For What It's Worth

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

tell me something tuesday

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Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question:

To request or not to request: how do you limit ARC requests?

I admit to accepting ALL THE BOOKS when I first started blogging. I read fast and I used to love everything so I never imagined a day that I couldn’t keep up with the commitment or that I would dislike so many books. But if you blog long enough it happens.

So I’ll break it down a bit from where the requests come from and how I deal with each one.

Publishers

This is probably the easiest for me because I don’t get many requests/ARC offers or approvals from the big guys. I do get the seasonal (spring/fall) catalog from Macmillan and I pick 2-3 books.

Author/small pub requests via email

This is how I receive most of my book review requests. To be honest, I don’t accept many these days. I say right in my review policy that I only accept about 2 books per month and that is often the case. If it’s an author I’ve worked with before or an author I’ve been dying to give a try I might make an exception but I try to stick to the one to two per month.

Netgalley

I made a rule for myself last year and have been pretty good at sticking to it so Netgalley is no longer a problem for me.

I requests no more than two titles at a time. I have to review both those titles before I allow myself to requests any more. I’m not limited by titles per month as long as I’m able to read and review them.

I don't even look around on there until I review my two titles.

BookCons – BEA/ALA

For the past several years, this is where I got the bulk of my ARC’s and it’s the cause of most of my overwhelming TBR shelves and burnout. I got an obscene number of books my first BEA – learned my lesson and got less and less each year but it was still too much to keep up with.

I didn’t go to any cons this year so as I finally catch up with reading – it will be interesting to see if I change in regards to accepting/requesting ARC’s. I will no longer have the latest and greatest ahead of everyone else.

Right now that feels great to me TBH. I feel freeeeeeeee – no pressure to read and review on a schedule. I don’t feel envious of everyone’s book hauls. I can wait for and buy books. I’m cool with that. I enjoy ARC’s – I will still requests a few but I’m happy with my low pressure method I have right now.

How about you? Do you request ALL the books? Do you have little willpower to resist when it comes to ARC’s? Or do you like to buy your won books with zero pressure to review?

52 comments:

  1. I get most of my ARCs from NetGalley but I also use Edelweiss sometimes, and get contacted by authors/publishers via email about reviewing books for them. Most of the books I've been reading for the past year have been ARC copies. I'm going to start to try cutting back on ARCs tho because I have SO MANY books on my shelves at home that I want to read that I don't end up getting to. I need to find a happy medium, I think. lol! I would love to go to a BookCon one day. They seem like so much fun!

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    1. Most of mine have been arc's as well but because I've been trying to catch up on them all so I can then concentrate on my own books. It's taken me over a year (that I really made an effort) to do it though.

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  2. NG is easier now when I have a baby, I do manage to stay away. I have only requested 2 in 2 months

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    1. I find Netgalley easier. Maybe too easy lol

      It's just a picture and click.

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  3. I don't request too much from Netgalley; I tend to get a lot of my LGBT+ books from them. I love those and they tend to be quick reads, so I can fit in more. I do try and limit what I accept though - when I'm offered books - because I do want to focus on books I already own or just want to read. I don't want ARCs to be the only things I ever read. I did go to ALA this past week and got a bit of books but I'm super excited about them all and I'm reading them now, so I'm trying to stay ahead of release dates so I can fit in other titles.

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    1. Me too. It's almost all romance for me on Netgalley and I can read them in a day. So I would say I end up getting 4-6 per month but still following my 2 book at a time rule.

      The last 2 years I made a point of reading every single book I got from BEA/ALA on time so I felt WAY less guilt about wha tI brought home.

      I had a backslide when some personal stuff happened late last year so that's what I'm trying to get a handle on now.

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  4. My response to the issue is about the same, Karen. I got excited and took everything at first, but now I limit so I can read what I like when I like a great deal of the time.

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    1. You really have to if you want to last doing this. You'll burn out otherwise.

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  5. I used to use Netgalley but I don't anymore. It took too long to get a response from them once I said I wanted the book. I just review books I purchase myself now for the most part.

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    1. I request from smaller pubs on there so that hasn't been an issue. I rarely hear back from the big guys - especially with YA

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  6. Oh girl I admire your resolve. I'm learning the hard way not to go over zealous on the review requests. This month has been crazy and I'm scrambling to get my reviews in. This does lead to the downward spiral of burnout and I don't want to do that. Great post. ~Aleen

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    1. We all learn this lesson at some point lol

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  7. You're pretty disciplined with Netgalley and that's what I'd have to do too if I were gonna get ARC's- otherwise I'd gt swamped like everyone always says. :) I do like to go on there once in a while and just browse though, it's a good way of seeing what's coming down the pike.

    And it is nice not to have the pressure of HAVING to review something or being inundated- so even though I do wish I had ARC's sometimes it's nice to be free to read what I want.

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    1. I'm just now getting to the point where I feel like I can look ahead to see what's coming out later. I always felt so overwhelmed by ARC's. It's been nice to get a handle on it.

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  8. Netgalley is my weakness but as far as ARC requests from authors or genres that I do not read I say no.

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    1. I didn't go on there for years and then I set my rule in order to return to it lol

      Even then though - I see most of what I want via twitter and then hop on and just request those titles. I don't search for books really.

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  9. I do the same for Netgalley! I see so many great books there that I want to CLICK THEM ALLLLL. But I'm not allowed. Only 2 at a time.

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    1. I think it's a lesson we all have to learn at some point. I read FAST and I couldn't keep up with all the arc's and I honestly never thought that would be an issue for me but it happens.

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  10. I've joined netgalley and have requested two and been approved for both. I think I'll employ your rule and keep it at that until they are read and reviewed. I really dont want to have reading be a source of stress or lose my bookish mojo now that I'm just getting it back!

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    1. I'm so much happier reading and blogging these days because of it.

      If I'm reading faster than I think then I request a few more. It's not like I completely cut myself off so it's a nice middle ground.

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  11. I don't request many physical copies in general really, but lucky enough to receive a lot of unsolicited book mail from the publishers. I try to read them all but probably closer to 70 percent really as not every book takes my fancy. Netgalley was once the bane of my existence. I used to request like a fiend on there. The longer I've blogged and I'm calmed down a lot too, I still get excited when I come across an anticipated read and get a little click happy. I try to keep my ratio above 90 percent as a rule or it can spiral out of control. I think with review copies there also comes an expectation to not only read and review but to produce great reviews as well and sometimes there's just not enough hours in the day.

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    1. Probably 70% of my reading these days is e-books that I buy and read for fun. I don't even review them.
      On the blog - most are review books but I expect that to change now that I'm really cutting down that pile.
      I'm all for whatever you can handle. Some people can keep up with it all but I found myself getting burned out.

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    2. And also - I do get unsolicited books sometimes but I don't even count them or feel pressured. I didn't ask for them lol

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  12. I would say I'm proud of you, but you never really had a problem, it seems! I just... have a bit of a problem with NetGalley, mostly xD one spree is enough to not be able to stand up from it for a year. And I do sprees :/

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    1. My problem came more from the book cons. The first year I went to BEA I came back with 90 something books. I seriously thought I would read and love them all but I hot the worst reading slump ever in my life after that. Lesson learned.
      But even coming back with fewer books overwhelmed me.
      I tend to be more cautious with e-books and netgalley than with physical arc's. I feel like you HAVE to review them to clear them out on Netgalley whereas no one is looking over my shoulder at home lol

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  13. I admit that I have a problem with getting books off netgalley and edelweiss. But I do my best to review the books and read them. With it has been a tougher but I still read them. I do request books from macmillion and penguin but I don't do very often :)

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    1. I feel more pressured with Netgalley (I don't use Edelweiss). I feel like I'll start get turned down if I don't review them and then you have that feedback ratio staring at you lol

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  14. I went a little nuts this year with ARCs - mostly on NG and EW. I really hope to request much less and get through what I have this year. I feel like I will be playing catch up for a while. I think next year I need to try the two at a time business.

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    1. Using the 2 book at a time method doesn't really limit you much. Some months I end requesting a total of around 6. If I'm reading and reviewing I let myself request more.

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  15. Currently my blog says I don't accept any request so its rare that I do, it has to be very interesting but I'm also booked for months. NetGalley is easier for me to use as well as Edelweiss but I do try to not go crazy.

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    1. I accept them but my policy says only 1-2 pre month and I adhere pretty closely to that. Then another 2 from Netgalley and the few physical arc's per month and that's s till a full month of reading.
      I agree about Netgalley - I don't even bother with Edelweiss. lol

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  16. We're a bit switched one where requests come from (I get publisher and less from small pub/indie) but seem to be the same. I don't take on nearly as many now and my NG is limited as well. My rule there is I can't accept or request until my current ones are finished and submitted. Been working for me and I can work on those past due titles :)

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    1. At some point you really do have to come up with some kind of system or it all becomes too much. One real life setback or slump and you're so backlogged.

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  17. Mine are all NetGalley/Edelweiss for ARCs :)

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    1. I don't use Edelweiss very often. I don't why but it feels overwhelming to me lol

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  18. I used to get heaps of unsolicited books for review from publishers, back when I was a new book blogger and there weren't as many Aussie bloggers. But now there are quite a lot out there, and I've been hanging low (for now) while I get my TBR a little more under control. I can't even keep up with what I've got as it is! While that is the case, I have been reading a few books through Netgalley, but only books I'm REALLY excited to read and/or short books. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Karen! I agree that the longer you blog the more critical you have to be, it's just a natural thing that happens.

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. I don't worry about the unsolicited books too much. I try to feature them in some way but I don't feel obligated to read them since I didn't ask for them. But I don't get many.

      That's how I am with Netgalley. It has to be something I'm really interested in.

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  19. Last month I accepted many ARCs which many of them I didn't like, so in the last two weeks I haven't accepted or requested any. I've stayed away from NG and tried to read all the books I got before requesting or accepting again. I'm reading the ones I've got which I purchased or choose to purchase it myself if it is a new Release. This way, If I don't like it, I don't have to force myself to finish it. It's easier this way, I feel like I can breath again. I read mostly ebooks (kindle). They're mostly cheap and there are lots of sales and freebies on amazon. :)

    Awesome discussion, Karen. I love this topic. Glad to hear your experience with ARCs and how you deal with them. :)

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    1. I never had a problem with Netgalley for some reason. It was more the emailed requests that overwhelmed me.

      It was hard to say no and I was so stunned that anyone wanted me to read/review their books I just said yes all the time.

      It gets away from you so fast and then you feel pressured, then burned out. Not fun.

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  20. I've gotten a lot better over the years but am still not as disciplined as I would like. Sounds like you've got a system down!

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    1. BEA/ALA are the things that get me every time! But I didn't go to either this year so there's hope lol

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  21. I stopped taking author requests because it was just too overwhelming. If I've worked with you before or if you are a blogger I've "known" for a while then no problems. I'll help them out. I've been severely limiting myself this year because there is just too much going on with very little brainage at my disposal. :)

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    1. I still accept a few but on a VERY limited basis. And now with all the review drama I investigate how they react to reviews and everything. If I'm interested int he book but aren't sure I'll buy it later so no obligation comes with it.

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  22. I'm glad you've found a system that works for you :-) I don't have any specific rules about review copies, but even when I first started blogging, I've always been pretty picky about what I accept, so I've never gotten too overwhelmed.

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    1. That's great! I honestly didn't think I could get overwhelmed. I read so fast and had always enjoyed almost everything I read. You can only do that for so long though once it becomes required reading.

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  23. Awesome that you found a system, you stuck with it and you are free to do your own reading. I am getting better and better about limiting my requests. I don't take in any author requests anymore, very few from publisher, but NG is still my weakness. Luckily, I am getting more and more from my library which makes everything easier. Great post, Karen.

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    1. We live and learn as bloggers I think lol

      I don't know anyone who hasn't gone through it.

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  24. I want to feel free! I lost all of my willpower and now have 10 netgalley titles awaiting my review.

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    1. I've never had too much of a problem with Netgalley. I don't peruse there very often and I feel obligated to review those on time so I feel pressured and try not to request much.

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  25. I use NetGalley and Edelweiss too, but pretty sparingly. Generally my rule of thumb is this: if I wouldn't buy it for myself in the shop, I won't request it from a publisher. Usually it works out pretty well! As far as author requests go, I'm pretty picky with them and usually only accept books that I was already interested in. I've never been to ALA/BEA but OLA (Ontario Library Association) also gives out ARCs and I have been known to go a bit overboard there, I'm afraid. Whoops!

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    1. That's a really good rule. I do take a few more chances with arc's but I investigate them pretty thoroughly first to make sure it's something I'm sure I'll enjoy. I now longer say yes to everything.
      Those cons get me though because you usually only have seconds to decide or they;re gone and the publicists make them sound so good lol

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