I know you are probably thinking, “WHAT!? There is a downside to ARCs?” Trust me, I never thought it was true until just this past week or so. Let me preface this with…I LOVE getting Advance Readers Copies, truly. I feel honored to be able to read and review a book early to help the author and publisher get the word out about new books. I love being able to give an opinion to readers to discern whether or not this book is worth their time or something they’d really enjoy. I love having the scoop about early books and, let’s be honest, you feel pretty darn special when your non-blogging friends are amazed and wondering how you get “free books” before they are released. Seriously, once I figured out the mystery of when to post ARC reviews and how to juggle reading them in a timely manner, I just really appreciated the opportunity to do so.
However, I’ve come to find there is one major downfall in my eyes — aside from feeling like I have too many books and not enough time…which seems like a pretty decent problem to have! I’ve been going through my reviews and I’ve been noticing that the more ARCs I read and review earlier, the less interaction I have on my posts. It makes sense…less people have read the books and therefore most feel as though they don’t have anything to really contribute other than “I want to read this” and sometimes people don’t want to read book reviews of books they’ve never read for fear of reading spoilers (which BTW..mine are spoiler free unless otherwise noted!).
There are exceptions to this rule — such as my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door or Where She Went — but I find that it is in certain cases where EVERYBODY and their mom wants to read this book or an ARC that has been heavily circulated to bloggers. But overall, I’m finding that while my readers are certainly checking these early reviews out, there just isn’t as much interaction. It makes sense, I know, and it comes with the territory of reading books and reviewing them before they come out.
I think why it is a downside for me is as I’ve said before that comments really are our daily boost of affirmation as a blogger. My favorite thing about writing reviews is having people tell me how much they loved this book or if they disagree with me or just talking about a point I made. Even better when someone comments that they want to read a book because of my review. I think that is why sometimes I see it as a downfall. I love getting comments, not just for comments sake, but because I LOVE talking books and hearing feedback about the opinions I’ve shared. Some of my best reviews, in terms of feedback and interaction, have been books like Sloppy Firsts or Anna and the French Kiss — all books that I felt like I read WAYYYYY after everybody else.
I don’t really have any solutions or conclusions about it….this was more of just an observation about my own blog. I will say that it has reaffirmed by desire to read the backlisted titles that I own and balance them with my ARCs because I really love being able to have actual conversations with my readers. I’m not by any means going to stop reading ARCs because I truly do love to do what I can to help an industry I love so much just by sharing my honest opinion about a book.
Do you guys find the same to be true for your blog? Do you find that more interaction will come later on the post as more people have read the book or does it end up just being forgotten? Do you comment on early reviews or books that JUST came out if you’ve never read it?