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A publicist, who I worked closely with when it comes to podcast booking, offered to share with us go-to tips on how to work with publishers, how to request ARCs, how to book an interview for your platform, and what you should include in your Netgalley profile.
I hope you enjoy it!
How to request an ARC?
Be specific: when publicists get emails with a list of 10+ books a reviewer is interested in, it removes the trust that the reviewer will be able to commit to every title. While publicists love the enthusiasm, they get a lot of requests, and the more specifically tailored to the title you want, the better. Up to three is acceptable; more than that, and it just sounds like you want free books (who doesn’t!?) Also, sending multiple requests for one title each multiple times a week doesn’t help either—it just feels like the blogger is more interested in quantity than quality and they’re less likely to receive ARCs.
The most important factors that get requests fulfilled:
Stats: Publicists need to know how many eyes are on your posts. Follower count, engagement, click throughs on affiliate links—this is all relevant. Don’t have a ton of followers yet? Don’t worry! Publicists are paying attention and if you’re professional in your correspondence and specific about the kind of audience you do have (for example, maybe you only have 200 followers but those followers are engaged readers who you know are interested, it’s worth sharing!)
What books you like: Publicists love to know what books you are looking for—it’s very likely that info is ending up in a database and then they will start pitching you. Lists genres/tropes/settings/authors you prefer and it goes a long way. If you’re a generalist, that’s fine too!
Links: We do not have time to google every contact that comes in—if you have links to past coverage you’ve done, we want to see it!
Include your mailing address and/or NetGalley/Edelweiss email: It sounds like such a small thing but when we’re really busy it saves a lot of time.
Where is your audience?: If you reach an audience in a specific region or city, that’s relevant, especially if an author is touring (either in person or virtually)—it’s great to be able to team up to promote an event!
Want to Interview an author for your blog/Instagram/Podcast?
When asking to pitch a Q&A or interview with an author, the rules vary, but in general:
Send links to previous interviews you’ve done, if applicable.
If you haven’t done any interviews in the past, you won’t necessarily be rejected but sending practice questions helps! (Example: “I’d love to interview X to talk specifically about their approach to Y and how that connects to the growing trend of Z.”
Let the publicist know upfront if it’s an email or phone interview. If it’s over the phone, list what platform you use to record (Skype, Zoom, etc.), how long the interview will last (keeping it short helps!), and your turnaround time.
Be unique. Many Q&As ask the same questions ad nauseum and it will take more unique questions to make your request stand out! Consider avoiding the following—What’s next for you? What’s your writing process like? Do you have advice for aspiring authors? What inspired this novel? It’s very likely that they have been asked this before. Think of the engagement you’d get from more unique questions tailored to the plot—it’s likely to get a lot more attention of not just publicists but your audience as well.
Proofread your questions before sending.
What you should avoid when making requests?
Please, no personal information: it puts publicists in a really uncomfortable situation when they’re told stories of reviewers’ health/family/personal problems. As much as publicists want to share books with the world, they have mailing budgets a set quantity they can send out, and they cannot send to every request that comes in. Consider the emotional connection the publicist might have and potentially triggering them before you share personal information that is not relevant to the request.
If a publicist has declined a request, please do not follow up with their colleagues to try again for the same title. It’s nothing personal, sometimes there aren’t enough copies to go around.
What you should know before making your request?
Publicists love when you commit to posting on the on sale day or the week of on sale day. That’s the best timing!
Publicists only get a select number of ARCs, unfortunately they cannot send all of them out. That said, a pro tip is to ask for ARCs closer to on sale (typically, publicists have finished books about 3 weeks before on sale—this isn’t always true, but if we have extra ARCs, this is when we’ll be able to send them more liberally!)
Follow the publicist on Instagram or Twitter! They are often talking about books and the media they’re getting—it’s a good way to figure out who is handling which titles if you want to approach them directly. Even better, tag them when sharing on Instagram so they can share your stuff. Each publicist is different, some are less plugged in than others, but when in doubt, ask!
If your request is on NetGalley/Edelweiss make sure all your links are up to date—this is really essential. If the links don’t work we can’t vet the request and usually decline.
If you are an #OwnVoices reviewer, that information is more important to any publicist than the number of following you have. Put that at the top of your bio; a good publicist will check your page but it makes it simpler if you tell us upfront.
Want to get paid to publicize a book? Insider Knowledge
Publicists send books in good faith that they believe are relevant to your audience; publicity as a rule does not pay for coverage. Marketing handles the paid promotions and advertising; if your audience is such that you expect payment for coverage, set up a rate card and the publicist you’re in touch with can pass on your information to the marketing team. (For reference, publicity never pays for media coverage—if the book shows up in a roundup you should know that was never paid for unless you notice the words “sponsored by” at the bottom, but then, it wasn’t publicity who did that.)