So I have a confession: I may have overdid it on the ARC requesting for spring. I know, I know. There’s been a lot of talk around the blogosphere about requesting ARCs and not reading them, and here I am telling you all that I definitely took on more than I could handle. I like to think that it’s more to do with excitement and optimism than it is about carelessness. You get the catalogs, browse Edelweiss and NetGalley, and you get so, so excited about all the titles scrolling by. Before you know it, the ARC pile is starting to feel insurmountable.
I’m one of those people who are definitely guilty of not reading every ARC that passes over my desk. I physically can’t – and I don’t think I’m alone in that either. What I do do (ha) is give every book a try. Once a month, I gather up the books I need to read in the upcoming weeks and I give them a go. I read the first 10 or so pages, reread the synopsis, and take a look at the reviews. Then I have to cut it down to the amount of books I can realistically handle for the month (which these days, isn’t that much.) It’s not the best system, but I like to think it’s as fair as possible – to myself and to my books.
My ARC System
Once this cycle of ARCs is over (fall catalogs are starting to circulate nowish) I plan to do an overhaul of how I approach review copies and reviewing in general. Since I started blogging, I haven’t been very organized in how I request ARCs. I get the publisher email or I browse the digital galley sites, and I just go for it. It isn’t until weeks or months later, when I plug the titles into my spreadsheet, that I see exactly what I’ve gotten myself into.
Pretty soon I’ll be headed to BEA and I generally come home with 30ish books every time I go. I won’t hold onto all of those, but most, I’ll be adding to this spreadsheet. I’ll push through autumn with this schedule, but the madness ends there.
So once I get through my BEA books, that’s it. I thought about limiting myself to four books per month, so one review per week, but I don’t think so. I tweeted last night that instead of limiting, I’m just giving it up for good. No more requesting, no more auto-approved downloads. I’m not saying I’m going to go cold turkey or anything, or that I’ll pass up every ARC opportunity that comes my way, because I won’t. We all have those books that we just can’t turn down. But from here on out, I’m only going to accept review copies of those types of books. The ones by auto-buy authors, the ones that I will go crazy waiting for.
I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging and reviewing and how it affects my real life. Blogging, while a blast, is the cause for a lot of stress in my life, and I have only myself to blame. So I’m going to start taking a more laid back approach. I can’t commit one hundred percent to every review copy I have access to. I can’t dedicate all of my free time to blogging anymore. It’s been great to fully immerse like that for the last four years, but it’s not a sustainable system. There are tons of already-published books sitting on my shelves that I need to read – I can live without ARCs.
Are you like me? Do you over-request and later become overwhelmed when you see exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into? How do you approach ARC requesting and ARC organization?