Blogger Etiquette: Reviewing ARCs!

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about Advance Reader Copies, or ARCs.

Lately, we've had a lot of awesome new friends join our community with fresh, fun blogs. But I've noticed that a LOT of newer bloggers are reviewing ARCs really super early--TOO EARLY. It came up in conversation with a couple of other bloggers and inspired this post.

I remember being a brand-new blogger and not knowing much about ARCs. It was such a thrill getting an ARC for the first time, and another thrill when it was one I wanted SO BADLY, and yet another when I won one for the first time on Goodreads.

When you get an ARC and read it and think it's amazing, you just want to tell the world about it, right? The only problem is that if you review an ARC really early, most readers have no way to buy it--and most of your blog readers WILL be people who aren't bloggers. Plus, even if you TBR a book on Goodreads, you forget, or lose the excitement and wonder why you TBRed it once it's out.

Plus, did you know that publishers prefer that you review a book close to the release? They prefer two weeks or less, though for blog tours, etc, they might start as early as a month early. So really, you shouldn't be reviewing fall books--or even 2017 books!--just yet!!!!

Today is August first, so you should be reviewing early to mid August releases. Late August can be acceptable, and early September is starting to stretch it.

A publisher will tell you if they want you to review otherwise, if they're doing a special buzz campaign, etc.

Sometimes they list it on Netgalley or in an email when offering you a review copy. Please respect their guidelines! 

If you won the book or were loaned/given it by someone (ARC tours, etc) and didn't get official information about publisher preferences, just assume it's the two-week rule.

So what do you do when you can't contain your excitement!?

A sneak peek now, a full review when the book releases!
What I do--and I do it infrequently, and only for the most special titles, not every single ARC I read--is do a special teaser to whet the appetite just a little bit. I call mine You're Gonna LOVE Me (And yes, I get music from Dreamgirls stuck in my head EVERY time I hear that...)

In fact, I just counted and I've only dusted off the feature 12 times in the 5.5 years I've been blogging. ^^;;; I should do it more frequently...and will be doing one soon because I read a REALLY good book last week for my birthday (WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones, for those who are curious!) and have to squeal about it a little. (I did use the feature three /  separate /  times last year, trying to get better...and I'll definitely be using it again this month because I just read the most amazing book last week and have to get it on your radar!)

But...that's all I'll do. GET IT ON YOUR RADAR. A full review won't come until right before the book releases--and this one isn't out until February 2017!

A lot of other bloggers choose to participate in Waiting on Wednesday. They'll tell you what they're waiting on, yes, but they'll also tell you what YOU should be waiting on! Some bloggers even still do a Teaser Tuesdays feature (Though the original host no longer has a weekly meme link) and tease about the book they loved that way!

There are a lot of options available to you to build buzz WITHOUT reviewing the book.

But what if my memory is bad and I'm going to forget why I love this book so much by the time it comes out???

Me too, me too! I get it, TRUST ME.

My memory is soooooooo bad. I can't even tell you the names of half the characters from a lot of my favorite books. There was one series that a co-worker was reading for the first time, and I remembered embarrassingly little!

What you need to do is write the review NOW while the iron is hot. Save it on your computer. Back it up in Google Drive or on an external hard drive or a flash drive or WHATEVER for just in case the unthinkable happens to your computer. (You can also schedule it on your blog now, but I know I personally hate seeing all those scheduled posts on top of everything current! You could save it as a draft, too, I suppose, but you might forget it's there!)

I know it's a lot of time and effort to write a review post when you won't see the fruit of your labor for a long time, but it's better than forgetting, right?

Sometimes, I read a book so early and don't have time to pre-write my review and then I forget. For example, I only reviewed THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary E. Pearson last week, and only because I'd re-read it and the book was fresh again. I have yet to review THE MIRROR KING by Jodi Meadows, which is a 2016 favorite of mine because I read it LAST YEAR in OCTOBER, and it didn't come out until THIS YEAR in APRIL. By then, I was like, ummm....loved it? I need to read it again at this point because I can't remember it well enough to write a good, proper review.

It happens. I do get that. That's why I say--write that review now, or take REALLY good notes!!! I'm seriously going to sit down this week (Probably when I put together my You're Gonna LOVE Me post) and write my WINTERSONG review, because it won't even be as fresh in another week, let alone in February!

I know you're excited to be reading those super early books. We all are! But please remember that just because we have that super early copy in our grubby little mitts, it doesn't mean we should do a tell-all YET. Go ahead and do a teaser. Help spread the word. Get everyone to TBR that special sparkle of a book. But don't let all the magic out of the bag just yet!!!

Please comment below if you have any questions, thoughts, etc. on this topic. I feel it's a really important one, especially for newer bloggers. We all want to promote books--especially beloved ones--to the best of our abilities, so let's give these sparkly books their best chance to be picked up and read by the masses by talking about them much closer to their publication dates!!!