Hey all! There is nothing more exciting, in my opinion, than supporting those writers and bloggers who have inspired me to do even this little blog. One of these bloggers is Andrea Johnson (the Little Red Reviewer). Andrea, along with keeping up a stellar blog, has embarked on a new journey in which she has started a Kickstarter in order to publish her best articles and she needs your help and support! I don’t want to steal all her thunder so here is a short clip and then an article on ARCs (advanced reader copies) written by none other than the little red reviewer herself.
“Let’s talk about ARCs, baby.
Long before I started Little Red Reviewer, my mom worked at a Barnes and Noble. The store got shipped ARCs (they were called galley proofs back then), the staff was encouraged to read them and maybe promote those titles to shoppers. If my mom saw a galley proof title that she thought I might like, she’d take it home and mail it to me. So I knew what an ARC/Advanced Reader Copy/Galley Proof was since before I started blogging.
My first year or two blogging, the books were from my bookshelves, books I bought at used bookstores, books I swiped from my parent’s house, books from the library. I don’t remember the first ARC I received, but I’m sure I squee’d so loud the neighbors got worried. This was the days before NetGalley took off – publishers would send a PDF showcasing all their upcoming books for the quarter and a press release saying “contact me if you’d like a print ARC”. And contact them I did!
Those first few ARCs that showed up in my mailbox were like the holy grail. I felt like I’d arrived! I felt like publicists were taking me seriously as a blogger! I felt special! I was still reading books off my bookshelves, getting books from the library, borrowing books from friends and family, seeing how many books $20 could get me at the used bookstore.
And then well meaning publicists thought to themselves “She posted a review of such and such book, I bet she’ll like this other book!”. Random ARCs began showing up, about 80% of which were genres I wanted to read. But what to do with the ARCs that either I wasn’t interested in, or I simply didn’t have time to read? As the ARCs piled up, the quantity of “books I simply do not have time to read” got larger and larger. What to do? Publicists WANT to send trustworthy book bloggers ARCs, because we are free publicity. For the cost of shipping us an ARC, we’ll tell all our friends about it, talk loudly about on twitter, and basically tell everyone we know to Go. Buy. This. Book. Right Now.
I don’t think publicists think realize how buried in books a book blogger is. I don’t think casual book bloggers realize how easy it is for your ARC stack to get out of control. It is the strangest balance in the world, because publicists are also some of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life, and when those ARCs sit unread, I feel like the world’s worst friend.
ARCs are a tricky business. It is illegal to sell them, and it would be sacrilege to throw a book out! You can’t trade them in at a used bookstore, it’s even tricky to donate them to a library charity shop. Even if it’s an ARC you’ve read a few times, now that you need that real estate on your bookshelf, what are you going to do? Here’s what happened to more than a few ARCs:
I did a lot of give aways
I did “blind date with a book” give aways
I’ve taken boxes of “blind date with a book” freebies to Science Fiction Conventions and left them on the “free stuff” table
I’ve lent them or given them to friends
I’ve gotten them signed and given them to friends and family as gifts
I’ve donated boxes upon boxes of ARCs to state prison libraries
When I hear about organizations that are looking for book donations, my first question always is “do you accept ARCs?”
I don’t want to sound ungrateful that publishers have so kindly sent me ARCs over the years. My blog has thrived on those ARCs, and some of them I read multiple times, others the binding fell apart and so I just bought the book at the bookstore. Without ARCs, the art of book blogging would be very different. But ARCs are like any other kind of book – sometimes you don’t need to own that particular title any longer.
Don’t think I’m knocking ARCs, I’m not. My blog would be very different with out the existence of ARCs and without amazing publicists who were willing to take a chance on me.
If you are a book blogger, how has an influx of ARCs affected you? What do you do with ARCs once you are done with them? I know many bloggers exclusively use NetGalley and read e-ARCs, so are print ARCs soon to be a thing of the past?”
–The Little Red Reviewer
If you want to see more where that came from, just follow the link below and explore more of Andrea’s wonderful writings: