Hey people! Last week I started this whole “Problems of Being an International Reader & Blogger” thing talking about the difficulties we have accessing books. But did you know that we also have a major drawback when it comes to obtaining ARCs? Yep… so let’s see what’s up with that, shall we?
This is as much as a common problem to us, international book bloggers, as not being able to access a published book whenever.
If you’re just starting out this whole book blogging thing, you might be a little clueless, because I know I was when I first started out. Heck, I didn’t even know what an ARC was. And just to clarify (in case there is someone out there doing this ), ARC stands for advance reading copy, and it’s a copy of the book given to librarians, booksellers, bloggers, etc, to create a buzz around said book and get the reviews going.
So, back on topic, if you’re like me, you’ve probably already gone to google and typed out “how to get ARCs” or any variation of those words, and you’ve come across a bunch of amazing posts telling you exactly what to do, who to write to, how to word your request, …, everything. Those posts are awesome! Except for the fact that they don’t really apply to us, international peps.
You’ve read those tips, and they all tell you some important points, like you should blog frequently and for a few months before attempting a request, you should review books frequently on said blog, you should have an X number of followers and daily views, etc. When I first read this, I jumped and down from excitement, because I ticked all those boxes at the time.
So I kept following their advices, like explaining to the publisher why you want to review that specific book, and so on. I then gathered a list of books I was dying to read (and knew the arcs were starting to make their way out), compiled the mails, wrote and rewrote my email to them, and then clicked “send”. I repeated the whole process a few times, until it dawned on me that every single blogger I had seen with physical arcs came from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Philippines.
I was dismayed!
The right thing to do here would be to write the publishers from YOUR country and ask them for those ARCs, but again, most books don’t make it out of the English speaking market, and those few that do, take time to do it. Also, that would mean that I would have to read in portuguese or spanish and I don’t have enough brain cells for that.
Now, I’m not saying that they NEVER send out physical ARCs to international bloggers, because I’m sure they do. I’m just saying that said bloggers will have to have worked 5 times harder, have 5 times the following, and so on, to even make it worth their while.
And while I do get it, because for publishers the goal is to market the book where it will actually be sold, it sucks big time nonetheless.
International Bloggers, raise hands if you ever got a physical ARC from the publisher! Go ahead, tell me!
You’re probably thinking: “yeah, that kind of sucks, but there are other ways to get physical ARCs”, and sure, you would be right.
Events like BEA are huge in the US. And there are similar things going on around some other countries. Not here though! So when the whole commotion starts around the conventions time, or the “selling” drama starts on twitter, we are left wondering what would it be like to actually stand in line and grab an upcoming book, because we have no clue.
There are some other ways to get one, like several contests and giveaways, but those are random and some of them don’t even apply to us either.
Resigning myself that I would probably never get a physical ARC, I focused my efforts on getting digital galleys. Netgalley is probably the paradise for us International people who love to read and review, given that they are a little more flexible on the whole “where the heck you’re from” thing. But still, have you’ve ever been denied because you don’t live in the US or UK? I know I have! Look at some examples:
I mean, I’m not saying that they can’t have refused me because of other factors, but it’s pretty clear in some cases that the problem is that you simply do not live in some places.
I remember back in March I was denied for two ARCs from the same publisher, telling me that the country was the culprit. This bugged me at the time because I had reviewed the previous books by both authors just a couple of months before through Netgalley too, and from the same publisher, of course. So, what the hell, right?! I really wanted both books, so I went ahead and wrote to them, and in no time I had the two widgets on my email. With this I’m saying that it’s not that they’re not allowed to allow for international reviewers, it’s just that it’s completely random sometimes.
It’s very hard to do your best, when the decision factors are a random mess.
In several cases I was denied, I went through the trouble of writing to them, because people… I have a reasonable number of followers, I do OK in views, I mean, these are my Netgalley stats:
… so I think I do ok, right? I post everyday. I try to post at least 3 reviews per week, both in YA and NA, so unless we’re talking about a pretty sought out book, I would think that I would manage some more approvals. Still, approvals for titles from bigger publishing houses never come, and it’s really hard to get books that I’m dying to read.
Sometimes I feel like there are totally different standards for ARCs approvals depending on where you’re from. And while I understand the different countries’ rights, I also think that if we are all blogging in the same language and putting up much of the same content, it doesn’t make sense for someone with 400 followers and who blogs twice a week, to receive an ARC that I won’t be allowed to read. When in reality, we’re targeting the exactly same audience.
Hey guys, so, this is nothing against US/UK/… bloggers. Just the opposite! Also, no ARC envy here. I’m just pointing out how unfair it is for us international people, ok?