Friday, June 29, 2012

On ARCs, review timing, and niches (reflective) - my blog = my choices & recommendations

sketch of black cat reading a sheet of paper
After I left my High School library 3 years ago, I seriously missed being able to connect the right books with the right readers. Thankfully, a shout-out from Barb Langridge on LM_NET (school librarians' listserv) let me start writing recommendations of great books for babies, kids, tweens, and teens on her site (Try the "Which Reading Superhero Are You?" quiz - it's spot on!)

Then on May 1, 2011, I started BooksYALove as part of the WordCount Blogathon so that I could add my own personal observations and relevant info links to my recommendations. Despite other bloggers' urging, I have NOT 'monetized' this blog - no referral links to online book retailers or ads. I will often point readers to sites where they can search for local library or independent bookseller - sales taxes support essential services where we live, ya know.

I want BooksYALove to be a repository of recommendations for books that YA readers might miss - those great ones from first-time authors, small publishers, and smaller imprints of major publishing houses. The books must be available in a bricks-and-mortar store (even if by special order) and from more than one source online if in electronic formats = I won't point YA readers toward any book that requires a credit card in order to obtain it, so I'm not accepting self-published works currently.

My TBR (to be read) stacks of printed ARCs and new books require additional bookshelves now, while my downloaded ARCs need some sort of pinging alarm system to remind me of their digital expiration dates.

BooksYALove is a niche blog, so I'm picky about the ARCs that I choose, whether it's at Texas Library Conference or directly from publishers. And as for the ARCs themselves, I admit to having a love/hate relationship: 
I love being able to get ARCs so that I can read and recommend the best works from debut authors and smaller presses, but I hate the pile-up of non-sellable books (if print format) and the too-quick expiration of most digital ARCs.

Yes, I realize that publishers are wary of allowing digital-format ARCs to be "out in the wild" once the works are actually published, but I don't want to be forced to write a recommendation during their preset publicity schedule! Yes, word-of-mouth publicity just prior to publication date helps create "buzz" for a new book, but you'd think that publishers would like to also build up a groundswell of sales during the months (or years) following a book's birthday.

Best-case scenario for me is to read the book and write a recommendation during the digital ARC's open-time, then publish it on my schedule. So thanks to the urging of Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews, I'm signing up for the Netgalley Knockdown in July, trying to read all of the digital ARCs currently in my queue with Netgalley, Edelweiss, and directly from publishers, write up at least the barebones of any recommendations (since not every interesting-sounding book makes the cut for BooksYALove, you know), then decide when I want to blog them.

I'll keep choosing just the best ARCs to place on my real and virtual TBR shelves for books you won't want to miss. Lots of great reading ahead, y'all!


  1. I took the quiz and found I was a "b", Joan of ARC/Empath. I have not read the authors recommended, but I loved "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." (I read the first sequel and didn't really get into that much, though.) Thank you for the reflections. By the way, I had no idea what an "ARC" was - one reason why I read your post is that you mentioned them. I've seen a lot of references to them on the Goodreads site. Thank you for educating me today. I have a lot to learn about the world of books.

    1. Glad to oblige, bookworm. You'll sometimes see them called 'galleys' or Advance Reader Editions, too. The printed ones often cost publishers more than the real hardcover will, since ARCs are done in small numbers compared to a regular printing run. ARCs may have placeholders for illustrations and typically have plenty of typos & format glitches which are corrected before final printing.



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