The Intern Diaries (2): The Perfect Request E-mail


After my first internship at a literary agency, I put together a free-flowing post about what I learned. Well, now that I am at Bloomsbury, I want to do the same thing as I go, but share it with my readers since I'm quickly discovering that many of you aspire to do the same thing that I am doing now! With 6 months under my belt and several more to go, I think now's a good time to start recording my thoughts! This post series will be posted on Sunday's whenever I get the time.

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Part of my internship at Bloomsbury is fielding request e-mails. Seeing as I was there when huge titles by Emery Lord, Sarah J. Maas, Trish Doller, Tiffany Schmidt, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jessica Day George, and so many more have started to be sent out via ARCs, you can imagine that I have read a lot of request e-mails.

A dizzying amount, really.


Because of this, I've learned what the absolutely perfect request e-mail looks like. I can honestly say out of the e-mails that I've viewed, I have only found one that actually covers everything mentioned below.

~*~Timing~*~
Some of this is obvious and some isn't! :o

1. The Time of the Request
Before I begin, I should talk about the best time to request books...If you see that people have already gotten ARCs, then it is typically too late. The house probably has sent out their stock and already took people who requested before you off the list because they can't accommodate them. So you want to beat the mailing, but you don't want to do something intense like requesting a full ten months in advance. If they are still sending out for the previous season, then there's no way they are prepared to send out for a book in a future season that isn't the current season. 

Here's an example from Bloomsbury. In the month of February (so far), I have done three mailings for titles that come out in May and early June (two YA and one picture book, in case you're wondering). So we're talking about 3 - 3.5 months in advance. The best time to start requesting those titles is about a month before the mailings go out, so let's say 4-5.5 months before release. But, remember, this is just for Bloomsbury. Other houses operate differently. Scholastic, for example, is known to send their ARCs out about a month or two before release date a lot of the time.

2. The Place Your Blog is at When Requesting
If you are requesting books after coming off a three month hiatus, that is bad. You haven't posted for three months, which goes against the whole consistently blogging thing. The same goes when you are so busy all you are posting is memes. Quality over quantity! Reviews are nice and so is the occasional meme, but all memes is not the way to convince a publisher to send you books. This is why a lot of tumblr blogs don't get a lot of attention because if we can't easily see reviews, then it's hard to find the time to dig in an archive. Don't send requests in if you are not actively reviewing because then you may end up on a hiatus list or this or that and who wants that? We just need to know how long you've been blogging (this can be included in stats) and then we can view whether you are actively reviewing or not to show your level of commitment.

~*~The E-mail's Content~*~
Awww yeah, now we're getting to the good stuff!

1. The Opener
It's important to remain professional. This means that you don't start e-mails off with an "um hi" or a "yo" or something along those lines. I'm not saying you need to break out the "Dear Sir or Madame" because that's kind of cringe-worthy, too. But make sure to open it nicely with a "Dear Ms. Fakelastnamehere" or if you happen to know that publicist, maybe a "Dear Fakefirstnamehere." If you're writing to a general email that you can simple address the publishing house.

Also, make sure you're sending to the proper department. Sending to academic editorial or sales when you are looking for a young adult novel is just silly. Some will get forwarded, some won't, but when you bomb a publishing house with e-mails it's typically noted and that is never a good thing in your favor, especially when it's across departments that very obviously make no sense whatsoever.

2. The Blog Link 
Yeah, this is kind of important. A lot of people don't include the link to their blog, and if we can't check you out for ourselves, how are we going to be able to send you a book? Include your blog link because it can only help you! However, if your linking to your Goodreads profile, you are way less likely to get a book because you haven't actually built up a full platform for yourself the way booktubers and book bloggers have. Also, if you don't have any blog at all and you just like to read, then congrats! You are totally my kind of girl! But, unfortunately, no platform means no book. :(

3. The About You
You can talk about yourself, but you don't have to. However, if you do, just keep it brief. Your favorite genres, why you like reading, etc. A paragraph at most. We do not need an entire life-story. I have read these before and they're long and hard to focus on when you know you still have another twenty to read and--oh!, another seven just came into the inbox in the last ten minutes!

4. The Stats
These are very important. If you don't give stats, it's very unlikely you will get a book. We won't respond asking you for your stats, and if we have to actually hunt for them on your blog because they are not visible, that'll work against you, too. So just give them to us! At worst, you won't get a book because we don't have enough copies. At best, you get one!

However, it's important to be honest. When I click that blog link and you say you have 700 GFC followers when I see 200, there's going to be an issue. Saying you get 30,000 page views total a month with 2,000 a day just doesn't add up. Honesty is the best policy, guys! 

5. Have We Worked Together?
If we have worked together before, it is always great to say so! Link us to reviews for titles we have sent you or mention you helped out with x blog tour. If we haven't worked together before, then please say if you have met anyone at a con and made a lasting impression so they know who you are. If not, link to reviews of titles you have done in the past to show that you have an interest in what that house produces! It's always good to provide writing samples, you know? A thought out review with a lot of love is more likely to get a book then three sentence reviews, so showcase your pride in your work!

6. The Address
This is self-explanatory, but a lot of people forget it. It's always smart to include your mailing address! If your address is outside of the USA, know that it is very unlikely for you to actually get shipped books. It's very hard for people to respond to e-mails and sometimes we may not notice the lack of address until we go to print up the labels for the mailing. By then it is too late. :(

7. Netgalley
You should also provide the e-mail associated with your Netgalley account so that we can send you eARCs if we are unable to send you a physical copy! For addresses outside of the US, this is especially important! This is important for those inside the US too because of the fact that every ARC mailing does have a limit of how many can be sent to reviewers.

Saying that you don't accept eARCs is the equivalent of backing yourself into the corner. It means if we can't send you a book then you simply won't be able to have access to it at all until publication. Being open to Netgalley is always a good thing.

8. The Sign Off
Say goodbye! Thank us for our time! Tell us you can't wait to work with us! Offer us an abundance of imaginary cookies! See ya on the flip side! No, seriously, ignore that last one. That is me being totally unprofessional and it is important to be professional here, too. All I am saying is don't end with something like "I expect this book" etc etc. An "I can't wait for this book!" shows us your enthusiasm and it is okay to display that enthusiasm! There are some e-mails I've seen with so much enthusiasm in it that I was laughing so hard air became something I forgot existed.

9. Read It Over.
Spelling mistakes won't hurt you, but it's always nice to not have them! Book people are kind of grammar people, too. Also, make sure you got the titles and authors right. It's just embarrassing when that happens. Requesting a Harper title at Bloomsbury is awkward for everyone, so proofreading can never hurt! This goes for any type of writing, though.

~*~The Top 5 DO NOT'S of Request E-mails~*~
Awwww no, these are the boo boos you do not want to make. Definitely some things worth noting.

1. Do not compare yourself to other bloggers.
This is really bad, guys, because it is unprofessional. Sure, you may have better stats than another person who got the book, but maybe they got it because they are really kind to us, they helped us on a blog tour, they met a publicist and made a lasting impression, they're a friend of the author's, they're a super-fan, they're actually borrowing it from a friend and didn't get it from us at all, they requested way before you, etc. The possibilities are endless, so just don't let this get to you. From the outside it seems like there is no rhyme or reason to book mailings a lot of the time. But, trust me, in house there always is.

2. Do not spam a publishing house.
Only send requests to the department that the book will be in. If the e-mail has "academic editorial" in it then you are clearly in the wrong department. Furthermore, do not spam everyone within that department in the house. They talk and, well, the exact same request copied and pasted like 10 times to 10 different people is never a good thing. It's also never a good thing to spam the same person 10 times with the same request. Just don't spam! It's not good! Send in one request! If you don't get a reply, maybe one follow up about 3 weeks later should suffice. Which brings me to point three...

3. Do not freak out if someone doesn't respond to your e-mail.
Our inboxes are so terrible I can't even explain. It's like a war zone in there. Every request is viewed and filed away and recorded. I can promise you that. But it's not possible to respond to every request! As an intern, I do a lot of responding on my behalf of my bosses, but even then one or two that I record always manage to slip through the cracks anyway because my inbox is hectic, too.

4. Do not request backlist books.
These books are in stores now, so you have the ability to buy them! If you don't want to spend money on a book, you can always request it from the library. Backlist books, meaning books previously published, are typically only sent out for review if they are trying to put insane promotion behind its sequel when that comes around as well. It just doesn't make sense to send a book your way when you have access to it at your favorite retailer at this point.

5. Do not mistreat publicists. <--This is very important!
Yelling at a publicist on Twitter or E-mail or being unprofessional in any way associated with them is not a good thing, especially when you are trying to convince them you're one of the people who should receive one of a limited amount of ARCs. These are the people choosing who gets books. They want to send you books and recognize that it's unfortunate not every request can be accommodated. But if you hurt them or mistreat them then you're most likely not going to get a book. Publicists like people, they like talking books, and they like talking to bloggers. It's part of their job! So just let them have fun with it instead of getting mad at them over not getting a specific book. That means you're most likely not going to get any books in the future... :(

This was a long post, but several people asked about the perfect request e-mail to avoid paranoia and, in my eyes, this is what amounts to the perfect request e-mail in regards to timing, content, and what to absolutely avoid. Please comment below with your thoughts and any questions you may have for future topic ideas or fill out this form with future questions! Does anything in this post surprise you? :o

61 comments:

  1. I'm so sad that some of those from the "don't do this" have happened O.O This is a great post and very helpful! The thing that trips me up the most is timing. I tend to request either really early or late. It's so hard to hit that sweet spot. I appreciate you giving us these tips! Thank you!!

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    1. Yeah, I was kind of shocked when I saw a couple of them for myself. :(

      I totally get that about timing. It's a hard thing to figure out because it's all luck. You either have the right time frame or you're way too early or way too late. That sweet spot is kind of a cross my fingers and hope I get it right thing. Even my general explanation is only valid for Bloomsbury, so it doesn't even help with other houses but at least it is something.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Also for being one of the few people who mentioned worrying about request e-mails in the form. I had fun writing this post!

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  2. This is so helpful! I agree with Kristen -- I think by now I'm doing most things right except it's hard to figure out the timing for each house. I think a lot of us do exactly what you say - we see ARCs on Twitter or Instagram and then send the request and ... too late.

    Good to know that not getting an ARC doesn't mean no one loves you, it can just be bad timing.

    Love these posts :)

    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Yeah, I am guilty of doing it, too. I realize now how important it is to request at the proper time, but the issue with that is that there is no true solid window and some people so desperately want a book that they request IMMEDIATELY and, I mean, if the book isn't out for over 6 months that's just way too early. But if it comes out in one month that's just way too late.

      Bad timing is definitely a reason! <3

      Thank you for stopping by, Jen!

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  3. This is really helpful, Lili. I only recently started requesting physical ARCs but I've been very nervous about it all. I've talked to more established bloggers about it and I think I'm being polite and doing the right thing in my requests (according to your don'ts!). I have one question, say I've already contacted the publicist and have received a book from him/her in the past, and I want to request something else, should I give my stats/info about blog all over again?
    Thanks for sharing these insightful posts, Lili!

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    1. Thank you, Nick!

      Yeah, definitely don't do the don'ts! haha

      Okay, so this differs for every house, in my opinion. Bloomsbury is really small, so for them I would make sure to include everything above but the stats and then add a line "if you would like my stats I would be happy to provide them again." Our department is so small that we either have a relationship with you or we don't. However, if all we have done is grant an ARC request, we don't talk to you on Twitter or have had an email conversation, then I would include your stats. We may not know you enough to be like, "Oh yeah! Nick!" if all that has happened is an approval email. There are so many bloggers out there!

      As for other houses, it is different. Tor, for example. They have a ton of publicists in there so sending an e-mail to the one you know may not be the smartest because odds are they are not working on the title. So I would include the stats for sure there because it is an email that would then be forwarded to the proper publicist working on your wanted title that may not have ever worked with you before.

      Emails sent to general house emails should ALWAYS have stats, too. You never know who will be reading it.

      Does all that make sense? Would you mind if I add this to a Q&A post? (:

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    2. I'm surprised people actually do it! Haha!

      OK that makes a lot of sense! Thanks for answering, Lili.

      And no, I wouldn't mind. :)

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    3. No problem! And thank you for stopping by (:

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  4. Hey Lili!

    I love reading these posts--brilliant idea! I just had a question--Bloomsbury has an arc checklist that theybsend out, right? If that's still a thing (I know I got the email for spring) should we still send in an email request? Or is the list sufficient?

    Thank you for all the tips! Especially the timing one (:

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    1. Hi Gabbie!

      That is still a thing! haha Keep in mind that the ARC checklist is ever changing, people are constantly getting added and removed. However, if you do get that checklist then you do not need to send in request e-mails. The checklist people take a priority over regular requests because they're proven established connections. Regular requesters do get books, but they're added after checklist requests if that makes sense. If you are removed from the checklist for whatever reason then just keep sending in requests like you would without it each season and eventually you may be added back on! (:

      Would you mind if I add this question to a Q&A for everyone?

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    2. Sure thing! Thank you for your answer!

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  5. Loooooved this post, Lili. It's so amazing to be hearing about requesting and publishing life in general from somebody who's actually behind the scenes.

    I think a lot of people underestimate the importance of seeing where your blog is at when you send in a request. It's kind of hard to manage everything at once, yet it's really important to be posting consistently when you send out a review. Otherwise, like you said, there's no real gurantee for your so-called consistency.

    Also, I didn't know that including your NetGalley username was so important! I honestly had no idea. But after reading that, it definitely makes sense, especially if you forget to include your address or are overseas. It makes things easier for everyone. =)

    Amazing post, girl!! <3 I can't wait to read more.

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    1. Haha thank you! (:

      Consistency is key. Stats are important, but it doesn't matter if you have 1 million followers if you aren't posting consistently!

      Yes, Netgalley is super important! By including it it doesn't mean we are automatically not going to send you a physical ARC and go the route of the eARC, but it gives us a chance to get a book to you if we can't get it to you otherwise.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  6. I love these posts, and they are such a good idea! Your experience can help so many other poeple this way! I have see a couple posts recently with semi similar messages, and I appreciated the details.

    I have never sent a request to any publisher, and I'm honestly terrified to. I basicly rely on requests sent to me, Netgalley, and the two publishing houses I have gotten books from before. I don't think I have large enough stats anyway, but that's okay!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, I noticed conveniently a lot of similar posts. Kinda funny a lot of us are on the same wave length currently.

      There's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it is best not to reach out if you are worried about making negative impressions. And this helps you combat ARC envy or entitlement or the worry of being greedy and such. Just go with your gut and always be thankful for whatever connections you have! (:

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  7. Great post Lili!
    I constantly struggle with timing as well! I also was very nervous about my blog being only a year old. I have barely okay stats but I always worry that the year will hinder me. I'll make sure to include it though. This was incredibly helpful! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!
    ❤️ Britt

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    1. No problem! Thank you for stopping by, Britt!

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  8. I have a question that you might be able to shed some light on. I blog for 2 blogs now. Winterhaven Books & please feed the bookworm and am able to request though Winterhavens checklist. It is for women upon for me to also request for my personal blog with a write in request. I of course don't review what I recieve thru Winterhaven on my personal blog but I a,so don't want to come off as greedy. I hoped sing sense here. Let me just sum it up if a blogger with the same name request from 2 different blogs is it frowned upon if they are requesting different books?
    ❤️Britt

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    1. * possible ....not for women - spell correct fail

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    2. Well, okay. You may think you are able to request through Winterhaven's checklist, but you really should not. You should have one person from winterhaven fill out the checklist and if you want a book ask them to request it for you and then send it to you. Look at it this way...you and another blogger from winterhaven request a random book. Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, for example. That's you asking for 2 books to be sent to a single blog, only for one review to come out of it instead of that second book being able to be sent to another blog to get an extra review. So, yeah, do not use Winterhaven's checklist like that if you ask me because some publishers do note that. Just communicate with all members of the blog when a single person gets the checklist and have them request all the books everyone is interested in. Say someone at winterhaven requests Hold Me Like a Breath and reviews it on the blog and you're like "hey! I want to read that, too!" then it totally makes sense for you to review it on your own blog in that sense to generate more reviews.

      Furthermore, definitely do not use their stats to further your own gain. I was at Tynga's Reviews for a while and I kept my books that Tynga got me separate from my own blog. I used her stats alongside my own for eARCs on Netgalley and Edelweiss (which I highly recommend doing!), but never when requesting physical copies. I made it very clear what blog they would be going on when sending in physical copy e-mails, and you should definitely make sure to differentiate in that regard.

      Does all of that make sense? I really don't want to be confusing... lol

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    3. Also, pesky auto correct kills me all the time, too. lmao

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    5. Oh okay! Well in that case, if you clarify what blog it is for it is fine. However, say like Winterhaven is on a checklist. You can't go and take that checklist and fill it out for your own blog because your own blog hasn't made the connection for that checklist, if that makes sense? Otherwise, what you're doing sounds fine to me (if I am understanding correctly). And, say you request HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH and you don't get it on PFTB it isn't the end of the world because you can borrow it from Winterhaven once one of them puts it up. So it works out, I think!

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    6. Nailed it! And my son just deleted my last comment but yes just making sure that it is possible to request a book your sister blog has as long as you keep the names and stats separate.

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    7. Yup! Just be aware that some publishers may know you are part of Winterhaven and they may know that Winterhaven got the book, so they know you have access to it somehow and may not send it your way. ARCs are limited, you know?

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    8. Got it! This is what I figured but wanted to be sure and def don't want to be a greedy mongrel. :-) thanks love,y and I am jealous of your awesome internship!

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  9. Thank you so much for this post! Requested a few ARCs today and so glad I could add more to my emails and get a better chance of receive an ARC. :)

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    1. Just to clarify...this doesn't really give you a better chance to receive an ARC or anything, it just means that the fact that your email was unprofessional or had too little information won't be one of the factors that doesn't allow you to get the ARC. Stats, what you choose to write, the time, etc...all of that are still outside factors.

      I think it's worth noting that this isn't a recipe to guaranteed ARCs. Because no such thing exists.

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  10. People have YELLED at you before? And not like that kind of yelling...you know what I mean. That's just crazy. For me, the best part out of all of this was the timing part. Gosh, you don't know how much I spend thinking about if it's too late or too early. I'll wait...and then it'll be too late. Or I send it too early and whaddya know, it's way too early to even consider it, and I feel like it was common sense (which it probably was).

    I love these posts, Lili!

    (I read this earlier and ALMOST forgot to comment.;)

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    1. I am pleading the 5th on that, but I have witnessed some behavior that's shocking, yes.

      Timing is a horror story within itself. I totally get ya. I have terrible timing when I request things, too ;)

      I am so happy you like them! (:

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  11. This was very helpful! There were a few things you noted that I don't do (like include my netgalley email) so thanks!

    For me personally, the hardest time I have is WHEN to request. But usually, unless I have some extra time to browse around EW, I don't know what is coming out. So 8/10 my requests are late!

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    1. You are not the only one, trust me! haha Timing is very important.

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  12. This is such an awesome post! Thanks so much for clarifying things. I'm not sure it'll be the same in Canada but it should be pretty similar! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences :D

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    1. Yeah Canada you have to request Canadian imprints so they have their own rules and many publishers, like Bloomsbury, don't ship to Canada. Sorry I'm not much of a help in that regard :(

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    2. No worries! I really appreciate you sharing all this. It's still really helpful :D

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  13. Yep, timing has always been the trickiest part, although after 3 1/2 years I think I have it down, but it does depend on the publisher.....

    Such a great post!
    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. Everything differs by publisher, which is what makes it so confusing. lol

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  14. This is so helpful! Ash and I haven't sent a TON of requests and I think we managed to hit most of these but there is definitely room for improvement though, especially in "Have We Worked Together" part and I didn't think about specifying our NG email - its the same, but a note would be good! THANK YOU!

    PS: I can't believe you have to read so many of these hah!

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    1. Yes! Have we worked together is kind of there to jog memories, you know? It can mean something if you stood out! (hopefully positively, obviously)

      Netgalley note is always helpful!

      Oh yes...a significant chunk of every day is spent sorting request e-mails.

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  15. This is very interesting. Thanks. I haven't actually requested any books (queries to me, blog tours, and the books I buy myself keep me busy enough at the mo') but it is helpful to know how to go about it properly if I ever do decide to go that route.

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  16. I've been blogging over 3 years and I still feel all sorts of awkward when it comes to sending in requests to publishers. Probably one reason why I don't do it all the often. I think I have heard back from you with one of my recent Bloomsbury requests - and I appreciate all your hard work! It cannot be easy with all that email you must have to sort through! Thanks for these tips! I'm bookmarking this page as a reminder, for sure!

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    1. Haha, cool! Thanks for stopping by, Jenna!

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  17. Okay. I'm not sure if comment was ate or not so I'm just going to write it again! I really think timing is my biggest issue, that I just never know when to request. The exception is Scholastic as you mentioned who make it very clear. I found it interesting how you said to include how if you've met the person, whether you've reviewed previous books, etc. I never do this because I find myself rambling and rambling (as I'm doing now) and usually just try to include stats. Thanks for this awesome post!

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    1. Yeah! If you stand out positively (meaning you met them and made a lasting impression) this is always a good thing to note. I mean...if you did not make a good impression obviously don't include that, but yeah! Totally worth noting! haha

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  18. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure I'm not guilty of any of the "don'ts." I shall try harder with all the "do's" though! I always forget to mention I can accept e-galleys.

    Question: since I've had ARC requests approved many times and even done a blog tour for Bloomsbury, should I continue to include my stats in my emails to y'all?

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    1. I always include stats to be safe. They can never hurt you. Think of it this way...if you have to ask me this question instead of feeling comfortable not including them, then you should probably include them.

      I can't really dictate specific situations with people because I am not my bosses. I know who a lot of people are that they don't because I am a blogger myself so *shrug*

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  19. This is so helpful Lili! I wish I'd had this bookmarked when I started blogging - and it is such a great reminder a little bit of time into the process. I'm always missing the perfect time to request! Hard to keep on top of that with everyone. Would love hear what you have to say about the "after." Do you want a thank you or reviews emailed to you? What if they're negative? Love that you've spent time to share this information with us!!

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    1. Good question! The best thing to do "after" is to send in your review once it is live. we don't want a copied and pasted review or a Goodreads link, we want a link to your blog with the would-be post or the actual post once it goes up. If you thank us after we reply then that is awesome, but don't try to give us ultimatums or "Thank you, I really want the finished copy!" Just a simple thanks will suffice because when you try to sway us one way or another then it gets a little complicated.

      If the review is negative I would submit it through Netgalley (if you can) and if not I think it is best to still send it with a kinder message like "Unfortunately, this book is not for me but x character was so well done! Thank you so much for giving me the chance to read it." Or you could just not send it because some people do feel uncomfortable sending negative reviews.

      May I add this to a Q&A? I really like this question! Maybe even a small post on this...hmm....

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  20. What a thoughtful post, Lili! It's really interesting to see the other side of things when it comes to review copies, and you've definitely highlighted some important Dos and Don'ts. Personally, I think it's always best to be polite and well-informed; I think that goes a long way towards making things easier for the person on the receiving end. Enjoying this series already! Can't wait for more :)

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    1. Thank you! It's definitely important to be polite and well-informed in regards to requesting books. Impoliteness may not be forgotten. :(

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  21. Even though I already knew a lot of this before I started blogging, I'm so glad that you posted it. I've had quite a few people ask me how to get ARCs, and this is where I'll send them from now on! :)

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  22. Thanks so much for writing this down, this contains so much valuable advice! I bookmarked it so I can re-read it when I am actually going to request books from publishers. I still don't feel comfortable requesting books for review for publishers as I feel like I am such a small blog and as a I live in the Netherlands they porbably don't want to spend extra money to sent it ther,e but maybe I am wrong and ust have to give it a try. After reading this post I have a better idea of what to include in an e-mail and what not to do.

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    1. Hello Lola,

      It is mentioned in this post that the Netherlands will not be getting books sent out to them often, if at all. Especially from US publishers. Maybe you can find the European branch of a publisher and request there?

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  23. Wow thank you so much for sharing all this practical advice. I mean, most of it is intuitive, but it's a good checklist to have if I ever email a request. :)

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    1. It is always good to have your thoughts confirmed though!

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  24. This post was so very helpful! I wasn't sure when to send in review request for upcoming books, so thank you for addressing it and so much more in your post :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this crazy long post!

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  25. This post is so helpful! Thanks, Lili!! <3

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