Moan of ARC

Book bloggers spend a whole lot of time thinking about books, not just reading them but obtaining them. We get our books in many ways: purchasing from various retailers, gifts, and, that most coveted of ways, from a publisher one way or another. Being “big” enough to obtain review copies, whether finished, digital or print ARCs is a status symbol of sorts in the book blogging community.

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Let’s all be honest: we all spend a lot of time thinking about review copies, whether we get them or we don’t. Even friends who get a whole heck of a lot more review copies than I do still talk about them when that one most-desired book doesn’t come their way. In no way do I think this is a bad thing. I’m not accusing anyone of anything, and everything in this post is a behavior I myself have been party to at one point or another.

Blogger Entitlement
A phrase you’ll see thrown around when it comes to ARCs is “blogger entitlement.” I absolutely loathe this phrase, and I’ll unpack why. As for what it is, an expressed preference for print ARCs over digital might get this accusation hurled your way. So will mentioning your frustration at not being approved for a particular title.

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Very well. These certainly are #bookbloggerproblems. Critics are very right. We can go out and buy the book, supporting the industry we love so much. In fact, most book bloggers buy several books a month, for themselves, for friends, and for blog readers. I know I do. Nor do I deny the publisher’s right to send or not send ARCs out to whomever they please. We are not entitled to a review copy.

You might be wondering why I hate this phrase so much if I do think it’s making the right point. Well, here’s the thing: the whole review copy process is really frustrating and nonsensical. The reason that I complain about it, and I presume the reason others do as well, is because we do not understand the logic underpinning the system. It’s not so much that we feel we are entitled to that review copy, but that why we didn’t get it and another blogger did or why the publisher sent us a different title we didn’t want in place of the one we did makes no sense.

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I realize that I’ve just said some potentially-offensive sounding things, and I promise I’ll explain them and that I mean no harm by them. In general, I think the many rants about ARCs are a symptom not of us feeling entitled to the books themselves but to reason. If I knew WHY I wasn’t deemed worthy for something, I really wouldn’t feel compelled to think about it too much. The lack of clarity breeds frustration.

Digital versus Print Review Copies
In the last couple of months, I’ve decided to pretty much quit using NetGalley and Edelweiss. Mostly, I loathe rejection, but I also prefer print books. Though I might make exceptions for publishers whose books my local library doesn’t buy, I’d personally rather borrow from the library or buy my books than get them from NetGalley anymore. Also, rejection is a hundred times more insulting on NetGalley, at least for me. I mean, if I read a NetGalley book and love it, I’m going to either buy it immediately or put it on my wishlist to buy later. If you decline me, I’m probably not going to be reading it or buying it any time soon, since I really am only reading review books at the moment. How is this remotely in anyone’s favor?

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Coming back to that blogger entitlement thing, I don’t think it’s entitlement to want a review copy in my preferred format. If you love e-galleys, great, but I don’t. It’s NOT entitlement to want a print copy over an e-galley if they want your review. I’ve struggled with this, but it’s not. I’ve read almost 250 books so far this year, and, of those, at least 200 were review copies. Since I began blogging, I almost exclusively read new books. When I accept a review copy, I am giving up my time to read that SPECIFIC book rather than whatever. If I don’t get review copies of sequels to favorite books, I don’t get to read them, because I have so many review copies. Thus, it really frustrates me to hear that called entitlement. A print ARC is not a huge thing to ask for in exchange for my time, review, and promotion, whether positive or negative.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Even I’m finnicky. With audio, I much prefer digital copies, since, if I get a physical audiobook, I have to import the CDs to my computer anyway, which is a pain. My point in all of this is that, if someone wants you to review something, you’re not being an entitled bitch by asking for the format you prefer.

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“Why did THEY get that book?”
Never have I made a claim to being the nicest person in the world, but I don’t think I’m alone in having the experience of seeing that someone has received X title and thinking:

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Though I’m not proud of this, it does happen. To be clear, I do not think my book blog is the best one in the world or that I was necessarily more worthy. However, I’ll see someone receive an ARC of a book I requested and for which I was rejected. Then I’ll do a little snoop, as one does. Oftentimes, they’ll have less followers, a lower Alexa rating, less comments, a good deal less reviews, etc. At that point, I’m confused.

What do the publishers want from me? The most common answer is high stats. These certainly do help, and I’ve gotten more review copies the higher my stats have gotten, but it’s obviously not the only factor, as there are several tiny or brand new blogs that get a lot of things. Certain publishers do seem fairly stats-focused, like Penguin, say, but there are still definitely times where they don’t follow that at all.

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How about the quality of the reviews? In a dream world, this is what I would like to see: review books going to the most insightful reviewers (and no, I’m not saying this because I think I would get ALL the review copies, as I don’t think I would). Obviously, review quality is a subjective thing, but even if I just limit quality to the grammatical accuracy of a blogger’s posts, I’ve definitely seen review copies going to bloggers with lower quality reviews. Of course, just because someone’s not good at subject-verb agreement or spelling doesn’t mean they aren’t funny or engaging and able to make readers want to buy books. The subjectivity of this qualification makes it hard to judge.

Follower count? I got really lucky and got my first review copy when I had about 60 followers. From Penguin’s adult group too. And they kept working with me, even though for about 6 months, my follower level stayed in that super low range. I don’t know how they found me or why they decided to work with me. In general, adult books seem to be a bit easier to get review copies of compared to YA, but I still think I’m an outlier in getting review copies for such a small audience. With YA, follower count did seem to make a bit of a difference, but I suspect this will be going away to some degree in the future, because of the close of Google Reader. People can follow so many different ways now that it’s nigh impossible to get an accurate count. I suspect pageviews and other stats will matter more now.

Does the number of reviews churned out matter? Not so far as I can tell. It might for NetGalley or Edelweiss, where not reviewing anything you’re given will cut down on approvals, but for print galleys, that doesn’t seem to matter all that much. If you stop blogging entirely, you’ll probably be removed from publisher lists after a few months, but, if you skip a couple of ARCs, they likely won’t blacklist you. Looking at my friends who blog, I don’t see any correlation between the amount of review copies they receive and the number they can read.

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Does it matter how long I’ve been blogging? To some publishers, it might, but again it depends. I started getting NetGalley approvals almost as I opened my blog. However, NetGalley was still pretty new back then I think. From what I see on Twitter, it’s not as easy to get approved there now. From looking at book hauls, I see review copies going out to blogs under a year old all the time.

High ratings? If anything helps get review copies, it’s probably this. Though publishers deny preferring bloggers who always rate things highly, I’ve seen evidence to the contrary. Now, there’s certainly an advantage to not sending fantasy books to someone who only likes contemporaries or not sending to a blogger who never gives above a 3 (if there are any). However, I’ve had contacts sort of disappear after I gave a few ratings 3.5 and under, even though I’d also given quite high ratings in the past too. I also happen to know that at least one blog who gets a lot of stuff from major publishers has an average rating of over 4.5, because I once went through and averaged them all, because I had been following the blog and was starting to question if they were reliable. I’m not saying a blogger can’t be trustworthy and mostly give high ratings, but if a blog almost never gives anything below a 4, which in my book means that book was pretty dang amazing, I’m skeptical. If there’s any obvious correlation for most publishers, it’s high ratings, but I also don’t think that’s guaranteed either.

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So…how do they decide? I sure wish I knew. I’ve been blogging for over three years now, and discussed this with innumerable people, and I have basically no idea. Presumably they have some formula for calculating your popularity, some sort of Klout-like ranking of influence, that involves your date of birth, follower numbers and a whole lot of alcohol. Of course, part of the complication is that not all publishers look for the same things, but there’s really no general trend that I can recognize.

“Why did I get this book?”
Going back to my hypotheticals way back at the beginning of this wordy post, I’m also frustrated when I receive unsolicited books that I don’t want. When people start throwing around “blogger entitlement,” they often mention how much more expensive ARCs are to produce than finished copies. Fair enough. Some publishers, particularly adult groups I’ve found, send out finished copies to mitigate this.

If, as I’ve heard and do believe to be true, ARCs are really expensive, then why do publicists send them to bloggers who have no interest in them? Why do they send two or three copies to a single blogger? Both of these things happen all the time, and have happened to me. Last week, I got a big package of ARCs, many of them highly-coveted, but almost all of them ones that I know I would hate. I’m appreciative the publisher deemed me worthy of these ARCs, but it also doesn’t make sense. Rather than sending me the books I’d requested and know I’ll probably love, they sent me books by authors whose other books I’ve absolutely loathed. I’m distributing them to bloggers who wanted them, but why is that my job?

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In another instance, I received an ARC and two finished copies of one unsolicited title, which, by the way, was not in a genre that I almost ever like. I read about twenty pages and DNFed. I’ve also gotten the fifth book in a series of long books, none of which I’ve ever read OR had any interest in reading. What, I ask you, is the point of this? All of this is why blogger jealousy is such an issue. Of course, if you desperately wanted a particular book, you’re going to be upset to see it go to people who didn’t want it/have never heard of it.

Book bloggers do try our best to deal with this. We gift books we don’t want to friends, donate them to Arcycling and Little Bloggers, Big Ambitions, and try to help get misplaced review copies in the hands of people who want them and will review them. However, that gets costly and is a frustration of its own.

What Makes Sense to Me
After all of that ranting, I want to talk about the publishers I love, the ones who make at least some amount of sense to me. Of course, that’s once you get onto their lists, which, except for one of them, I don’t know how you do.

Two of the long-lasting publisher contacts I have, the ones that I love and that give me no stress, are Macmillan and Orbit. I’ve also had similar wonderful experiences with Harper Audio and Simon & Schuster Audio.

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What these publishers do is establish a list of bloggers and email them lists every so often (how often varies, monthly or quarterly in these examples) of the currently available review copies. All I have to do is email back requesting the titles that I would like to review. They send me those. Both Macmillan and Orbit have sent a couple of unsolicited books, but this is very rare. For the most part, it’s all very direct. They tell you what you can have, you ask for it, and they provide it. There’s so much less waste in this system, especially as I’m getting smarter about what to request. Obviously, every publisher doesn’t have publicists as amazing as the one who runs MacKids and the one who runs Orbit, but I can’t imagine this method is that much more time-consuming than the others. Of course, that’s speculation.

Rather than sending every book in the catalog to the bloggers deemed worthy, they send merely what the blogger wants. This system is beautiful. It’s stress-free. Much as it’s delightful to get an unsolicited package of goodies (it has that Christmas morning feel), there’s also the issues of guilt (if you don’t want any of it) and stress (because this just threw off your review calendar) to deal with. I would LOVE to see more publicity groups moving in this direction. They could even have multiple versions of the list to distribute to different tiers of bloggers according to their ranking, saving the most-coveted ARCs for their favorite bloggers.

Publishers are constantly in flux, trying to figure out how to deal with the advent of digital publishing and digital reviewers. They’re not entirely sure what to make of book bloggers or how much of an impact we have. They’re confused and it shows. Knowing that doesn’t make the process of figuring out how to deal with them any less frustrating.

To Sum Up
Are book bloggers greedy, entitled bastards? No more than anyone else. What we are is confused. The way the review copy-dispersal happens seems entirely random to me after three years of observance. Being denied for a review copy sort of feels like failing an essay without getting any notes on how to improve in the future. Because we don’t understand what we’re doing wrong, we talk about it and harp on it, and try to figure it out. So, please, when you see a blogger complaining about a denial for a review copy, don’t accuse her/him of entitlement and tell them that they can go buy the book. For one thing, the blogger is probably aware that book vendors exist (taking a big leap of faith here). For another, he/she is just trying to make their universe make sense.

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Sadly, I don’t have any genius info about how to get yourself ARCs or to make publishers like you. Believe me, I wish I did. Three years in and the way publishers work with bloggers is no more clear to me than it was at the start, and, from talking to other reviewers, I’m not the only one who feels this way. I don’t have to be the one who gets the review copies, but I do have to understand how they’re apportioned before I can stop thinking about them. By nature, readers are curious and like to know things. The deal with ARCs is sort of like reading a book with missing pages: it’s going to bug you forever because you don’t know what happened.

Update: To spell things out for those who do not understand my intention here, those of you who have felt this way, don’t worry. It’s probably not you. There’s a lot involved in the decision of who receives a review copy. In my experience, chasing them down generally hasn’t worked all that well, but some great ones have found me, like Macmillan. Do what you do. Love it and own it, and know that you’re not alone. And, remember, on the plus side if you don’t get ARCs, reviews of backlist titles actually get more attention, since most people don’t read reviews of books they haven’t read. Focus on the good stuff and don’t let the confusion get you down.

51 responses to “Moan of ARC”

  1. Daph says:

    Oh my god, this post is so accurate I can’t even.

    I hate the feeling of not knowing why I was declined for a galley on either Netgalley or Edelweiss. Edelweiss provides publishers with some room to communicate with you as to why your request was denied, but I almost always get a message saying they have limited review copies available, and alas, I was too late. Which they send after leaving me hanging with my pending request for over two weeks. It’s frustrating.

    To be honest, I wonder If publishers even know what they’re looking for exactly. Even though you got all the requirements they list in their “review policy”, you still feel like you’re up on stage, facing Simon Cowell who will determine it you have that “X factor”. Whatever it is.
    Daph recently posted…Review: One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene FrostMy Profile

  2. Thank you for having the guts to say what we’re all thinking. There have been SO MANY TIMES where I’ve requested a book, not gotten it, and then see it pop up on a blog that is three months old, with 50 followers, who posts almost 90% memes. How? Why? Also, how and why? I just don’t understand.

    I NEVER get print ARCs, except for from MacMillan, even though I’ve been blogging three years and have a great subscriber count. However, I get a ton of digital copies, so it’s not like I’m lacking reading material. But it frustrates me to no end how much work I put in and then see new bloggers getting things I’m rejected for.

    On the other hand, though, I don’t really want any more review copies than I have. I am a huge mood reader, so I hate being stuck on a schedule. The many review copies I get are plenty for me.

    Weirdly enough, I requested a handful of HarperTeen titles on EW about a month ago, and while they 99.999999% of the time approve my requests, these five went unanswered for all these week. Yesterday, out of curiosity, I sent a second request for one of the titles and it got approved today.

    Basically, I will never understand how the distribution of ARCs works.
    Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews recently posted…Review: The Poison Eaters & Other StoriesMy Profile

    • Exactly! At no point will this not be puzzling. Like, is there something that that person is doing right than I am not? What is it? I might not be willing to change to get review copies, but I’d like to understand what the grading criteria are.

      Though I do get a fair number of print ARCs, they’re mostly from YABC or BEA. Not many are sent to me as A Reader of Fictions. Maybe someday, but I’m not certainly not the big blogger. And, yeah, it surprises me you don’t get more. Your subscriber count was always larger than mine. Not sure about pageviews and all that, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t get more. I think a lot of it is luck.

      Review copies actually help me a be a less moody reader. The only time it hurts is blog tours. HAVING to have the post up on a certain day bothers me more for some reason.
      Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Moan of ARCMy Profile

  3. I lurrrve this post. I have been wondering a lot of these things myself, although I haven’t been annoyed or curious enough to be quite as vocal as some of my friends and fellow bloggers have been. Having a job makes me seem so patient and understanding!

    I do often wonder how and why other bloggers get all these ARCs or contacts in the industry, whereas I feel like I’m receiving one tenth of what some other UK bloggers get. That’s probably also partly my fault for not requesting so much, and the fault of overseas rights and distribution laws and things, but still.

    “I realize that I’ve just said some potentially-offensive sounding things…”

    Nah, you’re good. [Insert White Chicks’ “What? You were thinking it!” “Yeah, but you said it!” gif here.]

    I feel exactly the same way as you do about NetGalley and Edelweiss, and yet I still find myself requesting ALL THE BOOKS. Just today I ordered two books that I loved after receiving e-galleys from Edelweiss, both in hardback. I can’t actually remember the last time I bought a book that I was previously rejected for, both due to time constraints (my review copy TBR is becoming insane again), and because I feel like a loser.

    HarperTeen on Edelweiss is the epitome of nonsensical for me. I got approved for a bunch of their books back in June(ish), but since requesting that huge list in July, I have only been approved for a couple. They’ve just left me in limbo, along with a bunch of other bloggers. Are they only uploading for those who are already auto-approved? I have reviewed every book that I have received from them on EW, bar two – one of which isn’t out until December. Why am I not auto-approved as well? I would very much like to know the requirements there.

    I’m personally not fussed about whether I receive e-galleys or physical copies, but I have to agree that it’s not entitlement to want a copy in your preferred format. I wouldn’t put the time into doing something that I’m not all that fond of doing either, which is one of the reasons that I don’t listen to or review audiobooks.

    I also see some bloggers receiving ARCs, and then reviewing them in five bullet points. WHY. I can give you 5+ paragraphs! I mean, I’m happy that people are reading the books, but I can’t help but be a little jealous and dumbfounded.

    I have also noticed that publishers send ARCs to some bloggers who do not rate lower than four stars. Ever. This frustrates me, because a) it feels like the blogger is only doing it for the free books, and isn’t being entirely honest, and b) do publicists not realise this? I know lots of people who don’t trust those who never give any book a low rating, and so it seems like a waste of a precious and expensive ARC. I have never had a contact disappear after giving a book a low rating though, thankfully.

    Most of the UK publishers, as far as I can tell, have adopted the system of sending you a catalogue of books that will be published in the next couple of months, and then you can request the ones that you’re interested in. I still received some unsolicited copies from Chicken House and Quirk Books (which I think might be US? I’m not entirely sure) but for the most part the publishers over here have caught on to what bloggers don’t necessarily realise they need. At least in that respect.

    I’m three years into blogging too, and while I occasionally have moments of ERMEHGERD, I’M A GENIUS, I have no clue what’s going on half the time. Someone give me the answer to the ARC universe? Please and thank you.
    Amber (Books of Amber) recently posted…To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’m not sure how much requesting makes a difference. Most of my requests have been ignored, and only one dry request actually led to a lasting contact.

      When I get turned down for a book, I am totally resentful of it, and not in the mood to go buy the book and support that publisher. I did make an exception for Just One Day, but that’s Gayle Forman. Also, I had a gift card.

      Did you get autoapproved today like everyone else? It could have happened after this post, I imagine. If not, I am sad for you. We can have pity readalongs of other things when they do their Harper ones.

      Truthfully, I do wonder if the publicists know. I mean, they must deal with so many bloggers and they wouldn’t necessarily be looking at every review, just the ones emailed in about their books. Still, after a while, you’d think they might notice. Also, yes, there’s one who write a really short paragraph with many grammatical errors that gets pretty much every book I ever wanted and it makes me bonkers.

      The catalogue is such a great system. Why they do not all do this mystifies me. Quirk Books is US, but I’m not sure if they have a UK branch. I got one unsolicited from them too. Chicken House is a Scholastic imprint, I think. Kid’s books.

      Whoa, I didn’t know you’d been around so long. Took me a while to find you obviously!

      • I did get auto-approved! Last night it was just normal approval, but then when I woke up this morning I saw that you had been up to some sort of voodoo overnight, and I’m not auto-approved for Harper’s teen/children’s imprints. Woop! Once again, I’m unsure how this happened or why. It’s a good thing that you’re giving up e-galleys, right?

        Mhmm, I get that there are tonnes of bloggers out there, but you’d think that they would research the ones that they’re sending out copies to. Even if it’s just reading a couple of their reviews. I assume they check out the reviews that the bloggers presumably submit?

        I’m pretty sure I found you through Kara, but it took me a good couple of years. But you’re not getting rid of me now. *squishes you tightly*
        Amber (Books of Amber) recently posted…To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeMy Profile

  4. You really did a nice job on this post. I found it so true. Sometimes people don’t understand the process of how things work. NetGalley and Edelweiss are great helps if you know how to use it correctly. Really enjoyed reading this.

    Grace Fonseca recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday:Fire and Flood by Victoria ScottMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      They are. I just prefer print copies to the point that I’d prefer to get a library book than an e-galley. At some point I may get organized and figure out which publishers never get picked up by my local library and just request digital galleys from them.

  5. Bonnie says:

    That right there: “why the publisher sent us a different title we didn’t want in place of the one we did”. YES. That drives me crazier more than anything.

    How is preferring print copies over e-galleys a form of entitlement? Honestly, for me it’s more convenient and there’s a bigger chance I will actually be able to have time to read the book if I have an e-galley. Some people don’t have e-readers. Some people don’t like e-readers. It’s all about convenience and what works best for you, gah! Not entitlement.

    hahaha I asked for a digital copy of an audio just last week and hey, what do you know. A physical copy shows up and yep, I have to spend like an hour trying to import the discs. Again, it’s all about convenience, not entitlement.

    I have a much easier time getting adult ARCs too. I think there are just so many YA only book bloggers these days but I could be wrong.

    You are spot on with this and all that I’ve wondered about the publishing world and how they divvy out the review copies the way they do. I mean seriously, I would love to know what they suggest I improve upon in order to meet their mighty high standards. But apparently this is all just a guessing game and a luck of the draw.
    Bonnie recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Odin’s Ravens (The Blackwell Pages #2) by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. MarrMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      A couple of publishers excel at this and it basically makes me want to cry every time, because I was SO thrilled they sent the thing I wanted and THERE IT IS the thing I most did not want.

      I don’t think it is. They’re offering us something in return for a service, and we should be able to choose the format, where possible. I mean, if there aren’t ARCs or egalleys or whatever, you make do. But if they have both…

      That’s my impression as well, that there are too many YA bloggers. Of course, I’ve also not tried to request specific adult titles, which intimidates me because there are SO. MANY. PUBLICISTS. I wouldn’t begin to know who to email.

      • Bonnie says:

        Yeah I’ve received some random books in the mail and it really makes you wonder. Did you check out my blog at all? Obviously not because if you did you would know I am not anticipating reading this shit. lol

        If they have both, then there’s obviously an option. I prefer e-galleys but I love being able to give my ARC away in order to share with another reader but again, that’s not entitlement.

        I’ve actually had some pretty great luck submitting to the standard publisher contact e-mail address for a few adult titles. Haven’t formed into long-term bonds and they haven’t contacted me personally again but oh well.
        Bonnie recently posted…Banned Books Week – Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine PatersonMy Profile

  6. Hey–

    This was a fascinating read from an author perspective, because really, we don’t get much info about the workings of the PR machine. I try to get ARCs for certain bloggers who I have worked with in the past that I know will write thorough, honest reviews, but all I can do is turn in a list to my editor or publicist and then hope for the best.

    I don’t know ANY author who has just scads of extra ARCs lying around, so to think of mine going to people who have no desire to read them is troubling. You are right, it’s not your job to redistribute ARCs, but you can always feel free to contact an author and say : “Hey, I got 3 ARCs of STARLING. Got any ideas for them?” OMG, I don’t even have a single ARC to my name right now and I would pay postage to get one for sure. Or if you wanted to give away a signed ARC, I would be willing to sign it and send it on to the winner if you sent it to me, etc. I bet a lot of authors would do the same, if it helps at least w/ the unwanted ARC problem 🙂

    I do think the hugeness of the publishing industry makes it a bit disorganized at times, and just wanted to say thanks for what you already do as far as passing on ARCs that aren’t for you.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh yeah, I know that authors basically have no say. You guys get a little box of ARCs and a little box of finished copies, but I imagine those go VERY quickly. And, though you can ask the publisher, they may or may not follow what you said. I’ve had authors put me on lists before, and sometimes it pans out whereas others nothing comes of it.

      If I or any of my friends that I know of gets Starling and doesn’t want it (either because it’s not their thing or they’re not caught up in the series), I’ll get them to let you know! Always good to put ARCs in the hands of people who will treasure them.

      It’s an unwieldy job certainly, but I can’t help feeling it could be a BIT better-managed than it is by some of these publishers.

  7. Anya says:

    I have to admit that I get grass is always greener problems with ARCs. As soon as I actually have access to it, it becomes less lust-worthy, even the big name books that everyone (including me!) wants to read. I fight it, but I also have to accept that it’s there deep down D:

    As far as the ARC entitlement section: I’m pretty sure there is no logic >.> If you get lucky, the intern who sees your email will decide to mail you a book (or forward your email to the right person), if you’re not, they’ll just delete your email *sigh*

    I still love Netgalley, though Edelweiss angers me. NG takes very little effort to request, and with the big six, I still assume I won’t get it. Edelweiss makes me slave over the paragraph explaining why I want the galley and I get rejected anyway, it just feels more personal ya know?

    As far as the “Why did they get it” question, I know a couple blogs that are run by booksellers, and so they get lots of ARCs because of their job, not their blog. Further, I’m friends with a bookseller, so she snags ARCs for me that she doesn’t have time for. This means that it looks like my little blog is getting attention from publishers, but really it’s a completely other situation. I do try to always mention that I got an ARC from my friend, not the publisher, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten at times.

    I’ve been hearing that pageviews are the stats that publishers care about now too, though I still just report everything I can, haha

    Hmm, interesting on the high ratings info. I definitely have heard to the contrary, but that is of course what publishers are saying, so if they aren’t actually holding to that, that’s good to know. However, I think that bloggers who are honest are liking to hold on to more followers, so it might balance out.

    I am curious how to get on the Macmillan and Orbit mailing list though if you can share >.>

    Omg I had a review copy that was missing pages 2/3 in once, it drove me crazy until a replacement copy arrived D:
    Anya recently posted…What Dragons Know… {New Feature!}My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      The “grass is greener” thing is probably because now you HAVE to read it, and it’s work.

      For the most part, no, there is no logic, and it makes me sad. Whenever I think I’ve figured something out, I learn I was wrong.

      Edelweiss does anger me. I have like a 40 or 50% approval rating over there. My blog isn’t all that, but I should be getting approved a bit more than that. Yikes! Also, someone once told me she never wrote why she wanted it and always got approved. That really annoyed me!

      That does make sense. Librarians and booksellers do have access to a lot of stuff the rest of us do not. I get ARCs from friends all the time too, but I do mention it, though often only in the vlog. Well, and I do separate out review copy books from gifted books.

      All I’m saying is that there are several blogs who get lots from publishers who always love things. It’s not the rule, but publishers certainly do not hate it. I think some publishers look for that more than others.

      Well, I can’t give out contact info. However, the Orbit publicist contacted me after I made a request for a title through their site. The Macmillan publicist found me and asked me to join a blog tour, after which she added me to the mailing list. So, for them, get your hands on a Macmillan arc from a friend and review it early, and hope?

      Oh dear. That happened to my mom. I let her review a book for me and the first copy that came was randomly missing like fifty pages. Weird!

  8. Loved this post so much.

    While it’s true that I really haven’t been blogging all that long (5 months) it still stings when there’s an ARC that I desperately wanted and every other blogger in the world has gotten a copy (or it at least feels that way) Even the ones who have been blogging for less than three months. Then I start second guessing stuff and wondering what the heck people? Why was I rejected?

    The thing is, we may never know what the formula is and honestly I’m not even sure the ARC distributers have a set formula. If they do it’s some crazy complicated thing, that we will probably never understand.

    Netgalley is pretty much a hit or miss for me. I do tend to get approved for the adult titles MUCH more than I get approved for YA titles so at least there’s some sort of pattern there.
    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted…Review: If You Leave (Beautifully Broken #2) by Courtney ColeMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      More than likely, it’s not so much a matter of a complex formula as it is of timing (tweeting them a link to a review just as they were in desperate need to dump some ARCs or something) and networking. If a particular publicist thinks you’re awesome, they’ll probably send you things. Their particular tastes will likely influence who the publisher sends things to.

  9. Jessica R says:

    You make a lot of really good points here, Christina. I think as bloggers we all appreciate when publishers send us the ARCs that we’ve been coveting, but we’re also doing something in return for those ARCs, which is the whole point of this relationship. Promo material in return for promo. So when we never get feedback about what we’re missing or what they want us to improve when we try to establish a relationship, it can be puzzling. I am always very grateful when I get an exciting ARC in the mail because it’s nice to feel that they’re trusting me to help get the word out about something I’m excited for too. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get bummed when I see someone else get an ARC that I was dying for.

    As much as I hate to admit it, the “HER?” thing totally happens, too. There are tons of bloggers that I admire and when I see they got an ARC I wanted, I think “Ooh, I can’t wait to see what she thinks.” There are others whose reviews maybe consist of a single small paragraph, for example and I go, “Really?” and I just feel kind of bummed because I always try to write longer, substantial reviews so getting passed over in favour of a single paragraph can be disappointing. It totally seems hit or miss sometimes, which is just more confusing than anything.

    I think Macmillan has a wonderful system going on, and it’s one that’s actually not uncomm0n with the contacts I work with. A lot of the Canadian publishers/distributors do just that: list what they have and you reply with what you want to review. It’s a great system because the right books are getting in the right bloggers’ hands.

    ALSO. The whole e-galley vs. print thing drives me kind of crazy. I understand that e-galleys are cheaper for the pubs. I get it. I also understand that I’m lucky to get print copies of some of the books I do. But you know what, other people aren’t nicer or better or more thoughtful than I am because they stick with e-galleys over print. I don’t own an actual e-reader, so how exactly am I supposed to read e-galleys galore? (On your computer, you may say, to which I reply “Gives me headaches after a while, and that turns my hobby into something not fun. I do this because I love it”). Not to mention that, as you said, personal preference is ALLOWED. We try to help the pubs too, it’s honestly not just “free books, yay!” So I think we’re allowed to have a preference, even if sometimes it means there isn’t a galley available for us. In that case, I’ll just buy the book. Because yes, I am blogger, and yes, I do indeed buy books. I promise.

    Phew. Thanks, Christina, for your great points and for promoting some discussion on this. I really hope I didn’t come across the wrong way, because I truly don’t mean to offend anyone either. I think most of us do this because we love it and that’s the most important part of blogging, so that’s what I try to stick with.
    Jessica R recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #39: NIL by Lynne MatsonMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      It’s hard. Early days, back when I first realized print review copies were a thing, I got insanely jealous, but now it’s more what I see as “unfairness” or “illogic” that gets to me. If I see a friend get something I wanted, I’m a bit sad I didn’t get it, but at least I know they’ll probably review it and promote it. When they go to people who barely review, though, I get all fired up with rage.

      Haha, I tried adding links to other blogs at the bottom of my reviews, and it lasted for like three reviews because it took forever to find reviews with varying opinions. Trying to find a black sheep was hard, and most of those reviews were so short and full of errors. I could not. Maybe publishers like that. What do I know?

      Oh, Canada. Why don’t I live in you? That sounds so nice and not stressful. I observed early on how good the Canadian publicists were.

      Actually, I’m not sure how much cheaper egalleys are. I would think they must be, but I don’t know how much EW and NetGalley charge per download, though I imagine that could be the system.

      Exactly. Galleys are nice, but I can live without them. If I get a bunch of ARCs, I end up following a really punishing schedule to get them read. I read so many more galleys than books I’ve chosen, because of the unsolicited ones that I try to take in hand. So, yeah, it’s fun, but it’s work too.

  10. Hah, I LOVE this post and was not even offended one bit, even as someone who gets all the ARCs from time to time, and someone who maybe people say — HER?! about.

    Anyways, I think we all get those jealousy feels. Especially when like it’s a book like Just One Year and let’s say you reviewed it and got +50 comments on the review but get rejected for it but then you see people who did NOT review it and got a copy. Sigh. No one is immune to that I think.

    Also, I like what you say about preferred format. And while I do not buy a TON of books for myself anymore, I do buy books for other people and those books are pretty much always books that I got as review copies, and um, I buy MULTIPLE copies.

    And yeah, so true about the weird amount of extra copies and finished copies of the same book, I don’t even know what to do with them, but I like the Christmas feel of opening a package hahahaha.

    Anyways, I just love this post! That’s all!
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Shadowlark | Meagan Spooner | Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Haha, I totally do not HER? at you because you read like a boss. However, I sometimes do look at your haul and wonder why I am not as awesome as you are. But I’m not and I accept this.

      Just One Day freaking killed me. I gave up and preordered it though, because I need my Gayle Forman. Of course, I won’t have time to read it for ages, but it will be waiting for me when I’m done.

      And, seriously, when I love something I end up buying so many copies. Like, I got Feed on NetGalley and Deadline/Blackout from the publisher, but I think I’ve bought three or four copies of the box set for friends.

      The multiple copies thing is really confusing. I never know what to do with them all, especially since it always seems to happen with something I end up not liking. Selling a book I hated is tricky.

  11. Well, I have a tiny blog with a few followers, so you might think I’m not the right person to sya something about it.
    But I can tell that here in Italy I can see book-blogs with lots of followers that post great reviews and posts that can’t have collaborations with Editors, and small blogs with less than my followers that have more than 2 or 3 collaborations with Editors!!! Moreover, their posts and reviews are so bad that you hardly can read those.
    So, sometimes is not a matter of meritocracy, but about knowing the right people in the right place, believe me!!!!
    I like your blog, and I love your style, I think you are right in everything you said in this post!

    • PS: The first gif! I just finished to watch that film with Emma Stone on tv! I loved it!
      Pink Vanilla Life recently posted…In & Out #4My Profile

      • Christina Franke says:

        I guess it’s the same around the world, then, huh? I don’t really care if it’s not me that gets things; I just want everything to make sense. Since I don’t understand, I keep trying to puzzle it out. That’s just my nature.

        Also, thanks for the compliments!

  12. YES. I still remember when we talked about this a little at Kara’s. It was true then and with more detail, it’s even more true now. How little logic there is to who gets what book, how they get it, and when they get it (like how some of the ARCs you got were probably already out/about to come out by the time you got them) is really frustrating. ESPECIALLY HARPERCOLLINS. *puts it in the corner for its print ARC shenanigans and inability to organize distribution*

    …*lets it back out because I remembered they whitelisted me for digital stuff*

    I’m always going to be frustrated about the two bloggers in particular that I know get all the things and yet either give them shit reviews (badly written but always positive) or don’t review them at all. I don’t want half the books they get, but God knows there are harder-working bloggers who want them and deserve them more.

    P.S. the gif of the cheerleader flipping her hair back is beautiful and I will now be taking it, please and thank you.

    P.P.S. I will never see David Tennant the same way again after watching him play a mustached man named Ginger.
    Ashleigh Paige recently posted…Blog Tour Stop! Review, Top 5, and Giveaway: No Angel by Helen KeebleMy Profile

  13. Jenn says:

    This was really fascinating. I use NetGalley so I’m familiar with their system, but not with how bloggers acquire print ARCs. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything!

  14. Benjamin says:

    Again from an author perspective this was an interesting post. Over the past couple years I’ve gotten a few glimpses behind the curtains and it seems a publicity department’s biggest concern is balancing budget and impact. Netgalley charges publishers big money to list, and just like with bloggers, it can open them up to a wide range of requests they don’t have time to check out, requests that can lead to reviewers who aren’t a good match (or just as easily miss a perfect match).

    I think at the end, Publicists are probably crazy busy and end up having far more requests for review than they can check out, hence the hit or miss. With tightening budgets one publicist might be in charge of over 50 books a season with a couple other hats as well. Of course over time they’ll hopefully build up a database of reviewers, but the blogs come and go as does reviewer tastes.

    With my next book I went out and tried to find reviewers who would be interested in my book and forwarded it to my publicist. That means I have less time to write, but at least we can ensure our limited ARCs get to people who want them. I’d say if you REALLY want an ARC, send a message to the author. They may not respond, but they might be able to forward your request as well.

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’ve wondered about NetGalley’s charges before. Do they charge a bulk price per-title or by download. I always wonder when some things are on Read Now, and some seem to only be on there for a couple of approvals. It’s curious.

      Oh yeah, I understand that publicists are busy, and I’m sympathetic. That is not a job I would want to do, because it would be very high stress. More than anything, this post was intended for bloggers, in case they were struggling with these things. I know a lot of bloggers don’t have any contacts and are trying to make them, and not knowing why. Basically, in most cases, it’s probably not you. There’s not really a “right” way to do it. There’s a lot of luck and timing involved.

      Generally, I don’t go to authors. I don’t know that I’ve ever asked an author for an ARC actually. If they have a form on the website, then I will fill it out, depending on how badly I want it. That can also be a good place to get the name of their publicist. A couple of times authors have put me on that list because I had their book in a WoW post or something, and I’m grateful for that, but I don’t like to push the author.

      • Benjamin says:

        Since I’ve started writing I see a lot of bloggers talking about ARCs so I can understand all the emotions that get tied up. It seems like there are a lot of similarities to authors and their submissions (though one could argue a difference in scale). I agree that there’s no right way. Thanks for sharing, its always interesting to see other aspects of the industry.

        As for contacting authors, I think it would be the same as contacting anyone in the industry: If they make themselves available (contact forms, email, goodreads) then fine, if not then don’t. Common sense and good manners are sure to go a long way.

        Authors are getting asked to take a lot more responsibility for marketing our own works, but at the same time most of us would rather be writing. I think finding a good balance is a tough goal for everyone to meet.

  15. I absolutely adore this post, I love the direction it takes to explains why we feel this way about ARCs and being rejected.

    Wanting an ARC in a specific format is not entitlement at all, it’s a preference. The publisher does not have to give us the ARC in that format if they don’t want to but we just won’t read it because we would rather give our time to other books. We’re not saying you have to give us a physical copy to make us read the book but we push aside other books for that specific book and time and effort to write a review. Time isn’t something you can get back.

    I find it hard to follow bloggers who don’t rate low, I need to know this reviewer doesn’t like every single book they read, I find it trust their opinion because I do get picky. I need to know that we share similar opinions or I can trust their opinion and that they’re not just reviewing it highly to get the publishers to favour them. I know some people just don’t review books they don’t like and I won’t follow their reviews, it’s a personal choice for me. I don’t always like reading positive reviews, I also like reading negative reviews because sometimes they speak more about the reviewer’s style and opinion more than a positive review.

    There really is no way to find out how publishers approve everyone, it hurts my head trying to figure it out so I’ve decided to leave it as it is. I think this is something we’ve got to try and accept and just work on our progress and the blog.

    I have one publisher who is willing to send internationally and I got a box of ARCs from them recently but only one book I got was what I actually requested. I was really disappointed because 2 of them were sequels I had never read before and I was never going to get to them anytime soon because I would need to get the previous books. I appreciate that they sent them but frustrated that they weren’t books I could read immediately or were interested in. I don’t want them to waste their time and ARCs on someone who is not going to get to them soon.

    I love that some publishers send catalogues, that would save them time and energy as well. It’s so much more organised and you don’t get bloggers being disappointed over what they received. Everyone will be happy.

    Also I feel like this gif is relevant to a lot of responses you’re getting to this post haha
    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted…Life of a Blogger: The Honest Truth Pt. 1My Profile

  16. Giselle says:

    Kudos to you C for saying what we’re all thinking. I do think a lot of systems for ARC distribution are skewed. Some have those monthly newsletters which I love, but one pub in Canada, for instance, will send an email at random times on random days with a list of often very coveted ARCs and a very small number of availability and it’s first come first serve. Which means if you don’t reply within 5-6 minutes, your shit out of luck. How is this fair at all? I will miss out on the ARC I wanted the most this year, one I’ve already requested from them, because I, you know, have a life? And then I will get 4 copies of the same book I never want to even read? O_o

    Blogger entitlement is usually said by non bloggers, because bloggers know what goes into this hobby. Which is a LOT. Others don’t know how much time and effort is put into it. One can easily spend as much time as a full time job just blogging and reviewing books. I mention this briefly in a post tomorrow, but reviews of a product is one of the most important marketing tool if not THE most important. Bloggers do this for FREE! Most review books we both get for review AND those we purchase. Pining for ARCs to review is hardly being greedy. I mean there are greedy ways to go about it and I’ve seen it, but those usually end up not blogging very long – I suppose bc of their lack of dedication that it requires.

    I believe the “her” thing happens to everyone whether they want to admit it or not. Asking and being denied for an ARC and 2 weeks later you see it in a haul of a blog who started 2 seconds ago and will likely never even review it is frustrating. I don’t let it get to me because I know the system is simply skewed, but it still kind of a hit to your blogging pride, you know.

    I also have noticed that bloggers who have very high averages (which I notice from Goodreads it tells you below their profile picture) seem to get more ARCs from more publishers than the most critical ones. I was wondering if it was just coincidence or me looking for a problem that wasn’t there. It’s funny that they don’t realize we put more force behind the critical reviewers. “Yet another 5 star review from this person” will not persuade me to read a book. But if say, YOU, 5 star a book, then yes it definitely raises a must-read flag for me. And your 2-3 stars won’t necessarily deter me, and if they do that publisher has probably avoided another negative review. Either way they’re not winning if this is what they’re basing their ARC approvals on…

    Like all system, it’s full of flaws. I’m glad some have the guts to raise a voice to the problem!

    P.S. – do you want my 5th copy of Wake? *snort*
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Unbreakable by Kami GarciaMy Profile

  17. Nafiza says:

    Awesome read! I am a little blogger (still) and I prefer it that way. I do get review copies and I appreciate them but at the same time, I do not deal with the pressure too well. Like you, I prefer paper copies but I will read e-books if I have to. I just hate doing so and it probably affects my overall appreciation of the book. Also, ARCs cost about $7 dollars to make (I don’t remember where I got that number). I do not think they’re more expensive to produce because if they were, they would not be sending them out willy nilly.
    Nafiza recently posted…Quick Fix – Linda GrimesMy Profile

  18. Alessandra says:

    Awesome post!

    I actually love e-galleys. I received a couple of print ARCs a few years ago, when book blogging was still relatively new, but then digital galleys came along and I prefer those. At least I don’t have to wait for the mailman. Mostly, I use Netgalley, since I usually get rejected from Edelweiss (two approvals from there since I started using it, and about 25 rejections).

    Approvals on Netgalley can be baffling, too. I usually stay well away from those publishers who I know will not accept me. However, I can’t for the life of me understand why I’m preapproved by Harlequin (and I’ve reviewed every single title I requested from them, usually with very positive reviews) and Harlequin Teen rejects me. I requested Crash Into You this morning – it’s from Harlequin Teen (argh) and I don’t have much hope.
    Alessandra recently posted…Book review: Keeping Her by Cora CarmackMy Profile

  19. Alessandra says:

    I was forgetting: when I get rejected for a book, and then I get it after it comes out and review it, I feel like I’m showing them I’m the bigger person. No idea why.
    Alessandra recently posted…Book review: Keeping Her by Cora CarmackMy Profile

  20. Thank you, Christina, for opening up a dialogue and being honest about something I think few bloggers would be willing to be so candid about.

    Advanced Reader Copies were not one of the reasons I began blogging (Hell, I didn’t even know they existed when I first joined the community) but I would be lying if I said they weren’t a point of fascination for me. I’ve only requested a handful on NetGalley since the launch of Pop! Goes The Reader, and was rejected for all. I think what’s most troubling for me is precisely what you’ve pointed out in this post – The lack of fundamental understanding about it all. It often seems as though there’s no rhyme or reason as to which blogger receives which book, and I can’t help but think that a little more transparency and a basic framework that would allow bloggers to understand what is required of them might help mitigate some of the hurt or confused feelings when one is rejected for a book request.

    In regards to the “Her?” feelings, I think this is entirely normal. Jealousy is a perfectly natural, if not altogether flattering, emotion. I’ll be the first to admit that I have become more than a little frustrated when I’ve seen a blogger who spends very little, if any, time on their reviews (See: One paragraph or less) receive a plethora of review books, particularly if it includes one you would have killed for and known you would have read and reviewed right away.

    As I mentioned on Twitter though, it’s not all bad. Sometimes I think that being rejected for ARC’s is a blessing in disguise. I have the absolute freedom to read what I want, when I want, and don’t have to structure my time around a strict schedule, which I fear might turn a beloved hobby into a dreaded chore. I’m very much a mood reader and like to choose my next book in the moment, which I would be unable to do should I suddenly have an important commitment to review a series of impending releases. Would I love to receive advanced reader copies of some of the books I’m looking forward to reading most in the next year? Sure, but it isn’t going to make or break my experience, which is ultimately about my love of reading and the wonderful friendships I’ve made along the way 🙂
    Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestMy Profile

  21. Meg says:

    I love this post! As a reader I have definitely had mad ARC envy for any blogger with an ARC because I saw them as things that were NOT FOR ME (unless I got really really lucky and won one in a contest or something) so it’s interesting to hear about the behind the scenes workings of the ARC game.

    Maybe this is just due to my ARC ignorance, but I don’t see how someone could consider wanting print ARCs over digital to be entitlement. Maybe if you were like I HAVE ALL THE ARCS AND WILL NEVER SHARE I could see it as entitlement, but preferring one form over another? That’s seems entirely reasonable and considering it otherwise seems silly.

    Print vs. digital vs. audio are such different experiences and that matters. For example, I cannot process audio books, I don’t know why. Pick a book I’ve loved and chances are if I’d read it in audio format, I probably wouldn’t have liked it anywhere near as much because hearing vs. reading are such different things for me.

    Thanks for putting all of this out there, it’s good to know.
    Meg recently posted…Review: Shadows by Robin McKinleyMy Profile

  22. Siiri says:

    I agree with bascially everything you said and as you pointed out, most people don’t read reviews to books that they’ve been highly anticipating and pining over. For instance, I didn’t read any reviews except for one about The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater and I only needed to read two reviews for Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and haven’t read one since because I want to experience it all as a new thing not something that many people have had their take on already or other people to point out different things in a book that perhaps I wouldn’t even had noticed if they hadn’t been mentioned before I started reading it. As for not everyone getting an arc, I got my first arc from Simon and Schuster (Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian) when I had 20 followers O.o and Harlequin Teen only recently granted me access to one of their titles on Netgalley and I don’t have that many followers. Only 155. Whereas Amy has hunderds of followers and she still has trouble getting approved for some big publishers. It’s beyond me how they choose people. And you’re right! If so much money is put into printing the arcs, shipping them etc–why would you even ship it to a person who doesn’t even like this genre or has disliked the titles by these authors in the past? Weird. I guess we’ll never completely know the mysteries that are arcs.
    Siiri recently posted…Review and Giveaway: The Darkest Part by Trisha WolfeMy Profile

  23. Molli says:

    Oh man, first off? Slow clap for this post, Christina. I know I tweeted you about it but THANK YOU for basically reading my mind and writing a post about it. You’ve asked some great, honest questions.

    I got a huge package from a publisher last week, and all of the books in it were unsolicited. (I think from some of your tweets you got the same one. ) YAY! This is great. But why did they suddenly send them to ME, when I’ve mostly just been working with them via Edelweiss for months? I’m auto-there which is perfect for me, because I don’t like physical ARCs (rare exception: I have an original signed and personalized ARC of Shatter Me I’ll never get rid of.) E-arcs are gone when they expire, and that works. So I’m torn – yay books, but they’re all October releases, which puts me way behind again. So, not to be ungrateful, but how DID they pick me and whomever else they sent to? Odd, isn’t it? I love working with publishers but the inner-workings make me SO darned curious.

    The how/why “why me” and “why NOT ME” of it all just…gets under my skin. There are some publishers I feel SO lucky to get to work with – and then there are some that if I stood on my head outside their offices, they wouldn’t notice me. So…it’s odd! Very odd.

    I do pretty well with not succumbing to blogger envy (it’s something I’ve been working on this year), but I won’t lie: I DO get so curious and envious sometimes when a blogger gets a book I REALLY wanted, and I don’t get it. I mean…we’re only human.

    OH! And what you said about how if a publisher doesn’t send you the ARC you aren’t sure when you’ll get to read it? THIS IS MY LIFE. I meant to read so many books from MY TBR (books I bought) this year. I’ve read maybe 5. I really want to work on this more this fall, and I hope I can. Life is just so BUSY that I end up reading mostly review books thanks to ARCs, unsolicited copies, finished copies, review requests…etc.

    I LOVE Macmillan’s system. I REALLY wish that other publishers would do something like this. It makes so much SENSE. *sigh*

    Anyway, you? Are awesome. This post? Is fantastic.
    Molli recently posted…Review: Simply Irresistable by Jill ShalvisMy Profile

  24. Jenni says:

    I totally get the “her?” thing that you mentioned. But I do always feel really bad when I end up thinking that way. Like you I just want to know how it works and what that person is doing right that maybe I’m not. I am constantly going through my request email thingy that I have typed up (to get on with pubs and in my EW and NG profiles) with a fine toothed comb because when I get denied I feel like it just isn’t good enough.
    Jenni recently posted…Fault Line ReviewMy Profile

  25. Kayla Beck says:

    You know, I never even noticed that there were so many blogs that wrote only positive reviews until I saw what other bloggers were saying. Honestly, I read a lot of blogs for collection development purposes at the library, and positive reviews do help loads. But now that you mention it, I can think of three blogs right off the top of my head that only says fabulous things about books. I wish I enjoyed everything I read that much.


    Also, this weird wish-granting system with ARCs is one that I don’t even try to think about it. I still see myself as a new, peon blogger, and publicists probably read my requests in their smoking jackets and monocles going, “HHNnmm… Quaint…” before burning it along with $100 dollar bills to keep warm. And you know what? That’s exactly as it should be – in my case – because I don’t write all the reviews that I should. Am I librarian? Yes. Do I put books in readers hands? Awkwardly, and often against their will. Just not as many reviews as I should write. That being said, I do treasure the ARCs that I’m lucky enough to get through tours or benevolent friends who take pity upon my poor soul. And if they’re mine, I try to pass them on to the kids who want them at this library. It’s not hurting sales in the slightest because the majority of them can’t afford the new hardcovers anyway.

    I think I went off topic. Someone should get my keys out of the refrigerator and send me home. *wanders off*
    Kayla Beck recently posted…Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefanoMy Profile

  26. First of all, love that Easy A gif… “A” for ARCs, right?! LOL.

    I feel like the rejections I’ve had on NG and EW have built me up to feel even remotely comfortable sending an e-mail requesting a print ARC or two from publishers. I mean, how can the reply be any worse than some of the very strange rejection e-mails I get from those two sites, LOL.

    You make a great point about blogger entitlement and print copies. I honestly don’t think about other bloggers that request them to be entitled, but oddly, I feel guilty if I even think about it. WHY?!? Ugh. I guess it’s insecurities about my numbers and things, but it does also come back to the idea of blogger entitlement.

    The quality of the reviews thing does get me sometimes. I KNOW the purpose of an ARC is to stir up excitement for a book, and get people interested in it, but when a blogger with tons of followers just basically summarizes the book in 1 paragraph and then has a few lines about what they like about it? I like reviews to have substance and it’s frustrating sometimes because it seems that book could have been better appreciated or reviewed by someone else.

    All in all, great post (and title, haha)! Now I’m off to read the comments 🙂

  27. […] Nerd Reviews explains why your Netgalley ration matters. – Christina @ Reader of Fictions discusses the moan of ARCs. – Parajunkee talks about the pressure to review books everyday. – Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews says […]

  28. […] discusses her frustrations with ARCs, mainly that the why is so often a […]

  29. Alice says:

    This is a fantastic post; it’s actually a little insight into ARCs as I’ve only just got into the whole NetGalley game and it’s a strange beast. I’m baffled by the approval or rejection system, as it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but I’ve not really been rejected much yet – maybe I don’t tend to request popular books. I don’t get sent any though, and like you I think I would prefer to have a print copy. Heyho, it’s a fun strange thing.
    Alice recently posted…Review: Straight White Male by John NivenMy Profile

  30. Lyn Kaye says:

    Things have gotten very sticky with ARCs. For some reason, I just fell out of love with getting ARCs. If I am to be honest, I think I am not the type of blogger that the publishers want, and after a while, I got the point, and I hardly even request them any longer.

    I love this post, and I am stealing your Spock gif.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #60My Profile

  31. pabkins says:

    First I commend you! You are so brave to put your opinion out there on this! I always have a “huh” moment every time I receive a book I didn’t ask for. I totally get that they want reviews on that title. But almost always its a book that I have no interest in – or like you said haven’t read the first few books. Now, if I do get sent a book2/3 and I’d be interested in reading it I’ll let them know I can give book1 a try and they are welcome to send that if they are so inclined.

    I make it a point to read my purchased books in between my review books so I don’t get review book burnout. Personally if I really love a book 1 series I will buy the next book and don’t always bother requesting the second book. If they send it to me then hey thats nice too. But it’s good to be supportive. For the books I love I buy a copy for a friend or family member. I think there are some bloggers out there that just do it for the free books but then there are those of us that still spend as much money on books as we would if we weren’t review bloggers.

    I do agree those few publishers that have the lists that they send out telling you what they have available for the next season is genius! It saves them and us so much heartache. I prefer having contact with an actual publicist because then you have a real connection with someone as opposed to NG and EW where it is so impersonal. That is the reason I don’t like to use those systems.

    There really is no telling why some bloggers get tons of arcs in boxfulls and others have a hard time even getting one from that same publisher. It has always boggled my mind. But hey I figure it’s their loss not mine. I’ll still read the book if I REALLY want to.

    I’m lucky in that a few of the contacts I work with take my tastes into account when sending me unsolicited books. There will always be ARC jealousy out there. Usually I’m just happy for that person if they were excited to get that book, and pine away under my desk and weep a little that I’ll have to wait however many months til I can buy it. LOL
    pabkins recently posted…Review: When the World Was Flat (and We Were in Love) by Ingrid JonachMy Profile

  32. […] Moan of ARC at A Reader of Fiction […]

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