Reading And Review ARCS: The One Downside To Me

Just an observation I had regarding my blog…

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!).

Lola and the Boy Next DoorThere 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?

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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 never really thought about it, but it's definitely true. I've noticed that the past week or so we've had very few comments and most of our reviews lately were for books coming out this week or the week before. Then today I had 3 comments on my review without tweeting the link or doing any promo and the book came out in February! Kind of makes me rethink when I post reviews.

  2. It's the exact opposite for me. I get more interaction on reviews for books that aren't released rather than books that ARE released. Not really sure why this is, since you've constructed a perfectly good explanation that doesn't apply to me, but I guess it's different for every blog!

  3. I do comment on upcoming books that I want to read. And sometimes I see the same book on several blogs in one week. Then it's hard to be original each time.

  4. This is a good point – I do tend to get more interaction on reviews of older books. Some of my best discussions have come from reviews of classics.

  5. Really? That's interesting because I've found I get more comments when I get to post a review a week before or the day a book comes out then when I post it way afterwards. I think this is because people just aren't as interested in reading about a book they've already read or maybe read a billion reviews on already. But that's just what I've noticed about my blog….

  6. Yeah, I've noticed that for most ARCs I review (and there are some exceptions) I don't get many comments, although people are reading the posts. But that kind of goes for reviews as a whole; it's always the non-review posts that get the most comments, I think because most of us don't want our comments to turn into a broken record ("I want to read that book, great review") and it's easier to knowledgeably discuss literary issues than it is books we either haven't read or read so long ago we've forgotten even the main characters' names.

    It does feel good to receive ARCs though, you're right about that. I was so stunned by the first one I received (UPSed halfway around the world to me) that I couldn't quit telling all my friends about it.

  7. hmm interesting post and I love the pic! 🙂

    I try to review more of a mix of books on my blog, just because I try and mix arcs with my own usually older books.

  8. This isa really interesting point, Jamie! I wouldn't have thought there had been a downside, but Ican totally see your reasoning. But the more you talk about getting books early makes me think about starting a blog more! 🙂

  9. It's so true, I've noticed there's more interaction on my reviews if most people have already read the book. I love comments on my reviews, like you, because it's so interesting to discuss books with others – even if (or sometimes especially if) they disagree with you!

  10. Very interesting. You make some good observations.

  11. This is interesting! I have only had a couple ARCs that I have been able to review, but I have noticed what you said. These ones are the ones with little to no comments on them.

  12. Michelle (my books. my life.) says:

    Interesting thought. I schedule most of my ARC reviews for the week the book comes out (and not way in advance) which I think helps.

    The downside I see to ARCs (and what I thought your post was going to be about) is that I ignore already published books. I need MORE TIME.

  13. Carmen — I'd highly advise against starting a blog for that reason. "Free books" sounds like an awesome thing but there is a lot of work involved for those who take it seriously. There's a tradeoff you have to make. Sometimes you aren't going to feel like blogging or reading but if you are someone who truly wants to be a book blogger..you are going to have to just do it (unless you are deciding you want to quit..in which case you should notify pubs). My fiance always says that blogging is like my part time job that I don't get paid for. Sometimes it feels like a job and sometimes it doesn't. My advice is blog because you want to blog and share your opinions on books..any other reason will eventually get old after a while. Now, I'm not saying that "free books" is your sole reason for wanting to blog but I'm just addressing your comment. If you want to start a book blog because you really want to talk books with people and provide insight to help readers discern if they'd like a book..then I'd be happy to give you any pointers or answer any questions you might have about starting and maintaining a book blog should you start one! 🙂

  14. Michelle — I definitelyyy ignore already published books. I am however finding a better balance than I used to. I typically don't review the ARCS toooo early (aside from a few I'm really excited about and think others are too!) but even a week before seems to have a hard time getting people to comment.

  15. April BooksAndWine says:

    See, for me, comments don't come based on when a book is reviewed and release date, but based on A) how funny/awesome the title is, B)How funny/well written the post is and C) how much I go around and comment on other blogs during that day. But, mostly B.

  16. sarahsaysread.com says:

    I don't get ARC copies, but as a blog reader I agree with you 100%. It's very rarely that I'll comment on an ARC post, basically because I haven't heard of the book before and like you said, all I can really say is "I want / don't want to read this." The exceptions are like you said, those books that seem to be EVERYWHERE on the blogosphere due to big-time promoting by the publisher.

    So as one of your blog readers, I can say I'll be looking forward to your reviews of your books that are a bit older!

  17. You're definitely right about not as much interaction. I don't really like when bloggers post reviews of books that aren't coming out for months. I'm not jealous that they read it, but just wondering what the point of posting the review so early was. I was recently asked by an author to review a novel (my first request!), but it doesn't come out until December, so I am in no rush to get started. Why post about it if no one can buy it in the next couple weeks?

    On my blog, everything I have reviewed, except for one book that I picked up from a publisher at Comic Con, has already come out and it's really nice to interact with others who have read and enjoyed it. More fun that way 🙂

  18. We Heart YA says:

    We don't really review books, but as blog readers, we do find it difficult to say much besides "thanks for the review" or "we want to read that too." Also, we enjoy learning about books that are already out that we might have missed. Like commenter Katie said, though, it can vary from reader to reader and blog to blog. It's good that you're figuring out what works for you and what doesn't.

    Also, it stinks when reading and blogging feel like a chore. Make sure to have fun!

  19. I have to admit.. I do tend not to read an early review of a book, for fear of spoilers. Now that I know yours wont have any.. I'll visit more often. I made the mistake just yesterday, and read a review of The becoming of Mara Dyer.. now I know what the twist is.. I'll still read it… but I would have liked the surprise..

    I do see your point in arcs being a downside for sure.. and then you can't really talk to anyone about them! cause most people haven't read it yet. But it does help out the publishers and Authors, otherwise they wouldn't print them.. so it all evens out somehow!

    Great post. 🙂

  20. I know that as a commenter, I agree with you — although I never really thought about it. I try to comment on REVIEWS. That's my favorite things to read and so I want to make sure bloggers know I appreciated their reviews. But some reviews, I just don't have anything to say. And I guess that would be more the case if it were a book that not many had read. Hmmmmm… I still like to read reviews of ARCs, though, and I like to write them too. I guess the key is just to mix it up — and I'll try to comment on early reviews more. Great thoughts. I really hadn't considered this.

  21. I try to do my ARC reviews right around release time, which helps with commentary. But you're right. Too many ARC reviews too early means fewer comments besides "I want!". Still, I do love my ARCs and I love sharing my love of an upcoming book with readers.
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  22. GreenBeanTeenQueen says:

    I used to think that if I reviewed an ARC, it got more comments. But I think that was if it was a big buzz book. I don't get as many comments as I used to and I think part of that is I've been too busy to read all my blogfeed and comment on everything all the time like I did when I first started. I also try not to review ARCs really early-I like to review them closer to the release date, so I think that might help with comments. I sometimes feel like blogs who post really early reviews of titles are "showing off" and that bugs me a bit. I think I'd rather have a "hey, heads up, this is coming out, put it on your radar" post and then a full review closer to the release than an early review.

  23. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    I think my comments all go around how popular the book might be…my Divergent, Lola, and I'm sure other reviews had the most comments/views.

    I do my best to only post a review for a book at the latest a month in advance, but I only really like to review books a week or two before.

    I do admit, if I comment a lot during the week or on that particular day I get more comments back…that's the way the blogging world turns 🙂 haha.

  24. I know publishers encourage us to post our reviews of books around release date but I'm one of those people that does so many weeks later. One, because I'm just that far behind and have only so much time to write reviews and two, because like you I think it's great to give people the opportunity to read the book themselves before seeing my review. Thirdly, with so many blogs covering the same books it's hard not to get lost in the shuffle on release week. 🙂 Going several weeks later may give some that missed it elsewhere the opportunity to learn about a book and/or provide for more conversation.

  25. Cialina at Muggle-Born.net says:

    For me, I definitely look at posts for books that aren't out yet but I'm interested in reading. As to the comments I receive on my blog, I don't know if there actually is a pattern. Some of my ARC reviews can get a comment or two, but sometimes one of the reviews for older books I've read might not get any attention either. At least on my blog there isn't a science to comments.

  26. Just stumbled across this post (because I like reading through your blog, and catching up on all of the things that I missed!) Although I have never read an ARC as a blogger (we used to get them sometimes when I worked at an independent bookstore — my boss hogged most of them, but some would make their way into the staff room), I’ve definitely noticed less comments on a newer book. My thought on it is that sometimes people want to read the book first, and then go comment on reviews. For example, I acquired Fever and Pandemonium shortly after their release dates (my birthday coincided nicely with their release dates and hubby obliged!), but I barely had any page views on those reviews and no comments. Maybe it’s because people don’t have anything to say just yet, since they haven’t read the book yet, or maybe it’s because people would rather read the book first and then seek out the reviews. Then again, I’m still new to blogging and don’t have that many readers just yet either =P

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  1. […] that you have a library to get “free” books, that fellow bloggers will share and getting ARCs can be a double edged sword (Your TBR pile is going to look like HOARDERS). Being polite and gracious to publishers and working […]

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