Why It Is Hard to Say ‘NO’ to Publishers; and Why It Is Absolutely Necessary

So, as book bloggers, sooner or later : you’re going to get acquainted with ARCs. You’re either going to avail the services of NetGalley, or you’re going to contact a publisher and eventually receive (or not receive) physical ARCs. You might win giveaways, and join review programs, but the bottom line is : you’re going to be involved. In this mysterious, exciting, super-amazing phenomenon called ARCs.

[ARC – Advanced Reader’s Copy]

Now, of course, the sole purpose of bookblogging isn’t getting ARCs (if it is yours, you need to reevaluate things) but all book bloggers know that eventually, they are going to have something to do with review copies. Be it a professional blog or just a ‘hobby’, as some people call it, we’re all competent enough to review books our own way on our blogs.

I’m going to talk a bit about my own journey with receiving ARCs and then jump into the topic of the discussion. So, about a few months into blogging, I started receiving emails from authors/publishers to review ecopies of their books. A few more months into it, and about 300 followers strong, I received my first ever physical ARC, and have been receiving them ever since. I regularly request books on NetGalley, though I’m definitely not accepted for all my requests.

Initially, I used to accept all review requests made to me. No matter what the book was (unless it was something I wasn’t interested in at all), I’d always say yes and eventually the pressure kept building. I realized that I wasn’t super interested in the books I was reading, and the sole purpose of my reading those books wasn’t enjoyment, but reviewing. So I thought and thought. Wrote back to a few authors about how I wouldn’t be able to review their books and how sorry I was. Wrote a detailed review policy, and finally found the courage to say no, when not interested in reviewing a book. Now, a few months later, I’m much more comfortable with the kind of reviewing pattern I have (and also, if you check my review policy, it clearly says that I’m not accepting requests till April 2017, so I’m anyway not getting that many review requests).

[So now, onto the topic..]

Why is it hard to say ‘NO’ to publishers?

1) Beginner : As a beginner, the first time you receive an ARC, or the first time you receive an email from a publisher, that moment is huge. You don’t really look into what the book is all about (I certainly didn’t :P) and you’re much more excited to draft the return email and get the book (or the ecopy) in your hands. It’s overwhelming, sure, but it’s also the main reason why we often induce ourselves to read something we’re genuinely not interested in.

2) Considering it as our ‘duty’ : Most people consider book reviewing as a ‘job’ or a ‘duty’ for a bookblogger (which in a way, it is, but there’s no written rule) but what people don’t realize that it isn’t our ‘job’ to accept books from publishers. We have complete right to say no, and it definitely isn’t a task for us, reviewing advanced copies is also a hobby/passion and we need to do it as we like it, in our own way. There shouldn’t be any pressure regarding this, and it’s all for the love for reading.

3) Trying to avoid offence : Sometimes, there’s just not a good way to say no. Sometimes, you might just no ‘feel’ like reading a review copy, but that hardly stands as a valid reason, right? I remember when I first started saying no because I was too busy with my studies, I always feared that I’d come off too proud and high-and-mighty (though thankfully, that feeling changed). Even admitting the truth that you’re genuinely not interested in the book is pretty darn awkward, because a lot of hard work goes into the making of a book, and I know would be offended if someone was not interested enough in my work! And thus, we avoid the awkwardness and formality, and give in to the request.

Why it is absolutely necessary you learn to say NO

1) You don’t need that kind of pressure : Seriously, stop, and breathe. ARCs are pretty damn pressurizing, and sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with the release dates and all. When you have too many ARCs to review, you’re more likely to mess up release dates and submit reviews irregularly. Plus, there’s no point in pressurizing your reading AT all (more on that later).

2) Forcefully accepting something reduces chances of your enjoying it : If you’re not interested in a book, and yet accept a review request : You drastically lowered your chances of your enjoying the book. Because the moment we accept such requests, the term ‘job’ gets attached to your reading, and it’s physically painful to submit a negative review to a publisher. There is no way you’ll enjoy the book because a) it’s genuinely not in sync with your tastes and b) you think and want to enjoy it so badly, that it further messes up things. (Don’t fall into this trap, just say NO!)

3) It’s a time waste : Seriously, this doesn’t need an explanation. Think of the other amazing books you could’ve read in the time you wasted on that bad review copy!

4) You’re being unfair to the publisher : Mostly with physical ARCs (and sometimes even with eARCs) – publishers/authors have a limit on the number of books they can send out for review. If you, not being interested, yet accept to review it – you’re disservicing the publisher because now they have one less book to send out for review, and it went for waste. If not you, someone else might have enjoyed it and you’re just being unfair to the book!

5) Reading is primarily, for enjoyment : I get that reviewing books is fun (I love it) – but it should never be a priority higher than reading itself. There is absolutely NO point in reading something you don’t/don’t think will enjoy – and it’s sad how many people read books for reasons other than enjoyment.

So that was it! I would love to hear your story – your thoughts and experiences with this ARC crisis most bloggers face. Are you the kind of blogger who’s picky and chooses as per her/his own taste, or are you more of a I-accept-everything blogger? Join in the discussion!


20 thoughts on “Why It Is Hard to Say ‘NO’ to Publishers; and Why It Is Absolutely Necessary

  1. I agree with everything! I def didn’t check what the first book offered to me was I was just so excited that a publisher contacted me 😆 but now I constantly say no and it is the rare chance when the book sounds exactly right for me that I’ll accept a book to review. I mainly just request arcs if I want one that way I can’t overwhelm myself.
    Its so awkward telling someone you don’t want to read there book but it has to be done so ah well 😅 great discussion post!


    1. Thank you! I too nowadays accept requests only if the book fits my type, and if there’s something particular I want to review : I just request it from the publisher ☺ Yes it’s awkward but it definitely has to be done :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with all your points! The first time an author contacted me, I was so excited that I simply accepted the request though I was not particularly interested in the genre or the concept :P For a while, I accepted all the requests that I got because I, like you mentioned, didn’t want to appear uninterested in the book and offend the author/publisher. Now, I’ve got much better at saying no! It took a while to realize that being a blogger does not mean you’re obligated to read EVERY SINGLE book that comes your way :P


  3. Very interesting post! I’m also Indian. I have a question regarding how you get ARCs. I get many eARCS on net but how to get physical books? You just email the publisher?


  4. That was such an amazing insight to this ‘ARC apocalypse’ lol 😂
    I have just now started reviewing books on my blog, but right now I am reviewing only those that I have bought myself and enjoyed reading. But I am way too excited to receive ‘PHYSICAL’ copies of book for free, it must feel so good!
    But by your thoughts, I think I should be prepared and work on my review policy!
    Would you like to check out my reviews and see if they match the standards of bookblogging?


    1. Yes, receiving books for review is definitely a treat, and makes you feel accomplished as a blogger :) I hope you have a great time reviewing books specifically for publishers and authors :) I read one of your reviews (Angels and Demons) and I quite liked it, though I would suggest branching out and reading more types of books :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, that’s so true! There’s no bigger pleasure than receiving books for free, that also hard copies!!!
        I am glad you liked it! And thanks for the suggestion! I do read different genre, it’s like I have just stepped in the book blogging, so I will take time to review all genre. Thanks a lot! :)
        Would you mind if I ask you how do you get hard ARC copy?


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