ARCS + When You Should Post Review For Them

I have only gotten a few ARCS here and there so I’m not at all an expert on this subject and I’ve found myself a bit confused about ARCS and when you should post your review of an ARC. I only observe from other blogs so anything I share on here please don’t take as “the answer.” My objective for this post is for this to be an open forum for seasoned veteran bloggers, authors and those in publishing to discuss the purpose of ARCS and when you should post your review so that ARC-newbies, like myself, can better understand ARCs and their purpose in a way that will enhance the promotion efforts, by means of ARCs, of the publishers and authors. I mean, bloggers obtain ARCs for the purpose of promoting new releases and creating buzz (in addition to our own reading pleasure) so I think it would be beneficial for bloggers and publishers/authors to be on the same level when it comes to expections.

So, what is it that I’m confused about? 

I see some people post reviews months before the book comes out and I see some people say that you should wait until on our around the release date. I understand reasoning for both—reviews in the blogosphere posted in advance help to create buzz and get people excited but posting too early is confusing to your average reader because they might forget about the book and be frustrated because they can’t go right out and buy it. I mean, I see the value in both. It also seems to help scatter the reviews of these really popular books so there aren’t 1500 reviews all posted on the release date and really does help generate buzz around the blogging community.

I’ve seen specific ARCs have strict notes from the publisher on when to post a review but other than that I feel like I haven’t seen a golden standard for this. I want to know this because I want the timing of my reviews of ARCs to benefit the author and publisher in the way they feel is most effective to their promotional efforts since they have been so kind to provide me with an ARC. They aren’t just giving me ARCs because they know I’m a poor college grad and want to make me happy. I mean, if there are any publishers out there that want to do so, feel free, but really it is more about the promotion of the book.

So these are my questions:

Bloggers, when do you post reviews for ARCs you read? Publishers/authors, how should bloggers know when to post these reviews? Is this something the blogger should be directly asking the publisher before accepting an ARC or when requesting one? Readers (non-bloggers), how do you feel about reading reviews for books that won’t be out for another six months?

Do check out The Story Siren’s Dear Publisher series as she’s interviewed some publishers on this issue!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I generally just post reviews whenever I read the book because I hate scheduling posts. I like instant gratification. I do often try to hold off on reading the book until close to the release date, unless it is a tour book and I have to read it when I get it.

    I've only gotten one book where the publisher specifically requested that the review not be posted until the release date and I honored that request. However, I saw a lot of others post their reviews of that book well before the pub date. (That's not a criticism, just an observation.)

    Like you, I've seen the arguments for early buzz versus those for waiting until you can actually get the book. As somebody who just keeps a list of unreleased books that I want, I don't mind seeing reviews way early. They go on my list and I get more and more excited as their release dates get closer.

    I like that different bloggers have different philosophies on this because it spaces out the reviews a little. I think if everybody posted their review right at release time I wouldn't read any of the reviews because I'd be sick of hearing about the book from 500000 people at the same time.

  2. So, The Story Siren actually has a great series of posts where publishers talk about their preferences on this topic. And they do vary.

    I can see the value in having a few bloggers post early to build up buzz, but when EVERYONE is reviewing a title way before pub date, it's weird. I generally wait to read a book until around its pub date, but if I read it before, I may or may not review it early. I do review titles early during dystopian months, but I think my readers expect that, and the purpose there is definitely to build buzz.

  3. Rae Reads (Mesmeric Revelation) says:

    I usually post my reviews the week the book comes out.

  4. Flippin' Fabulous says:

    You know I have wondered this myself. I've only had a handful of ARCs but I have posted them about a week or two before hand. I want to get in the habit of retweeting my review on the day it comes out or the night before. Also, maybe add a note on my blog to remind my readers of the release and my review to go with it.

    I see people post their reviews early, which is great. I want to know what they think BUT I also noticed on the blogs I followed, I'll get a bunch of the same review all during one week's time then won't hear anything about it until a few weeks after it comes out. I've already forgotten about it at that point (assuming I'm not some huge book nerd like I am to even notice this trend.)

    I have several posts ready to go up whenever I get closer to the release dates of certain ARCS. Some three weeks before, some two weeks. I wanted to post them sooner but noticed several of my fellow bloggers all posting theirs, so I withheld mine so it wouldn't be a repeat.

    According to The Story Siren's posts about ARCs and the publishers most of them said on or around the release date. So that is what I'm going to stick with I think… for now. UNLESS someone has some major insight on this. I'll also watch what is going on around me so my post might actually be beneficial rather then forgotten or passed over.

  5. April (BooksandWine) says:

    Being lazy, I usually post after release date. However, if you are a timely reader, I say, post whenever you want.

  6. I usually ask an author or publisher if they have a preference for when I post my review. Otherwise, I tend to post around the release date – often on the release date.

  7. Amy @ My Friend Amy says:

    I was also going to mention Kristi's series, but I would say most pubs prefer for you to wait at least until close to the release date, unless you've talked with them about the possibility of an early review i.e. if you want quotes for press materials.

    I keep the average reader in mind first…will they be able to buy the book or get it from the library if it looks good to them? Or will I just be frustrating them?

  8. bibliophile brouhaha says:

    I've only posted one ARC review, and the ARC was directly from author – I let the author know when I was going to publish the review, and she had no posting requests to the contrary. However, I also read the Story Siren's post on ARCs mentioned above, and now I do try to adhere to the just before on on the release date rule.

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

  9. Carrie K. says:

    I used to post my review as soon as I finished the book, but as some ARCs seem to be coming months and months in advance, I am now aiming to post the review in the month of release. Not necessarily on the release date, or even before – just in the same month.

  10. I, personally, feel a little annoyed when I see a lot of reviews WAY ahead of tie and then realize it doesn't come out for a while. I know some publishers don't like for bloggers to talk about books too far in advance because people will read the review, be frustrated they can't get the book right then if they like the review, and then forget about it. But I just recently reviewed for an author who really wanted to build up hype, so I think you'll find a variety of opinions even of the professionals in the industry!

  11. I've had several publishers request that I don't post the review until the book is on shelves, and I honor that request of course. If for some reason a publisher wanted me to post a review prior to release or if the title is part of a scheduled blog tour, then I would post my review at that time. If no specific timeframe is requested, I prefer to schedule ARC reviews within 1-2 weeks before/after the release date of the title.

    While some publishers like the pre-release buzz and I like to read some early reviews, I wouldn't want to post them too far in advance of publication because there are so many books that it might get lost in the masses. More than a month or two early seems excessive to me.

  12. TNBBC Super Mod says:

    A huge part of my TBR list are ARC's. I do my best to read the books near their release date, but in some cases, with the amount of books I have waiting, and the current status of my review policy, I will read the books in the order they arrive and post the review immediately after reading it.

    If I post the review too early (take my current review of VOLT, which doesnt release until March), I will relink people to the review as it's release date approaches.

    I think it's good to create an early buzz around a book – I think good reviews of future novels help spark the interest and create anticipation for it to be placed onto the shelves.

    I deal with publishers on a pretty regular basis. I have not yet had one request a review to be withheld due to release date. When I'm communicating with them, I ususally let them know what my goal/timeframe for the book and review are, and they are accepting of it.

    Don't forget, if you have an ARC, and you are waiting until the release date, your voice may get lost in the onslaught of other reviews that are concurrently being published….

    I really think it all depends on you, and how you plan out your reading schedule. It's all good to me 🙂

  13. The Lovely Getaway says:

    During my short time in the blogging community, I've only recieved ONE ARC and to be honest I dont know when i should post my review! The book doesnt debut til march of this year… I'd like to post it now, just to get the hype going but i dnt know if the publisher would be okay with that. They didnt give a specific timeline, so i think i should be ok… right? Anywho, thanks for this post! being a new blogger, its good to read posts like this! I love your blog… u have a new follower in mee 🙂

    Diana

  14. A Canadian Girl says:

    As a reader, I don't mind knowing about books a couple of months beforehand since I can just put the book on my wishlist if I'm excited about it.

  15. I have only received a few ARCs for review, and I usually review them either a week or so before release or a week or so after the release. I just don't think it makes a lot of sense to review them months ahead of time.
    talesandtreats.blogspot.com

  16. Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) says:

    If I am asked to review a book, I ask for a timeline right away. Generally the answer is post around the release date, unless I am signed on to do a "Blog Tour".
    ARCs that I accquire through work or other connections, I try to stick close to the release month, though i have reviewed books a couple months in advanced before.

  17. The two times I recieved an ARC it was very close to the release date already so I posted it around or after the date. I suppose I would wait until that time (maybe a month to 2 weeks before) because like you said doing it too early could be confusing or frustrating.

  18. I don't receive many ARCs, but for those I do receive I don't post my review until the week of the book's release.

  19. I'm just a reader (I don't have a blog) and I really prefer to see reviews about a week or a couple of days before the book gets released. I get kind of annoyed seeing all of these reviews for ARCs months ahead of the release date because I know I won't have the chance to read the book for awhile (because I obviously don't receive ARCs). I like being able to go out and buy the book almost immediately instead of feeling frustrated that I have to wait for so long for it to be released.

    I saw a ton of awesome reviews for "Unearthly" this past week. These positive reviews and the fact that I could buy the book almost right away made me run out and purchase it yesterday evening (on its release date).

    I think memes like IMM and WoW make me feel excited about books that will be released in the upcoming months/year, but reviews don't mean much (and I'll usually skip over them if the book isn't going to be released for a long time) to me if I know I won't be able to get my hands on the book for a long, long time.

  20. Becky (Page Turners) says:

    I have a confession to make – I am so terrible at accepting ARCs to review and never reading them. I feel terrible about it and have stoped accepting ARCs some time ago because of this horrible fault of mine.

    On the issue of when to post the review – whenever you want I say.

  21. Molly O'Neill says:

    Editor for a major house here (I found my way over via a tweet), though my comments are my own, not The Law or even necessarily reflective of what a publicist might say. They're really just my observations as an editor who tries to stay tapped into what happens with her authors/books in the social media sphere.

    In a perfect world, I'd love if (for ARCs you get really excited about, at least), you posted twice: once just briefly, right after you've read (all gushy but also informational, saying that you just finished this book; it was great; linking to the author's blog or Twitter or such; and when it comes out). Then, closer to publication (within a couple weeks before or after the official pub date), you could post your full actual review. And you could of course have written right that right after you read it, so you don't forget anything; you'd just held off on pressing post till later. A two-pronged approach like this lets you help to build buzz/get books on the radar of other readers without spoiling the reading experience for anyone.

    However, if you review a ton, double posts probably aren't always possible, right? So when in doubt, I'd suggest following up with your publicity contact at whichever house sent you the ARC and asking if they have a preference about when you post reviews. This takes a little extra time, but it also builds your relationship with the publicist, so that can be beneficial. And different books do have different publicity strategies, so asking every time can't hurt, if you're willing to take the time to do so.

    A good general check: if you're reviewing a book that you can't link to on any of the major bookselling sites for pre-order yet, it's probably too early to be reviewing it, and you'd do more of a service to the author/publisher to wait until a point when your review can potentially lead to at least a pre-order, if not an instant purchase.

    Hope this helps!

  22. I'm interested in this answer too. When I get an ARC from someplace like LibraryThing or NetGalley, I feel like I need to post the review ASAP, so they keep sending/allowing me to get books. I CAN'T read a book and then write the review months later. I just can't remember the details and my feelings well enough.

    I also really hate reading 10 reviews for the same book in the two days before it comes out (ex: Unearthy.) I read that book a month or so ago and posted my review then. I just don't think you need to wait until close to the release date. I don't understand the reason for doing that. Do more people read you review if it's written right before the release date? Please comment. I really want to know what I don't know.

  23. I agree with Amy. Since I don't post twice about the same book (per Molly's ideal — Which I totally get) I try to post about a week or so before the book is released. I write my blog for readers and I find that readers don't care much about how cool you are for getting an ARC early (many don't know what it is and neither did I before I got into blogging), they care about whether they can find the book they are looking forward to reading. Posting within a week or two of the pub date gets them excited, but also allows them to get an early jump on the Hold line at the library and/or get the book in a timely fashion from their bookstore.

    (Just my two cents)

  24. Wendy Delsol says:

    Debut author, here. From my standpoint, it was beneficial to receive those early reviews. (ARCs started circulating after BEA; Stork came out in October.) It helped build momentum. Granted, I wouldn't have wanted them all to come out months in advance. It was important to have buzz around my pub date. Still, I had no objections to a few early reviews. I agree with editor Molly O'Neill that two posts (a teaser followed later by the full review) would be ideal. In summary, bloggers do authors a great service. Unless you receive specific directions from the publisher or author, go with with what suits your schedule, mood, personality, etc. Thank you, BTW, for your enthusiasm for books.

  25. Peppermint Ph.D. says:

    I have 3 ARCs on my TBR shelf right now…I've only been blogging a year so just recently I decided to see what the ARC fuss was all about. As soon as I gave the OK for publishers to send me ARCs, I felt like the floodgates had opened so I stopped it back up quickly until I could catch up. I don't remember seeing anything about WHEN I should post my reviews but I'm definitely going to go back and check the publishers' websites to see if I missed something. Thanks for the informative post!

  26. I have at any point at least 20 ARCs that need to be read, I say in the month it is released so that people don't get annoyed at not being able to get the book for months.

  27. As a reader, I like to read about books at or around their release date, so I can get my greedy little hands on them as soon as possible. I have very little patience and tend to get a bit aggravated when I read a great review of a book and I won't be able to read it for months.

    However, I love the WOW, IMM and release "teaser" memes, as they get me excited about upcoming books… So, yeah, it's a tough call. I like Molly's idea and think the memes help cover the time gap between the cover/blurb/ARC release and actual on-shelf release, maintaining that all-important book buzz.

  28. Thanks for posting this…I think about this topic a LOT. Loved reading the discussion. I think I do it on an ARC-by-ARC basis, also depending on publisher requests. Again, no right or wrong answer? I like it that way–then not everyone agrees and not everyone posts simultaneously! There's nothing worse than reading 500 posts about the same book!

  29. the story siren says:

    Per most of the YA pubs they like bloggers to post a little bit before, on, or after the release date…. you can see the individual answers of each pub house to this questions on the "dear publisher" series I did…. here's the link:

    http://www.thestorysiren.com/search/label/publisher%20blogger%20interaction

    totally not trying to pimp the blog…. but there are some excellent answers to this very question on there!

  30. Great topic! I twice posted a review early, but I made it clear that it was an early review and they were both books that weren't being published for MANY MANY months. I generally try to post the day of or after release (whenever I happen to get it read).

  31. Rebecca Rasmussen says:

    Oh Gosh — tricky business! As an author, I am just so genuinely thrilled to have bloggers wanting to review the book that in my heart I feel it is up to the blogger to decide when he/she wants to post a review. I would think it might be annoying for an author/publicist to try to dictate when a review should be posted. What about the free will timeline? But, again as an author, I realize how important having a buzz about my book is and that bloggers are truly wonderful and important buzz creators, so what I hear is a little before or a little after pub date from most people. But I can completely see the value in early mentions, too, which is all to say if enough people are blogging about a book maybe it doesn't really matter because the blogger's natural preferences are bound to be a little bit different from one another 🙂 Yikes, that was a ramble. My point is this: as an author, I am just so grateful when (and if!) bloggers read my novel. xoxoxox

  32. The only time I ever get ARCs to review is when I read them on Goodreads, and as for those, as soon as I receive it, I read it and then review it because in that program if it seems like your're slacking, you're less likely to win books for review in the future. I also do this because I like to review any book as soon as I've read it.

    Also, I assume that if publishers didn't want you to review them months in advance, they wouldn't send them out months in advance. Just makes sense to me…

  33. Jessica Lawlor says:

    Excellent question, love!

    Honestly, as it seems to vary from publisher to publisher, I ask each time. When I get a request, I ask what their preferred date is and I try my best to stick to around the date they request. Since each book has a different marketing plan, I try my best to find out and do what will be best to help promote the book.

  34. When I've received ARC's I'm asked by publishers to review them close to the sale date. Out of respect for the publishing company and authors, I adhere to this because that's what they ask. Even books I receive on NetGalley months ahead, I wait till closer to the sale date. Personally, I don't follow the logic of posting a review right when you get so a publisher will keep sending you books — like Annette said. That's not how it works. If you want to read a book ahead of time, but don't think you can remember everything…then write your review and your feelings on your computer or in a notebook and file it away to post later.

    However, I've seen some bloggers write reviews about books months in advance. I'll look at the review and think, but the publisher asked of me to review this particular book closer to the sale date? Like for instance, WITHER. I was specially asked to post my review closer to the sale date (March). Just the other day, I saw a review. I know it's exciting to get ARC's and we can't wait to read them, but I think it's important to follow a publisher's request. I also don't post quotes from a galley for meme's like Teaser Tuesday. In all ARC's it states right at the beginning that the book is not a finished copy and if you quote from it to use the final printed copy. I stick to that because the book hasn't been corrected. Sentences, characters, plot points might change. I see this done all the time in the blogosphere. Doesn't anyone read what's under "ATTENTION READER" in the front of the book? I don't know…I guess I'm a stickler for the rules. I feel if I follow the guidelines and are professional, then hopefully I'll receive more ARC's.

    If you have questions about when to post a review of an ARC you received, the best thing is to ask the publisher or publicist or author who sent it to you!

  35. Kim @ The Caffeinated Diva says:

    I generally review it when I finish it, regardless of timing. But I also make a note of it, and repost/tweet/Facebook it on the day of release. Usually, though, I get guidance from the author/publisher on any timelines they may have! Like Julie above, I don't post quotes because the corrections that may or may not take place.

  36. The consensus seems to be that reviews shouldn't be posted too far in advance of release (although, I have books in my "cart" from my book vendor that aren't going to release for a long time – I just put them in there as soon as I decide I want to purchase, so it's not that big of a deal to me.)

    It does make a difference on LibraryThing (and I suspect on Goodreads) that you post your reviews in order to win more books. So, I think I'll just post my review on LibraryThing as soon as I've read the book — then I'll just hold it until closer to the release date to post it on my blog. But.. I'm still going to post like a couple of weeks before — I really don't like reading 15 reviews of the same book the day before it releases.

    Other ARCs, I'll just do what the publisher asks. For NetGalley, I'll just make sure I've read the book and wrote my review before it expires. I can wait to publish it on the blog.

    How does that sound?

  37. okbolover says:

    I wait until it's close to the pub date (unless otherwise told) I don't like reading reviews of arcs and find out it's MONTHS away. Then I have a tendency to forget about the book and it's lost to me, plus, I add these books to my wishlist. Sometimes when the review is too early the information isn't all there on book sites, so when I go back to it, I'm wondering why the F do I have this book and what is it about… If it's closer to the pub date, then that's different and I can add to my wishlist.

    I have my posts scheduled if I read a book early. It organizes things and is much better IMO.

  38. I think it's up to the individual blogger as to when they want to post their reviews, but I rarely do so until after a book releases. If I do post a review before it's at the request of the publisher (likely because I'm participating in a blog tour) or it's very close to the date anyway. I think if a review gets posted too far in advance it loses it's ability to be really effective.

  39. I'm loving the discussion going on here! As I start reading more and more ARCs I've definitely thought about this question a lot. Thanks for hosting such a great topic Jamie!

  40. Kate {The Parchment Girl} says:

    I generally post reviews for ARCs on the release day of the book. If I can't do that then I aim to do it within the week of release.

    For books that have already been released I just make it a goal to review it within three months of receiving it unless the publisher has a specific time preference.

  41. bookmagic says:

    I think it just depends unless publisher has a preference. I am disappointed when reading a review of a book that won't come out for months, but to post a few weeks ahead of time seems reasonable. Then all the reviews aren't out at the same time which is annoying

  42. Ahhh! Bella hate, I love it!! The most whiny, helpless, pathetic creature to ever breathe air. Hey, I have a good idea! Meet a guy, drop all my friends, practically disown my family, forget about my education and run off with a guy – who is literally the only thing I care about. Ugh, barf! But ehmmm… total embarrassment – I did enjoy the books. 🙂 Love to hate.

  43. Oops, wrong post 🙂 I have two of your windows open – that was meant for the vlog rant.

  44. I usually receive ARCs after the books were released so I post when I have time. I receive ARCs in order to promote the book in my home country. (not US or UK)

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