Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Confessions of a former ARC Team Reviewer

Let me get this out there first: I rather sighed a huge breath of relief when I figured out my time was up for a large review team

I meet a lot of bookish type people. Yeah, yeah I know - that was rather the point of this blog.  

*eyeroll* << you saw that coming

However, one of the topics of what I call 'social media newbies' ask me is how to get on ARC review teams, beta read, etc. Well, to be honest...they find me. I don't go seeking this out. (More on this subject later).  To continue with this thread of honesty, I have rules to abide by if I do join an ARC team.

Wait? There are rules?  No, these are my personal rules that I feel that readers should abide by when agreeing to the commitment. Emphasizing the commitment. 

Rules According to Yours Truly:

  1. You read ARCs first: That means whatever you have on your TBR or in the middle of gets dropped like a hot potato. You said you'd read it - now do it. 

  2. You complete your review on Goodreads/Blog/Reader Group ASAP: Now, eRetailers do not always allow you to post right away. Authors depend on early feedback for exposure. Do your due diligence by reviewing where able promptly.

  3. Write a positive but honest review: Okay this is tricky. Not every story is for every reader. However there is ways to draft a review without crucifying the author. If you can't give more than 3 stars, contact the author with constructive comments privately. 

  4. Buy the book: Yes, you buy the book or gift the book. You were gifted the early review privilege. The authors have to eat. You love it and I'm guessing you would have purchased it so keep them writing. 

  5. Complete your review forms for the authors promptly: Do not be a douche and have them track you down. 

  6. Post your reviews to all social media outlets:

    • Amazon
    • Nook
    • Kobo
    • iBooks
    • Google Play
    • Reference your Goodreads review on:
      • Pinterest
      • Google +
      • Tumblr
      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • Instagram
      • Reddit
      • StumbleUpon
      • Email

See number 5? Yes, every review - every time. I may copy and paste my original, but its part of the privilege to early reading. You may not be technology savvy or want to have your Aunt Mae knowing your social media interactions.  Do what you can and where - but let the author know you do have limitations on commitment.  

And to be honest, for a multiple author review team, well...

It is a lot of scheduling and organizational skills to keep up where, when and how.  So, why yes, I did duplicates, but overkill is better than not at all. Not everyone follows similar rules and for that ugly truth I'm sad.  Some people have less than genuine reasons for wanting to be a part of review teams or receive ARCs.  They give those of us a bad name, but it is what it is. My final thought: Don't be a douche if you can't commit to the time to read and review. 

Okay that's a bit creepy meme. But seriously the look on my face when an author approaches me to provide an ARC review.  

Yes, you read it. I have them approach me

This isn't a popularity contest. And you saw the rules. The rules that I need to commit to in order to give back to the author. That's why I don't enter every contest for every ARC or even sign up for review teams. The task is a time commitment and I want to give 100 percent. There are lots of individuals who are committed to the process as I am (and gladly call friends).  If I can't give 100 percent, then I don't want to take up a spot that someone is deserving. 

Now my time is over, now what? 

I have time to read what I want.  Did you see rule 1? Yes, the responsibility of putting the ARC review team first meant I had to swap out the time for my personal purchases. Don't get me wrong  - the opportunity to do this for the last year was interesting. I got to read some books I might not otherwise have chosen on my own. Now I can spend my time on those books I want to purchase myself.  Kinda sounds a bit selfish. But in keeping it real, when you join a review team, you lose some of that right to choose.  And I'm giddy that I have my personal time back to dedicate to those I want to rather than need to. 

There you have it. Do you have more questions? Hit me up in the comments.  

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