The Cowardly Blogger: ARCs, and the Art of Never Asking

So, I get that “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, according to Mr. Gretzky and you know, logic. But that doesn’t stop me from being a complete and total coward when it comes to, well, just about anything. But, for the purpose of this particular post, let’s talk about ARCs. Don’t worry, I have other ideas in the works too. Because obviously, I am not not requesting ARCs but being super forward in all other life areas. 
Basically, every book blogger who has been doing it for more than ten minutes knows about ARCs. You can request them, publishers and authors can reach out to you, maybe other stuff can happen, I have no idea. Everyone knows the rules: No one is owed an ARC, they are a privilege and not a right. Never harass anyone for one. Be kind and grateful if you do get one. And I am 100% on board with all of that. But, if you have been blogging for say, twenty minutes or so, you’ve certainly heard about Netgalley and Edelweiss. On these sites you can, among other things, request ARCs of books you’re interested in reviewing. Sometimes, you can read without requesting, which generally makes me the happiest reader in town. Why? Because I simply cannot request anything.

See, when I was first starting out, I knew the basics: If no one read your blog or followed in any way, publishers weren’t going to approve your requests. So I didn’t ask. I left that for the bigger bloggers, and eagerly awaited both release days and their reviews. But alas, my anxiety-ridden self has a few followers. And a couple of page views. So you’d think I’d start requesting, maybe build up my feedback, etc. Right? Wrong. I am so unbelievably terrified at the notion of being rejected, that I simply never, ever ask. No matter what. I don’t care if not another single person on the planet wanted to read the book and I did, I am too afraid to ask. 

Dumb, no? Even if 99 requests were denied, and one lonely request was approved, I’d get to read one amazing book, right? Sure, logical people. I know you’re right, truly I do. But I can’t do it. Because I am so paranoid of rejection, that I guess I would rather never be told “no” than take the risk of maybe, just maybe, being told “yes”.

The funny part is, I totally get why I’d get rejected. I know it takes years to establish yourself, if you are lucky. And how do you establish yourself? You put yourself out there! Hopefully, in due time, I will get the courage. For now, I will live vicariously through other bloggers, and wait patiently for release days. Maybe someday, I’ll get the courage to take the shot.

And now, I ask you, dear readers: When did YOU take the plunge and start requesting? Or, are you like me, waiting for the “right time”? 

Posted June 8, 2014 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Uncategorized / 16 Comments

16 responses to “The Cowardly Blogger: ARCs, and the Art of Never Asking

  1. I know exactly what you mean! I only started blogging last July so I still feel like the blogging world and any “rules” associated with it are new to me. Also, I live in the UK but so many of the authors I read are American, which makes me even more hesitant about requesting ARCs from publishers when the book is published in the US first :/ . But I’ve decided that I am going to make the jump this summer and request a book 🙂 . It will probably be super terrifying but I think I’ve found the “right time” even though I’m likely to be turned down. So I get what you mean about the fear of rejection and I hope you find the right time!

    • Oh, that would make it even worse! I hadn’t even thought about all of the location restrictions. You really should make the jump! I figure, when I do, I will make sure it isn’t a book that I would be completely heartbroken if they said no to, and then I can tell myself it wasn’t meant to be 😉 Good luck, I hope you hear tons of yesses when you do it!

  2. It’s funny, only when it comes to asking for galleys on Netgalley or Edelweiss am I not afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no, which happens. If they say yes, I get to read a book I really wanted to. I think once I discovered Netgalley I started asking immediately. I didn’t even have a blog then.

    Of course when it comes to other areas of my life, I have the hardest time asking for anything. Even if its mine and I’m asking you to return it. :/

    • Your logic makes complete sense. I have no idea why I am so illogical about it, considering I know that the worst that can happen is a no! But I am right there with you in all other areas too- I never ask if someone owes me money, or I need a favor, etc. Ugh, maybe we’ll get more forward one of these days 🙂

  3. Considering everybody else, I think I’m a bit TOO forward =/

    I started blogging last May/June and I started requesting 3 months into it. Ironically, I got accepted for TWO Disney Hyperion titles (Alienated & Killer Instinct – Both eCopies Via Netgalley). That just made my day C: And I haven’t stopped since!

    So you can say I got over the terror of requesting ARC’s part really smoothly C:

    • Wow, that is awesome! And I don’t think it is too forward at all! I mean, they want reviewers and bloggers to ask, that’s why they list them, right? (Clearly, I need to start taking my own advice…)

  4. I started my blog on last Christmas. I began requesting books three weeks later. I had gotten a couple of freebies, and I made sure to read them and upload my reviews quickly. NetGalley is one of those sites that you need to watch what you request just because you want your percentage to stay up, but I get denied requests ALL the time, but then I get some really good ones. For some reason, DIsney Hyperion doesn’t like me, nor does Bloomsbury, because after a week they still haven’t allowed me access to Heir of Fire -but that could be because they are out of books they can giveaway.

    I know it’s easier said that done, but you are missing out on some awesome titles just because you’re too afraid of rejection. A few years ago, I found myself in those same shoes, but it didn’t concern blogging; it concerning writing and publishing. I remember the Samuel Beckett quote: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Because eventually after failing so many times, you will finally succeed, but if you never learn to fail, you won’t ever succeed. 🙂

    • That is awesome advice, and you are so right! I think part of it is too that like you said, you have to read and upload quickly, which I am so nervous about too. And you nailed it: it’s 100% fear of rejection (I am kind of notorious for it). I know I have to push through it sooner or later, might as well be sooner! Also, I find it so strange that some companies like/dislike bloggers like that (I have heard it from others, too- some companies always approve, some never do!). Guess it must just be the things they are looking for most in a reviewer differ? Still weird to me.

  5. I think I started requesting e-arcs on Edelweiss a month or two after I started blogging a year ago (exactly) and then on Netgalley in October, so I’ve gotten really used to requesting books and getting denied for them. I haven’t gotten into requesting print ARC requests via email (I’ve only ever sent two emails, one of which was rejected and the other that I’m waiting to see I got approved or not), but I plan to start once I get caught up in my reading and reviewing.

    Good luck on your future requests!

    • Print ARCs to me are like, the holy grail or something lol. I really hope you get approved for it! I think am giving myself a deadline- by my blogoversary, in October, I am forcing myself to request something.

  6. Take the plunge! I’ve only been blogging since March and I was approved for ARCs via NetGalley/Edelweiss in the first couple weeks. Yes, some of the big publishers consistently say “no” but I keep a healthy queue anyways. I even got my first unsolicited physical ARC in the first month. So I have no doubt you’ll get some approvals. I find a lot of times it is about timing more than status. If you’re lucky, which I’m not yet, you can get auto-approvals but you can’t even try until you start getting regular approvals and provide feedback.

    – meghann

    • That is awesome! I know, I really do need to take the plunge. I promise, I will! Deadline is set 😉 I do have to read a book that I kind of “won” the right to request, I guess (I mean, I was able to read it, but only because I was one of the first people, not by merit, if that makes sense?). And then if I post that review, hopefully that’ll get me headed in the right direction!

  7. I couldn’t email publishers for the longest time because I was certain I’d get rejected. I have only emailed 1 or 2 so far and mostly you don’t hear back. But, I did get a contact at Bloomsbury thanks to this and that has got me a couple of ARCs without needing to ask – YAY! As far as Netgalley and Edelweiss go, I am honestly not shy on there because it’s the press of the button and you don’t have to say too much. Also, it’s just an automated response if you don’t get it and I feel less rejected for some reason. I seem to get approved a lot so that works. The more you request the more likely you are to get auto-approval as well, which I have for a few different publishers now, and that means no more requesting when you want there books!!! 🙂 I recommend taking the chance.

    • This is good information! I am so glad they just don’t email back, that is much less harsh than a “we see what you’ve got to offer, and yeah, no”. And an automated response is better too! I was expecting like, someone telling me why and how much I suck lol. I guess they probably don’t have time for that! And yay for the contact! And I will take the chance. Soon. Ish… 😉

  8. Oh man. I totally understand. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I finally emailed a publisher for the first time about a book. I read a lot of sites on how to request a book via email, where to find the publishers email, and what to expect after sending your request… which is basically don’t expect much or anything at all, not even a reply. So my huge shock was when not only did I get a reply email from the publisher but they approved me for the book as well. I’ve since requested a few more books over the months and was only approved for one of the books and they sent me a NetGalley widget to snag an electronic copy. I haven’t really requested since. I am not a very outgoing person, so I don’t tend to socialize with a ton of authors, bloggers, or publishers. I comment on other blogs and comment back when they stop by but that’s kind of about it. I love seeing all those pretty ARCs and those gorgeous book packages that bloggers get but I am okay with knowing that it will be a while until I am at that point.

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