Happy Hump Day readers! If you’re stumbling across my blog for the first time let me extend a big, hearty welcome! You aren’t far behind as this is only the second post in the series, but if you’d like to catch up and read about getting your blog started you can do so HERE. For those who are already on board, today we’re discussing how to develop contacts with various publishers. I’m going to backtrack a bit first and discuss NetGalley and then segue into how we can deal directly with publishers in an attempt to secure those golden paper arcs. As will always be the case with this series, I’m simply offering what has worked best for me, which won’t always work best for you or any other blogger. Please feel free to take these posts and tailor them to fit your schedule and style to best suit your goals.
NETGALLEY VS PAPER ARCS
As I don’t like assuming that everyone already knows any one thing, I’d like to take a moment and touch on the different type of Advanced Reader Copies (ARCS) that bloggers can secure. With the wonders of technology advancing rapidly, many publishers are offering (and pushing for) bloggers to accept e-galleys instead of paper review copies. Economically speaking it is the best option, but for some bloggers like myself, I can only read for so long per day on my e-reader due to the strain on my eyes (and let’s be honest, for many readers we prefer the experience of holding a paper book, the smell of a fresh printing, realistically flipping through the pages, etc. It’s ok to admit that). However, most successful bloggers must be willing to accept e-books on occasion as a bare minimum, and it does have it’s perks. For instance, I can carry hundreds of books in my purse and not look like I just robbed my local Barnes and Noble. All that to say, NetGalley has quickly become the leading website to procure e-galleys, and it’s honestly the most efficient way for a blogger to keep track of their digital TBR.
If you are unfamiliar with NetGalley, take a moment and visit the site HERE. The sign-up and membership are free and you can create an account based on what type of reviewer you are. Once you’re signed up, you can browse the books available and, depending on the type, start grabbing freely. Some books are available as a “READ NOW”, meaning you can download it immediately based on the type of file you choose. I prefer MOBIs as they are compatible with my kindle and virtually idiot proof <— AKA CHELSEA PROOF. For most books on the site, you have to send a request through the book’s page and be approved to view it by the publisher. Once you’ve been approved, then you can download the file and start reading. All the instructions for how to download to various tablets and e-readers are available on the website. One thing to keep an eye on is the fact that NG keeps a ratio on your profile, meaning your percentage is calculated by showing the amount of books you’ve been approved for and the amount you’ve actually read and submitted feedback for.
My biggest piece of advice to new NetGalley users who are getting denied for books regularly? Pick some of the less popular titles until your profile is established and your ratio is secured at a minimum of 80%. As a new blogger, I did this for the first 6-8 weeks and noticed a huge improvement in the amount of books I was being approved for. There is no easy/quick way to getting the popular books, but if you put in the hard work by bringing up your stats and improving the quality of your reviews, I promise it will come. Feel free to ask any questions I may not have covered in the comments below.
Whew! Wipes sweaty brow. Glad we got through that; now for the fun part! How do bloggers gain contacts from various publishers? I’ll be honest, some of my contacts have found me through random channels and those are unpredictable and unplanned. I’ve found the most consistent way to develop those relationships is through the publisher’s website! You heard right; Google is about to become your best friend. I’m stating up front that what we’re about to discuss is very time consuming, but can be very rewarding if you’re willing to put in the hard work. This stage of marketing your blog is typically where a lot of newbies flake out; this stage is where the dedicated bloggers are separated from those just looking for free books, and the publishers know that.
First, you’ll want to make a list of all the specific imprints of various publishers that you enjoy their books regularly and would like to feature on your blog. Keep in mind this is just a starting list; there’s no reason why you can’t add to and include a greater variety down the road and this simply makes things less intimidating at the beginning. Please make sure you are searching for the contacts listed in the country you reside in. I’m just going to take one for example and go with Berkley; they are an imprint under the Penguin/Random House publishing house, so you would start by going to their website and hunting down the Media/Publicity Contact page. You can also do this by Googling <insert imprint you are searching for> publicity contact. You’ll be brought to a page similar to this one:
Next you’ll want to scroll down until you find the imprint you are searching for. Our example Berkley is listed below:
The email listed under Berkley/Nal/etc… is where you are going to send your email. Instead of asking for a specific book right off the bat, I’ve found it’s best to introduce yourself in the following (or similar) way:
“Hello, my name is Chelsea Humphrey and I run a book blog titled “The Suspense Is Thrilling Me”. I’ve found I’m really partial to the books you have to offer, especially those in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. I would love to be entered into your blogger database and kept in mind for future reviews. If interested, I’ve included my address below for your convenience. Please find all my social media links below my signature and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.”
If you are a new blog and have yet to establish stats and a following, I think it’s best to leave out any numbers and see where the chips may fall. Some publishers aren’t as concerned about numbers, while others require a certain following before they’ll start sending you book mail (that number is usually a base minimum of 1,000 followers across all platforms you use). If you have an established following anywhere (for example, I had established a following on Goodreads before creating my blog) then include those numbers there. If you don’t have a following yet, don’t panic! My next post is geared on various ways to cultivate your following in a healthy way. Make sure and clarify your expectations in your email; be upfront in what you expect and desire from a publisher while being gracious and humble.
I’ve found in most circumstances another way to be noticed by publishers is by interacting with them on social media; Twitter and Instagram especially. Don’t forget they too can send you arcs; not just the people behind the email! Joking around, helping retweet and promote their books, etc. makes them notice you. Stand out! Be proud of your blog and the books you read; persevere and you will be noticed. That in mind, always make sure you are reaching out in a respectful way. Many publishers don’t like being sent direct messages on social media, so the best advice is to let them approach you. Keep in mind people are watching Twitter (and possibly your blog) that you don’t see! Example-my first big breakthrough was with Berkley (hence why I used them as an example). My blog was around 4-6 weeks old and I had spent a month in back and forth banter with them because they are hilarious and post the best gifs. One day on Twitter they started following me and sent me a DM stating that their publicity assistant had noticed my account, and in turn my blog, and wanted to contact me about being a part of their blogger database. I’m not even embarrassed to tell you that I squealed like a teenage girl and danced all around my kitchen. No matter how long you blog and how successful you are, it’s still exciting when you get to start working with a publisher you’ve been previously invisible to.
I apologize for how lengthy and wordy this post is, but I wanted to make sure and include everything in as much detail as possible for those who are new to the blog scene. Hopefully some questions were answered today that seemed daunting and intimidating before; if you’re thinking “well GREAT Chelsea, that helped me NONE because my following is lower than I’d like”-don’t fret! That will be the very next post, I promise. As always, if there is something I wasn’t clear on or another question popped up regarding today’s topics, feel free to ask it in the comments! Have a great day, and happy blogging! ❤