05 July 2014

{Blogger Babble} We Don't Deserve ARC's

By: Me My Shelf And I | 05 July 2014 at 5:29 PM | |

BB

1. ARCs were not created nor intended for Bloggers.

2. ARCs are a gift and a privilege NOT something you are entitled to no matter how long you have been blogging or how many books you have gotten from a publisher in the past.

Do I have your attention?

Good, because I can't begin to tell you how sick and tired I am at this horrific level of abuse that is happening to ARCs lately.

It's not even just the ARCs being abused. Horrifically enough, it's also the shit storm the publicists get when "I wasn't picked for that tour " or "I did this thing for you this one time where's my reward " type behavior is unleashed. I've heard from countless authors over the years and at least 2 different publicists from 2 different Big 6 houses, mention in passing how the rudely written e-mails and tweets they get when people don't get what they want, are actually hurtful to them.

What's wrong with you?

In an effort to help those out there guilty of this petulant child behavior, I'm here to remind the blogging world of a few things, with the help from My Super-Awesome-Anonymous-Publicist-Contact-From-One-Of-The-Big-Six-Houses.

Let's start at the beginning shall we?

1. ARCs were not created nor intended for Bloggers.

Maybe you never knew this, maybe you just needed to be reminded. Whatever the reason, now you know for sure. We are lucky to get them at all. And I mean that as a whole community – in general bloggers are lucky to get them.

Way back, before the first book blogger ever blogged, ARCs existed for publications (no, you're not a publication…you're just a blog.) such as magazines and newspapers, and TV/Media. This is still their main purpose. Just because we learned how to obtain them, does not mean that we come first.

My Super-Awesome-Anonymous-Publicist-Contact-From-One-Of-The-Big-Six-Houses explains the original use of ARCs to you all technical like:

  • "In the past, we would use ARCs/Galleys ONLY for long leads* (as publicists) and select online venues. With the shift to online coverage, we moved to digital review copies because advance copies are really expensive to produce. In other areas of publishing houses, these copies are used to send to booksellers to get early quotes, librarians to induce buys, etc. So different departments use them for different things, but it’s not like ARCs/galleys were ever invented for the use of blogs only."

*Explanation of LONG leads: Long leads are media outlets that need more time to prepare their media – ie, Magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, Vogue, Cosmo, SELF, etc etc. They need 4-6 months of notice/opportunity to read because they close their issues 3 months before they print.

What does this mean? It means that bloggers are not the first to get books and we get them only when enough have been made, and if we are trusted enough. Do publishers print more now that we exist? Likely, yes but that still does not entitle any one person to any thing. Ever. Stop taking them for granted, stop assuming because you have a blog you are entitled…just stop.

2. ARCs are a gift and a privilege NOT something you are entitled to no matter how long you have been blogging, or how many books you have gotten from a publisher in the past.

A well worded, polite tweet a few weeks ago that started a fantastic discussion among a group of my respected peers, reminded me of the less than polite "shout outs" on Twitter I had seen in the past. You know the ones I'm talking about – where the person posting tags the author and/or publisher in their hate tweet about their total disgust over the fact they were turned down for a book.

Dude. Check your privilege!

You have a book blog? Super! So do approximately 60 million other people. And guess what Greedy McGrabby Hands – that in no way entitles you to ARCs (or finished copies for that matter) from an author or publisher. Not even if it rained paperbacks on you for the past 6 months.

Oh but, you posted that thing that one time so why can't they do something for you?

Seriously? You are in this for the wrong reasons. PLease leave, you're making the rest of us look bad. REAL bloggers do what they do to promote and share their love of books regardless of weather or not they are getting things for free. A real blogger knows that promotion of a book does not start with an ARC or end on a publication date.

Let's hear again from Super-Awesome-Anonymous-Publicist-Contact-From-One-Of-The-Big-Six-Houses:

  • [ARC or finished copies for review needs go]..to trusted contacts who’ve confirmed [previous] reviews. And that also goes back to why we need to be selective. We’re losing the sale of a book, plus shipping costs, plus the opportunity cost of where else that book could have gone – it’s a lot to consider!"

and also:

  • "I still think it’s helpful to get some influential early readers on certain books. But that means like 20-40 blogs – not 200."

Clearly these numbers will vary from imprint to imprint but, how many book bloggers do you think there are, right now? I'm talking consistent, reliable, established bloggers? If you're answer is in the number rage of "Like woah I couldn't even count that high" you'd be spot on.

So now take that knowledge and think about how every time an author is about to release book, their publicist (and the author!) is FLOODED with requests for the ARC in whatever form it is they can spare. If they have 200 trusted contacts, do you really think EVERY PUBLISHER/IMPRINT can accommodate that kind of request for every book people want? No. Just, no.

Basically…

Knock this crap off people. I'm so sick and tired of seeing people whine and complain – even in that passive aggressive way that they think makes them look like they are kidding.  Dude, we're not stupid…we see it. We know. 

Always remember: ARCs are a POSSIBLE benefit to blogging. You do not get them because you started a book blog. You do not get them because you have been a blogger for years and years. Even for myself, I get many from fellow bloggers and once in a while a package (like this week) will arrive. But it's not common, and many are because I'm on or running tours for them.

And if you want to keep the flow coming to bloggers for years to come, on top of being respectful to the authors and publishers in your life – here's a side tip: Stop SELLING and STOP PIRATING! It's illegal, it's wrong and it makes you a total and complete D-Bag! Want some tips on how to help avoid pirating? Check out Blogger Babble: Illegal Book Sharing And What You're Doing That's NOT Helping.

Amber

17 comments:

  1. This is a great post, I totally agree that we need to treasure the chance to review an ARC.
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate you stopping in to read my little rant. I can never tell if posting the "opinion" posts is ever a good idea.

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  2. I have long been uncomfortable with the way people talk about arcs on Twitter. I stopped posting most of my arcs, eithrr physical or digital, on my blog and Twitter because I don't like seeming braggy or greedy. So instead, I try to say thank you by posting something on my blog, whether it's a full review or a few sentences in my weekly wrap-up about the book after I've read it.

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    1. I totally get the feeling braggy thing. I stopped doing the Stacking The Shelves thing until only recently when it worked better for me, since I don't do a weekly recap of any kind. Even still, when I'm not putting in things that I also bought, I feel snobby. And you know what - I shouldn't. That's the thing. I should not feel bad that I got something, or I'm on a tour and am reviewing for it, or I won something...you know? Look at how things are that we have to hide what we have because those who didn't get it, or something similar will throw a public fit. It's sad.

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  3. It seems like this has made you quite angry and it's too bad that's happening. I'm a new book blogger with an unusual policy and I'm glad if someone wants to send me a book. And if not I'll review the books I buy which are plenty. I've also heard of bloggers who are getting so many books they can't cope anymore without even asking for them. I have no idea how it all works yet, I'm learning as I go along. I write my own stories and share my love for books. No matter if someone has given me a book or not.

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    1. Your policy isn't that weird! And also - WELCOME TO BLOGGING! I'm so glad you are joining in on this wacky world! Don't let this post make you think they are all bad apples out there - it's not like that at all. I'm just very fed up with this situation and it needed to come out.

      Your review policy - of not talking about something you don't like, like I said isn't that weird. It's kind of how a lot of bloggers do things in fact. Not posting bad reviews of DNF's. And actually, the very reason I do things like Stacking The Shelves - I don't post bad reviews regularly unless I feel they were very factual and I wanted to have a discussion about it with my readers. At least with a Stacking The Shelves post, if I read that book and don't like it, it's been shown on my blog and gotten a little exposure rather than just rotting on my bookshelf while I find it a new blogger home.

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  4. This is such a great post! Someone had to say it and I don't think anyone could have put it more eloquently than you did, Amber.
    I've noticed this for some time now, especially from some "big bloggers" lately and I think it's disgusting to think you're entitled to get review copies.
    I've been blogging consistently for the past 2.5 years now and I've never once requested a physical ARC from a publisher because I know how expensive they are to manufacture/ship and how cost inefficient it must be for the publisher to send it to a blogger like me. I've always just relied on e-ARCs. I'm not going to lie, it's disappointed me when I haven't been approved, but I got over it. It's not the end of the world and I'm going to be able to buy it eventually when the book comes out. Recently, I got removed from Harlequin Teen's auto-approval list on NetGalley for some unknown reason and I was devastated. It made me really think about the kind of person who I had become. Somewhere along the way, I've started to get dependent on ARCs and I don't want to feel that way. It was a definitely a way to get my blogging priorities right after I whined to my friend in private.
    Anyways, I've also seen huge bloggers complain about how younger blogs with few followers have been getting ARCs and not them who have a gazillion followers and who have been blogging for 2+ years publicly on Twitter. And these were grown-ass women whining about something so petty. It's good that they do that though. Then you know exactly who to follow and who not to.
    Anyways, this is a wonderful post, Amber. I'm very glad you wrote it!

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    1. Agreed. All of this!

      There's one blogger in particular who I see around at many events, and it's always ME ME ME and I got THIS and THIS and THIS and how could I not get THAT when so-and-so did. She's very draining, and I hate running into her and feeling "trapped."

      ARCs are most definitely a very special gift! I don't ask for a lot of them directly from publishers because I have so much to read already! If I'm running a special event I'll reach out, or if it's a new author that needs extra attention, but if it's, say, the second/third book in a series and I'm not even caught up to that point and know I won't be by the time the book comes out for real? Why would I ever request the ARC? Who cares if it's the hottest thing since sliced bread? I'll read it when I read it!

      If I do request physical ARCs, I also share a lot of them with my co-workers because I *am* a bookseller. I reached out to Harper for QUEEN OF THE TEARLING back in January becaues I know it will be a big book this summer when it comes out and it's been read by half our store and is still being passed around.

      And it drives me CRAZY, the people who will never ever buy a print copy after they have an ARC! They fought for it; they deserved it; it was their reward; etc. I was at a signing recently for an author whose final book came out recently, and the girl ahead of me had an ARC of the first book in the series to get signed and personalized. Just...really!? You want it that much, you go out and buy it! If you know you'll read it again, buy it. Even if you're not a re-reader, buy it for a giveaway or another person if you really loved the book. Support the publisher and author who shared that book with you. It made me sad to see the publicist you quoted say an ARC was a lost sale!

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    2. Oh hunny! You should know HT removed EVERYONE! They were doing an overhaul, clearing out and preparing to use NG a little less (I believe was the bottom line result). It was not you! The night I had the conversation that sparked this post - we talked about this as well as one of my other friends had been removed. They really should have sent out e-mails to people instead of letting bloggers think they had done something wrong because this is effecting way more that just you - everyone thought they screwed up.

      Lastly, about the signing of the ARCs - I try not to judge that too harshly. First of all, any good book store will REQUIRE you a purchase to go through the autograph line. But then again I go to most my signings at Independent stores so there's that. Second - I almost always have an ARC with me when I go to the signings. I use them for giveaways, some I keep for myself depending on who and what it is. I never ONLY take that - I always buy at least one book! Always!, but I do have them with me.

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  5. Hey, this is a great post. As I'm basically just starting out, I'm amazed whenever someone writes to me requesting a review. I don't even want to consider badgering people for ARCs, and I certainly wouldn't be rude about not receiving one. I agree; we are privileged to receive these, and to be honest, sometimes I feel like a review in exchange for a book is short-changing these authors a little bit, so I try to do as much as I can for them. I'm so glad someone has addressed this issue; I see too many ungrateful bloggers out there.
    Kyra, The Review List

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    1. Thank you! I too try to do as much a I can for the same reason and because that's why I started the blog in the first place.

      It's sad that the ungrateful bloggers do not outnumber the rest, but they have the greatest effect on the community.

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  6. I LOVE this post! Thank you so much for writing it! You hit the problem with greedy blogger head on! <3

    --Shana

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  7. I agree that receiving an ARC is a privilege and should not be an expectation for bloggers, no matter how long they've been blogging. But many publishers do have large ARC distributions for bloggers specifically. So blogs are now being targeted for marketing from publishers. Things have changed and with those changes and without clear guidelines at times, I suppose some bloggers have the wrong expectation.

    If a blogger is interested in a particular title, if they just check the publisher's distribution for that ARC they can in advance see whether there is a large blogger outreach for that title or a more narrow one, so they can manage expectations better.

    I don't agree that receiving an ARC automatically results in a lost sale. I happen to be a blogger that will buy every title I love regardless of whether I receive an ARC and I know I'm not the only one. And the gifted ARC that is buzzed about, whether reviewed or not, could potentially result in one or more sales when there might not otherwise have been any. But this is a cost of marketing, which is a gamble solely at the discretion of the publisher.

    eGalleys are definitely less expensive, but potentially riskier. I prefer the eGalley to the print copy, but it's unfortunate that there's such a high risk for piracy with eGalleys and that some pubs seem to be restricting them.

    And I just kind of tune out when people vent about not receiving ARCs. But I hadn't been aware of any hate messages sent to publishers or publicists, which is so unfortunate. There are bloggers who take this more seriously than others and treat this more professionally than others, but with the 1 million+ blogs out there, we can't expect that everyone will behave in that way. It's not a paid endeavor. Hopefully those in the industry will develop relationships with those bloggers who are responsible and professional vs. those who aren't.

    I'd imagine those who do nothing but complain or mistreat publicists will get taken off any outreach and get blocked on twitter. If they're just in it for the ARCs I doubt they'll be around for the long haul if they're not getting their "freebies."

    As cruel as these individuals might be, I don't think it rises to the level of abuse in the Chris Brown situ, as April mentioned above. A publicist can contact their tech department and have that email reported as spam so that no one in their company will be pestered by that person. If it rises to the level of abuse that makes their jobs unpleasant, they can contact their supervisors or company lawyers and have this person issued a C&D. It's abusive, but not physically abusive.

    As for annoyingly frustrating timelines - I heard that if you block someone now you can mark them as "annoying" or something similar. So sorry this has gotten under your skin. People are going to rant and complain and talk about how unfair things are. I suppose your only recourse is to tune them out. :(

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    1. Thank you for such a great reply! And you are right - the Chris Brown comment wasn't right to use and I removed it. I said it in the heat of the moment, it didn't apply here and to both of you who pointed it out - thank you for calling me on it.

      I do think though, that the bloggers who buy the finished copies of all (or most, or even some) of the ARCs they get is not as large as we would hope. I know I buy several, always when I can - and you do as well but I've seen several people, a few even just in the past days say things like "the reason I grabbed so many books/ask for so many/complain when I don't get them is because I'm broke." which to me is just ridiculous. And I see it more than I ever see "I loved this ARC so I'm buying the finished copy"

      It is frustrating, to me as a blogger who would never think to act this way and to the people I know who have actually been hurt by e-mails. Having the ability to turn someone in or removed from an ARC list isn't going to remove the ick feeling that's left over after having read dozens of complaints in a day for not being picked for a tour or getting the book.

      Thanks for the tip on timelines, and for always being a great person to chat with about these kinds of things!

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    2. It's tough not to get emotional when something you care about rubs you the wrong way then you reach your tipping point and it's all over. So I totally get it. And I agree that it's probably a smaller percentage of bloggers who buy books than those who don't. But I also think that in the latter group, there are some who truly can't afford it and wouldn't have purchased it but would read and review it or read and promote it so that others may buy it. Although the bloggers in that camp aren't typically ones who complain when they don't receive something. They're very grateful for the books they do receive.

      There are a lot of different personalities in the blogosphere. There are going to be those that treat this in a way that makes sense to us and those that don't. I try to keep myself apart from those that aren't like minded.

      I think it would help more if publishers studied the landscape, which has changed so much, update their mailing lists and aim for a more targeted group of blogs for the ARCs they send. It would help reduce attitudes and expectations. Of course if they do that, I'm sure there will be a whole slew of new types of complaints. So there is really no winning. *sigh.*

      Sorry to comment stalk. This has been an interesting discussion. And I enjoy our chats, too!

      I just try to focus on the fact that there are so many amazing bloggers out there that love reading, love the authors they help to promote and are the very best part of this community. It helps me get past all the other crap. :)

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  8. Excellent post! I find it funny when bloggers complain about not receiving a certain ARC that another blogger received. It's like we forget that you can always buy the book when it is released. Also with the amount of ARCs that bloggers receive, it's impossible that all of these books will even get read. And how many of these books are actually reviewed? I know that there are other ways to promote a book besides reviewing it. But isn't writing a review the most helpful?

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