Saturday, August 9, 2014

Some thoughts on Advanced Reader Copies

So, advanced reader copies. Publishers proofs. Whatever you want to call them really. They seem to be a never-ending source of discussion in the book blogging world. There seems to be a section devoted to them at least every fortnight in Oh the Books' very thorough weekly roundup. And more often than not that discussion seems to be focused on things like. .  ARC envy, not being able to get them when you want them, not being able to get the ones you want, having to many and not being able to keep up with them . . . etc.With all this going on constantly you may wonder why I'd want to throw my two cents into the pond.

I write a book blog. As far as book blogs go, it has a relatively small following. I am far far away from a superstar blogger. For me it is a hobby, among many other hobbies. I post when I feel like it, not five (or sometimes even two) times a week. I don't worry very much about how many followers I have. And yet I haven't been turned down for an advanced reader copy in over a year. Lately I've been wondering why that is. I think it simply comes down to my personality and the way I read, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts. This is not an instruction manual! Or a boast! It's just some reflective ponderings.

  • I hate DNF (did-not-finishing). With a passion. I can count the number of books I've given up on half way through on one hand. Most of the time I truly wish I was better at giving up on books. But it does mean that I've never had an ARC that I hadn't finished. 
  • I don't like having a massive to-be-read pile. Having a pile of books I have to read in a certain amount of time turns me into a pile of stress and turns reading from a joy into a chore. Which I don't like. . . . which means the most ARCs I ever have on my pile at any one time is two. 
  • I like reading backlist titles just as much as I like reading new ones. I don't ever want to limit myself to just reading brand new books. Heck, I'm trying to read 50 classics in 5 years. So when I'm looking through publishers catalogues I'm not going *this looks like it might be good. . . . let's see if I can get a copy*, it's *this looks FANTASTIC* or *this looks EXACTLY like the kind of book I want to read right now* 
  • I feel genuine gratitude to publishers when I think about the amount of work that goes into giving someone like me an ARC. Especially with print copies, which I prefer. For me to get a print advanced reader copy, they need to produce advanced copies (which are often far more expensive to produce due to smaller print runs), employ someone to sift through requests or get in touch with the people they think are best to read it, employ someone to package them up and pay the postage to get it to me. Considering that for the most part it's a book I requested, the least I can do to repay them for their effort is read the book and give them some feedback (I'm not saying I always give good feedback. Just feedback). 
  • My tastes are pretty encompassing. At the moment I'm reading a creepy thriller and a New Adult going-to-university story. Next on my pile is a biography of a historical Chinese Empress. Which means the ARCs that stand out to me often aren't the really high profile releases. 

On the whole, the combination of these factors means that I don't get turned down for ARCs. On blogger programmes where stats are a factor, my stats are high (on netgalley, which I don't really use anymore, my stats are literally 100%). I have good relationships with publishers, who appreciate when they get consistent feedback.  I've never suffered ARC envy, and stick to a level and genres of reading I'm comfortable with. It probably wouldn't work for everybody. But it definitely works for me.


  1. I've been reluctant to ask for ARCs because I'm a new blogger and don't have a huge following, but your post just inspired me to ask for a copy of a book I really want to review. I might get turned down, but what else do I have to lose? Thanks for this thoughtful post -- it's good to know about your experience.

    1. Thats exactly right, the worse they can do is say no!