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 I 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!