Showing posts with label arcs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arcs. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unsolicited Review Copies: Reviewing Them, Ignoring Them, What To Do With Them | Book Blogging Tips (#51)




If you're receiving unsolicited review copies, you're probably already an established blogger and at least know somewhat what you're doing.

While it's a fantastic thing to receive the newest releases in the mail, it can get pretty overwhelming very easily.






Do you have to review them?

There are bloggers who get unsolicited copies sent to them every month, from many different publishers. If you're one of those people, it's virtually impossible to read all these books, even if you don't have a day job.

Personally, I think every single review copy you receive, whether unsolicited or not, is a privilege.

You have to consider that these copies cost more money to print than regular copies and are sent out to publishing professionals. If you've made it to that circle of people, you better act like a professional!

Meaning
  1. no selling
  2. no hoarding
  3. no requesting more ARCs when you're already drowning in them. 
Disagree if you want, but also know that misbehavior does not go unnoticed. Again, these books are a privilege that not every blogger has.

I don't believe that unsolicited copies all have to be reviewed. If you didn't request it, you don't have to review it in my opinion, though giving even just a little back in terms of maybe posting a picture of it or talking about it on social media is simply common courtesy.

If you don't want to read a review copy for what reason ever or don't have the time to read it-

Here are some alternatives:

  • Give the book to another blogger. Some review copies that I have received actually say on them that they are meant to be given to other bloggers. That way the publisher still gets "something" in return, even if it's only the exposure from being featured on another blog.
  • Contact the publicist. If you're receiving an overwhelming amount of books that's absolutely impossible to review, the smartest way to go about this is to contact the publicist responsible and just tell them you appreciate it, but don't have the time to review these books.
  • Host giveaways. While review copies are NEVER under no circumstances allowed to be sold (you can actually get sued for this), giveaways are a-okay. Check back with the publisher if you're unsure, some publishers don't want any ARCs circulating before the release date. 
  • Post pictures. If you're not able to post a review, just featuring the review copies you've received in a meme, (In My Mailbox, Stacking the Shelves etc.), or posting pictures on instagram or tumblr does the job. You'd still aim for managing to read them, since that's the reason why you got them in the first place.

What do you do with your unsolicited review copies?


More on review copies in my Book Blogging Tips Series



Continue Reading...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Not Reviewing Review Copies? How to Make All Bloggers Look Bad




A discussion I witnessed recently made me think about this. As bloggers we have the privilege of being able to read books for free - as long as we provide a review in return.

Something a fellow blogger said irked me instantly, I'm just going to paraphrase. 

They said that it's okay to request books and not read them (specifically ARCs), because it's usually just a case of getting overwhelmed. 

I'm very, very, very iffy about stuff like this. I take blogging super seriously and really try to keep deadlines in check almost obsessively (which I don't recommend, it's really stressful).

...

I do get that especially when you just start to get review copies, you get super excited and accidentally request more than you can read. Of course that's not a deadly sin, it's okay and I'm sure it happened to a lot of people out there. 

I'm not upset about people who didn't expect to actually get review copies and requested too many and got approved for too many either. 

Who REALLY upsets me are the people who keep on requesting ridiculous amounts of review copies and just collect them. Simply for display or whatever and don't review them. 

Here's why this upsets me:
  • It's rude. 
  • It's a virtual contract. (Most publishers won't work with you anymore if you have a history of doing this btw)
  • It's harmful to the industry. You might think that the big publishers won't be hurt by a couple of people not reviewing - but most big publishers only send out ARCs, which are specifically printed for reviewing purposes and cost a lot more to print, AND are only printed in limited quantities.
  • (The purpose of giving out an ARC and not a finished copy is to get the review before the book is published. If you end up posting the review late or not at all, the resources were wasted on you)
  • There are bloggers out there who would have given their left leg for reading the ARC/review copy you just ignore.
  • It's even worse if you do this to indie authors and small publishers, because the money for printing them is literally going out of their own pockets. 
  • Did I say it's rude?
I don't understand how anyone could justify having 30+ ARCs dating back a couple of months and not having reviewed them. I don't understand how anyone could have a huge pile of review copies dating back YEARS and not have reviewed them. I just don't get it and I think there should be consequences for people who do this. It's so rude and disrespectful. It makes all bloggers look bad, especially because a lot of times it's the big bloggers with a huge reach who think their fame makes it okay for them to do this. 

Of course, not everyone who does this is aware of how much damage they're doing, but after all we're basically offering a marketing service. Even if you're just blogging as a hobby, you're working with people who actually get paid to do their job and I sincerely doubt that you would do this in a professional environment. 

Why is it so widely accepted (apparently) to keep on requesting stuff you won't read in the first place? I don't know. I just think that we should all be collectively very thankful for having the opportunity to read books for free and not exploit it out of greed. 


Continue Reading...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Do You Actually Review Unsolicited ARCs? | Book Blogging Tips (#38)


When I first started out, being sent ARCs by publishers seemed to be the holy grail of blogging. I mean, if you look at all those pictures on the instagram pages of the big name book bloggers and booktubers, you can't help but think like this.

What always struck me as weird is the fact that some bloggers get sent DOZENS of books every month. 

As a fairly quick reader, I read about 8 books per month (that's a good month for me!). I can hardly imagine how anyone could possibly read more than 20 books a month EVERY month. If you do, I salute you.


Let's be honest: Who even reads all those ARCs?!

One of my favorite booktubers, Abookutopia publishes book hauls every month, showing about 10+ ARCs by publishers that have been sent to her unsolicitedly. 

I get that it's a business and they're already profiting from the fact that a big name blogger like her only mentions these books briefly in her videos or shows the covers quickly. I hardly believe she read even half of these books. It's just a business transaction, nothing more and I don't blame her for doing this. It's basically impossible to read all those books, especially because she states all the time that 90% of them are unsolicited. I would have a panic attack, because I'd feel like I actually had to read all of those to be honest.

Most people who get the same amount of ARCs hardly are able to read those unless they have some kind of super power. To me, it just defeats the purpose of ARCs to just hoard them and show them off. For the publishers this might be still a good way to advertise, to just have their books appear on instagrammers' pages and in booktuber's videos. Of course the exposure on a big name's page is much bigger than the exposure they'd get from my blog for example.

Technically, you're under no obligation to review them

You didn't agree to reviewing ARCs that were sent to you unsolicitedly, it's only a matter of politeness if you do. In Germany things works a little differently and you hardly ever get sent anything that you didn't request, so I didn't have to deal with that problem personally, but it seems very stressful.

Personally, I would never let a single book that is sent to me go without a review, but if you're getting sent dozens of books every month, it's pretty understandable that you can't review them all. Let alone read them all.


Do you get unsolicited ARCs? Do you write reviews for them/ have the time to read them?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When To Post ARC Reviews: Pros and Cons of Posting On Release Day or Months Before | Book Blogging Tips (#36)





What I do is usually very simple. The second I get the ARC, I read it and then queue the review to be published exactly on the release day, or if I can't, I schedule it for the day before.

However, recent discussions about this with other bloggers made me contemplate whether there's a better method.

Usually it's expected of you to have the review ready and online by the time the book is released. That's why you're getting the ARC, to deliver instant reviews even when the book has only been out for half a second.

When you get an ARC, you usually have three(ish) options when to post the review

1) The second you finish (~3-6 months before release)

+ Even if that's months ahead, you already got it out of the way
+ There's no chance you'll forget about the book
- Literally nobody cares about a book that'll be published in a couple of months time
- Honestly, not even if it's Rick Riordan or Richelle Mead, one week after the announcement people stop caring = ZERO publicity profit
if somebody sees the review and wants the book, they can't get it yet. 

2) Close to the due date (~a week before release)

+ everybody knows the book is coming, everybody's searching for early reviews
+ traffic!!!
+ simultaneously early enough to create buzz around the book (publicists likey), but also late enough to make the release seem very close and get people excited (readers likey)
- if somebody sees the review and wants the book, they can't get it yet. 
- you'll have to plan this one ahead, either read the book right away and queue the post, or pray to God you'll make it in time

3) Last minute (on release day)

+ everybody knows the book is out, hello traffic
+ if you got somebody interested in the book, they can get it right away
- again, either queue or pray
- you won't be able to get people interested in the book before its release

4) #yolo

Of course you still have the "screw it" option, where you just post the review whenever. But in order to do that you really have to have your life/TBR together enough to manage to keep track of all your review copies. Because nothing's worse than requesting an ARC and not delivering a review at all. Don't do that. 

When in doubt:

Ask the publicist that you've been in contact with and don't listen to people online who are probably working with different publishers and publicists that also have different expectations of you.



Continue Reading...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mistakes All Newbie Bloggers Make | Book Blogging Tips (#23)


When I started my blog, I thought I knew everything. I thought my content was fine, my layout appealing and I wouldn't need any advice on anything. 

Two weeks later I overhauled my entire site and thought everything was a mess.

Seems familiar? Here are some mistakes that you probably also made. Don't sweat it, it's all normal.


8. Arrogance

You've just started a blog, but you know exactly what the people want, right? You have studied other blogs for quite some time (or you didn't) and you know what works and what doesn't. Yup, that Comic Sans font and the 32783728 release widgets are the bomb.

Solution: Don't ever think you're the blogger extraordinaire. Maybe you have a nice blog, but you shouldn't elevate yourself above others. Observe and always learn.

7. Not Replying

To anything. Comments, emails - eh. You have better things to do.

Solution: Goddamnit, you're not an unreachable A-List celebrity, just reply for Christ's Sake.

6. Being Super Casual
"Lmao :D i totally liked this book omfg the protagonist is such a hottie I can't even!!!!!11111" 
If you don't like a book, you state that in your reviews the exact same way as you would in a conversation with your best friend. Emojis are your best friend

Solution: Whether it's in reviews or in business related emails, be professional! Of course you can let your opinion shine through, but please write like an intelligent human being. Emojis and gifs can be alright if it suits your style, but don't overdo it. And please, if you don't like something, give constructive criticism instead of just hating on things.

5. Going Crazy on ARCs and Review Copies

People want to give you books for free now, which is nice. So obviously, you're going to take every opportunity you get to snag those free copies.

Solution: Review copies ARE NOT free books. They aren't gifts, you're supposed to give something back in return. A timely and professional review is the least you can do to return the favor. Unless you're able to read ten books a week and keep up with all those copies, don't take every opportunity you get. It'll only lead to delayed reviews on frustration on both sides.

4. No Networking

Crossposting is exhausting. I mean, if people want to read your blog, they're going to find it, right? No need to spam everywhere.

Solution: Well, to a certain degree this is almost half right. Unless you have already established your platform you'll need to crosspost. People won't find you. People won't even try to get to know you if you don't reach out to them first. Sign up to all social media platforms you can find.

3. Becoming a Human Billboard

From one extreme to the next. You know that you're going nowhere if you don't network, so this time you're doing it right! Not a single post you wrote on the internet is written without the links to all your social media accounts. Yeah, might as well slap a few links to your individual posts in there.

Solution: Please don't. One link is fine, but don't just spam your stuff everywhere, people won't go on your blog on principle. Everything in moderation. Also, do you want to get flagged for spamming? Only add your link to comments that make sense and actually contribute to the conversation.

2. Meme City, Residents: 1

Memes are great, everybody loves them, right? There are so many out there that you just can't decide, so let's do ALL OF THEM.

Solution: While this may work for 10% of the blogger community, this isn't the way to establish a great and interesting blog. Unless you're able to put a twist to it all and make your meme posts super original, leave it. A meme for every day of the week is probably a very bad idea. People don't want to see the same content on every blog.

1. Not Improving Anything

Your posts are perfect. You got it all right the first time. Now that you've got the interesting content down and are networking perfectly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you're good to go.

Solution: Over time, your blog style WILL change. I guarantee it. Go back to your old posts and revise them one at a time. You don't need to do it all at once, but please try to improve your content as your blog grows. Your readers will thank you.


  • Always keep in mind: 

Even the big names in the blogger community all have been there. If you're doing one of these, or even all of these, it's not the end of the world. Just make sure to be aware that there's a better way to handle things.

Have you caught yourself making one of those mistakes?

Continue Reading...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Requesting Review Copies from Publishers | Book Blogging Tips (#1)


When I first found out that book bloggers can get books for free, it absolutely took me by surprise. Of course, even though I wouldn't have admitted it at the time - I wanted desperately to be one of those bloggers. 

I guess each of us knows that being an avid reader can have you have to dig deep into your pockets sometimes.


1. So How Do I Get Review Copies?
  • Have a book blog
  • Choose which upcoming releases interest you
  • Email the publisher 
  • Receive and review the book
  • Repeat
In theory this sounds extremely easy. You'd be surprised - in practice it's exactly as easy as that. In order to be approved for reviews you have to meet certain criteria that are different from publisher to publisher and from country to country. I'm German, so I can only tell you about my experience and the things publishers have told me. Of course, if you're from a bigger country, like the US or Canada, where there are many more book bloggers than in my country, your competition is bigger and you might not get every book you want.

2. When Does My Blog Qualify?
  • You've been blogging for at least 6 months
  • You have a decent amount of page views per month (500+ at least)
  • You publish comprehensive, detailed reviews that include your impressions on the characters, the plot and the writing
  • You have a decent and readable blog layout
  • You publish posts regularly (it doesn't matter whether it's 5 posts per month or 50 - just be consistent)
  • You're able to read and review the book within the given time frame (2-8 weeks usually)
  • VERY IMPORTANT: You crosspost on at least two other platforms (Amazon, Goodreads, LovelyBooks, LibraryThing, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
Of course the criteria differ for every publisher. When I first started out, I thought that the most important thing to consider is the amount of followers.
For publishers the main goal is obviously to get their book out there and have people talk about it.

As a small blog you have to crosspost and advertise way more than a bigger blog. There are some publishers that won't even consider you unless you've got an impressive amount of followers, but you won't know until you try. 
When in doubt, just ask. I promise you, the people in the publishing industry don't bite and will respond to your emails very kindly.

3. How Do I Ask / Who Do I Ask?

There is no success formula, everyone does it differently. Here's what I do:
  • Introduce yourself and your blog briefly
  • Include page views, follower count, unique visitors statistics and all other blog statistics that you can get your hands on
  • Mention where you crosspost
  • Mention the focus of your blog (genres that you mainly review)
  • Tell them what book you want to review and why they should choose your blog 
  • The most important thing is to be polite and still thank them for their time and consideration even when you don't get the book
I know writing emails to publishers can seem scary and make you nervous, but I promise you, you'll only meet kind souls.
You're going to want to start out with small publishers first. Every publishing company has either a request form on their website or an email contact listed.  

Do your research on the company and the upcoming releases before you request. Don't get discouraged if you don't get approved for review copies. Build your blog, improve your content and try again later.

If you're just starting out and don't have that many page views/followers yet and don't want to take the plunge to ask the publishers directly, there are alternatives to get review copies:

  4. How Many Books Should I Request?

You should only request books that you want to read and will read! 
Don't go and request a thousand books, just because you may get them for free! I can not emphasize this enough. ARCs/Review Copies are like a contract with the publisher. 

You're obligated to at least try to read them. Printing those copies costs a lot of money. If you're just here to snag the free copies, publishers won't send you anything anymore and believe me, they will notice if you don't send them the links to your reviews in a timely manner.

If you don't like a book or don't want to continue reading, you may always contact the publicist and tell them. But only, only, only request books you intend to read.

5. What Do I Do Once I Received the Review Copy?

Read and review it, while keeping the time frame in mind.
Most publishers expect you to send them an email with all the links to where you published the review. 
It's even nicer if you thank them politely and let them know in the email when you really loved the book. 
Now repeat. :)


Do You Have Any Tips on Getting Review Copies? 

Continue Reading...
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