How to Reduce ARC-Related Stress

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.

How to Reduce ARC-Related Stress

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.

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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!

♥ Annie

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13 thoughts on “How to Reduce ARC-Related Stress

  1. Pingback: October ’18 Recap | I Completed My Goodreads Goal! – Blossoms and Bullet Journals

  2. Ahh, this post is amazing! I haven’t gotten on to Netgalley or other ARC websites yet, but I really want to. 🙂 I have read a couple ARCs from authors who contacted me personally, which I feel like upped the stress level quite a bit, since I knew the author would be reading my review of the book. Thank you for all the tips, I will keep them in mind when I decide to start using Netgalley!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for that reminder about ARC’s not being necessary for book blogging. I thought about taking a break from blogging but I think what I need is a break from most ARC’s. I finally wrote a policy about it on my blog because I was feeling overwhelmed by everything I had to read and really, reading is about fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. This is such a good post, filled with amazing advice, Annie, thank you so much for writing it! 💖 I don’t request a lot of books, mostly because I am afraid of feeling overwhelmed and know that there’s an 80% chance my request won’t be granted anyway because I am an international book blogger haha. I also try to keep track of all of my review copies in a spreadsheet in order not to forget everything, but…. I tend to read the books about a month close to their publication date – I tend not to review a book right after reading it when it’s not, urgent, because I don’t have time or have other reviews to do, and if I read an ARC two months in advance and for some reason forget to take notes – I try to take notes, but…. sometimes I forget and I hate myself afterwards hahahha -, I kind of feel SO mad when I forgot everything about the book and have to review it 😅😅
    Anyway, this is such a great post, thank you for sharing your advice! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! This is really helpful. I rarely take notes on the books I read for fun, because I just like to immerse myself into the world without having to annotate certain parts. But whenever I’m reading a book for a class or something I want to do a review on (ARC) then I take notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved that you included keeping track! I haven’t been reading ARCs long, but the first month I was overwhelmed (got approved for more than I thought I would). Now i have a planner/calendar. I keep track of what I’m reading when its cover reveal date is, when reviews are due by and it helps a TON! I also write my reviews as soon as I finish and save them to be published at the appropriate time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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