The other day I was thinking about ARCs. Actually, I wasn’t so much as thinking about them, but rather laying in bed looking at the pile of ARCs and review books that had been staring me down for quite some time.
Can’t you hear them?
“Read me! Read me!” They say, all vying for attention.
(I can already sense that this is going to turn into a bit of an ARC rant. Feel free to tune out as you wish. My thoughts are jumbled. You’ve been warned.)
Now, I used to be one of those people who requested books, accepted all review requests, signed up for tours — ALL of it. But lately, I find myself just wanting to accept/request books that I am super, super interested in. In fact, the last few ARCs I’ve accepted (the first two of the year) have been:
Both books that I am DESPERATE to read. But while I really want to read these ones, I find it so hard to stay off of sites like NetGalley or Eidelweiss, and before I know it I’ll be saddled with WAY too many books that I just can’t keep up and then I lose interest. And usually they’re books that look good, but not necessarily ones that I’m super, super interested in.
Darn you, NetGalley!
Does anyone else find that eARCs are horrible? I mean, the books are great and all, but as I look over, I can SEE the books on my shelf waiting to be read, and I can SEE the pile go down as I read them. Not so much with eARCs. I think I’m most productive with them if I’m signed up for a tour or something, rather than just requesting everything and anything that looks good on NetGalley (to let you in on my NetGalley Shelf of Shame stats, I’m pretty sure I have a page and a half of listings of requested — but not yet reviewed — ARCs from 2013. Fail, I know.).
Am I the only person who’s like this? I know I have to get to them sometime, but it’s almost like I feel some kind of lesser amount of obligation when I’m not directly dealing with someone on the other end, like I am when a publisher sends out their quarterly offerings or emails me directly about a review. With those, I can definitely buckle down and read the darn book. But electronic ones? I am SO lazy with them.
I certainly love it when I can deal with a publisher and I think having that one-on-one contact makes me more likely to read a book, but then there’s something else that happens occasionally that I have NO idea what to do with:
The unsolicited book.
I remember a few years ago I received an unsolicited review book and reading the synopsis it was all about a love triangle. Like, that was the whole POINT of the book. I gave it away and wondered if whoever sent it knew me at all since I tend to LOATHE love triangles. I have in my review policy that I’m not under obligation to review unsolicited review copies and have received a few in the past years — I believe I’ve read maybe one out of ten. Sometimes they’re AWESOME books, and other times they’re books I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.
I also have it written in my policy that if you’re going to send me the second book (or third or fourth) in a series, that I’d like to have the other ones because, really, who just starts a series by reading the second book? The other day a publisher sent me the second book in a series I have no idea about. I’m so grateful that they thought that kindly of me to send me another book on top of the one I requested, but now I have no idea what to do with it. Am I obligated to review it? Do I have to go out and buy the first book? What do I do?!?
I don’t want this post to come across as me sounding ungrateful and whiney — what I’m really trying to get at is the fact that ARCs are confusing. It’s so easy to get swallowed up in the whole idea of getting to read a book before it’s released, but I do think that we need to be smart about it.
Here are some of my golden rules for 2014 when it comes to ARCs and review books:
- Request and accept only the books that I’m truly interested in, rather than being a greedy monster. If that means staying OFF of places like NetGalley and Eidelweiss.
- Unsubscribe from tour newsletters. I don’t need that kind of temptation.
- Try and get my butt around to reading and reviewing the darn books rather than letting them collect dust.
- Attempt to review ONE review book a week on the blog. At least, try and stay on top of the 2014 books I’ve requested. THAT much I can do.
Now, has anyone seen my dustbuster?
What are your thoughts on ARCs and review books? Are you as confused as I am? Do you make silly decisions when it comes to requesting books and how do YOU stay on top of readings these books — or, DO you stay on top of reading them, or are you like me and fail most of the time?