A Guide To ARCs | #4 You got accepted, what’s next?

If you’ve been following my blog for the last few months, you probably have seen my guide to how to get ARCs: how to request them, where to request them and what alternatives you have for getting eARCs. And maybe you even got lucky and got an ARC (or more), so in this post, I’ll be trying to give some tips and tricks on what’s next. Not just reviewing, but also planning and organizing and what publishers expect of you, will be discussed.

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Step 1: Reading

Of course, before you review a book, you have to read it. Personally, I always try to read a book in the month before it releases, so I have enough time to review it and am not too early with my review. I’d like this time-frame, because publishers usually prefer to have the review posted around the time the book comes out. I’ve looked at what some publishers prefer, and it seems most like to have reviews posted within the month or two weeks before the release.

While reading, there are a couple of things you can keep in mind. A lot of people make notes about what they think while reading so they can use them for their reviews. I don’t do that, but I do mark/tab quotes I love. I usually can remember quite well what my opinions of a book are while reviewing, so making notes only distract me from reading. This is of course a personal thing, so you do whatever works best for you.

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Step 2: Reviewing

This is the main goal of ARCs: to review (but also promotion). I can’t really give you a guide on how to write a review best, because everyone has different methods that work best for them. But I can give you some tips and pointers!

  • Be honest, but not mean. Honesty is very important for reviews, because if you don’t give your honest opinion, how can anyone trust your review? (I think I’ve talked already way too much about this haha)
  • Give good points and bad points. Not every book is for everyone, but that does also mean a book you didn’t like, might be someone else’s next favourite book. If you don’t like for example, the writing style, it does not necessarily make it a bad book. It just means it’s not your type of book, but it might be someone else’s type of book.
  • Recommend it to people that might like the book. For example, if you’ve read another book that was a bit similar, it can help to say ‘if you liked this other book, you might also like this book’.
  • Focus on a few points. If you give a very long list of thoughts and ideas, it might become overwhelming. Instead, try to focus on a few points that you think are most important. I always try to keep it to 3-4 points. These points can be the characters, worldbuilding, writing style and so on.
  • Wrap up your thoughts nicely. I always like to end my reviews with a rating and a quick summary of my thoughts, so people who haven’t read the entire review still know what I think of them. Ratings can be really nice but also tricky, so again, personal preference.
  • Add a little sparkle maybe? I always like to add some quotes from the book, but you might like to add aesthetics, if you like that. You can always do something to give your reviews a bit extra!

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Step 3: Posting

As said before, when you post a review can be important to the publisher. Some publishers have guidelines, but if you’re not sure what they are, I would try to stick to within the month before the release. On Netgalley, a lot of publishers have guidelines for when to post reviews, but also say something about what they expect of you. You can check out the publisher’s page to find out more!

Too late?

What if you are too late with your review? You’re incredibly busy, or just forgot? That can of course always happen, so don’t stress yourself! You can always post a review later than the publication date and if you send a note to the publisher explaining the situation and apologizing, I am sure they won’t hate you. Do try to avoid this if you can, and check publication dates beforehand! I try to avoid this by keeping track of how many review books I have per month. I created a shelf on goodreads so I can check which ARCs I need to read and you can easily see publication dates on there too. I highly recommend keeping track of publication dates in whatever way works for you, you can make a list in your diary or online, there are many ways to do this!

You hated the book

Nobody can like every single book and there are definitely books I’ve hated I had to review. There are two options in this situation: you don’t review the book or you do. You are never obligated to post a review! If you’re expected to review a book that you just really couldn’t finish or hated, but you don’t want to, you can always contact the publisher and explain. I’m 99.999% sure they will understand. Netgalley gives you the option to provide feedback for the publisher, and you can always post your explanation there. Remember that publishers are also just people, they can’t (and don’t) expect you to lie in your review about how much you loved it when it is completely opposite.

Cross-posting

After you’ve posted your review, you can cross-post it on different retailers’ websites. Cross-posting is incredibly helpful for authors and publishers, because that’s where people buy their books. Amazon is tricky sometimes, because it requires you to have spent a certain amount of money on their website before you’re able to post reviews. I post all/most my reviews (or a shortened version) on Amazon (UK), bol.com (a Dutch retailer), and of course goodreads. Amazon does not allow reviews before the release date, so try to remember when the book is released to post it on there too. Usually, I don’t cross-post right after posting my reviews but pick a day to take an hour to cross-post everything.

One reminder: you are only expected to review a book if that is the mutual agreement. If publishers asked you whether you’d like to read a book for review, or if you’ve requested one, you are expected to review it. If, however, you’re on a list and you got a book in the main unsolicited: there are no obligations. The publisher would like it if you reviewed it, but if you can’t or don’t want to, you don’t have to.

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Step 4: Then what?

Once you’re done with your review and everything else, you can pass on the ARC to someone else. Or not. Remember that you can in no instance sell an ARC! But you can exchange it with someone else for maybe another ARC you want or just give it away. Check the #arcsfortrade hashtag on twitter, there are a lot of people trading on there. Another option is to donate the ARC. You can also keep it. Sadly, these are not options for eARCs, you can only keep those.

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Have you received any ARCs lately? What do you do when you’re in a tricky situation with an ARC? How do you organize your reading and reviewing of ARCs? If you have any more questions, let me know below!

34 thoughts on “A Guide To ARCs | #4 You got accepted, what’s next?

  1. I did that thing where I requested too many ARCs on Netgalley bc “oh I don’t think I’ll get them anyway” and then I got almost all of them (*that I was able to request – for a lot of books, I could only wish for them, and I didn’t get those obviously) so now I have way too many.

    One tip I can share based on my experience with NetGalley is PAY ATTENTION TO THE EXPIRATION DATE. This is usually around/after the publication date, so if you review books on time then you should be fine, but after the title gets archived you can’t access/download it anymore and then you are stuck. Procastinators like me can get in a pretty awkward situation with that one.

    (There was also a situation where I got accepted on the exact same day the title was archived, so I couldn’t download it anymore… I don’t think that one was my fault, but I wrote an e-mail to NetGalley and there was nothing that could be done. 😦 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Alexa, that sounds like a lot of work to read all! I don’t think I ever had that many ARCs but I’ve definitely requested probably a bit more than I should have!
      I ALWAYS immediately download the ebook, I never wait with that and I don’t really see why you wouldn’t immediately download it? That’s really weird though?? You’d think publishers wouldn’t accept anymore on the archive date??

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  2. I love Arcsfortrade! It’s where I go when I want to collect some older ones or read newer ones. I have a nice collection and I enjoy the privilege of getting the chance to get the book early. A lot of the time though I can’t read it by pub date – unless I’m on a tour – but I try to always review!
    Excellent series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’ve yet to use ARCs for trade, and it might seem strange because I’m doing an entire series about ARCs, but I barely have any physical ARCs. I have… 2 I think and I want to keep both of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s how I feel about many of mine: I keep most of them. I only trade when I come across one that I have no desire to read – or when I have a FC of a book. But many people love it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you ! I Bookmarked it as it will come in handy as I got 2 arcs; one french, one english, im currently trying to read the english one .. Will get back to it once im finished as a “guideline” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really great points here! What I do to avoid forgetting posting on time is that I use my Google calendar with a reminder when I need to start reading and when I need to post my review. Thank you for this series of posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate this whole blog series on ARCs that you’ve put together! I’ve never requested an ARC before but I really want to one day. I know I need to get my follower count up a bit on my blog, but I do have a bit of a following on Instagram now 🙂 any tips for translating that following onto WordPress?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have one currently I’m struggling with. Don’t wanna quit just yet, but also don’t wanna force finish and end up actually hating on it. Tricky situation for sure.
    Have you ever totally hated an ARC you requested?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, for sure! I always try to finish a book but if you really hate it I would suggest just stopping. I always argue that a publisher wouldn’t be very happy with a negative review and I wouldn’t either, so if I really hate it, then why would I finish reading and reviewing it?

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      1. i see what you mean… in a way negative review could be useful for them to decide whether they work with an author more or less. i think anyway… like if a lot of people end up hating it, itsinot a good sign…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I only ever request earcs on netgalley not from anywhere else so maybe that effects it but, I always read and review a book the month that I get it. Regardless of what the pub date is. Unless they state in the approval email not to post until such and such (which is quite rare. I’ve only ever seen it a couple of times and it was already within that time frame when I got approved).

    I’ve actually found some people like it early as then they can use it in the jackets /in the front of the paperback and in the release material. Which is hard for them to do if you’re only posting the review a couple of weeks early!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to do that too, but that just didn’t work for me anymore. I do think publishers prefer to have reviews posted around the publication date but I’m no publisher so….
      I don’t know how it works with blurbs but I don’t think they often use bloggers as blurbers (is that a word??), at least I haven’t seen that often.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t mean as the actual blurb. But sometimes they have like a line of some reviews included inside or on the website.
        I haven’t read anywhere in netgalley that you’re supposed to review around pub date apart from the one that mentioned it specifically so it works for me.

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  8. That’s some good advice about if you don’t like a book and don’t want to post a review. There’s been a lot of arcs where I just haven’t connected to the book at all and have to force myself to write a review. I’ll definitely take on your advice in the future, I always wondered about what other people did in those situations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it really depends on the person, but I always argue that a publisher wouldn’t be happy with a hate-review, and if you don’t like writing those either, I’m sure they appreciate it more if you tell them that you didn’t like it and not write a review.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your ARC-posts series so much, Lia, this is so helpful to new and older bloggers as well 🙂 I’m just like you when it comes to reviewing ARCs, whenever I get lucky enough to get approved for an ARC, I always try and read and review it in the month before it releases – usually, I post my review one or two weeks before or after the release date, or at least I try to. I don’t get why some people review ARCs, months and months before they are set to release. I’m not judging at all, to each their own, but … I don’t know, It makes more sense to me to review it closer to the release date. Otherwise, people might forget about the book six months from now when it finally releases? If that makes any sense haha. ANYWAY I am ranting, FANTASTIC post 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad it’s helpful! I used to read and review months and months in advance because I don’t think I understood how publication dates and publicity worked haha
      I now try to keep track publication dates better… Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so grateful that is post series exists, Lia; I went back to read the previous posts and they were so helpful, like this one. I only recently started requesting eARCs on Netgalley and I’m still stumbling in the dark through it all at the moment. Honestly, the hardest thing has been organising time to read the book and write a review, without life getting in the way, but, you know, something I’m trying to work on this year. ARCs are still some of the best things in the universe, and this post is fantastic for newbies like me!:D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you like it! Reading ARCs can definitely be difficult in the beginning, but you (hopefully) get used to it quite easily! I suck at writing reviews on time though, I usually end up writing my review on the day that I post it, which is such a bad habit!

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  11. Oh lord ..re-reading this, my review – which im not done reading- of my arc is WAY too long x) however, I plan to shorten it for Gr and all and they can skip a bit …

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