Thursday, March 5, 2015

Help! Advice about ARCs

I'm pretty good about reading the ARCs I receive on time.  But as more and more of my requests for them get accepted (yay!), I find myself with a few that I haven't read.  So here are some questions.  Is there ever a time that you shouldn't review the ARC?  That it's just too late?  The publication date for some of these have come and gone and for some, it's starting to be six months since the book was published.  Should I still review it?

Also, what if I just don't think I'm going to like the book and that's why I'm not reading it?  Maybe I thought I would at the time, but now I'm just not in the mood or maybe I've read a bunch of negative reviews.  Would it be better to not review it or to review it and write a negative review?  I may be pleasantly surprised, but usually, if I force myself to read a book I don't want to read, at most it's going to be a 3 star read.

Finally, I always wait until 30 days before the book is published before I post my review, even if I read the book super early.  I just schedule it to post months in advance.  But I've noticed on Goodreads, and even some blogs, very early reviews. Is that actually ok?  It seems like all of the ARCs I get explicitly ask you to wait until at least 30 days before publication date.

Anyway, I would really appreciate your advice!

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I would love to know what everyone says about the timeframe to read an ARC! I've had some that have a pub. date around 6 months ago too. Some I'm just not interested in anymore after reading reviews so I don't know what to say either. As far as posting reviews go, I don't publish them until at least a month before publication date. I've noticed a lot of publishers ask you to not to so I just do it for all of them.

  2. Hey, Pam. I don't have a lot of time, so I'm going to be quick -- I always review the ARCs regardless of the pub date. It took me over six months to get to Vault of Dreamers, Jodi Anderson's book, and something else, but I went through anyway because publishers keep track of your review record & if you've been a helpful blog, you only stand to improve your relationship with them. I think that writing a negative review is better than no review - I've definitely read books because of negative reviews whereas with no review, maybe I won't hear about the book. And as for the post, I think they mostly consider blogs to be your main outlet. I post reviews early on Goodreads since I know some bloggers look at GR before downloading/requesting books and I figure that's okay (you know, as long as you're not SPOILING the book for everyone). A blogger you should check out is Lili at Lili's REflections. She is the Bloomsbury intern and she's running a series on her experience there - some topics include ARC requests, etc.

    :) hope that helped.

  3. Hi Pam,

    I'll have to agree with Christina on most points here. I attempt to review every ARC or eGalley I receive because I figure if they went to the trouble of letting me have it for free, I owe them something for being out the cost of that book. There were a couple of instances where I did not review the book, and that was only because I absolutely couldn't get through it, despite trying repeatedly. It was just that bad. But this doesn't happen very often. I agree that it's better to post a bad review than none at all, if you can possibly help it.

    As far as time frames... I went through a large chunk of time over a year ago when I took a hiatus from my blog for personal reasons...very unexpectedly. It was many, many months that I was gone. I had ARCs waiting to be read. When I finally returned from the hiatus, I read all those books and reviewed them on my blog, despite the fact that they had been given to me over 9 months before. I think it's just good business. I felt like I needed to make it up to them and the authors. But in most cases, I try to give ARCs and eGalleys top priority...that way I won't run into the issue of time running out on me. I also try to be choosy on which ones I request myself, that way there is less chance of me ending up with books I'm not really interested in. When I first started reviewing, I asked for anything and everything and was left with quite a few books I had to struggle my way through that I ended up hating and wasting my time on. Being more choosy helps me avoid that.

    On when to post... most publishers who send hard copy ARCs do ask that you wait until at least 30 days before... some have even asked for only 2 weeks prior to release date. I know some bloggers post way before, but the way I look at it is this: if you wait until at least 30 days before, you're helping to build momentum for that author's book release. Then when readers see your review, that release date will be more fresh on their mind. If they read the review six months ago, by the time release date rolls around, they won't remember that book unless they wrote it down.

    Hope this is helpful! :-)

    Shannon @ The Tale Temptress

  4. Such a great topic! I try to review anything I request, and I agree that holding onto the arc and reading later is okay. I just can't get to everything on time! I'm sure publishers appreciate reviews coming out after release b/c it reminds people of the book's existence. However, sometimes, I'll request a book and realize after seeing some reviews that it's not going to work for me, then I generally don't read it. I try to be very careful about what I request, but I just can't force myself to read a lot of things I won't like. I'll try to pass it to someone who will like it, if I can.

    Publishers are so different about when to post reviews. Macmillan doesn't seem to mind very early reviews, Bloomsbury has said they want them a month out or sooner, and Penguin frequently tells me they want reviews on release date or after. It's tricky. I try to stick to 1-2 moths out at most, though occasionally, I'll post something early. The thing about this is that sometimes pubs notice early reviews more because they don't come out when everyone else's does, and that helps with getting on their lists. It's never a simple process!

  5. In my mind, I have to review the ARC no matter how long it's taking me, and it sometimes takes me forever. *eyes my ever growing stack of review books* I think do it in the time you can and make a conscious effort to do so. I think that's enough.

    I also personally like to wait until closer to the release date to start posting books that are not already released. It just feels smarter, for me, to wait. :)

  6. My goal is to read or at least attempt to read all my ARCs. I'm way behind, but my goal this year is to raise my percentage of reviewed books substantially on NG and Edelweiss. I know some publishers have pulled back from approving bloggers who don't review their ARCs, so definitely an incentive to read them all. Some I have noted DNF because the book wasn't for me or I didn't like it enough to continue on, but I still note that to the publisher in the review section. I think it is good for them to know which books might not work for readers.

    I just have to say congrats on getting more approvals. I was like you about a year or so ago when all of a sudden a lot that I requested was approved and then I was getting a ton of approvals that I didn't know what to do with whereas previously I had gotten very few and so they were easy to keep up with. I hope you're better at it than I am.

    One blogger noted that when she requested a book, she put it on her calendar so that she didn't request more than she could read and was set to review each book when it was approved. I haven't been brave enough to do that because I have such varied tastes and request so much, but I do need to limit more what I request.

    Great topic! :)

    1. Oh, and yes, I try to review closer to the review date, although I have posted a few reviews early.

  7. I have many of these same questions myself. I personally would feel bad not reviewing an ARC I requested and received from a Publisher. That is why I am VERY selective in which books I request because I do often lose motivation to read a book when I start seeing bad reviews from trusted friends and if I force myself to read it - it's not going to get a positive rating most likely. But i've heard many people say that negative reviews don't deter them so I guess that's better than no review? And I was always told to review a book within 30 days of its pub date so I always wait until this timeframe but I have seem quite a few reviews published WELL in advance of the pub date and I don't know why. I would love that flexibility but I probably will never know why so I will just stick to the 30 days..