Time for more dubious blogging advice.
Elise @ The Bookish Actress recently did a wonderful post on requesting review copies which you have to check out! It’s a really useful guide. But that post reminded me about a draft I had for months now – and it’s about that same topic, except focused on international bloggers. I have talked previously about how different the book blogging experience can be for international bloggers, and that obviously extends to review copies as well. So I thought I’d give you some tips on how to approach review copies if you are an international blogger.
Keep in mind that these are my own experiences – I am from a small country in Europe that isn’t even part of the EU, but my experiences can be vastly different from yours. But hopefully, these tips will be universal enough so that they can be useful for most international bloggers (and UK and US bloggers too).
Also, this post is part of a blogging tips series, where I give advice on all aspects of book blogging.
Netgalley and Edelweiss are your best friend
The truth that needs to be immediately put out there – as an international blogger, you are way more likely to get digital review copies, because the publishers don’t usually want to spend money on shipping internationally. So Netgalley and Edelweiss are your best friends. There are a lot of guides on how to get a hang of Netgalley out there, so I will just give you my general tips on it, since I have beef with them ever since they limited request for international bloggers.
Netgalley Tips & Tricks
- Make your description informative and organize it so it’s readable
All your statistics need to be there, including blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, etc. Wherever you talk about books, make sure you give info about it – how many followers, views, visitors you have and stuff like that, and make sure it’s all neatly laid out, so it’s easy to read and follow
- Connect Netgalley to your social media
Netgalley has specific fields for your Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram etc. links – make sure you put them there
- Switch to netgalley.co.uk*
I cannot request any books on the US version of the site (netgalley.com) but I can request almost all normally on netgalley.co.uk . This unfortunately isn’t the case for every international blogger, but in case you haven’t tried that, do try. The selection isn’t as good as the US one, and a lot of books are available on there later than in the US, but still.
- Read & Review!
It does matter if you have a certain amount of reviews on here – it helps let publishers know that you have previously been approved and delivered a review, so make sure you review books that you request, or the ones you can get on the Read Now section.
I personally prefer Edelweiss because I can request all books on there and I have a much higher approval rate on Edelweiss than on Netgalley. Also, a common misconception is that Edelweiss is also location-dependent, but it isn’t. It is however, profile-dependent. This means that some books will be available for download for me without requesting, while some other blogger might have to request them. This isn’t dependent on the location (Edelweiss still has my country listed as Yugoslavia, so you know they aren’t keeping track), but on your profile specifically. So tips on how to get started on Edelweiss can be found HERE (it’s very detailed and enough to get you set up).
Edelweiss Tips & Tricks
- Same as Netgalley – put all your relevant stats in the description
Edelweiss doesn’t have specific boxes for specific links, so make sure you add the links to the description
- The more reviews, the higher the approval rate
I started getting approved on Edelweiss regularly only when I had a decent number of books reviewed there, so make sure you request some less popular titles, review them, and you will probably get approved more regularly. As soon as I started reviewing more on there, my approval rate jumped.
- Review books you already read as eARCs on Netgalley
If you got approved for a book on Netgalley, review it on Edelweiss as well. It boosts your numbers and it’s good to have a publicist know you already reviewed books for their publisher
Requesting Physical Review Copies
In case you want to know what exactly to include in an email to a publisher when requesting a review copy – you can find a wonderful guide about that that Avalinah @ Avalinah’s Book Space did. It’s based on advice from a real publicist and it’s incredibly helpful.
But here are my tips for international bloggers, specifically.
When can I start requesting physical copies?
I cannot give you any specific numbers, but you do need a larger following than a US blogger needs to get that same review copy. The one thing to keep in mind is that you should think of your reach as the total number of people you can reach across all your platforms, so blog, Instagram, Twitter etc. I think it’s realistic to say that you need at least 3K reach in order to get a physical copy. This isn’t set in stone, and it varies a lot on the publisher – there are a lot of publishers who ignore me still, and probably always will. That’s something that you need to get used to – some review copies aren’t available to international bloggers. But I think that once you have a following of a decent size, publishers will be willing to send physical review copies your way. I got my first physical ARC with a following of around 3.4K, so that’s something to keep in mind.
I have so far gotten ones from Tor.com Publishing, Orbit UK and Head of Zeus. They are wonderful to work with, and really nice and willing to send to international bloggers in general, so maybe start with them! And they have the most amazing books, so a win!
Let them know that you are an international blogger at the start of the email and always include your address
This is mainly to avoid disappointment – I got approved for an ARC of one of my most anticipated releases and they asked for my address to send me a book, only to say that they can’t send it to me after all, because I am an international blogger. So avoid disappointment by being straightforward.
Request from publishers closer to you or from specific international departments
I have more luck with publishers who are from the UK – possibly because they have rights for Europe or something like that, but try requesting from the UK publisher in case you have no luck with US ones. I think UK publishers can sometimes be more forthcoming. Also, some publishers have specific addresses for international bloggers to request from, so make sure you check and write to their international department if they have one. For example, Penguin/Random House has a whole separate email address and form for international bloggers.
Sometimes I have gotten a confirmation that I will receive an ARC but it took the book really long to get to me. So don’t follow-up to the publisher, the book is probably on its way, it just takes longer to get to us. Also, sometimes I don’t get any response from the publisher at all, and the book still shows up at my door, so always be patient about it.
Settle for an eARC
When requesting a physical copy, make sure you add at the end of the email that you would like an eARC if the physical one isn’t available. A lot of publishers weren’t able to send me a physical copy, but they had sent me e-galleys through Netgalley, and those are ones I would not have been able to request. So even if a lot of titles are on “wish only” to you on Netgalley, you can still write directly to the publisher and they will get you approved directly.
Most importantly – don’t get discouraged
I thought that I would never be able to get physical review copies, but this year I got my first one AND it was of one of my most anticipated reads of the year. So there are definitely publishers who are willing to send copies to us too, you just gotta find them and you just got to make sure you are being realistic about your expectations.
So don’t get discouraged, the coveted physical review copy is not out of your reach. It’s just that as an international blogger, it’s harder to reach it.
And those are some tips to keep in mind when requesting ARCs as an international blogger. Hope this was at least a bit helpful! Let me know if you have any questions at all and also if you have any tips of your own – make sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll do a follow-up post with all of our tips in one place!
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