ARC Discussion: Pressure To Read And Pressure To Like // Why I’m No Longer Reading ARCs (Controversial??).

Welcome to my controversial post.

ARCs are just so much pressure & stress and I hate both.  

So I think that for me this post has been a long time coming.

(also!! let us scream about the PANIC! album!!!!!! bdjrgjrdfgjh SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS)

I’ve always felt this “need” to read arcs and to apply for arcs because of the community is so great with arcs. But I’m not great with arcs. I’m really not. I never feel like I enjoy them as much because I have to read them.

I wrote a post agessss ago about the “worth” of arcs (basically there isn’t a worth to them in this community. Just because you get lots of arcs doesn’t make you the queen bee). You can read that post here. But what I wrote there is still valid.

There’s still a pressure to read 1000 arcs a day from the “best” authors.

I find that there’s this pressure to get arcs to feel like a “proper book blogger”, and then once you actually have it there’s a pressure to read it, and while you’re reading there’s pressure to love it. 

^^^ see why my brain shuts down?

There are a loaddddddd of positives too which shouldn’t be ignored. They benefit the writer so much / they’re great for raising awareness of the book. I think that the “worth” they have is to promote the book before release and I think that’s great!! I do!! And while I love to help with promoting a book, because I think that it’s really a great thing to do, I also cannot cope with the pressure of ARCs.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

There’s this NEED to read them obviously because you’ve been given the book for a review!!! — and my brain just shuts down.

The minute I feel that I have-to-read-this-book-or-I’ll-be-crucified that’s it. Bam. Brain shuts down. I cannot read it. I read on whims. I think “ohh that book today!” and if I try and read a different one, I CAN’T.

And you can’t really whim-read ARCS ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ so yeah. There’s an issue there.

time.

This is a thing that I have a lot of now, but I didn’t until veryyyyy recently. I literally shut down my ARC request thing on my blog because of exams. BUT I STILL HAD ARCS TO READ. BECAUSE I HADN’T READ THEM YET. BECAUSE I WAS STUDYING. STRESS.

I didn’t read a lot during exams either. I think that I probably read three books or so in the past 2 months of the exams/studying/eating/sleeping routine that I had going on in an attempt to try and relax.

So during that time, I couldn’t read ARCS because it felt like another thing that I had to do. So I couldn’t relax while reading them because it felt like ANOTHER thing that was pressuring me at the time and I felt this panic while reading them to read them as fast as I could and then I just couldn’t enjoy what I was reading!!

So that wasn’t fun. At all. I just wanted books, dammit.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41I feel guilty no longer reading ARCs, but I think that it’s better for me to not read them than to read them and feel pressured to say what people want me to say about it rather than what I want to say about it because of the pressure to like it and give a positive review.

I’m a people-pleaser. I don’t want to not like it. I feel the NEED to adore it forever when it’s an ARC that I’m reading. Whereas if it were a standard book that I just plucked off the shelf and I didn’t like it, I would be able to say that in my review without feeling guilty (ok maybe a smidge if guilt). And that’s just not fair. The whole point of arcs is that you give your own opinion, and don’t let the fact that you’ve been given the book sway your opinion. 

When it comes to ARCs it feels like it isn’t acceptable for me to not like it — even when I know that I’m being asked for my opinion so I just flail for a few thousand years and put reading it off.

BUT then I feel guilty because I haven’t read it and reviewed it in ten seconds flat and hyped it all over the internet already. BAM introduce the second wave of pressure to read the book.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 18.15.41

actually giving my opinion.

When I’m writing a review for an ARC, I feel like I have to just talk about the positives and seem like I liked it more than I actually did to be polite to the author. But. That’s not what I’m being asked to do. I’m being asked for my opinion.

Recently, I’ve found it easier, to be honest with my reviews, but I feel guilty. Even though I don’t have anything to feel guilty about, or be sorry for. It’s my opinion. I was asked for it.

So, all in all, I feel that my review is not useful. It’s not useful if I have to phrase everything politely and not express my opinion to the full for fear of upsetting someone. It’s not fair to the other authors’ books that I review honestly. It’s not.

I still have an ARC to read and review ‘In Search Of Us‘ by Ava Dellaria, which I’m actually nervous about because you know, the pressure to read it and all and the fact that I don’t really feel like reading it yet (enter some more guilt). BUT. I have high hopes. This will be the last arc that I’m reading, maybe for now, maybe for a few months or years, I don’t know yet.

I just think that ARCs are so much pressure, especially when school starts again, and I’d just rather focus on books that I can review and promote and not feel forced to read.

Screenshot 2018-06-02 14.37.45

Do you feel the same pressure when it comes to getting, reading, liking, and reviewing ARCs? Do you find it hard to be 1000% honest? What’s your general opinion on ARCs? Let me know! 

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71 thoughts on “ARC Discussion: Pressure To Read And Pressure To Like // Why I’m No Longer Reading ARCs (Controversial??).”

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  2. A while back, during my first year of blogging I used to request ALL the arcs, not just the ones I want to read which put so much unnecessary pressure on me, Because I’m the type of person who NEEDS to read them on time or otherwise I freak and that way I found myself having to read a bazillion arcs in the same month. But when I started requesting only the ones I CAN’T WAIT FOR things run more smoothly (although now with all the international restrictions, i barely get any).
    As for liking them…uhhh I’m trash, so I never feel guilty for not liking an arc, and Don’t shy away from dissecting it in my review, oops? It’s probably a result of growing up a loud mouthed kid haha.
    Great post!!

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  3. ARC’s are.. ugh. So hard. On one hand, I love them because I simply love raving about books / new releases that have yet to be published. I love getting the word out on books that others might not come across if it wasn’t for me? [Okay, I’m not the only reviewer, doh. But y’know what I mean. All little bits help, right?]
    On the other hand, it does add some pressure. I try not requesting ARC’s with a publication date in the very near future because I want to be able to read it whenever I feel like it and not because I have to. Sure, if I really, really feel like a certain ARC, request it and get it immediately, I’ll dive in. But I’d really have to be in the mood first and that rarely happens. For some reason, I like having an ARC on my TBR for a while before picking it up. Maybe it also has to do with lowering my expectations between reading the blurb and reading the story? Idk.

    Honestly, I haven’t been requesting a lot of ARC’s lately simply because I got my own TBR to tackle as well and the pressure of THAT mountain is way more real than the ARC’s, hahah. :’)

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    1. LMao yeah TBRs are already a monster to battle, let alone adding in ARCs aha! I get that too with not wanting to read them for a while?? I like them to sit there and wait because then I feel more motivated to read them?? IF THAT MAKES SENSE??

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  4. Oh, this post is so good! I feel you completely. I think ARCs are such great opportunities, but they also just plain stressful. Like you said, I’m just get so pressured to read it right away and if I don’t then I keep putting it off and then it just gets more and more stressful?? AHH why must it be so complicated!

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  5. Ahhh Lu it’s completely understandable you feel this way and that you’ve decided to no longer read ARCs! If it’s stressing you out this much then what is the point?? I think you made the right decision 🙂 I definitely feel pressure if an author has personally reached out to me to like it, but I do think I’ve gotten better at it. I don’t really feel any pressure to like an ARC if I’ve gotten it through NetGalley, but I DO feel the pressure to read it on time and since like you I’m a mood reader that doesn’t always work out great lol. Though I was late with my last two ARC reviews and nothing bad happened? I felt bad but it turned out okay in the end which definitely lessened the pressure I felt (for now. I’ve got an ARC deadline coming up adbmnf)

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    1. Exactly?? I won’t be able to actually reflect on the book properly,, and therefore actually be helpful???? I’m glad that I’m not the only one that feels the pressure, but at the same time that makes me feel sad bc feeling the pressure is awfullll!!! I think that the pressure to just START it is,,, waaaaayyy too much??? (I’m sure you’ll meet the deadline!! you got this!!)

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  6. CONTROVERSIAL POSTS ARE INTERESTING. AND THIS REALLY MADE ME THINK! Pressure and stress are so terrible!!! And they should never be because of books!! I do feel like there is quite a lot of pressure to read arcs but I haven’t felt that yet because I’ve only just figured out what arcs are and how to get them! 😂😂 But I think I quite like them because if they’re print copies, you get to stare at them and admire the prettiness!!

    And honestly?? I feel SO BAD when giving bad reviews but if I didn’t like it?? I’m not going to say I did?? And TIME IS SOOOO PRECIOUS ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE SCHOOL(pointless) AND HOMEWORK (even more pointless)!!! It’s cool you’re not reading arcs though. I’m a total mood reader too and you just can’t force me to read something I don’t want to! I loved reading this Lu!!! xx ❤️😀

    ps. i sent you an email, did you see it or did it get lost?

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    1. {in response to the email: I can’t find it!! I just spent about 20 mins searching through my inbox 😦 What was it about??? IM INTRIGUED}

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!! yeah i think that they’re just too much pressure, and pressure really shouldn’t surround books!!!

      YASSS ANOTHER MOOD READER!!! WHOOOOOOPPP!! And yes,,, timeeeeee!!! so little time during school!!

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      1. Mwahaha you’re going to have to wait till I send it to you again! It might have got lost! I’m so evil. 😆😆

        No problem! That is definitely so true! I remember when I was a child (I literally still am a child but you know what I mean?) I just used to read whatever books looked good and didn’t worry about other people! But now it’s just like aaghh.

        WHOOOO!!! MOOOODD READER FOR LIFE!!! I think I rarely ever read a book at a time I don’t want to because no. School is honestly just made to a) take away your time b) act like they want you to read but secretly don’t let you and c) flood you with homework and stress and tests (my school literally has so many tests? It’s crazy. ❤️😀

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  7. I def agree on both you positive and negative stances about reading & reviewing ARCs! I read one ARC really recently and then I agreed to read and review a book for a book tour and I felt more pressured to read for the Book Tour one because I had a hard deadline. The one I got through NetGalley though, I don’t believe there was a deadline so it was less pressure. But I also feel like if I genuinely don’t like the book, that could be a problem, so for now I’m only agreeing to read and review books that seem really really interesting based on their synopsis!

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    1. Urrrghhh deadlines!! That actually sounds like SO much pressure. I think that if I’d had a deadline for any of my ARCs I would have FLAILED TO DEATH honestly. Same here (in regards to only reading based on synopses)!! I think that if I were to start reading them again I would definitely consider the book A LOT MORE to be 100% sure I would read it if it was on a shelf in the bookstore!!

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  8. GREAT post!! honestly this whole culture surrounding arcs we build in the community is ridiculous, like u say!! like, sure, it’s great when u get an aopportunity to rad a book ur excited abt EARLIER. but then u gotta review it. and there’s a deadline on when u gotta finish it. and yeah, i always, always feel so bad when i don’t enjoy an arc??? i feel like i cheated someone even tho it’s not possible for me to like all the books!!

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  9. I agree with you! ARCs can be super stressful and I remember when I first started blogging, I was so worried about finishing my ARCs on time or being negative in my reviews, so I totally get where this is coming from. You should not put pressure on yourself for no reason, and not requesting ARCs if they are stressful is a great decision 😊

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  10. I’ve been feeling this way lately! Usually I can shake it off pretty quickly, but idk why this time the feelings stay. I love the opportunity given, but the pressure to read them on time, to like them, and to give opinions when you don’t have much to say… it can get too much. I haven’t request anything for the last 2 months, I think, but I still have tons to read :/ Great post Lu!

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    1. Same where!! I think that it’s a fabulous opportunity, I’m all for hyping up books, but the pressure just,,, becomes immense! Gah I know right, reviews are TOUGH sometimes!!

      Thank you so much!

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  11. I’ve been drafting a super similar post to this one, funnily enough. I feel so much pressure to give ARCs high ratings (even though I am always honest in my review, I just feel uncomfortable critiquing them like I usually do. Also, I find that I start reading certain ones and realise that I would never normally pick that book up in a bookshop. I’m glad someone is finally talking about this subject!

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    1. Same here!! That’s exactly how I feel, UNCOMFORTABLE. Yep yep yep! That’s totally relatable, I think that most of the ARCS ive read I wouldn’t necessarily pick up naturally, but have sounded interesting so I’ve accepted them?? Aww thank you so much!

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  12. YES I COMPLETELY AGREE AND THINK THAT ARCS CAN BE SO PRESSURING? I still have like five arcs from early this year to read tbh and I’ve just been giving myself time to start getting back into reading before starting them because for some reason arcs can be really hard to read. IDK.

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    1. THEYRE SO HARD TO READ. It’s like the label of ‘ARC’ just adds 100x difficulty rate when it comes to reading the book??? i have ONE more ARC to read and same here!! After exams the last thing that I wanted to do was read ARCs but I kind of got back into reading a read 2 in quick succession and weeped over the pressure 😭😭😂

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  13. This as 100% relatable. I do still request arcs but it’s a pretty rare occurrence for me. Like you, I think they just induce stress in me, and I am already 90% stress anyway, so what’s the point in doing that to myself? I think arcs are amazing and can be great for the author and publisher but, they also involve a lot of hard work (NetGalley ratio, etc) and if you don’t have the time to read them they either get chucked to the wayside or you end up forcing yourself to read them and neglecting something else.
    The thing I think we always forget is the book will still come out anyway. If it’s your favourite author and your most anticipated of the year then maybe request it, but otherwise what’s the point, especially since so many bloggers seem to hate writing reviews anyway??? I think we all just get so caught up in the hype of arcs that we forget to take a breath and actually think.

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    1. EXACTLY!! I 100% agree with that since I am, too, already 90% stress!!! YES, OMG REVIEWS. I used to love them, but now I have SOOOOO many to write, I just CANNOT. DEAL. (let alone if it were an ARC review!!) Definitely!! I have to force myself to think, did I really enjoy that???

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  14. I only request ARCs from NetGalley or First to Read that I really want to read. I don’t accept ARCs for review from authors. I’ve actually never really felt the pressure.

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  15. Wonderful post!!! I definitely get what you mean about the pressure to read and to like ARCs. While there have been many ARCs that I’ve rated with two stars, and I always strive to be honest, it has taken me a long time to be able to not feel guilty about it and be more comfortable with giving low ratings and writing negative reviews. I also feel like there’s definitely pressure in the community about getting and reviewing ARCs. Since ARCs are such a coveted thing, getting one brings even more pressure to like it. I think it’s all about becoming comfortable with giving ARCs low reviews and treating them like regular books on your shelf. But I totally respect your opinion and I hope the next books you read are ones you want to get into and that you enjoy them!

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  16. I never had an ARC, but I’ve been given books from friends to read because they want me to experience the same emotions and happiness from that same book. And boy, I do feel the pressure to finish it fast enough to give it to them back. I feel the longer I hold it I’m doing something wrong.. I don’t know. but I do understand that pressure. Good post!

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  17. This is so true! I stopped requesting arcs from Netgalley and Edelweiss because of the time pressure and then having to post a review by the publication date, too. And it’s so hard to enjoy them because you’re too caught up in finding the positives you can talk about when it comes to giving feedback.

    I don’t think you should feel too bad for closing down your arc review thing, either- reading shouldn’t be stressful.

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      1. No problem:) I was kind of relieved when I saw your post. It’s such a tricky subject, though, because on the one hand an author’s trusting you enough to read and review their book, but then that affects how you review it, because you don’t want to offend them

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  18. I actually totally agree with you! Since joining the blogging community, I have felt a lot of pressure to get and review ARCs. I have already established that I just don’t function with eArCs so I stopped going on Netgalley pretty quickly but I get so hungry for physical ARCs that once I get them, I get totally overwhelmed! I am really glad you posted this. It has reminded me that I don’t need to read everything before it comes out. That it will still come out eventually, and that I don’t need to be way ahead of everyone in order to enjoy a book. This was great :]

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