Receiving ARCs (Advanced Reader’s Copies) is a huge privilege, and I am so lucky to be a blogger who is sometimes able to read ARCs. Being able to read books before publication—and for free—is, in short, awesome.
That being said, reading ARCs can also be stressful sometimes. Having been sent a book by a publisher adds extra pressure to the reader that wouldn’t be there if you were just reading the book for fun. I’ve found myself in these sorts of predicaments, and they certainly made my life a bit more stressful:
- Requesting too many ARCs and feeling like there’s not enough time to read them all
- Getting approved for a book super close to the release date and feeling like there’s not enough time to read it
- Getting sent a book by the author and not liking it (awkward)
- Reading an ARC far in advance and forgetting what happened in it
- Procrastinating writing a review until the night before release day
- Realizing after requesting that I’m not actually that interested in reading the book
Like I said, this post is in no way intending to bash ARCs—they truly are a wonderful privilege (one that a lot of readers, for various reasons, unfortunately don’t get). But the more anxiety-inducing aspects of ARC reading can be tough, which is why I’ve put together this post with some tips that I’ve found for making ARC reading and reviewing a more relaxed experience.
1. Take some time to think about a book before requesting it
Forcing yourself to read a book you don’t actually want to read is not fun. Sometimes I get swept up in the glamour of ARCs and end up requesting a book or two and then being annoyed at myself for doing it afterward.
To combat this, I like to ask myself “Do I really, truly, want to read this and think I will enjoy it?” before hitting the request button. Sometimes I even mull it over for a few days before making a final decision.
2. Don’t request too many ARCs at once
Sometimes I think “Oh, it’s okay if I request a bunch of books, I probably won’t get approved for most of them anyway,” but there have been a few instances when I turned out to be wrong and I ended up with too many ARCs to read and not enough time.
For this reason, I always try to be minimal in my ARC requesting. It’s important to know yourself as a reader, and think “If I get approved for this, will I actually have time to read it?”
3. Always request a few months before the book’s release date
This will take away some of the time-related stress of ARCs. If you’re not rushing to finish a book before the release date, you’ll probably have a better reading experience.
4. Have somewhere to keep track of your review copies
I keep track of information about my ARCs in my blogging spreadsheet, but you can do this in your journal, a google doc, the notes section of your phone…whatever works best. This will help keep you organized so you won’t forget about any ARCs you have to read or review.
5. Start reading ARCs as soon as you receive them
If you try your best to start reading any review copies you get soon after receiving them, then you probably won’t have to stress as much about reviewing them on time.
6. Take notes while reading ARCs
Taking notes—whether it be writing in the margins, flagging important lines with sticky notes, or jotting thoughts down in a notebook—will make writing a book review much easier. Some people don’t like taking notes while they read, but for me, keeping track of things I might want to include in my review of a book makes my life a lot easier.
7. Write your review as soon as possible after you finish reading
Writing your review soon after finishing the book helps ensure that you don’t forget what happened in the book. Then you can just schedule your post and relax! This also helps prevent that moment when you sit up in bed at midnight like, “Oh gosh that book comes out tomorrow and I still haven’t posted a review!”
8. Don’t request ARCs if you don’t want to
I personally enjoy reading ARCs and plan on continuing, but if you find that ARCs are too stressful for you, you don’t have to read them. Sometimes it seems like getting ARCs is an essential part of being a book blogger, but it’s not. Some book bloggers read ARCs, and some don’t, and not reading them doesn’t diminish your book blogger status in any way, so don’t force yourself to read them if you don’t want to.
Do you read ARCs? What are your thoughts on them? Do you have any more tips to add to my list? Chat with me in the comments!