ARC’s, an occasional privilege for all and not a monopoly for the few y’all:
As those of you who have followed my blog for a while might remember way back in July I wrote a post about ARC’s called ARC’s Ggggrrrr, if any of you want to peruse it the link can be found !!HERE!! Where I offered my opinion on the rules of requesting ARC’s and the supposedly golden rule of 6 months blogging and 500 followers before you should even consider requesting an ARC.
The other day my fellow blogger and good friend Jill at RantandRaveaboutBooks wrote a post entitled the raves of blogging, a link canbe found !!HERE!! It’s a great read so I’d suggest giving it a read, after you’ve finished reading this post of course! Now, in her post Jill touched on the subject of ARC’s. I refrained from offering my thoughts in her comments section, as I didn’t want to start a debate on her blog and in her post due to something I wrote as it would have been unfair of me to pollute her blog with my views.
Jill is also currently running a rant contest for her 6 month bloggiversary, so this bad boy will count as my entry and I also get to muse on one of my most hated of subjects in blogging, ARC’s and the supposed rules surrounding them, it’s a win win! Find Jill’s rant contest !!HERE!!
My previous post about ARC’s was written before I had been blogging for 6 months and before I had 500 followers either, partly due to a few posts I had seen where bloggers gave new bloggers rules on blogging and while generally helpful the ARC’s rule stuck out for me as I’d requested ARC’s near as soon as I started blogging and I thought that would make me vilified in the blogging community as I’d requested precious ARC’s before that golden rule of 6 months/500 followers and on the posts I read it didn’t come across as advice with logic and reasoning behind it, no, it came across as established bloggers thinking that they have the monopoly on ARC’s as they have been blogging for years and have thousands of followers, way to keep the little man/woman/blog down!
As mentioned, I requested ARC’s straight away, only one or two and they were books in series that I liked so they were books I’d have actually bought anyway but I thought it was worth a shot to see if I was lucky and I was, I got the books. Main reason I requested them though was that I wanted to see if there was any hope for my blog, I’d only just started it and had seen the 6 months/500 rule being bandied about and thought am I ever going to get the chance at an ARC? I was honest in my emails to the publisher that I had only just started a blog and that honesty got me the ARC’s. Wasn’t I had disobeying that rule! Aren’t I a terrible blogger, oh the shame, please accept my heartfelt and sincere apologies for requesting ARC’s before the alloted time from all the omnipotent bloggers out there, I will add it to the list and the next time I’m in church I will make sure to repent my awful sin.
We all suffer ARC envy, no matter how long we have been blogging, at times its human nature to want what someone else has got. Jill touched on it in her post about Dark Matter and that she was denied an ARC while other bloggers received them, she’s a fan of the author and so, it’s understandable that she was annoyed about being declined as other bloggers received the book and had no prior knowledge of the author or his work, but is that the bloggers fault or the publishers? A few months ago I requested an ARC, I was denied by both the publisher who I had emailed and Netgalley, it was the final book in a trilogy, I’d read the previous two books and would have been able to have written a decent review whereas, lots of other bloggers received the book and hadn’t read either of the two other books and thusly had to start their reviews with “it’s the third book, I haven’t read the previous two” – or similar whereas I could have written how it continued, how the characters continued to develop and if the book fit with the others in the trilogy, I ask you again though, is that the bloggers fault for requesting the book or the publisher?
And, I believe it’s the publisher’s fault or no one’s, it’s upto the publisher if they accept or deny review requests like it’s upto the blogger if they ask for the book. Is it annoying when someone gets a book you want and you don’t? Of course it is, but you may moan and sulk but at the end of the day you will buy the book anyway and sometime in the future the roles maybe reversed and you get a book that another blogger would have loved an ARC of.
I’m not a new blogger having accrued my 6 months and 500 followers but I’m certainly not an established blogger either, I probably sit somewhere in the ether of the forgotten in between lost and abandoned along the blogging highway of the vilified. But Jills comments got me thinking and I’d also seen some more new blog posts with that same damn rule and I feel the need to tell you that it’s a load of crap, new bloggers or those who don’t have that amount of followers don’t listen to or obey it. I’d like to find who thought it up and ask them what they’d been smoking and if they were high when they decided on it!
I’ve been lucky enough to get on some mailing lists for publishers. I’m in the UK and it willbe different for those of you in other countries, but I got accepted for one mailing list way before I’d reached that damn supposed golden rule. There’s only one UK publisher that I’ve found from browsing that has any sort of rule and their rule is 1000 followers on Twitter or Facebook, on the site it doesn’t mention anything about blog followers or how long you have been blogging just Twitter or Facebook which is stupid as you get loads of people follow you on there who have no interest in books or blogging.
I’ve come a long way since then and like to think I have crafted my own small but individual blog. And as such, the only rules I’d suggest to newer bloggers before requesting ARC’s are:
-To begin with, always be polite and professional when in contact with publishers, a small bit of personality is OK but predominantly keep correspondence short, polite and to the point.
-For the first time request a book from an author or series you read as your enthusiasm will come across in the email when asking. Obviously keep it polite and respectable but if you can say that it’s a series you really enjoy and would love the chance of the book, you may get lucky or you may not as the publicist will see your genuine love and enthusiasm for the book/author and could give you the chance.
-Don’t request loads of books, from either publishers or Netgalley, you could end up with so many to read and even some that don’t interest you. That ties into, only request books you have interest in. I get sent lots of press releases from one publisher and there’s nothing stopping me accepting each book but I don’t as it would be wrong, I only accept the books that genuinely interest me and I’ve declined far more than I’ve actually accepted.
-Always be polite and courteous and respect the publisher decision, if you’re not accepted onto a mailing list or your ARC request is rejected, moan about it all you want to friends and others but don’t moan to the publisher and keep requesting the same book over and over again or keep emailing asking why you were rejected, it won’t make you look good and you want to try to cultivate and build decent relationships with the publishers if given the chance, to allow future relationships to build and be given the opportunity to work with them again. You may get accepted, you may get rejected, you may get a reply from the publisher but you also may not, these are all things you need to be able to deal with in a grown up manner. And, let’s be honest, the worst thing that can happen is the publisher says no, it’s a word we hear throughout our entire lives and the world won’t end just because the publisher says no, you dust yourself off and get on with reading which you do for the love of it as you are a genuine book lover.
-Always be honest in your reviews, don’t simply throw your integrity away by pandering to authors by giving every book 5 stars in the hope that publishers will give you ARC’s. This isn’t just an ARC requesting rule but a blog rule in general. Always review honestly. Whether it’s a 5 star amazing book or a 2 star what the hell did I just read book! Review honesty and fairly and as long as you can say at the end of your review, when you read it through and check it, yes, that’s honestly what I thought about the book then you will make a genuine blogger.
On a side, no matter what you may think about the publishers and authors wanting to hear 5 star reviews and praise and if there indie authors who get annoyed as you didn’t like their book to. It’s not true, I’ve emailed with a publisher about this as I didn’t enjoy one of the books I’d read and he told me that they value honest, be it good or bad, honest reviews explaining what you liked or didn’t like in the book.
-I don’t believe in a time frame for requesting ARC’s or an amount of followers. I’d only suggest to you that you don’t request ARC’s until you feel comfortable with your blog and your reviews. Everyone reviews differently. When I first started blogging I didn’t know how to review or what style to use but after a while I settled on a simple style of book cover and then simple writing, I like to keep my blog simple and this simplistic review style works well for me. There’s other styles out there to all which work for other bloggers, vibrant and colourful, the use of gifs, bullet points, separate sections for each part of the review (plot, characters, writing, etc). I say to you, find what style works best for both you and your blog, remember to incorporate social media (Twitter is great for book bloggers and banter) and when your confident in your blog and reviews then request ARC’s.
Well, to paraphrase Eminem, there’s my ten cents, my two cents is free or in proper terms, to conclude:
New bloggers, ARC’s are not a given you may get lucky with them but you may not and they are something to work for, that joy at being accepted, added to a mailing list and/or receiving surprise book post is wonderful but it’s only an added extra to blogging and it’s something to appreciate and cherish not to be taken for granted.
Established bloggers, you may have years of blogging experience and thousands of followers and while to you, that may make you a better blogger and worthy of ARC’s, just because newer bloggers and blogs have less experience and followers it doesn’t make them any less worthy of requesting ARC’s than you are. The only difference is that you have been where they are, struggling to get the followers and the chances so please remember, you started out in the same place as new bloggers.
Maybe some of us came late to the blogging game but we’re all booklovers together whatever the genre we read and the only real rule every blogger should remember is that. From the newest blogger with one follower and a weeks blogging experience all the way through to the most experienced blogger with thousands of followers and years experience. ARC’s are not and should not be a given for anyone, they are an additional bonus to blogging and an occasional privilege to all y’all!
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