Armchair BEA: Ask the Experts!

It’s the final day of Armchair BEA, so THE MADNESS is about to end. (Are you relieved?) Maybe I’ll even be able to post a book review again! Imagine that!

Actually, the reason I haven’t posted a review this week is because I’ve been working on the same one since Monday. I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I really should just take a break from it and review a different book, since I’m holding about 5 reviews hostage in my brain right now. But it’s my Everest. I must conquer it.

(And now I definitely can’t tell you what book it is, because you’re going to expect the review to be EPIC, and it won’t be).

So today’s topic is “Ask the Experts,” where we offer advice about blogging, and also pose any questions we may have, in the hopes that someone with answers will stop by and help us out.

Since I’m a pretty new blogger, I’ll have a lot more questions than answers, but I do have some tips that have already helped me get noticed (on a very small scale, but again, everyone has to start somewhere!)

  • Twitter. Other social media too, but seriously, if you’re blogging and not utilizing Twitter, you’re missing out.
  • Participate in memes. Not a ton of them. You don’t want to be so caught up in memes that you forget to actually blog about books (she says as she winds up a week of no reviews). But they drive traffic to your site, and like-minded people will probably stay.
  • Be professional. Presenting yourself to publishers, publicists, authors, and other bloggers. No, you don’t have to call everyone on Twitter “Sir” and “Ma’am.” (actually, if you call a 25-year-old blogger “Ma’am,” she may secretly hate you). But you do need to treat others with respect and courtesy. Don’t explode all over yourself with the ALL CAPS and the MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! Oh, and please, just for my sanity, please don’t use text-speak in your blog post. K thx.
  • Comment, comment, comment. And no, commenting on someone else’s blog with “Hi! Great post! Come follow my blog?” does not count. That’s pretty much spam. But meaningful comments that facilitate discussion help make you part of the community and establish connections with other bloggers.
  • NetGalley. Fantastic resource to get advance digital copies of a lot of books.

Okay, so those are my brief words of wisdom. Now for my questions. If you’re an established blogger (or author, publisher or publicist — I’m not picky) and can shed some light on these topics, I’d love it.

  • How established do I need to be before requesting ARCs from publishers? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE NetGalleyΒ and have gotten a ton of great titles from there, and today I finally got my first approval for a book on Edelweiss. But there’s some titles that I KNOW bloggers are receiving ARCs for that I would love to be able to read, and they’re not available on those platforms. But I’m afraid I may still be a little too green to contact the publisher for a print ARC. Should I just bite the bullet? (And yes, I know if I’m dying to read it, I can always buy it upon release. But I prefer to only spend my tiny bit of money on books I love, which entails reading it first, so an ARC would be nice).
  • Speaking of publishers, can anyone say which publishers tend to be willing to send ARCs to bloggers and which ones aren’t? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and I can’t always find that information on their FAQ Β or Contact pages.
  • Are there any great resources out there I should be utilizing that I’m not?

And that’s it from me. I am still young in the blogging world, and I know these things take time. It’s easy to want to do ALL THE THINGS right away, but honestly, I’m thrilled with how well my blog has done so far.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have some awesome established bloggers hold my hand and help me out. I’ve been contacted by several self-published authors about reviewing their books, and I’ve enjoyed the ones I have read, and am looking forward to the ones I haven’t. I’m signed up for several upcoming book tours. And I’ve even had a publisher put some faith in my little blog and send me books already.

So I’m really excited about what the future holds for me, my blog, and my bookshelf.

Thanks so much to all the coordinators of Armchair BEA — it’s been a blast!

52 thoughts on “Armchair BEA: Ask the Experts!

  1. I say bite the bullet and ask. The worst thing that could happen is they say no. A good publishing company that works well with bloggers is Little, Brown. Once you request an ARC from them you are put in their database of bloggers. Once your in, every month they send you an email with their upcoming YA releases asking which ones you would like to be sent to you. They come to you. Bostick Communications is another site I get emails.for reviews also. If i remember correctly you fill out a form explaining what books you review and whenever a book comes around that fits your site you will get an email πŸ™‚ Hope this helps!

    Cierra @ Books Ahoy
    Cierra @ Books Ahoy recently posted..I’ve reached 500 followers!!!My Profile

    • Thanks so much! Great information, and you do have a point. I guess I didn’t want to email too early, and then not know how long was appropriate to wait before emailing again if I’m declined. But I guess I could always respond and ask πŸ™‚ Thanks so much!

  2. I just don’t like Twitter.

    1. I’d say at least three months of regular posting, possibly six, before contacting publishers. Contact them with your blog name/URL, page views, and subscribers as well as your address. (They might not have time to reply and ask.)
    2. As far as I know all the big publishers send ARCs to bloggers. But some books have a more limited quantity than others.
    3. I don’t know? Some established bloggers do have guides written that can help you out. I know Presenting Lenore wrote a guide to getting ARCs.
    Liviania recently posted..Armchair BEA: Ask the ExpertsMy Profile

    • You don’t have to like Twitter! I didn’t for a long time either, but now it’s my primary method of networking.

      Some publishers list on their FAQ or Contact page that they only send review copies to media professionals, so I assumed that excluded bloggers. No?

      Thanks for the tips!

  3. Great post. Sounds like you’re doing great as a blogger. I don’t think you need any advice πŸ™‚

    I agree about the support that is out there. Whether I write as a book blogger or a writer, I know there are many people I can turn to for advice and encouragement πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve been blogging at my personal blog since November, and I wrote and asked for my first print ARC in March, and I received the book in April! I was SO excited! And then I loved it SO much that they asked me to participate in their official blog tour for the book. I totally thought I was too young a blog, but they sent it! I was ecstatic. I think if you write in a professional way (which I bet you do, since you mention professionalism as a must for book bloggers), they will be more willing to send it to you. πŸ™‚ Good luck!
    Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl recently posted..Armchair BEA 2012: The Future of Book BloggingMy Profile

  5. Wow, I had a few good laughs reading your advice – all sound pieces, but your personality really just came through πŸ™‚ I’m a new blogger too, so I followed a very similar format, and actually, had some very similar questions! I’ll be bookmarking this post to see all the great words of wisdom you get!

    Oh, and good luck writing your review! I’ve been in a bit of review slump with writer’s block lately, which sucks. But I feel a bit revived after ArmchairBEA oddly enough, so hopefully I can get a few written this weekend!

    My “Ask the Experts” post
    Rachelia (Bookish Comforts) recently posted..#ArmchairBEA Day 5: Ask the Experts!My Profile

    • Oh good! At first I was nervous that my advice was laughable – so I’m relieved that’s not what you meant!

      I hope you’ve learned as much from these comments as I have! And I agree, it’s been hard to keep up with reviews and life during Armchair BEA. Fun though!

  6. Argh!! I’m so happy right now because I found your blog, you won’t even believe me!!!
    I love the tips!!! Oh!! Netgalley is a good good GOOD tip, specially for internationals like Me! But I’m not that much into reading eBooks, my eyes take a toll and they want their revenge when I stop reading…so I see blurry for a while after putting down an eBook πŸ˜› That’s why I’d LOVE to read printed ARCs, but I don’t complain πŸ˜› I know they are difficult to get by,,,and since I’m international I haven’t even pretended to go ahead and ask publishers… Won’t waste my or their time on that πŸ˜€
    COMMENT!!! Definitely! That is a MUST!!!

    I’m following you now!!!! Glad for the ABEA!!! Hope you had fun!
    Here’s my ABEA for today! You’re welcome to stalk->
    Alba @BookPics recently posted..Armchair BEA-Ask The Experts?My Profile

  7. You’ve given some valuable tips to bloggers. I forget how much the giveaway “games” are to gaining followers…but I don’t have time to get involved with them. Sometimes word of mouth or just networking through your other social media sites is plenty to get your monthly viewers coming by. I think blogging and reviewing is so personal. It’s easy to lose sight of the reason we do it. I’m not a numbers person, I review books but I’m writing for those who will find me the old-fashioned way! :] Good luck with your beautiful website!! Deborah/TheBookishDame
    Deborah/TheBookishDame recently posted..Dead Sexy Suspense/Thrillers…Books Launched by Entangled Publishing!!My Profile

  8. I love book memes and try to do 2 a week because it helps me round out my posts. But yes, if you only do memes and no reviews or anything else, then your blog can get boring quickly. As for requesting ARCs, that’s not something I do so I can’t advise on it. But my blog isn’t that established so if I did want to get some, I’d just ask and see how it went. It can’t hurt to try it and see what they say!
    Jae recently posted..Armchair BEA Day 5: Ask the ExpertsMy Profile

    • That’s exactly why I do memes. Before I discovered them, I was really overwhelmed with how to post regularly and still have time to READ. Now they help me fill out the week, but I still want my own original content. Thanks for visiting!

  9. I agree with all of your tips! πŸ™‚ (And I definitely need to work on commenting more, I’ve been neglecting comments lately! D:)
    As for ARCs, I believe the golden rule is usually six months although definitely don’t be afraid to ask for an ARC earlier than that if it’s a title you’re really looking forward to. I got lucky and received an ARC of Across the Universe in my third month of blogging (still unsure of how I managed that). You’ll need to keep things concise and include: your blog’s name, its url, where your reviews are posted, unique visitors per month, page views per month, number of followers (on your blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc.), and your mailing address. Always include your mailing address. Always! Other things to keep in mind include the fact that if you’re sending the email to their general publicity e-mail address, you might not get a reply and that doesn’t always mean that you’re not getting the book that you requested. Also, that depending on their marketing plans for the book, it’s possible that only major bloggers will receive the title. (Or, that they will receive the books in advance of other bloggers.)
    As for which publishers are more inclined to send books to bloggers, I think it varies. Honestly, if it’s a book that you’re excited for, I’d ask regardless of how likely they are to send a book to a blogger–you never know, they might surprise you!
    Hope that helps! πŸ™‚
    Kristin @ Beneath Shining Stars, I Read recently posted..Armchair BEA 2012: Networking… In Real Life!?My Profile

  10. Thanks for the great advice…okay, my post has to do with my twitter cluelessness stop by and see if you can answer my question.

    As far as ARCs I say go for it. The worst that is going to happen is you don’t get the ARC or a response, the best a great book arrives in your mail box! πŸ™‚
    Lisa (Lisa’s World of Books) recently posted..Armchair BEA day 4My Profile

  11. Hi! Great post! Come follow my blog?

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. But seriously great post with great tips. I’m a new blogger myself – started just this year – and I still haven’t gotten a handle on ARCs. ARCS are great, but they kind of have a double-edged sword, don’t they? I’ve been lucky enough to receive a couple, but I’m not entirely sure that they would have been books I’d have picked up in the first place.

    • NOT FUNNY.

      Okay….it was kind of funny πŸ™‚

      I agree on the ARCs. Even in my newbie state, I’m trying not to request anything (via NetGalley, Edelweiss, or from publishers) that I wouldn’t check out from the library. If I wouldn’t read a free finished copy, why would I read a free unfinished copy?

  12. I think 6 months is definitely “mature” enough to ask for ARCs. Before that, I’m not sure. You have to have a reasonable amount of reviews so you can show what your reviews look like AND that you’re not going to quit at any time but regularly place new things on your blog.

    Good luck! I love Netgalley but it’s too easy to get new books from there. πŸ™‚
    Judith recently posted..Armchair BEA – Day 5: Ask the ExpertsMy Profile

    • True, it wouldn’t make sense for publishers to send books to bloggers who have no staying power. And I agree about NetGalley! I went a little crazy when I first discovered it, and now I have SO MANY ebooks to wade through. And a couple of them, I start and I just go….what made me want to request this again? It’s a slippery slope indeed.

  13. I say about 6 months bore getting a ton of ARC’s, but if you’ve been blogging regularly for less than that and there is a certain book you really want, it couldn’t hurt to contact the publicist and ask. As for publishers, I’ve had tons of interaction with Penguin, but I’ve noticed the others doing a lot more too so I’m not sure if it’s me or they have just increased their interactions with bloggers more.

    So I love the name of your blog and that silhouette of the woman reading the book!

    Also, I actually have a meme too called Throwback Thursday, LOL… I haven’t done it in a while. Just thought that was funny!
    Jenny recently posted..Armchair BEA, Day 5: The Future of BloggingMy Profile

    • Oh no! When I was looking at starting it up, I Googled for a Throwback Thursday meme in 2012, so maybe that’s why I didn’t find yours. Then I asked the Twitterverse, and the only response was that Mandi (my co-host) had a feature, and no one knew of a meme. I guess we must typically run in different circles! I hope you don’t mind! If you would like credit or a link, I’m sure we could work something out.

      And thanks on loving the name and the graphic! The woman is actually me! Hubs did a good job with Photoshop, huh?

      Thanks for the advice!

  14. Great points and advice. I’m not an expert, but I don’t think it could hurt to contact a publisher to request an ARC. What’s the worst that can happen?

  15. To answer your first question, I’d say that you don’t have to be too established. Make sure to include: Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, all type of social media that you use with your blog. Include followers, likes, friends, that kind of stuff. And Klout always helps. The higher your Klout score, the more likely it is to get ARCs. If you Google Klout, it’s the first site. You basically just link up your social media stuff to your Klout profile and people and give you more Klout if they like what you’re doing.

    Basically, this is the one time you want to brag. Bring out every card you have in the book. “I’ve only been blogging for 1 month, yet I have 150 followers, Linky and Networked Blogs combined. I think that I have great potential to expand my blog and reach a wider audience.” You really want to sell your blog.

    If you ask Sourcebooks, Entangled Publishing, they’re the smaller companies but they also publish really good books sometimes. The bigger publishers, like HarperCollins, HarlequinTeen, Simon & Schuster, MacMillan, Penguin, those, might not be as interested as the blogs with 1000 followers. There’s also Kensington, Candlewick, those publishers who aren’t as big, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet, so who knows.

    I usually request for something once a month or every other month, and you can always ask to go on their mailing list. A mailing list is basically, when ARCs are produced, they will go to that list and then send them out to some of the bloggers on that list. I asked publishers a while ago for that, but, again, only Sourcebooks and Entangled got back to me on that. And if you want to get an ARC, always go for the smaller titles because they will usually always send you those. Bigger titles may be harder to manage. But then again, who am I to talk because I haven’t gotten an ARC myself, except for a really small title they were giving out all over Twitter. -.- I really hope I’m going to end up helping you here…
    Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain*** recently posted..Stacking the Shelvesβ€”6My Profile

    • You are absolutely helpful! Are you sure you’re just 13? I honestly would never guess that if I hadn’t read it on your blog. You express yourself very well and come across as so mature πŸ™‚ These are wonderful tips, and I’ll definitely keep them in mind!

  16. Find a book coming out next month you really want to read and contact the publisher. You may not get an advanced copy at first but they may send you a review copy just before the book is released. Keep doing that and build a relationship with a publicist and soon you will getting the advanced copies. Then move on to another publishing group. Remember publishing groups like Hachette and Penguin have many imprints so one publicist can direct you to other publicists. Soon you will have more books to read than you can imagine!!

    Also Book Blogs has groups that are set up by publishers like Doubleday and Hachette and they give books to bloggers that are members of their groups just by filling out a request form.

    Happy Reading!
    lori/dollycas recently posted..Review: The Diva Digs Up The Dirt by Krista DavisMy Profile

    • Great tip about Book Blogs! I just signed up. Also, it didn’t occur to me to just ask about books that are coming out next month — I figured that was too close to release, so thanks for the tip! And it would be great to have more books than I can imagine, since I love being able to loan out books to friends and recommend books when people ask what they should read next! Thanks!

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