I recentely got an email from a very lovely new blogger, asking me how I aquired the advanced reader copies that I've reviewed so far.
ARCs are exactly as they sound: they're the version of the book that comes out before the book is realeased. Usually the author gets some, and between the author and publishing company, they are sent out to bloggers and reviewers to get some feedback before the story is put on shelves. Review copies are AWESOME. No, seriously, they make my world go round (see above title)! But they are also very expensive. And that is basically what makes them so coveted.
The advanced copies are great. Who doesn't want to read a book before the rest of the world gets to? And they're especially fun when you can be all "And remember what happened when SexyMan kissed The Girl and they--oh wait. You haven't read it yet. Nevermind!" to your ARCHREADINGNEMESIS. But they do only get sent to the bigger people, the ones with more of a following. The point of an ARC is to find someone with the biggest readership, and hopefully they will help spread word about how awesome it is. Plus, authors get feedback in case any changes they might want to happen before the book is bookified.
Obviously, I'd love to get these amazing creatures sent to me. But I don't.
I felt ever the lame teenager when I had to tell the girl who emailed me this. She thought I was being sent the books. But in truth, my awesome librarian is just awesome and awesomely lets me borrow hers. (She is full of awesome.)
So I'm sorry to disappoint anyone who thought these books were being sent to me. The ones that I've reviewed have all been borrowed (excluding The DUFF. But I have yet to review that one).
The emailer then followed to ask, how exactly does one sign up for ARCs.
There really isn't a sign-up sheet for them. It's more like applying for a job. You can go through the publisher by email. You send them a message telling important stats about your blog. How many hits do you recieve a day? Comments, followers? Et cetera and so forth. You tell them that you'd be interested in reviewing a book/upcoming titles from their house. Then you turn in your form (send the email) and wait it out. (If you're going to contact publishers, please be respectful and professional. This isn't the place to joke and ramble. They're busy people.)
I haven't had the guts or stats to do this. I'm not much of a pro on that one.
However, you can also win them through contests! Which is how I got The DUFF. You can get them through authors, but don't go harrassing the author. They get a limited amount too, which I'm sure they'd rather share with friends and family. But if you're interviewing them, or things of that kind, you may be able to POLITELY ask for a copy for review, or for a giveaway. Or maybe they will offer you. This is how I'm getting a copy of a book that I've been fangirling about. If you have connections, then work them, but be appreciative and don't take advantage of the favor.
You can beg your librarian, but only if you're close with them. You can sign up for author blog tours, which will sometimes supply one. And then you might get emails asking for review, but the genre isn't what you go for. In this case, you can take the free book, but to me that's selfish. These authors are looking for real feedback and want the word to be spread about their book. They aren't playthings.
There's really many ways to go about this, and I feel awkward stating them since I am no professional when it comes to ARCs. But I encourage you to contact a bigger blog for questions. Many of them would be happy to answer in better detail.
I just ask that you keep in mind that ARCs won't make you a better blogger. You won't get bigger readings because of them, and they aren't for you to dawdle with. If you're creating a blog, don't think they you're entitled to them right off the bat. If you're just looking for a free book, you're really ruining the idea as a whole. So I encourage you to just continue reviewing and blogging, and eventually, I'm sure you'll get one soon enough.