The Story is About + publisher blogger interaction

Dear Story Siren: Special Dear Publisher Edition (HarperCollins)

If you've visited The Story, you might be familiar with a feature I do occasionally called "Dear Story Siren." If you not familiar with the feature, basically readers submit questions... personal questions, questions about blogging, author interview, publisher interaction, reviews, etc. It's my way of sharing some of the things I've learned during my blogging adventure. That being said, I am in no way a blogging expert, but I'd like to think I've picked a few things up along the way.

A lot of the questions I get have to do with publisher interaction. This is something that I think is very important for a blogger that is actively receiving review copies from publishers. I know that at a blogger myself, I want to continue to improve those relationships and be as beneficial to the publishers and authors as I can. The majority of the time I don't know the answers to these questions. I have my assumptions, but who knows if those are correct.

In turn, I was inspired to do something a little different with "Dear Story Siren." I'll be doing a special edition of "Dear Story Siren" geared specifically toward blogger/publisher interactions. I've contacted several publishing houses with a set number of questions to be answered, and I'll be featuring a different publisher each post.

Past Dear Publisher Posts:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Today's blogger/publisher interaction questions are from Harper Collins. Imprints: Amistad, Balzer + Bray, Collins, Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperFestival, HarperTeen, Katherine Tegen Books, Rayo & Walden Pond Press.

What should I include in my review copy request?

I know it sounds obvious, but please include your mailing address, even if you’ve provided it to me previously. It’s also really helpful to have current blog statistics, especially if this is your first time putting in a request or it’s been a while since we’ve corresponded. A line or two about your blog, how long you’ve been blogging, number of page views, followers, etc.

Optional: will you post your review on other websites? Are you interested in additional materials (i.e. giveaways, author interviews, book trailers, etc.)

When is the best time to post my review?

Anytime within a month of the on sale date is ideal. Any earlier, and it’s too soon for readers to find the book in their local store, library, etc. However, if you’d like to post in the meantime that you’re excited to read the book (IMM style), or you’ve read it and loved it and will post the review later, that’s totally fine.

Do publishers want to be sent reviews of titles I've bought?


Do publishers want to be sent reviews of titles that have been on the shelves for a while

If the book has been out for a year or more, we probably aren’t actively looking for reviews, but it’s still nice to see the book getting covered!

Is it okay to have a contest for an arc that I've gotten from a publicists?

Usually it’s fine to have a contest for an ARC after you’ve reviewed the book, and we’d love to know if you do!

How many months do you like to see someone blogging before they can request an advance readers copy?

It depends. Anywhere from 6 months to a year, but there are always exceptions and we take into consideration the quality and frequency of reviews, comments with each post, and followers.

What criteria does a publisher look for before they will send you an advance readers copy?

See previous question. Something else to keep in mind is that we have limited quantities of ARCs to send to reviewers, so we can’t fulfill every request that comes in and have to be selective. With this in mind, please only select the books you really want to review.

I’d also like to agree with one of the earlier responses to this question: we can tell when a request has been cut-and-paste, or is a mass call out to multiple publishers and authors. A little bit of professionalism, politeness, and patience goes a long way, especially since we receive a large quantity of requests and try to respond to them all in a timely and friendly fashion.

When you send a copy for review, do you like us to let you know it arrived?

No need to confirm receipt, just send us the link to your review when it posts.

Do you want us to send you links of our reviews that are negative?


What if I can't get into a book that you sent me for review, do you want us to let you know that we won't be reviewing it?

No need, but if you decide to use the book for some other purpose, i.e. a giveaway or contest, it’s always good to know.

When is the best time to request an arc, 3-4 months before the publication date?

3 – 4 months ahead of time is perfect, because in most instances this is when we begin our ARC mailings. Requesting books 8 months ahead of time, or as soon as the catalog posts, is way too far in advance.

Do you like sites that promote sharing advance readers copies?

Sharing sites are often a good way to make use of ARCs since we have limited quantities. It’s always good to know if the ARCs are being used in this way, so please send us an email as a courtesy.

Is it better to contact an author for swag (bookmarks, postcards, etc.) or should we ask the publicist?

Absolutely ask us for swag, we will share what we have but it’s different for every book. Other things to ask us for: cover image, author photo, book trailer, excerpt, tour schedule, and links to author’s blog/facebook/twitter, etc.

adventure, ask the story siren, and more:

Dear Story Siren: Special Dear Publisher Edition (HarperCollins) + publisher blogger interaction