Results, Part Two: ARCs and Competition

arc11I am not going to lie here, just the thought of writing this post is scaring the absolute bejeezus out of me. I was a little wary of talking about it in the survey, and I am not really any less so now. But, it’s a reality. We know this. So let’s do it!

Before the results, I do have some stuff to say about this topic. I have been thinking about how to put it all out there, into words that may convey how I am feeling (and maybe how you feel too?) without stirring things up. I don’t want to stir. Not in life, because cooking is the worst, and not here, because no one likes “that guy”.thatguy1

First, a few little facts/disclaimers before I delve into explanation mode:

  • I do not think, nor have a I ever thought, that anyone has ever or will ever “owe” me a book. I am assuming that almost no one actually does that. They aren’t the reason I started blogging, or a reason that I continue blogging.
  • I don’t think that it is a “free” book. I know it is not free. I know there are costs. I do think that there is a definite degree of responsibility that comes with requesting a book for review.
  • I do not know how anyone else feels about receiving them, nor do I know what others do when they request and/or receive them. Not my business. (Unless they are selling them, then I am totally judging. Just saying. That is never okay.)
  • I don’t blog for followers, pageviews, or any other reason other than I love it (and I love to meet people). I blogged for like, six months without anyone knowing I existed, so yeah. Not my motivation. I do love that I get to meet people through it now though!

Okay, now that that’s all out of the way… I am going to confess that ARCs and stats do mean something to me. For the longest time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, though. I mean, yes, it is nice to be able to read a book sooner, especially a coveted sequel or something. Yes, it is nice to not have to pay for a book when you are already spending quite a bit of money on other blog related stuff. But none of that was the real reason. But it hit me, and it hit me hard when I read this post by Jon @ Bookish Antics. I am, for all intents and purposes, competing to make my blog the best it can be. But who am I competing with? Myself, basically. And that’s weird. It’s also really hard to determine if you’re getting anywhere.

I swam, competitively, for 14 years. From age seven straight through college, and only stopped because they kind of frown upon you showing up to practices at schools you no longer attend. It was incredibly important to me, I worked hard, and I was certainly competitive about it. The difference is, you always knew where you stood. You either swam faster than your best time, or you didn’t. You either beat the swimmers in the other lane to the wall, or you didn’t. There was no ambiguity, no doubt, just you and the clock.tumblr_m85rn0hefw1r0vla5o1_500

Well, now, I really find myself caring about this. This blog, the work I put into it, the people I’ve met and connected with, have all become incredibly important to me as well. I want to make it the best I can, I want it to evolve and grow and I want to connect with even more amazing people. So, I am competitive with it…. but against who? There’s no clock; there’s no girl in the lane next to you; there’s no personal best times. So the tangible ways to see if you are getting ahead? I guess that’s where ARCs and stats come in. An approval ends up feeling like you are doing something right, making progress. It means that a publishing professional took the time out of their day to decide that they would trust little old me with their product, an author’s heart and soul. They have trusted me to read it and review it, and I take that very seriously.

On the other hand, a rejection can set me back a bit. No, I am not going to freak out and get mad at someone who does get the book. I am genuinely happy for them! I would just be even happier if I were involved. Wouldn’t we all? A rejection, any rejection in life, stings a bit. And it ultimately makes me think: What can I do differently? What can I improve upon? What needs to be worked on? Sometimes, that answer may be out of my control, or sometimes, there is something I can do (like not spell the name of the woman you are sending the request to incorrectly. True and embarrassing story). Malcom-in-the-Middle

Onto the Results! 


No surprises here, you like a book! But you know, kudos to the millionaire, and maybe he or she could lend us all a $20?


Again, not super shocked here. Though in retrospect, maybe I should have asked why or why not, but oh well!


I would like to know which street corner these are found on, okay? I may start taking that route 😉 Also, the “others” were BEA (yay, cannot wait for that!) and blog tours.


Seriously, sainthood. I totally get a pang of envy when it is a book I am absolutely dying to read!

If the ARC Fairy came to your house right now, which book would she bring?

There were quite a few answers, of course, but these were the most popular:



Yes, me too. Very human.


I tend to agree with the 82%. Yeah, I care, but I care about other stuff more.


I um, check all of these pretty frequently. Well, not Blogger, because I don’t use Blogger. Or Tumblr, since I don’t even know what to call them. Let’s call them “The Tumbled”. Oh, I am also wholly unsure of how many Instagram followers I have, I just use it because I love book pictures. Yours, mine, everyone’s. Give me more!

What is the MOST important statistic for you, if any?

Most of you said comments were most important, because it helped you interact with more people. One person wants more minions (ah hem, not mentioning any names, ::Cough::caitatpaperfury::Cough::), and some of you like followers (again, mostly for interaction).


I am with the 67% on this too. Sure, it is competitive, because like I said above, a lot of us really care about this! Our blogs are special to us, so yeah, we do care, but not at the expense of anyone else.


I bow to the King of the Jungle. Hah, but seriously, I am competitive, to an extent. I want my stuff to be the best it can be, but I try to focus on what I can do and not what everyone else is doing, because I think that would probably drive you insane fairly quickly.


Yeah, I fall into an “all of these” situation, which a few of you also said. Again, I just want things to run smoothly in these parts!

Have you ever witnessed any “ugly competitions” between bloggers?

Luckily, most of you haven’t, and if you have, you weren’t really involved, just kind of witnessed it play out on social media. A few have witnessed it, which is unfortunate, but I am glad to hear it is the exception rather than the rule!

So, that was Part Two, in a nutshell! I think it is pretty safe to say that we all take pride in what we do, which does lead to some competition, but it seems like it is pretty healthy. It seems like for the most part, the book blogging community just wants their own space to be the best it can be, and meet as many people as possible, which, in my opinion, is a pretty healthy way to go about things!

Do you have any opinions about any of this? Competition, ARCs in general, or the results themselves? Are you surprised? 

Posted February 26, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 26 Comments

26 responses to “Results, Part Two: ARCs and Competition

  1. I’m actually finding myself less drawn to ARCs because I like having less stress lately and those ARCs can get pretty stressful sometimes. However I find this to be mostly the case with the YA genre. I still adore getting adult fantasy and sci-fi books. Great survey results.

    • Thanks! I do understand what you mean completely. I actually find that the structure of ARCs works for me better, though I think I am in the minority. But if I know I need to read a book, I will read it. Otherwise, I find they languish on my shelves for far too long.

  2. Ah, this post is just so…true! Like, I feel the same way about pretty much everything. I’ve never been able to pinpoint why stats and, especially ARCs, are so important to me(even though I try not to let them be) but yes, this is exactly it. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right when I get an ARC or like that I’m not doing quite enough when I don’t get one. And then, I feel like if I could get the bigger ARCs than I could get more followers and meet more book-loving people and yes! This post is just great.

    Personally, I try not to feel competitive about this kind of stuff but…we’re only human, so of course you can’t just not be jealous and competitive at lease once in a while. As part of my no stress year I’ve been purposely ignoring my stats and follower numbers, but I can’t ignore the ARCs. I think the competition for ARCs just comes down to the fact that we all love books and we all want to read the new ones as soon as possible.

    Lovely post, Shannon! Can’t wait to see the rest of the series. =)

    • Aw thank you! YES- you have nailed it- if you HAVE access to a book people are curious about, naturally, more people will want to see what you have to say about it! It’s a very big snowball situation, I think.

      That is so great that you are able to ignore at least part of it! I agree- ARCs are much harder to ignore because hey- we LOVE BOOKS!

  3. Great post. I agree about the competitiveness. But I compete with myself more than any other blog. I do care about followers, but I think I care about comments more. There are times when I get a lot of page views, but only a few comments. I like the comments so I can interact with my readers a bit more. 🙂

    • Thanks! I agree, I do love the comments, especially because so often you guys will think of something that I never would have thought of and it is just so fun to see our minds all working together, and sharing ideas, and our love of books! THE. BEST. 🙂

  4. I’ll bet Val’s the one who said she was a millionaire and that she was the king of the jungle. I could totally see her doing that.

    ALSO, THIS WAS POST WAS SO GOOD. Seriously, you worried for nothing! I loved seeing the results to the surveys and I love knowing that I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS. I think so many of us get caught up in the competition (myself included) and we forget why we started in the first place. And for me, I don’t want to lose sight of that again.

    I’m still wondering where part one is.

    • She totally is! I mean, who makes a goal to buy MORE books. Grumbles away…

      Aw, thank you!! I appreciate that 🙂 I promise I will link up all the posts in the next one so you don’t have to go searching!

  5. Buuuuuuut I like stirring in life, when it comes to baking, that is. I can’t believe how many people sell them, if you want to get rid of them for space or didn’t like the book, there’s libraries, giveaways, family/friends other bloggers , most publishers are fine with that (though I guess there are some that don’t like it) and about anything else you can do with them other than sell them. only stopped because they kind of frown upon you showing up to practices at schools you no longer attend Haha! I would rather be competitive with myself than with someone else though, weirdly. Since you’re only being unfair on yourself, you know? HA, RIGHT. I need to walk down that street corner. Funny though, if you live in London, you can get a few on the tube, and finished copies. I NEED TO LIVE IN LONDON. At least everybody’s heard of stats, then. I do care about them, but I care about comments more than anything, I feel rather lonely otherwise, haha. Not surprised people think it’s competitive, sometimes it does feel like it but I think most of us are like you and are more competitive with ourselves.

    • I know, people who sell them are EVIL. I am sure pubs would rather the book be given to another blogger or something for review than be SOLD! Especially because then you know the person you gave it to didn’t promote it AND the person they sold it too likely won’t either (since none of us would buy ARCs!)

      I’d like to live in London! London is so nice, and fun, and I just adore it. Let’s just move there, now. And I agree, I would MUCH rather compete with myself than someone else- I hated that part of swimming, to be honest!

  6. Wow! This was a great survey, and results are really interesting. I don’t review books, so I’m not really part of the ARC world. However, I’ve learned a lot from reading your results.

    It’s awesome (and a little inspirational) to see how much you strive to improve your blog and make it the best it can be. 🙂 For the record, I think you’re doing a fantastic job!

  7. I strongly agree that it is a jungle (competition) out there! Duh. When it comes to free-for-review WHATEVER there has to be a competition, because not everybody has the same opportunities, but we all generally want them. That being said, I don’t think it’s as bad as say school sports or whatnot. The majority of us just love to talk about books and want to share the love! I for one get book envy, but I love to read reviews and bookish posts from my friends in the blogosphere 🙂 To be successful in this community I think the blogger really has to love books above and beyond their love of stats, though we all probably have a healthy love of gaining popularity for our blogs. 🙂 Great post, once again! Had a great time reading this! So fascinating. 🙂

    • That is a really good point! There DOES have to be some level of competition, or everyone would just have a random blog with one post just so they could get books!

      You have basically nailed it- you can care about that stuff, but if you DON’T love books and talking about them, it’ll show! Thanks so much 🙂

  8. You know, with some of these answers you were just tempting me to check something that didn’t apply. I wouldn’t even be surprised if I was the “millionaire” haha

    I’m pretty sure ARCs were one of the reasons I started blogging …for about two seconds, then I realized I’m a mood reader and I want to choose my own books when I want them and review them when I feel like it, so I really couldn’t care less about ARCs. It just seems like a lot of trouble to go through to MAYBE get a book a couple weeks early instead of just waiting and buying it with a click. I also live in Germany and don’t usually read ebooks, so it’s not like physical copies are being thrown at me anyway (which I’m kind of glad about because that sounds like it would hurt). I checked “I do accept ARCs” because I teeeechnically do, but in all reality I haven’t accepted a single review request since I started blogging because either the person asking clearly hadn’t read my review policy and only offered ebooks or the book didn’t sound interesting enough.

    I do care about stats though. Mostly just because blogging is so much more fun when people are actually reading your posts and commenting on them. Comments are definitely one of the best parts of blogging!

    In general, I try not to compare myself with other bloggers, but of course it still happens sometimes. I don’t think the book blogging community is too competitive per se, but (and this is purely just my assumption) it’s a pretty tight-knit community, so you’re possibly more likely to check out others blogs and stats than you might be if you were blogging about something else.

    • I know, I wanted someone to check them, honestly. More fun that way 😉

      Bwhahaha you made me chuckle with the books being thrown at you! Yeah, it kind of IS a lot of work for the off chance of getting a book. Why do people not read the policies? WHY? I got a request once for a non-fiction, adult book about orphans in 1980s Romania. Um, no? And the kicker was, the author asked ME to buy the thing. Hahhaha. I still laugh about it.

      And yep, I am with you, it IS such a tight knit group, so we’re just bound to see what is going on with someone else, because we all follow each other!

  9. I had some very deep and relevant thoughts about competition and ARCs but all that’s stuck in my head now is your disclaimer that you don’t view ARCs as free and the fact that I learned in economics free goods are goods which there are sufficient amounts of and THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH BOOKS. (There won’t be enough time to read all the books, but that’s a moot point.)

    Anyways. Love the snarky choices like “I’m a millionaire” and “I find books on street corners”. My blog’s more of a writing blog, and while I do review books on a co-review site, I don’t touch ARCs a lot and it’s mainly for fun, I guess, so competition doesn’t factor into that. That said, I do stalk my stats a little more than is healthy for my blog. But the most meaningful “stat” is always, always comments. Communication is always the best.

    • You are so right! It IS economics- there are WAY more of us than there are books for sure. Which really only makes sense, you can’t give ALL the books away for review, or there’d be no money to be made. And it IS a business, in the end.

      Hahah thanks! I enjoy the snarky answers myself 😉 They kind of broke up the monotony while I was writing it. I didn’t want it to be *too* serious! I agree with you, comments is definitely the most important, mainly because I LOVE talking to people!

  10. I totally agree with you that I’m competitive as a way to measure my own success, not as a way to actually compete with other bloggers. It’s just nice to know that there are people out there reading this stuff I write, you know. And, yeah, I like ARCs and I like the idea that there are publishers out there who want me to read their books. It’s a good feeling! I think you pretty much summed this all up perfectly!

    • Yes, exactlY! You want to know that you are putting your best out there, so it’s nice to know where you stand in comparison to the you of a year ago! Because honestly, I don’t know other bloggers’ stats! I mean, I guess I could find some of them, if I really wanted to, but that would be a little insane and also creepy. Thanks so much 🙂

  11. This is a really great survey – I agree with the competition these days, I don’t really compete with others for ARC’s, but I find it fascinating seeing other people’s book haul xD loved how you summed up the points!

  12. Yayayya it’s the next part of the survey! It’s cool to see that other bloggers don’t think everything is a competition BUT MAN YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHT ABOUT SWIMMING (look at us, swimmers haha). Whenever I didn’t beat my record or even COME CLOSE TO IT I would feel really bad. It just really sucks when you realize that your body has reached its limit and can’t go any faster 🙁
    My blog IS MY BABY and like you, I do strive to make it the best I think it could possibly be (along with keeping my sanity in check)

    • YAY swimmers. I know, it was a bad, bad day when you didn’t get a best time. College in general was a bad, bad time, now that I think about it. NO fast swimming for me 🙁

      I think I have lost the “keeping my sanity in check” part of the equation… I need to work on that!

  13. Right now I am not accepting review requests and have tried telling publishers that unsolicited books received will probably not get looked at for months. I don’t really want print copies of most things.
    Also, I have stopped paying attention to my stats. I’ve been in this for five years now. People like me or they do not.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  14. I just find all of this so fascinating. As an author, I know those rejections, the envy, the fear of not measuring up, reading about squabbles and always checking stats. It’s so strange to read how there’s a whole other layer of it… about these books that we authors have dumped our souls into, and can do nothing but hope and pray it will be favorably received.

    I think what I’m getting at is that I just want to encourage you all. Be brave, be good and love good books… it’s all about that. Don’t be insecure about books and stats and other bloggers, and all that “stuff” that gets in the way of reading and loving books! I know I need to take a dose of that myself, and I know it’s not easy to rise above the fear and pettiness and insecurity… but if you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t really matter. One day, if I say it enough, maybe I can believe it too! HAHAH!

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