Quit side-eyeing me, yo.
It’s been a long time coming, but I couldn’t not put this post out there. I haven’t been blogging long (on Of Wonderland, previously known as Bookshelf Reflections for a year, and on 100% Rock Magazine for almost two years) and I’m still in that newbie phase where, whenever I receive an ARC, I freak out for six months and almost pee myself with excitement. It’s a fun novelty, to have a book turn up at your door that isn’t out yet, and man, I feel special every time it happens.
And it’s the same for digital ARCs. I remember, before Christmas, Epic Reads did an ARC drop on Edelweiss and I went on a requesting spree (I’m talking 15 books, people. Fifteen.) and then I spent three weeks agonising over the fact that I hadn’t been accepted or declined to read them. IT WAS TENSE, GUYS. I call that time “The Great Bookish Hole of Doom.” Poor Inge had to put up with me whinging, “But what if they say no?” and “But what if they say yes?!” Dark times, dark times.
Anyway. When I was actually approved for those books, I freaked out, flailed, and then cried over the fact that it meant bingeing fifteen extra books I definitely did not have time to read, and write out reviews faster than the book gods intended. I had finger cramps that lasted months.
Where am I going with this, you might be asking? It’s simple: unfortunately, a few people think bloggers are “entitled” to ARCs and can get very shitty, very rude, and very mean about it. ARC envy is common knowledge, and it happens to the best of us. When my friends got back from BEA and sent me pictures of their hauls, I just wanted to reach through the screen, grab the pretties and run away with them. But at the same time, I was ludicrously happy for them — these are anticipated releases that we’d all been angsting over since their announcements, and my friends managed to snag some copies! It was amazing! And even though I didn’t have the books, it didn’t matter to me, because I have them on preorder anyway.
It’s simple: publishers don’t owe you anything, and you don’t owe them anything.
Here’s the thing: you should be blogging for the love of blogging. Because you love books and you want to share that with other booklovers. Because you want to speak to people who 100% get you, when you can’t talk to your real life friends because they aren’t readers. If you’re blogging for books… well, you shouldn’t be blogging. Yes, receiving ARCs can factor in that (I was so excited when Steph on 100% said I should try requesting books because FREE BOOKS) but it shouldn’t be the whole reason as to why you’re blogging. In my opinion, it kills all the fun. And you can totally tell when someone is in it for the ARCs, and not for the love of books.
Some people, though, don’t get the message. And even if those people are sent an ARC, they want more: for their “collection.” (Although it still blows my mind how people can ‘collect’ five copies of the same book — same cover, paperback/hardback, with literally nothing indistinguishable from the first four.) If you’re requesting more than one ARC from the publisher with the intention of keeping them to yourself, you are, essentially, taking away the opportunity for the publisher/author to gain more reviews/marketing. Which is what ARCs are for. By having two ARCs and keeping both to yourself, the publisher will be getting one less review out there. It might not sound like much, but 1 + 1 + 1… you get the picture.
And it’s even worse when you are declined for a book, but you know that someone, out there, has five ARCs of the same book, all sent by the publisher. Because you wonder, “Well, why can’t I have one?” and then you have to yank yourself out of that spiral faster than lightning, because nothing good can come from it. Ever. Thankfully, I have never gotten in an ARC feud, and never want to, but I’ve witnessed how those things go down on Twitter, and they are not pretty.
My point is: be envious. Be happy. And if you get an ARC, be grateful. Don’t be rude, don’t be malicious, and don’t throw out snarky comments to those who do have an ARC you want. Because that person is human and has feelings and receiving that book could’ve made a bad day go that much better, and you’re ruining it. If you can’t get an ARC you want, there are other ways to get them. I’ve traded books on the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter, and it’s been a really successful endeavor. For swapping books with someone, you can get something you really want by giving them something they really want — and I’ve made some new friends through it, too! It’s a win/win situation. (Shout out to Jen! Our friendship started by trading on #booksfortrade and it’s gotten stronger ever since!)
Again, publishers don’t owe you anything. Don’t scream and shout because they said no. A lot of things factor in the approval of an ARC: your blog’s statistics, how far your reviewing/talking about it will reach and, the most important of all, territorial rights. If you live in the butt-crack of nowhere, chances are, you won’t get approved for a lot of books. But that’s okay! Because I don’t, and I live in England. It’s all about marketing, yo. And sometimes, we don’t make the cut. So when you’re declined, just look at your shelves, or go to the library or the bookstore, and read something new. It’s just as good.
I have been super grateful for every book I’ve been sent, and it makes my heart so happy when my friends receive bookish goodness in the mail, too.
Have you guys stumbled onto something similar to what I’m talking about? How do you deal with ARC envy? Let us discuss in the comments!