It’s Sunday bibliophiles, which means… *Drum roll please* It’s time for another Discussion Sundays post! This week I want to talk to you all about ARCs and how to organize our busy schedule in order to prioritize the books we need to read. This topic was never something I originally thought was going to be discussed (because who knew I would ever get early review copies?!?) but as a book blogger and instagrammer part of my so called “job description” is to read and review ARCs before the release date. Before we get too far into the details, here is a little reminder:
As always, “Discussion Sundays” will help me get to know all of you better and for us bibliophiles to be honest with each other, without judging or comparing ourselves to anyone else. The only things I will ask for everyone to do is to a) be true to yourself, even if your answers/reasons aren’t the same as mine/anybody else’s I would LOVE to hear it! b) be respectful to each other and don’t negatively criticize people’s comments/opinions. Without further ado, let’s get right on to our topic!
Today’s Topic: How To Not Get Overwhelmed By ARCs
First off, what actually is an ARC?
An ARC stands for Advanced Readers Copy which are copies of books that are printed before the actual publication date and sent to reviewers, librarians, bookstores and other similar outlets. The purpose of ARCs is mainly to promote and create early buzz for certain books; whether it be through reviews by well known or fairly popular bloggers or photos being released through social media. They also help provide librarians & book sellers some guidance when it comes to deciding whether or not they want to purchase the certain book for their collection in their respective locations.
ARCs are NEVER to be sold to anyone or anywhere as they are not fully edited (usually they include some grammar mistakes, wording differences and minor plot change) and are in very limited supply. Basically, they are marketing tools specially made for early promotion of the book and those who do receive ARCs should be grateful for the opportunity and make sure to treat the publishers & the book with respect.
Just quickly before I get started, I want to sincerely thank all of the publishers & authors who have ever even considered my humble blog / instagram to send an ARC or review copy to. It is still one of the most amazing experiences I have experienced while being within the bookish community and I am so grateful that I get a way to share my thoughts with my friends & followers.
The reason I wanted to discuss this topic was mainly because of how much I recently struggled with my many ARCs and review copies. Being a relative newbie in the book reviewing community, I have to admit that I was accepting review requests left and right (I can never seem to say “no” but that’s a completely different post for another day) and even requesting the ones I was most excited for. Little did I know, there were a lot more books than I could realistic read before the release date and all of those books began to steadily pile up :O Luckily, over the past couple of months, I have learned some tips and tricks to organize my TBR pile along will all of those ARCs to maintain a fairly stable and stress free reading life. So here are some pointers to keep in mind :
Take a (good) look at your TBR pile before accepting / requesting ARCs & Review Copies.
Do you really need to add another Dystopian ARC to your already large Dystopian TBR? How many books do you know you are going to have to read for your book club? Is that ARC going to be released within the next month? Ask yourself these questions and if you find yourself unsure, take a moment before impulsively emailing back with a “yes! I would love to” and really reflect on what you know you can handle.
Don’t underestimate yourself. Remember that your social media outlets only grow bigger by day.
This is a recent problem that I have been having. When I first started my instagram and blog, I was oh so excited at even the idea of ARCs and review copies. My first couple of review requests would come trickling in and because I was so shocked at the possibility that publishers wanted little ol’ me to spread the word, I often enthusiastically agreed without knowing much about the book or reading other early reviews. This became an issue when my social media accounts began to grow and I steadily became more involved in the bookish community. Now, I need to be able to realize that yes, I may actually get approved for an eARC on Netgalley and yes, I may even get review requests from large scale publishers. It’s all about knowing your reach and working within it while being respectful & honest with both yourself and the people you are reviewing for.
It’s okay to say no! Only accept ARCs that you are truly interested in reading.
I don’t know how much I need to realize this point for myself… but seriously, it’s not the end of the world to the publisher / author when you politely decline their review request. They know first hand how busy this community gets and if you are not even the slightest interested in reading the book, there is really no reason for you to waste your time and disappoint them with either a DNF or an extremely late review.
Prioritize ARCs by release date, decide whether print ARCs or eARCs come first & organize review copies by the order of their request.
Organizing ARCs and review copies totally comes down to personal preference. For me personally, I prioritize ARCs by their release date, print ARCs before eARCS and try my absolute hardest to post my review within the time frame that the publishers request. (All of this information should either be emailed to you or described on their website / Netgalley page) If there are a whole bunch of ARCs being published on the same day, I typically just read and review the book I am most interested in because hey! we all do that right 😉 You definitely do not have to follow my methods, just try and find a way that works for you.
You spent all of that time reading and writing a review, so what should you do next? Cross post all of your hardwork onto Goodreads , Amazon and other social media websites! This is a method that a lot of book bloggers tend to forget (me included :P) but in reality, it really is one that both potential book buyers and publishers greatly appreciate. Cross posting helps spread more buzz about an upcoming release and as an added bonus, you also get you and your blog name out there!
Remember to read a good mix of backlist books alongside your ARCs.
With all of the ARCs starting to pile up, I usually tend to forget my hugeeee shelf of backlist books that are both sitting on my bookshelves at home or the ones I borrowed from the library. It’s great to read a lot of early copies, but don’t forget the books you eagerly asked for during the holidays and your birthday! (They need some of your unconditional love as well <3)
Find a friend / fellow bibliophile to do a buddy read for an ARC you are unsure about.
Sometimes you accidentally approve a request that you are now really unsure about. Maybe you have just lost interest in the book or read multiple negative Goodreads reviews. Whatever the case may be, there is a small sinking hole in your heart that whispers “I don’t want to read this anymore.” What should you do? The solution is simple enough, as long as you are willing to give it a shot! Try to find a fellow book blogger who has also received an ARC of the same book and ask (politely) if they want to do a buddy read. Usually, bibliophiles are some of the nicest people I have ever met and would love to have a friend to talk to about the books they are currently reading. I know Twitter is a great source of buddy reading and though I don’t have an account myself (yet…) I am thinking about creating one mainly for this purpose.
Promote the book in other ways; by taking photos for bookstagram, chatting about them on twitter and unboxing them on snapchat.
Although reviews are definitely the most popular way of spreading buzz about an upcoming release, remember that there are other ways of promoting the book. I’m sure a lot of you have multiple social media accounts, so make sure to use them to your advantage! If you unfortunately haven’t had the time to read an ARC yet, you can still celebrate it’s release date by posting photos, talking about them and tagging to thank their respective authors / publishers for the review opportunity.
Know your limits.
Limits are hard to define. But remember that as much as you want to be a magical unicorn with 24 hours a day to read, most of you are likely 99.9% not. (If you are let me know because that’s soooo cool and I’m jealous :D) If you know you are going to be particularly busy in June with finals, chill with the ARC requests for a bit until the later summer months. If it’s during the holidays and you know you are going on the trip of your dreams to Europe, politely decline a publisher’s email. Be aware of the time you realistic have to spend reading & reviewing and make smart choices that won’t negatively impact you in the long run. Try your hardest to not overbook (get it XD) yourself and balance your reading life with your personal one.
Take care of yourself.
I saved this one for last because this it what it really comes down to. If for some reason or another you didn’t manage to finish that review before it was due, take a deep breath and know that it is all okay. Everyone makes mistakes and now you know how to not make the same one the next time around. Go make yourself a cup of hot tea, grab some chocolate and watch some Netflix. Relax and remember to take care of yourself. You come before anything else.
And those are all of my thoughts for today! It’s your turn:
Have you been lucky enough to receive ARCs / Review Copies from publishers and /or authors? Do you have any special way of organizing and prioritizing your review copies? Are there any ARCs you are absolutely DYING to get? I would love any opinions or thoughts on this topic! Let’s discuss in the comments below 🙂
As always, thanks for reading loves xoxo,