Discussion: Your Experience with ARCs

(I won’t be here most of the day but I will reply to discussion comments later this evening.)

ARCs are simply advanced reading copies of novels from publishers or authors.  They’re actually pretty simple when you think about it but they seem to cause a lot of controversy and drama in the book blogging world.  One blogger gets a coveted ARC, another doesn’t, you know how it goes.  But I don’t want to talk about drama today.  I’m going to be facing middle school girl drama most of the day already (I’m refereeing a volleyball tournament).

What I want to talk about is your personal experience with ARCs as a blogger.  Do you ever get physical ARCs in the mail?  Or are you all digital now?  Which is your preference?  And of the ARCs you’ve received, which is/are your favourite(s)?

My personal favourite is one I just got, The Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton.  I had reviewed and loved her Daughter of the Gods so when the tour for her latest book came out I immediately jumped on it.  To my surprise, I got a personalized, signed ARC in the mail with the coolest note in a little scroll.  Stuff like that really shows an author cares about their readers, you know?  And I really do appreciate that.

If you’re an author, what has your experience been with sending out ARCs?  Did they get a good reception?  Was it worth it from a publicity point of view?  And, finally, would you do it again?

6 comments

  1. Kathy Heare Watts

    I am a reader, not aluthor. All the books I read and review lately are ARC books. I even have been a Beta reader for an author and will send PM on Facebook anytime I found an issue with location for her to correct. I have read and posted reviews for over 240 books already this year. Even have had authors send me messages via Goodreads asking me to read and review. I read 17 books for a company that was judged by individuals and rated the books from 1 to 10 and could rate like 8.7. I had to read and rate 17 books in 1 month and still managed to get a few ARC books in for others. I only read ebooks. I have both a Nook Color and Kindle Fire HDX (the KF HDX was won on Facebook in a contest with over 45000 entries!) There are very few books I have not enjoyed. I read anything from sweet contemporary romance to erotica. I don’t read horror.

    I have had authors send a signed copy of the book after release and even small gifts but I have never asked for them to do that, but it sure is appreciated. My new fun is listening to audiobooks and rating them.

    One author, JJ Knight, I have read ARC her series of Revenge (5 part series) Uncaged Love (5 part series) and now Blue Shoes (3 part series) Her books have cliffhangers until the final one in the series and people are hooked. Can you imagine over 600 reviews on just book 1 of Revenge, which was her first book.

  2. Lekeisha

    I’m still new to this blogging world, only 5.5 months in and I am still not where I want to be with my blog. However, it was never my intention to become a NetGalley, Edelweiss, etc….. member. I simply wanted to just read the books I purchased or checked out and review them. Then a little birdie told me to join NetGalley and I wouldn’t have to wait for a book’s release to read it. I try not to overwhelm myself with ARCs, only choosing books that I want to read. Simply put, I have enough going on in real life and too many deadlines for books is pushing it.

    I can say that I notice some bloggers that get lots of ARCs and then never review them. That’s none of my business though. LOL! But to answer your question about print or digital, I get both from various sources, and only the books I want to review. Sometimes authors email me with requests to review their work and I have to tell them no because I just can’t agree to review it if I know that I don’t have the time in my schedule to do so. My favorite ARCs that I have read so far are City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, In A Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis, and Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz (my #1 fav book read this year).

    All in all, I think ARCs are cool to get if you truly want to read the book and not just because other bloggers get it. Great topic to discuss!

  3. charliegirlteachergirl

    The only physical ARCs I get in the mail are from a program called The Story Plant. They send out one every two months or so. So far I’ve received three of their books, and each time it comes with a semi-personalized note from somebody on the board or another employee of The Story Plant. The first one came with a letter from the president that the book I received was his favorite.

    Otherwise, I get all ARCs digitally through NetGalley or from the author/agent/publisher via my website. I prefer digital books because I can speed read them anywhere – even at a stoplight. I don’t know why, but I can read much faster on my Kindle than I can the physical book. But I still love getting physical books, and they are perfect for giveaways.

    My struggle is the very one Lekeisha mentioned. I have so many ARCs that I don’t even know which ones are ARCs anymore, but I have made it my goal to weed through everything on my Kindle within the next year.

  4. carla914

    I’m an author. As traditional publishing is changing so is traditional reviewing. For the last 30 years, publishers printed galleys and distributed them to reviewers who wrote their reviews and sent them back to the publisher prior to the book launch. In that system, the publisher knew what books received the best reviews and invested in marketing the book with the best response. That’s how the new release had two pages of reviews in the front matter on the day the book released. ARCs were not resold in a secondary market. Ebooks are changing that system but readers are slow to understand how reviews work today. I think it is undermining a review’s contribution to the book launch.

    I’ve offered ARCs through personal requests (how I found Carrie), Goodreads, and NetGalley. Now that I’ve done the ARCs I have to say that I don’t like to use Goodreads ARR programs because I find the ebooks and print versions online everywhere and can’t control the content. ARCs are not the final product. Reviewers know that but readers don’t. Each week, I get my sales numbers and see that a reader bought an ARC instead of the final version. I want to reach out to the reader and say, “No, read this better one!” For my Starlet’s Man release, my publicist controlled all NetGalley requests and we didn’t do any Goodreads ARCs. Unfortunately we still found ARCs available on ebook sites anyway. Several of the ARC paperbacks are for sale as well. That is a bummer because readers buy them, thinking they are discounted final copies. I want my readers to get the best product and enjoy the book that is the finely tuned, typo-free version as readers had done under the current, antiquated system.

    I really appreciate the bloggers/reviewers who take the time to read my ARCs and find their contribution invaluable to making an awesome book. Reviewers are angels to authors. If we could find a way to give away the ARCs to these great reviewers that read and comment on them at the same time that we eliminate the secondary market for the ARCs, all readers would benefit.

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