Yes, the header is a bit dramatic. But I am a writer and a reader, so I’m inclined to make slightly dramatic headers ever once in a while. Not sorry.
Since I was a knee-high-to-a-grasshopper blogger, I’ve wanted to be an ARC reviewer. To me, it was the pinnacle of awesomeness in the blogging realm. We, squishy mortals, getting books to read BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE? Please, I’m hyperventilating.
Also: Before we go on, ARC is short for — Advanced Reader Copy. Like the army, bookworms also love acronyms. ARCs usually still have mistakes in them (they haven’t had the final edit) and the covers aren’t normal. For instance:
It’s almost been a year since I started ARC reviewing. But I do review a lot of library books, too. Because I can. Ha ha! I review ARCs through NetGalley and various Australian publishers who send books straight to my doorstep. Bless them.
Even though I’m still a wee grasshopper in the world of book blogging and ARCs, I’ve already noticed that there are pros and cons to being an ARC reviewer. I used to never understand why a lot of the “big blogs” would stop reviewing ARCs or decline really awesome and famous books coming out! It blew my tiny mind. Now I do.
Here are some reasons why ARC reviewing can be less-than-awesome:
1. You need to finish the book.
Well, you don’t have to. I mean, no one’s paying you, exactly. But a publisher did just give you a book FOR FREE in exchange for your honest review. It’s not fair to them if you don’t review it. Besides! It’s really the “condition” for getting ARCs. You get them. You review them. Ta-da.
2. You need to review the book, even if you hated it.
I don’t know about you, but I hate reviewing books I don’t like! I feel like a cranky old meanie. Particularly if a lot of other people liked the book…but I digress! Writing sucky reviews is incredibly hard and depressing.
3. You know those sucky reviews? You have to send them back to the publisher.
I really struggle with this one. I tweet links of my reviews and tag the publisher and author in them (but I don’t tag the author if I hated the book…they don’t need to know!). I often email links of the reviews back to the publicist who sent me the book. I do NOT want to email back a review and say “thanks for giving me the book, but it was horrible”. Who wants to admit that?!!
4. You know those sucky books? THEY’RE NOW YOURS TO KEEP FOREVER.
Bleh. If they’re ebooks, then it doesn’t matter. They just tuck away on into the abyss of my kindle. But what about my precious bookshelf?! I don’t like filling my shelves with awful books I really didn’t like! (Right now, I have several books I wouldn’t mind throwing into a black hole in space.)
Giveaways are a viable option for these books I don’t like (just because I had issues, doesn’t mean you will) but postage is expensive. Particularly in Australia. I love those authors who write 500-page books, but honestly? It’s very hard to send them without stealing the moon and selling it on the black market.
So yeah! There’s a dark side. It’s a little gloomy sometimes. If you only reviewed books you won/bought/borrowed, you wouldn’t have to worry about giving negative feedback or hurting people’s feelings.
If you don’t know much about ARC reviewing, I think it’s helpful to know this up-front. I went in assuming I’d love every book! I don’t know why I thought that. Just because a book isn’t published yet, doesn’t mean it’s going to be extra-awesome.
But wait! It sounds like I don’t like ARC reviewing WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT TRUE. I love ARC reviewing! It is my favourite thing of ever. I adore getting to read books ahead of time, and, words do not describe how much I love free books in my mailbox. I’ve always wanted to be a Real Book Blogger (whatever that means exactly), and I think I’m definitely on my way. I wouldn’t stop ARC reviewing for anything! And I absolutely love all the publishers who give me their books to review because it. makes. my. day.
Because, secretly now, shh, shh, don’t let anyone else know (this is just between us) — I’m very hugely extremely incredibly in love with books and I will read them forever and forever.
Cait gets a lot of packages of books in the mail. Her mother gets jealous because Cait gets more packages than anyone else in the house. Occasionally, if she is feeling nice, Cait even lets Mime open one of her packages. But mostly she doesn’t. Currently, she’s reading an ARC of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY because reading makes her very happy.