Today Nick and Nereyda posted a number of Blogger Confessions that stirred up the blogging community (mostly in a good way, as people have been using the hashtage #bloggerconfessions to share very relateable blogging habits and fears). However, the post also raise the perpetual question of ARCs: Should people tweet about their ARCs, should they review them all, should smaller bloggers get a chance, etc.
Now, most of the bloggers I personally follow are chill about ARCs and many are even trying to cut back on requesting them. However, I think debates around ARCs perpetually arise because there are always new book bloggers joining us, wondering how to get them and how they’re “supposed” to react. While I generally believe you can react however you want–including being mildly envious of others with ARCs, as long as you’re not rude about it–here are some of my thoughts.
Post Away on Social Media
I don’t see a lot of “bragging” about ARCs on social media. What I do see is bloggers expressing genuine excitement over the opportunity to read a book they were really looking forward to or thrilled to discover a great read they hadn’t known much about. I also think posting pictures on social media is helpfully promotional for the book; people have to know about it and be familiar with the cover before they can go and buy it. Sharing photos is a great way to express thanks to the publisher (or other source) for the book while offering some promotion–which is the entire reason the blogger was sent the ARC in the first place.
Read What You Can But Don’t Get Stressed
Generally, I think it’s most ethical to review the ARCs you are sent. (At least, the ones you actually requested. I know very popular blogger often just get boxes of books they never asked for.) However, publishers know we’re all human. Sometimes real life comes up. Sometimes you’re just overwhelmed. If you need to move on from a book, do it without regrets. Maybe post a nice picture on Instagram to help promote the book in the small way you can.
Give It Away If You Want
I don’t think giveaways are publicity grabs, even ones that ask people to follow in return for entering. If people are giving away their own property or using their own money for a prize, they can make the giveaway rules that they want. You can’t sell ARCs anyway, so the only decent thing to do is give it to someone else, whether this means donating it to local women’s shelter or making it a prize on your blog. Giveaways are also still great publicity for the book, and sending the ARC to someone else who will read it and maybe love it more than you did and write a gushing review could be more helpful to the publisher than having someone keep it unread on their beside table.
Remember ARCs are Promotional
Bloggers are sent ARCs to raise hype for the book. End of story. So if bloggers do things that look “promotional” with them, they’re probably doing something right. This doesn’t mean bloggers should be dishonest and ask as if they just love every ARC they receive, but it does mean it’s a bit silly to be aggrieved over someone posting pictures of an ARC or acting exciting about the upcoming book.