An ARC is an advance reading/review copy. They are usually spread among book reviewers prior to or around the publication of a book in order to spike buzz and make sure one can find reviews as soon as the book goes live. People talking about certain books will make people remember those books when they are in the (virtual) book store, and will make them more likely to buy it.
So, I am just trying to sell you a book?
No! The author/publisher hopes to sell more books by giving away free books to reviewers. After all, their business is selling books. As a reviewer, I just want to talk about books and share my opinions on them. The most important characteristic of my reviews is that they are always honest and that the rating and review are not influenced in any way by whether or not I owned/borrowed/received an ARC for it.
When I get an ARC I am under no obligation to read the book, rate the book or review the book; however, I always try to do so. I will add a review even if I disliked the book. In fact, some of my reviews that resulted in the most people telling me they were going to buy it were for books I rated 1 star. Apparently they got curious and wanted to see for themselves whether it really was that bad (as far as I know most people agreed upon reading).
In order however to clearly mark the books I got for free I will always add a disclaimer when I am reviewing a book I received an ARC for. The disclaimer will look something like this (or similar):
“Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free (electronic) copy of this book in exchange for an honest review”
Additionally, these books are tagged as ARC.
What is in it for me?
The short of it: Free (e)books!
The long of it: There are two main points. One of course is the free ebooks. As someone who goes through at least 200 books a year this keeps the hobby much more affordable. I don’t have a library conscription anymore as for me, reading almost exclusively in English, I often couldn’t find what I was looking for. If I had to buy all the books I read, I guess I first would have to win the lottery.
Second, these are advance books. Often these are available before the publication date or at least before they receive a lot of attention. This is very nice, as it allows to be part of the ‘discovery’ of a book that a lot of people will eventually read. Also, it has given me the chance to read advance copies of some of my favorite authors like Ben Aaronovitch, Patrick Ness and John Boyne, which made me feel extremely proud.
And what is this Netgalley?
Netgalley is where I get most of my review copies. Sometimes I am directly contacted by authors/publishers asking if I would be interested in reading their book, but most books I find browsing the shelves on Netgalley. Publishers use the platform to broadcast their books to potential reviewers, who can view covers, read the blurb and decide if they are interested. Publisher then can decide whether they are also interested in the reviewer and choose to share the book with them.
While not all my requests are approved, I use Netgalley a lot to find out about new books. When one catches my eye, I will try to get a copy. I started way back in 2014 and have never left since, but when I first started I was like a kid in a candy store who was just told that everything was free! It was rather more than even I could read in a reasonable amount of time. Since, fortunately I have learned a certain level of restraint.
Will you read my book?
It depends. I am currently accepting new review copies, but I will only accept those that I think I will enjoy. Please keep in mind that I mainly read science fiction and fantasy, and very little romance. Contact me, telling me why you think your book and I could be a match and I will come back to you.