discussion: ARCs

Everyone’s gotta love an Advance Reader Copy, right?!

I’m a bit on the fence with them, if I’m honest. I love how they help with my blog stats, and how I feel up-to-date in the bookish community. It’s always annoying when everyone is talking about a certain book, and you haven’t read it yet! But I also find ARCs quite stressful. I’m a massive mood reader, and I want to take my own sweet time getting around to specific books. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always fit with publishers’ marketing strategies!

The first thing I would say, especially to to beginner bloggers, is that you do not need to have ARCs in order to run a book blog. I think that’s a really big misconception about book blogging – the idea that you need the biggest releases of the year as soon as possible. Personally, I sometimes find reading 10 reviews of the same book kinda boring. You may not get as many hits, but I’d usually rather talk about a lesser-known book. If you are focused on getting ARCs though, I would personally email the marketing directors of smaller publishing houses requesting a specific book. Because they’re smaller, you have a better chance of getting an ARC simply because there will (probably) be fewer emails for a marketing intern to reply to! I did this very early on in my blogging career (like, two weeks after starting my blog!) and I still do this occasionally. It helps to be open to both print and e-ARCs. Also, have a couple of good reviews on your blog already. It’ll show the publishers that you’re not just trying to bag a free book. Although obviously this is one of the perks of ARCs, especially when you’re a student like me!

I’m now very lucky in the respect that I am often approved for Netgalley ARCs, though Edelweiss I’ve never been able to get the hang of. (If anyone has any tips for actually making it work, please comment!) As many of you know, it is very easy to get a bit click-happy on Netgalley, and suddenly have a huge mountain of books to read before they are taken off the site. Like I said, I do find this stressful, especially when I was reading a lot for my degree. There was a point when book blogging was more of a stressor than a hobby, which was a shame. I’ve tried to be less strict in my reading, and if that means putting off some books until a later date, I’m okay with that. I’m a lot more relaxed because of it.

Also because I work at an independent bookshop, we sometimes get ARCs from specific publishers. Last month I was able to snag an ARC of Optimists Die First and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, amongst a couple of others. Although I don’t necessarily get the books that I most anticipate, for example, my bookshop doesn’t really stock YA, this has been a good way to collect ARCs. This has been quite good for my bookstagram (which I desperately need to update, oops), because I was running out of ways to take pictures of ebooks! And there’s less of a need to have read the books by the release date.

What are your thoughts about ARCs? Are they essential to your blog? Do you think they’re overrated? Let me know!

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22 thoughts on “discussion: ARCs

  1. justanotherloststudent says:

    I didn’t even understand what these were when I first started blogging, and I still don’t to some extent! I do understand the pressure though to review newly released books, which I often don’t have the money for, but then again also don’t want to be someone offering the 30th review of the same book!

    At the moment, I’m focusing on just trying to keep up with blogging consistently. I don’t understand how other people manage to update so regularly! Then, I guess, I can probably move onto thinking about ARC’s xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • whatthelog says:

      Yeah, it’s a bit of a no-win situation sometimes! The only reason I can review newly released books is because of ARCs, though – I don’t have the money right now either.

      I can understand that! I try to have the next month planned out in advance, but that’s because if I’m not organised, it won’t be done at all.

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  2. MyBookJacket says:

    I don’t think bloggers in India get ARCs here but I have warmed to Netgalley after getting a kindle so that’s fun. But you’re right about the stresser bit with netgalley. I’m still trying to work through my pile.

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  3. Sarah says:

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about ARCs as well! On one hand, yay free books! It’s really fun to read things before they come out and to feel like you might make a difference when the book finally hits. On the other hand, I don’t want to feel pushed to finish a book in a set amount of time. Sometimes it’s a bummer when you really want to read one book, but you have to wait to get your ARC review done first. And I definitely get a little click happy on Netgalley, although I’ve improved with that a bit. I’ll also agree that it get to be a little much when EVERYONE is reviewing the same book.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Yeah, like I said to someone else, the only reason why I can review new publications is because of ARCs. Student life = no new books! So in that respect, I am eternally grateful to Netgalley. But yeah, I do get stressed about that, especially because I’m such a mood reader. And that’s ridiculous – this is supposed to be a fun hobby!

      What do you think I should do about reviewing books that are popular? For example, I’ve just been granted Dimple and Rishi on Netgalley. I want to read it, but I’m not sure if I’ll review it on here – there have been so many great own voices reviews that I honestly don’t know what I could add. It was the same with THUG.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah says:

        You could maybe group a few mini-reviews together? That way, you can still share your thoughts without taking up a lot of space if you feel like you’re saying the same things others have said. I’ve also tried to link to own voices reviews when I write reviews on books covering topics I’m not necessarily familiar with firsthand, so you could also try that!

        I think it’s still worth sharing your opinion either way! I might actually start doing mini-review compilations because occasionally I do read books that I still would like to share my thoughts on, but don’t necessarily want to take up a whole post with.

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  4. divabooknerd says:

    When I first started blogging, I had no idea what an ARC was as well. I wasn’t aware publishers sent physical copies out for publicity purposes either. I joined Netgalley firstly during my first year and was lucky enough to have been approved for a few great titles on there but was still overwhelmingly reading my own books. I can understand how bloggers can feel as though they’re missing out or unable to keep up though, it can feel a little overwhelming at times. I personally prefer reading reviews for older books that have been out a while. There’s a constant stream of books being released and we miss out on so many books overshadowed by big titles.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Absolutely agreed. I try to have a good balance between popular books and my backlist of less heard-of books. I think sometimes I err a bit too much on the side of popular books, but you’re right, it is easy to feel like you’re missing out!

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  5. Shouni says:

    I also have mixed feelings about ARCs because I’m a mood reader too. ARCs are great because who doesn’t love free books? But yes, there is always that pressure to read and review an ARC copy even though you’d rather be reading something else. I adore Netgalley but I really need to stop requesting ARCs when I have five others needing to be read. They’re not essential to my blog at all because most of the time, I review books that are already out. Though reading ARC reviews do get me excited for an upcoming book if everyone is raving about it.

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    • whatthelog says:

      Only 5?! I always have at least 10 on my Netgalley backlist – you obviously have much better self-restraint than I do! But yeah I agree, if I wasn’t getting ARCs I don’t think my blog would suffer. It is always refreshing to read reviews of books that aren’t being massively hyped.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Vijayalakshmi Harish says:

    As you’ve said, they certainly aren’t essential to blogging. They’re nice to have. One just needs to be careful not to get pressured by them. I never request too many and I request new ones only after I’m done reviewing the ones I have. It requires a lot of self control 😊

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  7. Huntress of Diverse Books says:

    I only receive e-arcs and I have to say I also would prefer e-arcs if given the choice, because I have no idea where to put physical arcs after reading them (I’d most probably give them to other people or donate). I don’t think they’re essential to my blog as there are so many stories that I wouldn’t read if I was just reading arcs, as they are usually just the most hyped books.

    I do wish that it was possible to correct mistakes that reviewers point out in e-arcs or microaggressions, but I guess that is what the sensitivity readers and editors should be there for.

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    • whatthelog says:

      That’s a really good point – I’m moving from place to place at the moment and I am becoming VERY well acquainted with how heavy my books are. I’m still not fond of ebooks, simply because they strain my eyes quite a lot, but I will be glad of them when I move yet AGAIN.

      Could you send a note to publishers by email or through the feedback bit on Netgalley?

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  8. Life of a Female Bibliophile says:

    I think your definitely right about that “click-happy” effect of Netgalley. I requested too many last year and had more books than I could handle. This year I’m dialing it back a bit. I wanted more of a balance on my blog so I’m requesting less ARCs/review copies, but still making sure to balance the amount of these with reviews of new and older books. I don’t think ARCs are essential to the blog, even though I felt the pressure to review them when I first started blogging. Like you said, smaller publishers are the way to go, it’s easier to obtain copies and I’ve found some amazing books. 🙂

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    • whatthelog says:

      Good for you – I have absolutely no self-restraint so I am always drowning in Netgalleys. And you’re totally right, I think it is a really good idea to have a balance between older books and new releases. That way you can talk about books that fell through the cracks!

      And definitely. I feel like there’s this idea that if you’re not requesting books from Penguin/Random House/other big names then you’re ‘failing’ as a blogger. But a lot of my favourite books of last year came from tiny little publishing houses or were self-published!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews says:

    Totally with you on having mixed feelings on ARCs. I LOVE them because it makes me feel kinda cool receiving books from publishers, but I do get stressed out sometimes because I’m such a mood reader too. When I first started blogging I went a little overboard on Netgalley, but I think I learnt my lesson pretty quickly 😂 although maybe not because I still have ARCs from last year that I haven’t read yet. Oops.

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