“Thoughtful Ramblings” is a feature where we discuss bookish subjects. These posts are just our own thoughts about certain topics that may get us hot under the collar and we need a good rant or just things we want to share with fellow bloggers and readers.
ARCs – Review Sooner or Later?
I have a bit of a dilemma.
Getting books sent for review it pretty fantastic. I can honestly say that getting books through the post is the highlight of my day (actually, that makes me sound a bit sad, let’s say most days..ahem). However, the more I get the more I feel there’s a need to prioritise. The problem is I’m not a machine. My reading choices come from inside me, I don’t know what it is but if I see a book and like the synopsis and it takes my fancy, then that’s the book I will read
However, with all the books I’m sent my thoughts inevitably gravitate towards certain questions: which book should I read first? How should I prioritise? My biggest dilemma is ARC’s. When I receive them they can be months in advance of publication date. Do I read and review early, with the possibility of readers becoming annoyed because they can’t get their hands on a copy themselves? Or with the chance of the book being forgotten by the time it’s released? But on the positive side the possibility of creating early buzz?
Or do I review it nearer the publication date, so readers have the chance to actually pick the book up at their local bookshop? So it’s still fresh in people’s minds? But, on the negative side, having the guilt of leaving the ARC on the shelf for weeks and weeks, causing sleepless nights? (only kidding, I have insomnia anyway…).
I put a feeler out on Twitter and these were some of the responses from bloggers and publishers:
“Online reviews are great for creating buzz so we love early reviews. Ideal situation would be a revisit or reminder on or near publication date” (publisher)
“my feeling is it’s your blog, I can’t make demands on content or timing but always grateful if blogger checks for early ones.” (publisher)
“Early reviews build word of mouth, but if it’s a great book people want it there and then! so it’s a bit of both” (publisher)
“I’m fed up of reading reviews for same book over and over. I don’t think publishers realise the power of waiting” (blogger)
“Shouldn’t main concern be with readers? And readers tend to prefer closer to release date” (blogger)
No definitive answer there, but I didn’t think I would get one. Every publisher and blogger will have a different idea on the subject. So where does that leave me? Yes, my reviews are written for the reader and I will always write an honest review of all books sent my way from publishers or authors. However, the publicists I deal with are pretty great. They are helpful, generous and always willing to help when I email about new feature ideas. So, I want to help them in return. I also want to do what’s best for the author and their book.
So how do I get around this dilemma? What do you do with your ARC’s? Do you review them sooner or later?