Book Related

Let’s Talk Advance Reader Copies and Review Copies

I’ve been wanted to do a post about ARCs and/or review copies for a while now, but haven’t been able to decide how I wanted to go about it.

At this point, this post is a bit of everything. I’m going to start with my experiences, maybe share some things I have found useful and not, and some things I haven’t figured out yet. Maybe more. We’ll see when we get there.

How I Started Receiving ARCs and Review Copies

Best to start at the beginning, right?

The first ARCs I received were not ones I requested. I was surprised one day to open the email associated with this blog and see an email from Simon & Schuster Canada including their blogger newsletter, with the form to complete on which books you’re interested in (how they do things, which is awesome, in my opinion).

It wasn’t the first thing I’d done with Simon & Schuster Canada. I had won a giveaway of an ARC, and it had come with a note saying to send them the review if you post one. So I did, and I guess that’s how I ended up on their list. I’ve been fortunate to receive ARCs from them fairly regularly since.

This was about three months into my blog, and I probably had 100 followers at the time.

Over that summer (5 or so months into the blog, not many more followers, probably. Still figuring things out), I got my book listed on The Book Blogger List. Quite a few indie/self-published authors and some smaller publishers have found me through this, and I’ve gotten to read some great books this way.

I’ve only ever sent two email requests over the course of my time blogging, from two different publishers. One never responded, which I expected from reading about how to request ARCs online. The other (Penguin Random House Canada) were really nice and requested that I send them another email in a couple months, which I did, and I was lucky to receive a copy of the book.

Things I’ve Learned From Receiving ARCs and Review Copies

This may be different in other countries, but all those things about ‘you have you have 500 followers to get ARCs’ or ‘you have to be blogging for 6 months minimum’ have not applied. I got my first ARCs three months in, and my first review copies with less than 200 followers. Again, maybe it’s just Canada. We’re a funny sort up here, ya know?

Two to four months seems to be the ideal time, for the publisher and as a blogger. I’ve gotten ones further in advance, and I’ve been offered them less than a month before their release. But on average, it’s been two to four months.

It’s super easy to get overwhelmed. Especially once you get going, and start getting lots of requests, and they all sound so good! But it’s not fun anymore when you’re stressed about all the books you need to get to. I try to take on only the ones that I’m super interested in, and that I would buy on my own, based on the synopsis. It sometimes works.

ARC envy is real, folks. There aren’t too many books that I feel this strongly about. But sometimes I don’t get a requested book, or I’m too late to request it when I hear about it, and I’m jealous of all the people who got to read it in advance. But as this just generally gets me more excited about the book, I don’t worry about it too much.

Not liking a review copy is hard. Because you want to do right by the person who send it, because they’re expecting things from you! But I think you owe it to the author and to your readers to be honest. If I’ve read enough of a book to have solid opinions, I review it. (Fun fact: these reviews are where I get my most negative comments. Whatever.) If I don’t get that far, I talk to whomever sent it to me, and explain the situation. It’s never been an issue, to be honest.

Not accepting indie or self-published books is only hurting yourself. Some of the best books I’ve gotten for review have been indie and self-published. The worst one to date has come from a big name publisher. I know it’s a way to keep your requests lower, but you are missing out, my friend.

Things I Wonder

Am I missing out because I don’t use NetGalley?
I have an account, because I’ve received some books from publishers/authors through there, but I’ve never browsed their catalog or requested books. Generally, I have enough to read that I don’t think about it, but I do sometimes wonder if I’m missing out.

What do I do with the ARCs when I can no longer keep them?
This started because I had a book I did not enjoy, and it was taking up space on my shelf, despite knowing I would never pick it up again. But it’s also evolved because I know I won’t live in this city forever, and what do I do with them if I can’t take them with me? Especially since most of them will have been released by that time. Can I donate them? Can I leave them in Little Free Libraries?

Am I a terrible person because I haven’t bought a finished copy of any of the books I’ve received as ARCs?
My thing is just that I’m not fussy about what format a book comes in. As long as I can pick it up when I want it, I don’t care what it looks like. So the fact that I already have a copy, albeit an unfinished one, leaves me disinclined to buy another copy. Sometimes I get e-copies, but I haven’t bought a hardcopy yet.

Are my reviews/talking about ARCs actually doing anything for the book or the author?
Ya gotta wonder, right?

Do I neglect the books I buy for my review copies? 
Answer is: sometimes.

*~*~*

What are your thoughts on ARCs and review copies? What was your process like? Any answers to my wonders? Let me know in the comments below!

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Advance Reader Copies and Review Copies

  1. I think that leaving them in Free Little Libraries might be a nice thing to do. It would certainly be a cool surprise for the people that pick them up!

    I don’t remember when I got my first arc in relation to starting my blog, but I believe it was through NetGalley, so I’d chime in with the other comments and say give it a look if you can. I also didn’t experience the having to wait until a certain view count, although I do still dread it when I’m hoping to get bigger name titles because I think that the publishers won’t give me a chance due to my small-ish size.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely. And, in my head anyway, the Little Free Libraries help them get to people who might not otherwise get to see ARCs.

      I’m planning to give NetGalley a go. At least see how it is before making a choice to go with it or not. The bigger name titles are definitely where it seems to matter, which I suppose makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love all of this! I’m still so new to blogging (three months in) and get most of my ARCs through NetGalley, though just now beginning to receive them from publishers who email me directly (which felt like a huge step forward!) So I think you should give NetGalley a shot, at least to browse. I’ve discovered so many books from smaller publishers that I love.

    I totally feel the getting overwhelmed bit. Suddenly getting a lot of approvals, and then realizing that it’s also a busy time of year at work definitely hurt me in the last month. But I will get caught up! And it’s taught me to be more picky about requests.

    I work at a high school, so I often donate books that I won’t re-read there. (I mostly review YA, so it works well.)

    I often buy hard copies of the arcs I love the most so I can read them again and support the author. But I don’t think you are a bad person for not buying copies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been debating giving Netgalley, to be honest. At least to say I did, and as you say, lots of options that you may not see otherwise!

      That’s actually a smart idea, to donate them to a school. Most of what I do is YA as well, and it would be cool to get them into the hands of the people they’re written for.

      That’s nice to hear 😀 I just find it so weird to have multiple copies of a book, if I’ve got a readable copy already.,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s regional. I know my friend Sammi in Australia has had access to some pubs I cannot gain access to, and there’s a lot of competition in the US. But I’ve found that if you have a niche, a little piece of the blogging world that’s all you, it helps. My friend Anya is all book dragon-y, and Kristi pairs YA with wine. Me, I’m a teacher as you know so I look at books from an education angle AND a reader angle. I think if you stand out in even a small way, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have. ☺️
    And girl, your blog stands out to me. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, the ‘6 months / 500 followers’ thing didn’t apply for me either. I think it’s easier being in Australia though because less people, haha. My review requests are currently closed because I just have too many books and I don’t think it’s fair for me to make people wait, but when I did have them open I was happy to read self-published/indie books. I really enjoyed the few that I had!!

    Netgalley is a blessing and curse. I feel like it’s a lot easier to get ARCs there especially because being in Australia we don’t have as big a selection, but it’s easy to get carried away and fall behind, haha.

    You could maybe donate the ARCs to a library if they’d take them? Or the free libraries would be a good idea too!! I think as long as they’re not being sold you can do whatever with them, haha. Otherwise I’d definitely check the #booksfortrade hashtag on Twitter!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Canada is like that too, with the whole less people thing. I mean there’s quite a few of us, but not compared to America. That’s totally fair – no sense in giving false expectations to people looking for reviews.

      The getting carried away is the thing I’m always most concerned with when it comes to Netgalley. I can manage books if I control each one, but how do you resist when you can just click??

      For some strange reason, the libraries in our city won’t accept book donations. But the little libraries do, so that’s an idea. The booksfortrade is something I’ve looked into, but postage is so dang expensive.

      Like

  5. I can really say the same thing here. ARCs don’t come after the 100 follower mark. I literally got my first one three weeks into blogging and I dunno.. maybe 20 followers? I had some authors who send me more than one book if they liked my first review and they never asked about follower count. etc. I do use Netgalley and sometimes I feel like the publishers pick you bc you have over 80% review rate. I sometimes had over 90% and got declined for every request I made. AND you can get rid of the books you don’t want anymore by using the hastag #booksfortrade on Twitter 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the more I hear the more it seems that the 500 follower/6 months thing isn’t so much of a thing. Especially when it comes to dealing with authors over publishers. That doesn’t really make sense for the Netgally thing? Who knows haha. That’s true! I have seen that, but postage to mail from here is so expensive that I’m hesitant to go that route.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess you could only search for people in Canada ( do I remember right)? And if they send you a book, too you wouldn’t ‘lose’ any money? You could always donate them to a local livrary if nothing else 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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