ARCs… helpful yet hurtful, in my opinion. [Discussion/Blogtober]

These are all my own thoughts and opinions. Everyone has different experiences so if you have different thoughts, I’d love to discuss them.

I’m going to talk about these points as well as my own complicated relationship with ARCs. First, let me show you what’s currently on my NetGalley TBR:

I’m finally happy with my tbr on NetGalley because I went through a phase where I was requesting way too many, and it was overwhelming. Especially when I didn’t like the books a lot or felt pressured to read them quickly since I was approved for a few which all came out the same day. These are all books I’m looking forward to reading and writing good reviews on.

And this is what I have pending:

I’m still waiting on these 7 books. The longer I’m waiting, the more I’m wondering why I even wanted them in the first place. Honestly I think there are two books on there I really want at this point… Love, Unscripted and A Good Girls Guide To Murder. The rest were part of binge requesting I now regret. The other books don’t make me excited. I wish there was a way to just cancel requests and just create a system so if you cancel, you can’t request again. It’s better than leaving a reader waiting and wondering if they will be chosen. I hate the am I good enough for this book game? It’s wearing thin, and it hurts me. I’m sure it’s not great for other readers either.

Yes, I was declined for 33 books. It’s a discouraging number, and I end up feeling like I am not good enough when I am trying my hardest. I understand publishers need to promote books and do their jobs, but I have been trying so hard with my blog it feels like I’m a failure when I get rejected. This makes me not want to read, and I don’t think this should be so tough on my reading. But it is. Reading should be fun, and I’m putting unneeded pressure on myself for a hobby I’m supposed to love.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about ARCs recently… especially because of posts from Morgana at Morgana’s Book Box and Jess from Fiction No Chaser.

Each post brought up some interesting points for me. Specifically, I want to bring up points from each because these posts were very thought provoking for me.

In regards to Morgan’s post, the points which really resounded with me were:

  • The NetGalley trap and how you end up with a huge TBR pile.
    • This has done so much harm to me as a reader since I decided to go back to blogging. I thought I needed to read all of these books and write the best reviews so authors and publishers would love me. Then I would have an amazing blog, and I would be so happy. All I did was place a lot of stress upon myself and made reading A chore. I am constantly stressing about how much time I have to read and how hard it is to finish books I don’t like so I don’t end up with lower ratios.
  • ARC policy and having to give a review.
    • I know ARCs are voluntary. But I end up feeling like I have to write a huge review to make the publisher or author happy. Sometimes I don’t have a lot to say about a book, other times I don’t. I end up stuck in this trap of forcing myself to write a good review even when I didn’t enjoy the book because the author sent me the book or because I don’t want to hurt my chances for approval. Especially when you are approved right before the release date and there seems to be even more pressure to get it done.
  • All the reviews that begin with I received this book in exchange… etc.
    • I am guilty of doing this too because it’s supposed to be done because of rules. I understand this. It just makes reading reviews less enjoyable. I wish there was a way to just send a thank you via NetGalley to both parties so reviews can stop being weighed down by this. I’ve grown so sick of writing in this my reviews, and I don’t even want to look at other reviews when this is all I see. I want to just send an email privately to say thank you instead of this whole writing in my reviews and causing me to not want to write reviews, which is something I enjoy doing.

With the post from Jess @ Fiction No Chaser, I really liked her points about:

  • ARCs can be very overwhelming.
    • This is all about NetGalley again. I like how you can request a lot, but I think there should be a limit. That way, you can actually get through all the books you need to and enjoy them. Otherwise it’s just getting them done by the pub date and either rating them low or writing a fake review just so you can keep up. It’s not good for anyone.
  • NetGalley and its ratio system
    • The ratio system is tough. It causes readers to either plunge down because of too many requests…or you just write poor reviews to keep it up. I feel way too much stress when I lose my 80% badge and then stress until it’s back. This takes away my joy from reading. I am sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
  • eARCs… preference for them, how they should be available worldwide, and the harm of poorly formatted eARCs.
    • eARCs are easier for me. I can have them on my iPad or iPhone so I can read anytime or place, which is convenient. I also like how easily they can be accessed versus paper ones. Paper ones usually make me sad because I would see more popular people get those sent to them or at events. I understand these people have influence and work well to help promote books, but it’s hard when you don’t have the influence to get those books or the money to go to events. EARCs are accessible for everyone. That’s why they should be available all over the world. They are a lot of readers and they all deserve access to books, not just some people. Some people can’t afford books, and this gives me them a way to read. Poorly formatted ARCs just make me annoyed. I got a few from Harlequin, and I was shocked since they are since a big publisher. If you want your product to do well, take the time to do proper formatting so your readers can enjoy the book and not give it a lower rating for an easily fixed issue.

I’m curious to know what everyone’s thoughts on ARCs are. If you love them, awesome. Or if you feel like me, let me know. This is an interesting topic I’d love to talk about. I’m sure everyone can bring a different perspective to the table, and I would love to delve into all sorts of thoughts about this topic. Let me know below. And thank you once again to the people who inspired me to write this. You can find their blogs above. Be sure to check them out.

Until I rant about books again,

13 thoughts on “ARCs… helpful yet hurtful, in my opinion. [Discussion/Blogtober]

  1. PerfectlyTolerable

    I’ve always been kind of afraid of NetGalley for a lot of the reasons you listed above. I have been very very cautious about the books I request and most of the books I do request are the “read now” books and I only do one at a time. That way I know I am in the mood for it and I won’t get overwhelmed. There have been a couple books I have really wanted ARCs for but I have been denied for them because I’ve only read like 20 books from NetGalley and the ones I was requesting were highly coveted ARCs. I think there is definitely a balance! And I hate the waiting game!

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    1. Storme Reads Post author

      I agree with what you’re saying. NetGalley can be intimidating in regard to what I talked about. It’s good to be cautious… I didn’t even touch on the read now books because that can be an entirely other trap as well if you end up with too many. I also know how frustrating it can be to want those popular ARCs and be denied… it makes me sad. I know it’s all about book promo, but I wish it could also about giving them to readers who will enjoy them.

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  2. Yolanda @ Past Midnight

    I used to be sad when I would be denied but now it’s not a big deal because there are so many books out there to read. I’ve also lost my 80% badge many times but I don’t let it bother me now – I still get approved for titles without it, so I’m not sure how much it counts to have it at 80%? At least I get approved on NetGalley, I can NEVER get approved on Edelweiss+ so I’ve practically given up on that site. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I did request lots of arcs to grow my blog. But I’ve found my followers like me posting a mix of arcs, books I buy or borrow at the library to be featured on my blog, also the fun book tag stuff. I’ve been denied for 25 books but I have 11 pending and sometimes the pending ones just stay pending so I’ve been denied for WAY more than 25, but I don’t look at that anymore. Keep reading what YOU love, even if they aren’t arcs, and keep blogging. You are doing awesome!

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    1. Storme Reads Post author

      I totally understand what you’re saying. There are so many books! I’m just worried if I’m not asking for ARCs or doing what’s more popular, no one is going to pay any mind to what I’m going to say. I’m sure many people lose the badge… I’m just tough on myself for no reason other than it feels like I am somehow failing. I think it’s suggested to have a ratio of 80% or higher? I haven’t even tried edelweiss yet… but I’ve heard people seem to not have a lot of luck on there. I just have been trying to grow my blog so I thought the arcs would help and they seem to just be kinds helping so like I dunno. I still need to actually get to the library… life has just been crazy… the pending books drive me crazy some days. And thanks, that means a lot.

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      1. Yolanda @ Past Midnight

        I heard for Edelweiss you need a following count on your blog/social media accounts at like 500 followers++ and that makes sense why I never get approved. 🤦🏻‍♀️ I did that too, I requested lots of arcs to grow my blog also but I definitely need to cut back next year because I want to enjoy reading still. And you aren’t failing, keep reading and reviewing what you can. 😊 I feel you on life being crazy!

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  3. Pingback: Awesome Blog Posts You May Have Missed (October 12-19) – Alison In Bookland

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