The ARC dilemma

10 Aug

AztecLady, confusing people since… well, pretty much since birth.

 

confused crazy

Here’s the thing that’s been going around and around in my head, not letting me sleep.

Just a bit ago an author asked me if I wanted an ARC for her upcoming book. And I said, “Hell, yes, I do! But—I continued—I’m swamped and so behind in my reviews, that I don’t think it would be fair to take one of your limited number of ARCs if I cannot promise you to read and review in time for its release date.”

So far so good, right?

Except that she emailed me with the offer because I had entered a giveaway she held recently for one of those ARCs.

Confused yet?

I know—by now she’s thinking that either I was lying about wanting the ARC (which I want like you wouldn’t believe), or insane (which I obviously am).

Which brings us here, to my trying to explain the way that thing I fondly call my mind works.

Whenever I get a book directly from an author, I feel an obligation to review it as soon as possible. If it’s an ARC for an upcoming title, I aim to post the review in time for the release—whether the author asks me to or not.1

Because I feel the need to give something back, to the author, to other readers, to the romance reading community.2

However, when I get the book through a giveaway, I tend to feel slightly less pressure, time-wise. I relax, I allow my self some latitude, and I’m able to forgive myself if (mostly when) I’m a bit late with the review.

On the other hand, when I get the ARC directly from the author—and often well in advance of the release date, allow me to add—I put pressure on myself to read and review the book in time for the release, or as shortly after as humanly possible.3

Up to now, this has not been too much of a problem—it’s rare that I have more than two or perhaps three ARCs for books due out in any given month, after all, and with a few exceptions I have managed to post the reviews in a timely manner.4

Things are different right now.

This month—and for the next few months, I fear—I am having all sorts of TBR mountain range anxiety. You don’t want to know how many books I came back with from RWA (no, really, you don’t want to know—and frankly, I don’t want to tell you; hell, I don’t want to KNOW) and that, coupled with the *mumblemumble* books that were already here waiting for me, is just scaring the bejesus out of me.

Does that mean I don’t want to get the books I’m offered? Not only no, but hell no!

I want the books and I would just love to get them in advance and review them on release day (or week)… but I don’t want to promise what I am not sure, right now, that I can deliver.

And so I allow myself to enter a big drawing where there’s a chance I might win a copy or an ARC, by chance and the vagaries of random.org, while feeling uncomfortable when offered an ARC directly.

Yeah, I confuse myself too.

Ice cream, anyone?

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1 The fact that some of the books on my “to review” list have been there for months and months does not negate this feeling—but it explains the insomnia.

2 No, I don’t think that one review makes or breaks a book, but since I only know two other people in “real life” who read romance, online reviewing is a much more efficient way of getting the author’s name and the book’s title out there, for me.

3 Yes, I fail at that. Often.

4 Did I mention insomnia?

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  1. Thinking time – why I blog, why I review | Her Hands, My Hands - 03/01/2015

    […] what reviews mean and who they are written for. Like many other bloggers, I’ve struggled with whether or not to accept ARCs and commit to post reviews on specific […]

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