I remember when there used to be a time when I didn’t know what an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) was. I would patiently wait for books to be published and I would either purchase the book or borrow it from my local library (I still do – nothing like having a new shiny finished hardcover). My first adventure into the world of ARCs did not occur until a few years ago when I attended my first Power Reader’s Day at BEA. I must admit that since it was my first time at BEA I did get a bit “grabby hands” and tried to get copies of everything being thrown/shoved into my hands, I think this happens to the best of us, but in recent years I have been better and only focus on getting books I absolutely will read and review.
I would often (and still do) see bloggers on Twitter often post about how they just received “book mail” or chat about their awesome book hauls from different publishers. Sometimes I would feel a little bit of the green-eyed jealousy monster pop up, but as time passed I started to realize that getting these physical ARCS takes lots of work and networking. These veteran bloggers are awesome and so very organized. They review constantly and are promoting machines (I hope I can reach this level of greatness one day). Getting to a point where you establish good relationships with publishers and authors takes lots of ground work and dedication. Physical ARCs don’t just magically “poof” into your lap.
A key to getting physical ARCs is to establish a blog following, to be constant with posts, and to review ARCs you receive in a timely manner. You should also have a constant presence on social media and talk up the books you love. You should be professional, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen and heard bloggers gloat and be boastful about receiving ARCs (not in a promotional way, but in a look at me I am the greatest way). Don’t do this, it only makes you look immature and petty.
ARC hoarding is also a big problem too. Bloggers request or pick up (sometimes multiple copies) of ARCs that they have no interest in or care about just to say they have a copy of it (especially for highly anticipated books). ARCs aren’t free, they cost the publisher money and time to print and to be put together. If you aren’t going to have time to read and review an ARC you shouldn’t request it. There is too much competition about getting ARCS in the blogverse these days. It is sad that the actions of a few misguided bloggers make the rest of us all end up looking bad too.
ARCS are a marketing tool for the publisher and they should be respected. Every time you take an ARC you don’t really intend to read or review, you are taking away the opportunity from a fellow book blogger/ book lover. As BEA#16 approaches (unfortunately, I won’t be attending this year ::sad face::), it is important to shine a light on how to use and not abuse ARCs. Events like BEA are not there solely for you to grab multiple copies of ARCs and run away without even saying a hello or thank you to the people working at the publisher’s booth. Book events like these are meant to be a place to network and make new connections. This is where book bloggers should try their hardest to overcome any shyness and actually speak with the people working the event. These folks aren’t just there to have ARCs snapped out of their hands or be almost run over by a frenzy of people all trying to grab the new “buzz” book of the day. (I know it’s hard to resist, and often you want the book just as badly as the next person, but there is no need to act barbaric).
The publishers want to talk to you, they want to hear your thoughts and they want to be treated humanely. Befriend them, ask them about future titles you are excited about. While you are in a chatty mood say hello to the people you are standing in line with or sitting next to at these events. You never know who they might turn out be. Some of the nicest people and friends I met to this day was from randomly talking to people on Twitter, at book events and standing in line at BEA and ALAMW with.
Now that The Plot Bunny is fully launched, I have started to review on a more consistent schedule and I am organizing my posts almost a month to two in advance. I recently received my very first “book mail” and it made me so very happy because that means I am doing something right. Be it a physical copy or an E-ARC I am just thrilled to be getting the opportunity to share my love of books with as many people as I can.
Let’s chat. Do you prefer physical copies or E-ARCs? Do you take the time to speak with publishers and network at book events? How do you feel about ARC hoarding? When do you write/post reviews after finishing an ARC? Do you ever feel ARC envy?