Hey readers! Welcome to another thrilling installment of My Thought Monday. A weekly post where I get to rant and/or rave about happenings in the book world. I have received lots of positive feedback from my previous posts and want to keep the momentum going. This week I'll be touching on another topic that's important to all authors and bloggers.
I'd like to offer up my thoughts for discussion among authors, bloggers, readers, and all members of the literary community. I understand that my views may be in the minority on some fronts and would love to hear your thoughts. Please note that while I would love to hear your thoughts, I will not tolerate this as a place of hate and negativity. If you so choose to put forward your thoughts via comment, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc, please do so professionally. I am fully aware that sometimes the bookish world is the last place you want to put your personal thoughts, but I, for one, am tired of being quiet. It's time for me to take a stand on issues that are important to me in this community. It is my belief that, only as a community, can we pull together and make real change in this bookish world we all know and love.
This week's topic:
This has become an increasingly more prevalent problem in my neck of the woods and from what I hear, it's happening everywhere. So what exactly is ARC Envy? Well, it's a little hard to put into words, but essentially it's when one reader/blogger becomes jealous to the point of rage over the receipt of an ARC, or Advanced Reader Copy, of an upcoming novel. Let's break this down a bit.
And there you have it. My thoughts on ARC Envy. Have you experienced this yourself? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments below. I'd love to hear feedback from fellow bloggers as well as authors. How has ARC Envy affected you? Until next time, Happy Reading!
What's an ARC?
As stated before, an ARC of a novel is an Advanced Reader Copy, this copy is one sent out for reviewing purposes. ARCs are generally sent out to bloggers, editorial publications, and reading groups a few months before a novel is published in an effort to build early buzz, receive early reviews, and push sales. ARCs are generally sent out a few months before, but I have received them for up to a year early. (I recently received an ARC for a book that isn't due out until June of 2016!) ARCs are often early copies of books and are not always the finished copy that sits on bookshelves come release day. Some are in various stages of editing and often come 'as is', just a story.
Still confused? Picture this. Your favorite film franchise is coming out with a new film next month, let's use Marvel as an example here. Say you're pumped for The Avengers 3 and then they send you an early DVD to view and offer your thoughts on before the film comes out. Big deal, right? You get to be one of the lucky exclusive folks to view the work before the public. Books work a little different, but that's the general gist. If you love the film you'll fave about it everywhere you can, building buzz. Got it?
Who Gets ARCS?
This is tricky. Sending out ARCs is a highly selective process for some authors, publishers. Bottom line, not everyone is getting an ARC. ARCs are generally only sent to people with a purpose. For review, for presell buzz etc. Bloggers are the most common folks to receive ARCs of novels. As bloggers, we sometimes get the incredible opportunity to read and review a novel prior to release day, it's a great feeling, but with that comes a mountain of responsibility. You can't spoil the story, you clearly, cannot share your copy, etc. There are rules to adhere to. Some publishers have specific guidelines one must meet before even requesting an ARC and let me tell you guys from firsthand experience, the bigger the author, the less your chances of getting an ARC. When it comes to the big name authors, you can more or less throw your hat and walk off, unless you're rocking 100,000 blog followers or a syndicated column with your name, you're going to get told no ever so often. In fact, you'll get turned down more often than you get told yes, but that's okay. ARCs are sent out to build buzz and, unfortunately, if you don't have the following to help build that buzz, you don't qualify for an ARC.
More times than not, I do not qualify for ARCs. That being said, I don't often request ARCs of novels. I work primarily with indie authors so this generally isn't an issue for me. I've hit some instances of ARC Envy that have killed me lately though.
One day I'll post about how one goes about receiving an ARC, but in the meantime there are some great articles out there on the topic. Go Google them and see!
As you can see, receiving an ARC is a huge honor. Doesn't matter if your blog is one day or 10 years old, if an author wants you to help build buzz around their upcoming release, it's a big deal. There are so many book bloggers out there (we number in the thousands), that being selected in itself is a huge deal. It is an honor that I do not take lightly. Do I feel like I deserve ARCs? Absolutely not. Bloggers *usually* have a pretty good idea of where they stand within the community and can usually understand why they would or wouldn't get an ARC.
Some bloggers... don't. For years now ARC Envy has been a problem. Essentially some blogger will not get an ARC of one of their most anticipated reads and they'll lash out. Vocally. Anywhere someone will hear them. It's rather disgusting to witness. Jealously is a horrible thing and it's not befitting... on anyone. Most instances come in the form of Facebook posts or Tweets in which the offended party will ask others to refrain from posting about the ARC so that they don't have to read about it. Jealousy is ridiculous.
Here's a recent example of ARC Envy. A huge group of people recently received an ARC of an authors upcoming novel (including myself). Said people were encouraged to post teasers, thoughts, etc on FB (while avoiding any spoilers, of course). Well one very bitter blogger posted, very publicly that she would like for everyone to stop posting about the novel because it 'isn't fair to those of us who didn't receive an ARC'. Get out. Seriously. Just get out. Quit blogging, quit reading, GET OUT. People like you are the worst kind of blogger. People like that are the reasons authors hate the blogging community. JUST BE EXCITED YOU EVEN GET TO SEE TEASERS. This case was even more rage-worthy, because everyone who requested an ARC got one if they signed up in the correct place. Clearly this blogger didn't sign up. This was an error on her part, not ours, not the author, not the publisher. Folks, nobody is going to come to you with a list of ARCs and tell you to take your pick, you have to get your name in the bucket if you want to be involved. With so many bloggers to pick from, what makes you special? Needless to say this very bitter blogger received some very harsh feedback from her peers.
This bitter blogger falls into a category that, unfortunately, many in the blog world have fallen into. When it comes to ARC Envy, I have seen some terrible tantrum throwing. Like a three year old kicking and screaming in the floor after being told 'no', kind of tantrums. You know what happens to kids in my family who act that way? They're punished, severely. Why isn't it same with these bloggers? If you make an ass out of yourself, let it be KNOWN that you are a blogger behaving badly and you won't get any ARCs going forward. I'm not about public shaming, but if you can put your ARC Envy out there for everyone to see it, you deserve a slap on the hand (or across the face). I've seen horrible rants,, begging, pleading, and even illegal actions by some bloggers in an effort to get their hands on an ARC, and folks, it's just not worth it. It really isn't.
I found this comment floating around on a public forum about ARCs:
"I had to unfollow some people on goodreads because they had arcs of things I am DYING FOR AND WOULD TRADE MY NON-EXISTANT FIRST BORN FOR"
People. It's a BOOK. A BOOK!!! What on Earth prompts this kind of attitude, seriously?
I won't act like there haven't been times that I haven't had ARC Envy myself. Sure I get a little bummed out when I see my blogging friend got a copy of my favorite authors' newest work. But did I go Godzilla on the situation and burn the you-know-what down? No. I got over it. And then guess what? I still got to read the book on release day, just like everyone else. I don't see a reason for going crazy when it comes to ARCs, you're ALL going to get to read it eventually. Just chill the hell out people. As a general rule, I just don't get ARC Envy, especially with a TBR like mine. Goodness gracious I don't even have time for all of the books on my shelves now, how could I get mad about not having yet another one? Getting an ARC is a lot like an unexpected Christmas gift to me. One day you just open you email and 'voila!' it's there. It's a wonderful feeling.
So many instances of ARC Envy has led me to develop a sometimes feeling of ARC Shame. The feeling where I am fortunate enough to receive an ARC, but I don't want to mention it to anyone in the effort to avoid conflict and resentment. Its sad, and I certainly feel that way, but goodness gracious, can you blame a guy? This book world is viscous when it comes to matters such as this. I receive ARCs all the time. Instead of posting all over God's Green Earth about them, I read them, review them, and go about my business. It shouldn't be that way, I, and others, should be able to post all about their ARCs without the resentment and drama. Some people just ruin it for everyone.
Bottom line here folks? ARC Envy is ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous. Everyone is here for the exact same reason, why can't we all just be excited for those bloggers/early readers who DO get ARCs and then just read it on our own? I can absolutely assure you that you'll get to read the book eventually, why be a rude little snot about it and throw a fit? There's no need. If you want to act like that you can go sit in the corner like the child you are. And don't worry, we all know who you are. Bloggers Behaving Badly get nowhere in my books.
International bloggers have RIDICULOUS amounts of ARC Envy that I'm not even going to touch upon right now because those peeps deserve a post all on their own. I get so rage-y when it comes to matters such as these. As for now, I'm just going to continue reading, reviewing, and sharing my awesome thoughts on the book world. ARC Envy isn't going anywhere and I certainly see it doing nothing but getting worse. I, for one, see no point in it. A little jealousy is fine, but this is completely uncalled for.
As I've said before, reading is a privilege. We should all consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we live in a time where we have knowledge enough to be literate, that we have the time available to read, and that we have the freedom to read whatever we wish, whenever we wish.
Don't be THAT reader, blogger, fan. Just pimp, support, and praise like a good person and STOP WITH THE NEGATIVE.
TL:DR? ARC Envy is ridiculous and all who lash out due to it should be ashamed. Live. Love. Read.