloody paw print of your victims.

TyRex A Saurus


Chatsman Ohio 72349

20th June 165,000,000 BC

To Whichever Human it may concern,

My name is TyRex from Dinosaur Reads blog. I’m a book blogger for all books to do with dinosaurs.

In the past I have reviewed Dinosaur Dinosaur, and helped promote Dinosaurs, The Book on its blog tour.

I’m really interested in continuing to promote your books and am looking at reviewing your upcoming titles Chomp and What’s Shaking (the Earth)? I would love it if you had any review copies of these titles you may be able to send me.

I post my reviews to my blog, Goodreads and Amazon.

My Monthly page views are: Irrelevant because I eat all my visitors.

My subscribers: Do not suffer the same fate

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I hope to be able to work with you in the future to promote dinosaurs and dinosaur books.



Dinosaur Reads Blog

A smart blog, for prehistoric animals



hold onto your butts

He was so delicious, btw

How you can stay in touch with Publishers

One of three things will now happen.

1) You will receive a response and they will send you ARCs (yey but you’re not out of the woods yet!)

This is great! Now is the time to put those ARCs at the top of your TBR, read them promptly, review them honestly, break into a room dramatically and roar, and then CONTACT THE PUBLISHER. Tag them in your review if it’s positive. Email them the link to your review. Take a picture of the ARC when you get it and tweet/instagram/tumblr it, tagging the publisher to say thank you.

2) You will receive a response email but no ARCs (yey – this is still good and I’ll explain why)

You didn’t get ARCs, THIS TIME. But you have a name of a publicist and this = a contact. Guard this preciously with your life. A contact is a foot in the door.

Or a head…


Doors are hard. 

And if you eventually want to eat those jelly-guzzling kids, then you need that contact! You now have a direct line to someone in the publishing house who mails the ARCs. They’re aware of your blog. Maybe they’re hoping to do blog tours with you in the future and this can open the doors to ARCs. Don’t give up hope! If you can be resurrected after 165million years then you can wait a little longer to get your ARCs.

3) You receive no response and no ARCs (Don’t panic. All is well, there’s plan B!)

Don’t panic. We’ve all been there. Usually publicists are simply too busy to respond to ARC requests. But you can still review the books, tag the publishers in that review and try again in the future. What you may find, if you continue to support their books and tweet at the publisher’s main account, is that the publicist may eventually come to know you, recognise your professionalism and accept your request in the future!

Don’t forget, publishing is an industry with a high turnover rate (like evolution. Hahahahahahahaha. No really, it’s a bitch). Publicists change all the time so keeping in regular contact with your publicist is important to ensure your contacts stay up to date and you keep receiving ARCs. 

We dinosaurs hope you have found this article helpful. Just as we have found you bringing us back from extinction useful. Let us work together. It’s not at all a terrible idea.


Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

47 Responses to “How to Get and Keep Getting ARCs, Written by a Dinosaur”

  1. Kelly

    You may just be the most articulate dinosaur ever. Shame about the reptile dysfunction, might be why you’ve taken to eating all your visitors #DinoSexualInnuendo

    Brilliant advice though. I found that in my first year of blogging, I did exactly that. Reviewed my own books and the occasional ebook from Netgalley and tried to build my audience. I wanted to carve out my own little corner before personally approaching publishers, and it worked. I rarely request any more, but still receive quite a few unsolicited copies that I try to read most of them, or at least give them a go. I think stats clearly are your main selling point, but also likability. Some publisher contacts sadly don’t seem to enjoy my company, or reptile dysfunction banter. So I’ve stopped trying to win them over and appreciate all the incredible opportunities I do have, rather than the ones I don’t.
    Kelly recently posted…Afterlight by Rebecca LimMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      I think stats will always be an important selling point, but unfortunately you can’t control them, so why worry too much? Just doing your best and being your most authentic self is all you can really do. Better to focus on things you can control.

  2. Jane

    Thanks for much for this post, Kat! This is invaluable information, especially for bloggers like me who really want to step up their game content-wise. And good luck with those door handles, poor little T-Rex arms. 😉

    I do have a question…if you receive a response but no ARC, or no response at all, should you continue to sporadically contact that person? Obviously not often, but maybe every now and then to check in and say “hey, I’ve reviewed these books and grown by this many views”? Again, thanks for such an awesome post! (and now you’ve made me want to see Jurassic World immediately.)
    Jane recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR ListMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Great question!

      I would leave it for six months and contact them again basically saying:


      It’s dinosaur again. I’ve been busy promoting your titles Roar: How To for Dinosaurs and others like it.
      I just saw you have Stomp, like this coming up and was wondering if I could get a review copy or go on your mail out list?



    • Kat Kennedy

      Yeah it’s a journey. We first started when we were 6 months old and we made a lot of mistakes that we later got to learn from. I’m just hoping to help others as best I can.

  3. Shannelle C.

    Oh Kat, I don’t know how you do your awesome so constantly. But basically, this made me realize I should redo my whole standard publisher email because it’s so LONG. I spend two paragraphs trying to say why I want it, but I guess that wouldn’t matter to them at all.

    And well, I guess UBB comes in very handy for mentioning other books I’ve reviewed. XD Thanks for the tips, Kat!
    Shannelle C. recently posted…Book Haul #3: All the UnbelievableMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      You should see the emails I used to send to publishers when I first started. A WHOLE PAGE of info that was basically useless. Nobody had the time to read it.

  4. Carina Olsen

    Kaaat. This post is all kinds of gorgeous 😀 I love it. Thank you so so much for writing and sharing it. <3 You are the most awesome. I have gotten some precious ARCs in the past 🙂 Most of the time I get no response :p Or response that they don't ship to Norway, ugh :\ but some publishers are really, really amazing 🙂 Anyway. Just thank you for all the awesome tips. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #190My Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      It must be so hard to get ARCs in Norway! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having this problem. Not sure I have any tips to help with that. Sorry.

  5. Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination

    Haha, this is brilliant. I’ve seen a ton of posts on ARCs, but I’ve never seen one from the point of a dinosaur, much less a T-Rex. I’ve never requested an ARC before, but I hope to muster up the courage to do so this summer. I do have one question, though? How early should ARCs be requested before the final book comes out? How early is too early? I hope those questions are clear. Thanks!
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Cover Reveal for Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra E. ArdnekMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Hi Ana,

      Usually we see when the catalogue comes out and we request ARCs then – asking to be put on the list for mailing time.

      You can usually find the catalogues to Summer/Winter books on Edelweiss.

      If you get on the publisher’s mailing list, they’ll probably send you catalogues as they come out and you make your request then.

  6. Lyn Kaye


    Okay, Kat, in all seriousness, I have a question about this one:
    “Publishers and authors seem to like it when you post your reviews to a number of sites.”

    Do you have to post your full review? Do publishers consider new sites, such as Leafmarks, just as good as Goodreads? I do not trust GR, or Amazon, and I am not a huge fan of B&N. I use my reviews on my own site because I can control the content. GR and Amazon can happily take your reviews and do what they want with it. Can I post part of the review and link it back to the blog?
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: ChimeMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Hi Lyn,

      Good question. I used to try just posting part of the review with a link back to my blog but users on those sites found it annoying so I stopped.

      What publisher’s want is reach and reviews on sites where people are likely to go before buying the book. That is my understanding, anyway. So just do what feels right to you.

  7. Kellie


    Thank you so much for writing this amazing article!! I’m new to blogging so this was really, really, really helpful 🙂 I love the dinosaur references haha.

  8. Stephani

    Thank you so much for having such informative posts. I started a relatively new blog (less than 6 months old) and would really want to get to the point where I am blessed with the awesome gift of ARCs.

    I love your site!

  9. Ethan

    Wow this is a great post! I’ve come to learn many of these things over my years of blogging, but it is really nice to have it all spelled out in one place.

  10. Jamaica

    Hahaha i’m laughing so hard right now. I don’t think the ‘ARCs’ thing is what i’m actually here for, i’m here for your dinosaur craziness. I love your site! <3

  11. Haya Arfat

    So a publisher emailed me telling me I’ve been added to their blogger list, but what exactly does that mean? Do they send me books they think I might like or does it mean I can now request books from them?

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