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!