Hi guys, Merry Christmas Eve! Yes I realise this is one day late, but I was super busy wrapping gifts and doing last minute Christmas stuff that I totally forgot to write the final Christmas #BloggersGivingBack post for 2014! And because I’m not a huge fan of scheduling (must rectify that), I’m scrambling to write this one last minute. Heh. Please forgive me. 😛
This post is a part of Thoughts By J’s #BloggersGivingBack Christmas gift, where we share tips regarding books, blogging and the publishing industry. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Christmas Giveaway! There’s only a few hours left to enter.
How to request a physical review book from a major publisher
This is another post dedicated to the newbies. I am by no means a professional in the blogging world, but I do have some tips to share regarding book reviewing and how to request your first review copy from a major publisher within your country. Please keep in mind that I live in Australia, so what I’m sharing focuses more on the Australian publishing landscape. I would love to hear how others request books across the globe, so let me know! Pretty please?
1. Before you start
Before you even think about requesting a book/ARC from your local publisher, make sure you can tick off all the points on this checklist:
- You have a platform for reviewing
- You have been reviewing for at least 6 months (could be less)
- Your review platform easily shows you’ve reviewed recently
- You have published more reviews than blogging memes
- You are ready to put in the time and effort to review regularly, and can meet deadlines/publication dates
So why are meeting these requirements important? Simply, it shows that you’re not requesting for the sake of free books. It should be pretty common sense to know that printing off ARCS and sending out review copies is not a cheap marketing/publicity method. Having interned at Australian publishing houses, I know that there is only a certain amount that the marketing/publicity teams can allocate towards sending out review copies. They have a strict budget and if a blogger is not a viable return on investment (ROI), then they would automatically reject you. Simple as that.
The reason I say that you should be reviewing and blogging for at least 6 months is because it shows that you will continue with this hobby in the long-run. More importantly, it should show yourself whether this is something that you are willing to keep going with. I’m just going to put it out there: blogging is hard, and it is time-consuming. You need to be sure that you have the time to read the books you request and write a review for it. Once again, ROI is important for the publisher, so keep that in mind before you request. It could also be a reason why they’ve rejected you. All you have to do is keep up with reading and reviewing and you can try again next time. Don’t be dejected!
Are you new to book blogging altogether? Well we’ve got you sorted! Visit our post on ‘What to consider when you’re thinking about starting a book blog‘ to get started!
2. I’ve checked off everything on that list, now what?
Now you are able to progress to the next step! Is there a book that you desperately want to read, but it’s not yet out in stores? Would you sell your soul and maybe a kidney for it (I’m kidding, please don’t. They’re important)? Then you probably want to maybe, possibly, definitely request a copy.
When you’re first starting off, you definitely won’t have any contact details of the publicity/marketing departments. No fear! Remember all bloggers started out this way. The easiest thing I can tell you to do is to go onto the publisher’s website and find the contact details for the department you wish to email. There may be times when they won’t display their direct emails on the website, but don’t panic! Sending a request through the general contact email/box can be just as effective. The receptionist will forward your request to the right department, so don’t worry!
Please don’t ask me or any blogger for the direct email for their publisher contact. It’s bad manners, we don’t have the right to share these personal emails, plus we don’t want to be responsible for our contacts receiving an influx of requests out of no where. Please do what we did and make your own way to them.
LIST OF AUSSIE PUBLISHERS
- Allen & Unwin
- Hardie Grant
- Harper Collins
- Pan Macmillan
- Pantera Press
- Random House
- Simon & Schuster
- Text Publishing
- Walker Books
Credit goes to Kelly @ Diva Booknerd for helping me out when I first started looking around to request a book for review. She provided me with a list of publishers I can contact and work with!
3. What do I write in my request email?
Keep in mind that you can be formal or you can be pretty relaxed with your request. I find that Aussie publishers are pretty chill when it comes to email requests, but I have been working with them for at least a year. To play it safe, I will show you two ways that I request.
NUMERO UNO – Formal
Subject Line: Review Request: Disruption by Jessica Shirvington (ISBN: 9781743564974)
Dear Harper Collins,
Hi, and thank you so much for your time! My name is Joy and I am an Australian Young-Adult book blogger running ‘Thoughts By J’. You can find it here: https://thoughtsbyj.com.
I’ve been reviewing books consistently for almost a year on my site and have X followers and an average of X views.
I am writing to ask if you have Disruption by Jessica Shirvington available for read and review? I am very interested in reading and reviewing it because I’ve recently read Jessica’s book ‘Between The Lives’ and really liked it! Here’s a link to my review of it: http://www.thoughtsbyj.com/?p=611
And here’s a copy of my most recent Harper Collins book review: http://www.thoughtsbyj.com/?p=1066
If you have any copies available for read and review, it would be wonderful if you could send them here:
I post all of my reviews on my blog as well as on Goodreads and TheReadingRoom. You can find my Goodreads profile here: http://www.goodreads.com/JoyLu and TheReadingRoom profile here: http://www.thereadingroom.com/users/thoughtsbyj. I am also willing to post my reviews on other sites (Amazon, Netgalley etc) when requested.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,
NUMERO DOS – Informal
Yes, sometimes a puppy bribe is recommended! 😛 Or cake, publishers love cake.
4. I received a book…now what?
YAYAYAY good on you! Now you read that lovely book you’ve been dying to read and write your review! Once you’ve finished your review, be a lovely reviewer and email the link of your review to them.
Why, you ask? I personally study and work in PR so I know how it feels to spend a majority of your day chasing after media mentions and publicity for a client. What I mean is that you should make your lovely publisher’s job easier by providing the link to your review so they don’t have to spend time digging around on the Internet for it. PR and marketing departments compile lists and spreadsheets of your review for easy access later on, and they need them as an indicator for how well their campaign for a book is going (ROI once again).
Remember to include a little thank you along with your email. I promise this way they will remember you and be more inclined to agree to your next request! And who knows, you might even be added to the blogger database. 😀
5. Other helpful tips
Too scared or too early to contact a publisher? Try:
These two websites contain electronic advanced reader copies of books that you can request. It’s free to join and usually a great alternative to requesting a physical copy of a review book. Many publishers are opting to distribute eARC more as they’re less costly and can reach a wider selection of reviewers.
Don’t request too many books at once!
A lot of book reviewers make this mistake when they first start out. READ ALLLLL THE BOOKS right? Yeah, wrong. Unless you’re a super fast reader (which I’m not), then you should really limit the amount of books you request. Only review the ones you’ll definitely read, this will save you the stress of scrambling around like a headless chook, trying to keep up with your review schedule. Trust me, been there, done that.
Publishers know you’re busy with life
Yes, you should usually review books on time but publishers also understand that it’s impossible to keep up with all the books you may need to get through. Plus, sometimes life gets busy and you won’t have the time. They totally understand so don’t stress! You may not meet your deadline but any publicity is good, even a while down the track. Your review will still be promoting the book, and they like the fact that people are still picking up and reading the book many months after publication.
Annnnd there we go guys! I hope you’ve enjoyed our Christmas #BloggersGivingBack posts, we’ve had so much fun sharing our thoughts and tips to everyone.
Let us know if you’d like to see more of these posts in the future, and any specific topics you’d like us to touch upon.
Merry Christmas everyone! <3 <3