Blogger Bites: The ARC Dilemma

Blogger BitesFor the sake of putting it out there— I’m immensely equivocal when it comes to ARC’s. A few months prior, my stand on the proposition was hypothetical, simply because I, at that time, was happy enough to have been welcomed with open arms to the blogosphere. I was elated to have met some of the most amazing bloggers known to online man, so most of the perks and add-ons, ARC’s included, came as mere afterthoughts to the immediate jubilation I could not help but succumb to.

To this day, I still get ecstatic whenever someone visits my blog– make no mistake. But now that I’ve been lurking around, commenting here and there on various blogs for about two months since then, my brain has (most unfortunately) begun to recycle some of the ruminations on ARC’s I’ve stockpiled for reevaluation. Are they worth the effort? What are their true benefits? Does a rejected request hurt? And with no other sentiments to consider regarding the matter at hand, apart from my own, sorry estimations, it’s honestly starting to throw me off balance. Hence, I ask YOU, dear reader, to tell me what you think about ARC’s, and whether or not they’re worth requesting for (they are perks, after all).

Design AWHY I WANT TO REQUEST FOR ARCs

1. The fact that you’re essentially a bookish beta-tester with one of these babies.

At first glance, a reader’s reaction to an ARC would probably be something around the lines of “GIVE IT. JUST GIVE IT HERE.” Although I never really considered the thought of this advantage an inspiration for this blog’s inception, the undeniable truth is that an ARC is a huge (and by huge I mean absolutely behemothic) jumbo-sized perk. I mean, come on. Your own copy of a book that you may (or may not, but still) have wanted since the day of its announcement? And you get to be one of the very first to read and review it, weeks or months before everyone else can? What’s not to love? It will probably be easier for me to tell you that I’ve never, not even once, been jaundiced by the ARC’s reviewed on other blogs, but since I’m an unfeigned, true blue potato, I’m going to admit that the thought has occurred to me once or twice. Sometimes, it just seems as if I have nothing to lose anyways.

Books5

My most likely reaction to an ARC.

2. It serves a great purpose, and is a great marketing strategy.

This is, of course, the less self-indulgent reason why I’ve considered requesting for an ARC. Having professional readers review potential books is an effective way of advertisement. In this way, the book receives exposure, and more often than not gets recommended to the blogging audience (which, as I have been led to believe, is in itself quite extensive). I’m sure there are gobs of other reasons why publishers are willing to give out early copies of books for release, but whatever they are, rest assured they’re important if so many bloggers out there are being given access.

Design AWHY I DON’T-ISH WANT TO REQUEST FOR ARC’s

1. They’re added pressure.

In case you aren’t already aware, I’m a high school senior. I’m not sure if this magical phrase means the same to you as it does me, but in case we’re not walking the same line, let me tell you that it essentially means tons of homework, bunches of long tests each week, cringe-worthy math grades, club meetings, college admission tests, and, to add to my collection of Apple products, a pair of ugly iBags. ARC’s will most likely add to this pressure, since publishers expect reviews, and quite immediately. I’m not sure of the level to which this extends, but unless I’m sure that it’s not that vexatious, I’ll probably be too scared to advance.

2. It is required to meet a certain standard.

I haven’t been around for that long, and this might prove to be a problem. Since ARCs require approval before distribution. I’m not sure if any of the publishers are willing to consider me a professional reader, either because  my blog doesn’t have the precedence of age, or because I haven’t been reviewing as many books as I’m supposed to. Either way, I won’t really get to know unless I actually hit the request button, though it’s kind of sad to get rejected for a book I really want to get my hands on, and there will always be a chance of that.

Books3I might just.

 

Design A

What do YOU guys think when it comes to ARCs? Are you on the Yay side, or the Nay side? I’ll appreciate thoughts and opinions! And before I forget, there is a link to my blog survey on the  sidebar, which I put up to check up on viewer satisfaction, and tweak my blog up a little in case I haven’t been meeting them 🙂 Have a great week, everyone!

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41 thoughts on “Blogger Bites: The ARC Dilemma

  1. Great post as usual! I don’t get a lot of ARC’s, as most publishers don’t want to ship internationally. I do like to request new books at Netgalley, but I’m trying to lessen the amount, since I end up not reading most of them. It is of course awesome to read not-yet released books, but it indeed gives a lot of pressure. I would only accept ARC’s that you are really anticipating, otherwise you will only be busy with review books and not with the books you bought and actually want to read.

    • Thanks Eveline! I’m not really thinking about getting physical ARC’s, just electronic ones, so yes, Netgalley is my best option 😀 However, I don’t have an e-reader per se, just an iPad, but I think that’s effective enough 🙂 I guess if I do try and request for one, I’m going to have to choose only the ones I really want to read. Otherwise, I’ll just be defeating the purpose of requesting in the first place 🙂 Thank you so much for the insight!

  2. I’m always “YES!!!!!!!!!” when it comes to books I want to read and I have a chance to get them early. I’m constantly on NetGalley and have so many books to read from there, it’s almost funny. Add in the books I buy almost every week? The situation is frightening. I might be able to open my own bookstore soon ;D

    Although, you’re right that publishers will require a review as soon as possible, probably. It depends on how many books you have to read, you know? Maybe you just won’t have the time to read all of them. Some people love ARCs; I do, too, but I have enough on plate. Though it’s always nice to read the book you want sooner.

    And I made no sense whatsoever. : D

    • It’s great how you’re so enthusiastic about ARCs 😀 Yes please, open your own bookstore. I’ll visit. HAHA! I guess as long as I have time, I can request for some, although I’ll have to keep the temptations in check. Wouldn’t wanna click on every single request button “by accident” XD And yes, I guess if you think about it, ARCs are more a perk, and it’s great how you can impose them whenever you have the time for it. Besides, I can usually squeeze in one or two books for review each week. All is well. I’ll just have to get over the intimidation. Haha! (And no, you were making sense 🙂 )

  3. Great post!

    I am for ARCs. I love that we get them for free and that we get to read them before the ‘real’ books are being published.

    It takes up some time to request them and I do not always get every single book I request, but overall I have been lucky enough to get 80 % of the books I have requested (here in Germany). While I was living in New York I got ARCs weekly, without requesting them and that bothered me a lot because there were books in my mail that I wasn’t really interested in so I do prefer to request books on my own because I know that I will 100 % read them.

    Andreea

    • Oh, I see 😀 I wanna go to Germany!! Haha. But back to the bookish, I don’t really think it’s convenient anymore to receive ARCs you don’t even want, so I guess the requesting is convenient 🙂 I don’t think it’s completely avoidable that you get rejected, although it will be thrilling otherwise, so I guess that counts for something. Especially if its a book you really want. Thanks for your opinions!

  4. Well, I think I’m a bit of an oddball when it comes to ARCs, but I’ll throw my two cents out there.

    I don’t do ARCs. For me, it literally all comes down to the fact that I don’t want to feel obligated to read. I don’t want commitments or deadlines or anything like that. I mean, there are certain books that for sure I’d love to get in advance instead of waiting for the publication date, but I have plenty of unread books already that I would like to tackle. Plus, sometimes I feel like ARCs are all just a game to show off your popularity. I find you can get just as many reviews, if not more, for books that have been published for a while because people are less afraid of spoilers or have already read the book and want to discuss.

    But really, it’s up to you! I’ve never once requested an ARC, because it’s not my thing, but can definitely understand the appeal to others. You never know unless you try! But, with your school and stuff, I’d say use caution. It sounds like most people get too excited when first requesting and ask for a bunch of books, and then they get overwhelmed!

    • Thanks for the tips Asti! I guess I understand as well why the idea of it appeals to many, although it is quite pressuring to feel obliged to read something. I’m not used to feeling that way, and I’m not sure if it’ll make a big difference, so I guess that’s why its scary D: On the flip side, my TBR pile isn’t as extensive as most others, because I don’t buy books weekly, so I guess I have plenty of room for ARCs if I do apply for them. But now that you’ve mentioned it, there’s less room for discussion when it comes to ARCs, unless your audience is particularly curious or anxious. And yes, I really do think I have to be careful since it’s the school year. Wouldn’t wanna have to carry more than I can lift, after all!

  5. ARCs really can be SUCH a sticky topic. It’s hard to navigate as a book blogger sometimes. Even TALKING about ARCs can cause drama(sadly). I’ve seen bloggers get upset when other bloggers mention they were approved for a certain ARC, etc.
    I use ARCs. I don’t use them to the extent that a lot of bloggers do, but I like them. I only request digital ARCs, and I’ve gotten a few review requests for physical ARCs(only one of which I’ve said yes too). I only request titles I’m genuinely interested in reading, which I think is important. It should never be about requesting ARCs JUST for the purpose of getting ARCs, you know?
    As far as some of your concerns, I will say that the publisher turn-around on reviews for ARCs(at least digital ones) is actually probably less than you expect. Most of the time, publishers ask that you don’t publish until one month before release date, and the ARCs are available to request 3-5 months in advance, so it’s actually quite a bit of time to read. I think ARCs can be a great tool for BOTH bloggers & publishers in moderation, but I never want to get to the point where I feel I HAVE to read all my ARCs at once because there’s a long list & I have all these deadlines. I think that would totally take the fun out of blogging for me, personally(though I know there are bloggers who do that successfully, so it’s obviously a very personal thing).

    • Thank you so much for this meaningful reply! Yeah, I know the ARC issue is quite sensitive to many, so I’ve been trying to avoid it for as long as I can. I found myself lost in thought, though and would not stop thinking until I had a better opinion (Haha, leave it to me to over think things XD) I also actually really want a copy of a certain title that’s been out there for some time now. I guess knowing from you that the publishers giveenough time to actually read and review a book, really helps boost the confidence I have in myself that I’ll be able to pull requesting off– however, I agree that I need to be extra careful when it comes to feeling as if I have to have deadlines for every single book. That does take the fun out of it! 😦 I guess I’ll just have to see where it takes me the first time around 😀 Thanks again for the reply Stormy!

  6. I just graduated high school but can totally understand your worries about balancing school and your review copies. I never had any real issue with deadlines, but maybe that is because I plan things. There is the pressure though, especially if you let the book sit there until the last possible minute (like I used to do haha)

    As for the being recognized issue, I really do think that publishers look at a number of factors when determining a book to give ARCs too. You obviously care about your content and your readers and it’s clear that they care about your content in return. I think this is what is more important because who would want to advertise on a site with a huge readership that never really read anything they wrote as opposed to a small but dedicated following?

    Getting rejected for ARCs is frustrating, but it only makes you work harder and that can sometimes be a good thing. It hurts at first but doesn’t come close to the feeling you get when you get accepted 🙂

    I would say do what you think you can handle and do what you enjoy. If you like posting discussions more than reviews, keep doing that. It is your blog, after all. Great post!

    • Oh, thanks for the opinion! I think it really helps me to know that someone has balanced review copies with school, and succeeded! 😀 I’m actually a very enthusiastic reader, and I don’t have much of a TBR pile, so I guess any ARCs I get accepted for won’t be too far down that list 🙂 I guess the main thing that’s scared me about it is that I haven’t been around for too long. However, I do know some bloggers have been blogging for around the same as I have, and I guess there’s comfort in knowing that maybe I have a chance 😀 I’d prefer my small, dedicated viewership to an extensive but detached one any day! I’ve come to grips with the inevitable rejection, but yes I agree– it’s something to strive for even harder, if you really want it! 🙂 I do prefer discussion posts to anything else, though I think there’s still lot of room for that even with an ARC review, though I’m expecting less, of course. I’d have to give something up to get it after all. Haha! So we’ll see! Thank you so much again for stopping by~

  7. I agree with everything you’ve said. ARCs are special in that you are the “first” person to read the book (at least in my mind, no other ARC readers exist 😉 ) But sometimes there is that added pressure. I especially feel pressured if it’s a new author. While I will always give an honest review, I know that many times, the first book written is usually not the best – yet it can be a make or break for the author (emotionally and sometimes monetarily). So sometimes I have a hard time saying no!

    • Great to know you agree! And oh yes, I’ve thought about that too– it would probably give me the heebie jeebies to know that I’m potentially opening myself up to a mediocre (or worse, completely distasteful) review, if I have to be honest. I don’t think I’ll ever come down to breaking that rule, though I admit it might be pretty hard to pull myself together. However, you can’t please everyone, and I think that sometimes, the bad but honest reviews are where the authors draw suggestions for improvement, which is a good thing 🙂

  8. Hmm like you I’m 1/2 and 1/2. They can dictate what you read (you want to review them just before release to hopefully help the publisher – if your review is positive). They’re obviously not the finished/polished product. I do appreciate other people’s ARC reviews, they help me to decide what to pre-order. It’s difficult I guess, and like you I get mega disappointed when I’ve crossed my fingers and toes for a Netgalley ARC and get turned down. 😦 But truthfully, it’s just nice to be considered for them and have someone value your blog in real terms when they do say yes. So, mostly positive. But you can’t really beat the final book – it’s polished, other people can read it at the same time so you can have a real conversation about it with other readers, and it’s available in any form you want (paper copy, ebook, audiobook). Yep, those are my random thoughts!

    • I guess it does give me second thoughts when I think about it not being the final product, but I guess there’s a reason why the publishers asked for a review in the first place, in case there’s room for improvement 😀 And yeah, I also like being able to discuss books with other people, and ARCs will probably be known to less of them, although I’m thinking that even if I do request for a copy, there’s nothing to lose anyways! I mean, of course it hurts to get rejected, but that’s just an immediate thing compared to a more long term ecstatic feeling that you’ve been accepted! 🙂 So yes, those are my random thoughts too! Thank’s so much for yours, Annie! 😀

  9. I’m totally with you here. The added pressure? That’s a big reason why I haven’t really requested any ARCs, and don’t usually accept review requests. It’s amazing how much different it feels when you’re (Somewhat) obligated to read and review a book. Example? I did a cover reveal for a book and it really caught my interest. The author then approached me about doing a review and offered to send me the book for free. I declined, because too much pressure, right? Then like the next week I won a giveaway for that same book and I’ve been reading it at my own pace and loving it!

    I also kinda get the best of both worlds, since my sister seems to get ALL the ARCs. I can just borrow them from her, so I get the benefit of reading books early, but without the pressure of obligation. I’m a lucky reader! 🙂

    • Oh, nice to know you agree! 😀 I’m really intimidated by the pressure, but now that some viewers have confirmed that the publishers are generally generous when it comes to giving time, I guess that fear was alleviated, for the time being 🙂 That author must really like you as a reviewer though. Ha! Still, I do have to be careful when it comes to requesting, or else I might get carried away. And you’re right too– it’s great to get to read books at your own pace. Stress-free is the way to go 😀 And you are SUCH a lucky ducky!! I wish I had a sibling who got all the ARCs (though my bro does a weekly feature with me on here, so that should suffice for now). Thanks again for the meaningful post Kelley~

      • Oh, yes, it seems like the publishers are really lenient or whatever. My sister gets TONS of ARCs from several different publishers. She has SO many books that her TBR pile is probably nearing 100 right now, so she rarely posts reviews in any kind of timely fashion (unless it’s for a blog tour or something). Because of this, she also ends up not posting reviews for many of those books. And yet, they still just keep sending them to her! So, it’s all good. 🙂

        (I think it’s different when the author/publisher seeks you out for a review, though. That’s when I *really* feel obligated to read/review asap. Eek!)

      • WOW your sister’s pile is huge! I guess if it were me though, I’d feel kind of guilty if I don’t post a review on time– after all, that IS what the publishers expected from us in return for the early copies 🙂 I get though, why the delay happens, since it’s a challenge to keep track of so many titles. Your sister’s cool though, for being sought out! XD If publishers seek ME out though, I’ll probably feel a lot like you. THAT’s when the pressure really starts, doesn’t it? D:

    • Yeah, they do seem to be 🙂 And you’re right about that! I do have to be careful when it comes to requesting more than I can review. I don’t exactly hate being timed, but it does get stressful if it’s almost impossible to get everything done. Haha!

  10. When I first started out, I requested every book that even slightly looked like something I would enjoy (on Net Galley, that is). I was just: hells yeah, free books! But, it actually takes some time to read a book, and write a review, and then post that review across your internet platforms.
    Now, I am a bit more cautious when it comes to the ARCs, and I only request a title if I REALLY want it.
    To be honest, if the title is archived, and you didn’t get around to reading it, I don’t think the publisher is going to hate you. I mean, we all fall behind sometimes.
    I can understand why some people wouldn’t like ARCs, as it does put pressure on you to get reading done.
    My suggestion to you would be only request an ARC if you are really interested in reading it. Because then it won’t feel like an obligation 😀 And maybe, you could just do it on the school holidays, or something, so you have heaps of time.
    I know I am feeling a little overwhelmed with ARCs that I have to read, now that I am back at uni. But I am trying not to get too stressed, as it sort of takes away the fun.

    • Haha, thanks for the warning Chiara! I do feel as if I might just get tempted to request for everything that looks good on the covers XD And yeah, I was kind of scared that the publishers would hate me and stop accepting me if I fall behind (which is sad if there’s a book I genuinely want from them), but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. We have to manage all of our books, after all! 🙂 And yeah, while you have uni, I have school, so I guess I should also gauge whether or not it’ll stress me out all the more. Thanks for the thoughts! 😀

      • That’s okay 😀
        Yes, I made that mistake, haha. I got too excited!
        I haven’t experienced a publisher turning me down because I didn’t get around to reading another book of theirs .. yet. 😛
        Yeah, I think I may have to cut down on the review requests, and blog tour sign ups D:

      • Yup, definitely have to be on guard XD Books are SUCH temptations! Haha! Well, that’s great to hear then! And no worries, its because you’re an active reader (and blogger). I believe that you can finish everything you sigh up for 😀

  11. As a newer blogger (I’ve only had my blog since December), I was really hesitant to request ARCs or even want to request ARCs because of my blog-adolescence and because I was afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy them as much because they weren’t the “finished, perfect copy.” However, there have recently been some amazing books announced that I dearly want to get my hands on, and I’ve recently been approved for some Netgalley ARCs that I’ve devoured, so I’ve started requesting and receiving a few ARCs that I REALLY REALLY want, and it’s worth it! If it’s something you cannot wait to read, then when you get it, you still CANNOT wait to read it! You’ll scrap everything, all the books on your TBR list, all your halfway finished books, to devour them.

    • Sorry haha, thought I was finished my rant. I know what you mean by being busy as well. I’m currently in university: I’ve got a part-time job, lectures, tutorials, student councils, and a social life, but I still manage to juggle it and read as well. If you have time to read now, you should have time to read ARCs 🙂

      • Oh, I see! Then maybe I can manage to juggle it as well. YOU seem pretty busy! 😀 And yes, I guess I do have some time. I have a college entrance test coming up tomorrow, and it’s stressful, but once I’m out of that zone I can make way for books 🙂

    • Aww it’s great to hear thoughts from a newer blogger like me! 😀 And yes, it HAS crossed my mind that I would like the final copies to a book instead of the pre-final one, but of course you can’t have everything. It’s great though, that you’ve come across so many amazing ARCs– I hope if I do request for some, I’ll come across my own 😀 And yes, I think I’ll just have to make way for my ARC books. Haha! Thank you for stopping by Janita!

  12. It’s really hard to balance out ARCs/galleys/egalleys with your regular reads and/or commitments!! I know I’ve fallen behind on my “schedule” but I think it was part of my learning curve as a blogger haha! I’ve definitely scaled back and tried to only accept review requests if I know I REALLY want to read the book and to only request ARCs if they’re must-reads. Still hard because there are so many good-looking books out there!
    Great post 🙂

    • I haven’t fallen out of schedule, but that’s mostly because my TBR pile isn’t that big. But of course, I agree that I have to just trim down my requests to books I really want, if I want to keep up 🙂 But yes, books are such temptations, especially if the blurb or covers are enticing. Thanks for the reply Brittany!

  13. I 100% agree with you, girlie! Okay, first off this made me laugh: to add to my collection of Apple products, a pair of ugly iBags. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I’m an incoming senior in high school and omg I could already feel the stress because since I’m taking AP classes, I get TONS of homework during the summer. Lovely, right? I freaking love ARCs. I really do, but the time limit adds on to my stress. Well, it’s mainly my fault b/c I procrastinate on them and read them the last minute, like, right now. I have 4 arcs to read and they expire in 3 freakin’ days. I also don’t understand WHY publishers won’t just make a list on who’s qualified and who’s not? Let’s say (JUST FOR EXAMPLE) Penguin…
    1. You have to have 10 billion followers
    2. 3,000,000,000 page views per day
    3. Have 200 comments per post

    That’s just an example lol. Why can’t they do that? Like, dude, just give me the qualifications.

    • HAHA! Well that WAS true, although I am not proud of those iBags D: We don’t have AP classes over here, though I’ve been to summer school before and it’s stressful, yes! I’m also a huge procrastinator, which my mom would totes not approve of, but sometimes it simply cannot be helped. I’ll probably not care anymore if I don’t get to review the ARCs on time, as long as I have a reasonable excuse (like school). And that idea is GENIUS! I so agree that they should have just listed the qualifications, so you wouldn’t bother if you’re not qualified, and wouldn’t have to get rejected. Unless the criteria varies of course, which would be suspicious. Thanks for your thoughts Leigh! 😀

  14. I’m relatively new at this blogging business…I only started in April. I’ve had a couple of review requests from publishers (although only agreed to one) and I also request galleys from Netgalley and Edelweiss. So far I’ve managed to stay on schedule only skipping a couple of books that through circumstance I didn’t have time to read before publication date – i know I will still read them but in my head I “missed” the deadline. I post my reviews on or as close to publication date unless otherwise specified by the publisher. So one piece of advice I could give you when requesting from Netgalley etc is to take note of the pub date and don’t request to many close to the same date. I have made that mistake for September (I have 9 books to read and review) and this happened because sometimes it takes weeks to be approved and I lost track of what I’d requested. So now I keep a list and don’t request more than 4-5 for any given month and no more than 2 with the same release week. This way I can still fit in my own books around the ARC’s.

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