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?
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??