ARCs – all you need to know (ft. free books, review copies & professional fangirls)

Years ago I saw book lovers getting FREE books from authors & publishers; I wanted to be just like them. And for so long I wondered what magic spells they had access to because how were they getting this right and, most importantly, how could I do it too?

Now, years later, I get many ARCs and Review Copies but recently I’ve been thinking about when I didn’t because the truth is, I had NO IDEA how to get my hands on these marvellous books or how to request them.

So, without further ado here is how to become a ‘professional fangirl’.


But first…img_4903


Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) are books printed BEFORE the final is released for public consumption, whereas review copies are normally sent out when the book has already been released into the world.

And they’re sent out for the same reason: to create buzz.

Whether we realise it or not, these books are marketing tools and although they’re exciting to receive they form part of the ‘business side’ of the book world. The goal is to spread word about (and encourage sales of) a book. 

(Disclaimer: Yes, I said they’re used to encourage sales but NO that doesn’t mean ARC reviewers are meant to give the book high ratings.)

BUT CAN I GET ARCs/Review Copies?

Yes! Anyone can (granted, you have to have a blog or some sort of platform to post your review on).


  • Join NetGalley

By far one of the easiest ways is creating a NetGalley account (click here to do so). You have to be 18, but once you have a profile it’s pretty simple.

Just create the account, dress up your profile in a fancy suit (this means fill in all the blocks: your bio, name, blog link, etc) and start requesting with the click of a few buttons. Publishers will email you with a yay! or nay and send you a copy of the book you requested (most commonly in e-book format).

But if you aren’t 18 fear not! There are many ways to get ARCs.

  • Join instaFreebie

It’s free to sign up (do so here) and soon enough you’ll be getting emails offering you books to read and review. I’m not a member of instaFreebie so I don’t know the process but I’m aware that they host giveaways and that they almost always have Review Copies to give away.


Email them. Find the website of the publisher you want to request a book from, locate their ‘contact us’ or ‘publicity’ tab and pop them an email asking for a review copy.

When doing this put on your best business suit, some fancy glasses and comb your hair because this is professional fangirl business (seriously be professional !).  


You don’t want to request a book and start your email with a casual,

Hey publisher I really like,

Can you give me (this) book?

Please and thank you.

Because I’m pretty sure you won’t get any books like that…


Let’s break it down (into lists ,because I love them):


  • Be professional.
  • Introduce yourself (not your whole life story just your name and surname and maybe a sentence about you).
  • Tell them if you have a blog and what you post on it.
  • Give them the links to where you post your reviews (GoodReads, Instagram, Amazon, your blog, Facebook, etc.) .
  • Tell them your blog stats (number of unique visitors per month, page views per month, how often you update your blog and maybe even which country you’re most popular in).
  • Tell them how you promote books (do you just post the review and never talk about it again? Do you chat about it on twitter too? Do you climb to the highest point in the world and shriek about how fantastic/bad the book you just read is?).
  • Let them know if you work somewhere book related (don’t worry if you don’t!).
  • Mention the book you want to request (with the authors name and IBN number too).
  • Include our mailing address (in the hopes that they’ll send you a hard copy).
  • And your email address in case they send you an e-book.


  • Don’t get discouraged. Someone will definitely turn you down but it’s not the end of the world; others will definitely accept your requests!
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself (attempt not requesting 15 million and 7 books on Netgalley because sometimes 14 million of them get accepted and then you have A LOT of reviewing to do).
  • Don’t not post a review. When you ask someone for a free book you better review it! By asking you’re basically promising you will – even if it’s late, get it done.
  • Don’t email publishers asking for all the books of ever (because they probably wont give you 20 books in one go).

If you want MORE HELP writing this email look out for my post coming soon (!) where I give you an example of one! Remember though that there are so many ways to write this email – this is just the way I do it.

Lastly remember that that ARCs and Review Copies aren’t everything. Blogging isn’t just about getting free books.

If you have any questions leave them below! And feel free to tell me if I missed anything out of if you know of any other ways to get review copies or ARCs. 

6 Responses

  1. Thank you for this well written article. It’s good to know how I can go about getting books to review. I’m starting a blog and found this to be very informative.

  2. Haha! Thank you for reading, Nienke! *gives you popcorn in thanks*
    I’m so glad it helped (even if you aren’t using the information yet) and oh-my-gosh I know that NetGalley struggle!
    I get the majority of my ARCs from publishing houses because I don’t live in the US nor UK either.

    But seriously, your stats don’t have to be all that high! I think it’s more a case of time (and I’m always running out of that).

  3. I came for popcorn and got so much more instead! What a handy blogpost. This was truly so informative. I won’t be requesting arcs, because I don’t have the stats and the time, but it’s always handy to know more about it. Although I’ve just requested two on Netgalley, I’m never sure I’ll get them, since I don’t live in the US nor in the UK. But hey, you can always try, right?

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