Why Do I Do This?


Saturday Soapbox


First of all, yes I know it’s Monday. Second of all, there will be more cursing than normal ahead, you are now forewarned.



I have had this post rolling around in my head and half written for days now. You see, it all started with #ARCGate. For those not fully in the know Parajunkee has a great post outlining it here. I was happily going about my business when I saw that one of my favorite authors, Rachel Caine, had retweeted my review of her latest book. Being the giant nerd I am, I hopped on twitter and went to her feed to gaze lovingly at my review posted from her. It so happened that my retweet was smack dab in the middle of a thread between her and another reviewer on selling of ARCS (advanced reader copies). I read the feed and thought “But everyone knows not to sell ARCs right?”. Then I didn’t think about it further. Work has been crazy, so I banished twitter for a few days, then when I went back on, it had blown the fuck up. Like it had its own hashtag and the shade was being thrown about like a monkey throws shit. There were half-assed apologies, justifications, super pissed off authors and some downright threats. It was just crazypants.



I needed some time to think and process. So I took an unplanned break from my site and pondered. Like, I went deep introspective and shit. Now I have never and will never sell an ARC. They are precious gifts given to us by very hard-working authors and publishers. But I do get my fair share of them. Like to the point that I have been called out by someone (see that fun topic here) who was just pissed at me. Now, 99% of all ARCS I get are ebooks. I very rarely get print copies and have even turned down print copies when offered so that others can have them (especially when I already have the ebook). Now does this make me all saint-like? No, not at all, I still covet certain books and I did get ARCs at BEA. Now, did I pick up ARCS just to do giveaways with or multiple copies? Nope, I plan to read and review 99% of them and then most of those will be giveaways on the site or given to others (the school library has already gotten a batch and so has the nearby retirement community library). But it still felt like justifying to me. Do I need those ARCS or do I just want them?



After much soul-searching and a shit-ton of peanut M&M’s I came to this realization. I would still read without ARCS. I have over 1,000 print books at home that I have paid for and I buy an average of 50 books a year. I spend an average of a grand a year on new shiny books to read. I will get an ARC and then buy the book so I can have a physical copy. So, I neither need nor truly want the ARC. What I need is to read. I have mentioned before, that I have always been a reader, and I feel incomplete without a book in process. Books are at the heart of my true center and without them I would be incomplete. Is it nice to have a book magically appear on my Kindle? Yup it sure is, but I get the same happy feeling when I pick up a stack at my library or open my Amazon box.



That brought me to my site and the reviews I post. I would still read without 125Pages and I would still post little reviews at Goodreads, but would that satisfy my desire to tell others about the amazing stuff I read? To me, my site is the place I review and speak about books. I spend a good chunk of cash running the site, on giveaways and mailing costs, so my next thing was to see if I really wanted to continue. I have had some negative interactions with authors lately and between that and real life, I wasn’t sure. But here is the thing, I like doing this. I like getting a comment from someone who is now interested in the book I just reviewed, I like getting book recommendations from others. And dammit, I like the community. I refer to many people around here as real friends and would be sad to lose them. But is that enough?



Here’s the thing – I like doing what I am doing. I get to have some amazing interactions with others, I get to feed my soul with books and I get to share my love and passion for something. If no one read my site, I would still review. If I never received another ARC I would still read.



So guess what, I’m staying right here. I cannot let some crazy internet shit that literally did not have anything to do with me, affect my life. I need to just do me. If someone doesn’t like it, I refuse to give a shit. Will I do anything unethical? Nope. Will I engage? Nope. Will I probably piss someone off in the future? Yup. And here is the thing, as long as I know that I am doing the right thing that is all that matters. So I will continue to read, I will continue to review and I will continue to receive ARCs.


So did this whole crapstorm make you re-think how you read and or review??


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Posted July 11, 2016 by Laura in Saturday Soapbox / 8 Comments

8 responses to “Why Do I Do This?

  1. I don’t know the full story but I saw some stuff on Twitter. I think it comes down to just doing your own thing. If you aren’t selling the ARCs, then I don’t have much of a problem. I’ve been doing this for 9 years now and I hope to continue to keep doing it. I try to stay out of most of the drama because it can bring you down. I’m glad you have decided to keep blogging! You’re not doing anything wrong, so don’t worry about any hate or whatever. I’d still read and review without ARCs too!

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…No Pants Required by Kim Karr Release Day BlitzMy Profile

  2. As an author I’m just thrilled to get thoughtful, honest reviews, and offering ARCs to bloggers facilitates that. I send mostly eBook ARCs and I prefer that they not be redistributed but I don’t lose sleep over it either. ?

  3. I saw all that stuff on Twitter. I kind of just ignore it because I know it doesn’t involve me. I mean I would never sell ARCs and I would totally blog without getting them. I didn’t even know what they were until I started blogging anyways!!! Great discussion!
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Ten Facts About MeMy Profile

  4. I’m glad you have decided to continue doing what you do – you’re very good at it and the book world NEEDS good bloggers more than ever, seeing as physical bookshops are becoming ever less common and there is a never-ending avalanche of books emerging from publishers and indie authors. It’s an interesting one – I have given away arcs at book clubs with the notion that a copy of a book that goes on being circulated means that author’s writing is being introduced to a wider audience. But would I sell them? No. I’ve only recently signed onto NetGalley, but have been blogging about books for years (I’m a bit slow like that…) so it certainly wouldn’t stop me blogging if they weren’t out there, but it does help stretch the pennies a bit – and like you, I still spend a LOT of money every year on books.

  5. I’ve been book blogging for 3 years, and I’ve never gotten an ARC in physical or ebook form. I’m perfectly happy to review whatever I pick up at the used bookstore. I’m glad that you’re going to continue blogging. I really like your blog, and I’m sorry that so much drama has been happening.
    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Facts About MeMy Profile