It’s a bit late in the month for the next chapter in my ARC adventures but better late than never, I suppose!
I wanted to do things a bit differently for this State of the ARC compared to my last couple. I’ve been focusing on the numbers SO MUCH that it’s actually negatively affecting my reading. But I still wanted to see how I’ve been doing in the review department so let’s break it down, shall we?
One change I’m making to my stat tracking is looking at not only the books I read and reviewed (complete), and what I’ve read but still need to review (in progress), but also breaking down the books I still need to read. I realized that lumping all of them together was too stressful so I’m looking at the ones I have “To Do” (meaning they still haven’t released yet so I have time) and the ones that are “Late” (the book has already released).
As a reviewer, reading burn-out is far too real and a serious problem, especially when the blog is a hobby, not a job (I wish!). It’s even worse when you start contributing to your own problem. And do I really need to track any of these stats? No. But I already keep a full spreadsheet with my review titles so I can stay organized and on top of things (as much as possible, at least). Why not share it with y’all?
I’m trying to be as transparent as possible with my blogging, with my discussion posts, and how I blog because there are so many new bloggers out there and while we all work differently, just maybe there’s something that could help out!
Keeping with the changes, I’m also moving more toward eARCs of late. Physical ARCs are great for bookstagram photos and they’re not hard on my eyes, but I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to carry my little Kindle Paperwhite with me rather than a full-sized book.
To be fair, I still carry books around all the time with me BUT I find that physical ARCs end up stacked in a corner of my room once I’m done with them until I either send them to other reviewers or donate them. I only collect certain series and, to be honest, eARCs are easier to work with (excluding the ones with MAJOR formatting issues. . . those drive me crazy).
Still breaking down the source of my review books, nothing has really changed in terms of where the books come from but I thought it was interesting that I’ve done a better job of keeping up with books from the publishers directly. Granted, I’m still working through a MASSIVE NetGalley backlog after one. . . excessive. . . requesting spree last year, so that likely accounts for the amount of books I still need to read and review on there.
It’s so weird seeing Edelweiss on there now, though. For the longest time, I avoided the site because it’s hard to navigate and, frankly, my chances have always been better on NetGalley for approvals. But I like that you can fill in why you want a book beyond just having a standard profile with stats. Similar to sending a request email to a publisher.
And finally, I’m still trying to stick to my decision to only review unsolicited titles that I’m genuinely interested in. They make up almost a quarter of my review titles and, to be honest, I’m not really interested in the vast majority of them. Which is unfortunate, but I’m trying to think of other ways to feature books I’m not interested in reading.
Though I won’t be promoting the books as either good or bad reads, but I want to start posting photos on instagram and the like to put the word out, a thank you to the publisher for sending the book, and a way to provide coverage without reading something I’m not interested in.
Covering Books that You Haven’t Read
I thought about this a lot, and it’s been something I never had an answer for in all my years of blogging. How do you promote a book you haven’t read? And I realized that it’s because I was using the word “promote” when I talked about these situations. Yet I can review a book I didn’t like and it’s still being featured but I wouldn’t say I’m promoting it.
So let’s change the word.
How do you provide COVERAGE for a book you haven’t read?
And that’s when my feelings about it changed. I receive a number of unsolicited books that I have no interest in reading. I don’t want to shrug those titles off because of that, though. The publisher spent the money to send me the book and I realize I don’t owe the publisher anything, but I’d like to help out nonetheless.
Often I offer an alternative blog feature (interview, guest post, etc) for the author. I’ve also found that I can share a photo on instagram with info about the book, making it clear that I haven’t read it, mind you, because I don’t want to falsely promote a book that I may not actually enjoy.
It’s made me feel less anxious about not getting to those titles and puts the book out there for potential readers. Not a perfect solution,but it’s something!
To be clear, I’m not advocating that people promote titles that they haven’t read by stating that it’s a “great” or “not-so-great” book, whatever the case may be. I’m talking about sharing the title with a clear disclaimer that you haven’t read the book (whether you’re saying you just got it, you haven’t read it, and so on). The point is to provide coverage for the book, not mislead your fellow readers.