Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Tiger from All-Consuming Media. This edition is about ARCs. Oooooh, controversy! Let's get this party started.
Question: What do we owe publishers and authors? If we accept ARC’s do we “owe” anything to them or just an honest review to our followers? As book bloggers are we obligated to do more than just review books? Post covers – participate in book tours – host guest posts - promote authors?
Plain and simple- If you request or accept an arc/book, you need to review it. The publisher/author didn't send it to you so it could sit on your shelf and collect dust. They sent it to you because they wanted you to review it, give it some publicity whether good or bad.
I know sometimes life gets in the way. Reading and reviewing can be incredibly time consuming and sometimes you just don't have the time. In that case, I'd recommend contacting the author or maybe the pub and seeing if you can interview them or maybe feature the book in some way. Maybe even host a giveaway or something. At some point, though, you should at least try to read and review it, even if it's a mini-review and even if the book has already released. Remember, you agreed to review it, so yes, it is your obligation to do so.
Sometimes we get those "surprise" books in the mail that we didn't ask for nor request. Occasionally, this happens to me. I somehow always end up with books that are in the middle of a series I've never read nor started. Not a bad thing! With these, I'll either buy/borrow the previous books and try to read them in a timely manner or pass them on to bloggers who I know has read the series and will read-review it at some point. I sometimes ask said blogger to also send me a link to their review. That way, I can send it to the pub and who knows? Maybe the pub will add said friend on their mailing list and said friend will receive the next book in that series. Win-win.
If you are at any point overwhelmed with the case of "too many books to read", STOP REQUESTING AND ACCEPTING BOOKS. It's that simple. I know we all want the latest and greatest read but remember that the book will eventually release. Then you can buy it and have no pressure to read-review it any time soon. I get what it's like to have way too many books to read, and I've felt that kind of deadline pressure before. If you follow my mailboxes, you'll notice there are weeks where I didn't receive anything unless I bought them or not post one at all. As my pile shrinks, I'll begin accepting requests again, but till then, c'est la vie.
I'm not going to lie, one of my pet peeves are bloggers who complain on twitter or wherever about having too many books to read, then post these giant mailbox posts every week. Remember, YOU DID THAT TO YOURSELF. No one forced these books down your throat, held a gun to your head and asked you to review them. You could have said no. You could also stop requesting so many books, but if you chose to accept these books, then it's your obligation to review them, pressure and all.
Another thing, if you receive an ARC from ALA/BEA/TLA/PLA/etc, you are obligated to read and review (or feature) the book. To me, that's the same thing as requesting a book. Whether you asked for it or a pub gave it to you, you chose to take it home with you that day. ARCs cost A LOT of money to produce and as bloggers/part of the media, it's our responsibility not to waste their time or money.
Are we obligated to host tours, post covers, participate in book tours, etc.? Honestly, this is up to the blogger. I personally participate in them because I enjoy promoting authors and books I love. Do I ever feel obligated to do so? No. When I'm asked to join a tour, the publicist makes it very clear that I can either host a giveaway, feature the author, reveal the cover, and if I'd like to review the book, she/he will send me a copy. If not, that's fine too. There really is no pressure to do so. You should do it because you want to, not because you feel obligated to.
Remember, being a blogger means you're a part of a family (the book blogging family!). That means if one person does something shameful, it makes us all look bad. Be considerate. If you are not going to review a book, put the book down or say no. Simple, right? I thought so. :-)