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Random Thoughts: A Blogger’s Best Friend – the eGalley

When I first started blogging I had never heard of an  eGalley, ARC or ARE. I knew that somehow traditional reviewers did get advance copies of books, I just assumed they were early finished copies. But very soon after I started blogging I started seeing the term ARC everywhere.

I knew from my research that ARCs weren’t things that were just handed out to anyone. To me they were a goal. Something I would strive for in the future, when I became an established blogger. If I became an established blogger.

And I knew from reading about them on blogs like TheStorySiren.com that there was no magic formula for who would receive them, or when. (My timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as interestingly enough, there is a post today on her site about ARCs, HERE. It’s definitely worth a read.)

But I then learned of something called an eGalley and that there were online programs which allowed bloggers who might not have reached the level to get printed ARCs a chance to read early copies of books. And the first one I heard of was NetGalley.

NetGalley was a dream come true. I signed up for an account, added in some profile information and started perusing their titles. And they had so many titles. Some from authors I already considered favorites and a few new authors I hadn’t heard of but whose books sounded interesting.

I think my first day on NetGalley I requested ten titles. (Some of which are still to be released.) The process was fairly simple. I requested a title, or two or ten, and then I waited to see whether I was approved. Some I received approval from fairly quickly, others it took months for an answer. But all ten of my original requests were eventually approved.

Some bloggers may say that eARCs aren’t as good as printed ARCs. I suppose that’s true if you don’t have an eReader. But for me they are just as good. They give bloggers the chance to read books in advance of publication so that they can be part of the early buzz. And that’s important whether you are a new or established blogger.

I won’t say that printed ARCs don’t have their charms. It’s exciting when they show up in the mailbox. They look beautiful on a shelf. And they also can be validating – showing that your hard work has paid off, that a publisher has taken notice and feels you worthy of receiving one of these costly advance copies.

But the eGalley opens doors. Reading and reviewing an eGalley can be the first step in showing a publisher your writing style, show that you are serious about the books you read and review, and show that you are interested in reading their titles and not just in receiving them to make other bloggers green with envy.

Simon & Schuster also has an amazing eGalley program called Galley Grab. I didn’t hear of this until a month or so after I joined NetGalley. But this simply required me to sign up and wait. Probably a month later I received an email with one title to download. After that I began to receive their monthly newsletter that had a number of their amazing titles.

It did however make me go out and buy a nook to read them, as they weren’t in Kindle format and I don’t enjoy reading on the computer. But it was well worth it.

There are other online programs, some with age restrictions, so I’m not familiar with them. But NetGalley and Galley Grab provide me with enough opportunities that should I never receive another printed ARC in a trade or from a publisher I would still have plenty of early reads.

Receiving an advance copy of a book, whether it’s printed or electronic, is a privilege. And one that I don’t take lightly. While I don’t get to read and review every title I download or request, as I am just one reader, I try to. And I try to abide by all the guidelines provided on NetGalley’s publishers page. Well, I have since I learned that there were guidelines, anyway.

An eGalley really is a blogger’s best friend. What blogger doesn’t want to be able to post reviews on the blog that appear on or before release date? What blogger doesn’t want to reach out to the publisher with their review and make that introduction? And what blogger doesn’t want to be a part of the conversation about a book that hasn’t yet been released?

I know I do.

As a reader, getting the chance to read a book months in advance of its publication is to die for. Because as bloggers we are readers first and foremost. We aren’t paid to do what we do. We do it for the love of reading and sharing in the excitement of a new book or author. And so having a shorter wait to catch up on our favorite series or discovering something new before most of the reading population is probably the best gift ever.

And thanks to the eGalley that’s a gift that so many more of us receive!

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