To ARC or Not to ARC?

So I’m really, really new to the blogging world. Technically this is my second year here, but it really feels like the first to be quite honest. However, immediately I know what an ARC and how strangely important and ARC is to a blogger. I know there are some people going, hey Alexa it’s not that important.

But it kind of is IF you’re trying to widen an audience enough that publishing companies want to warrant you ARCs and keep you on their mailing list. Because ARCs are a marketing tool. It’s to get people excited about a novel before the novel comes out. It’s like getting a screening for a movie. You’re expected to review it, offer your opinions, and garner attention to said media (whether it be good or bad I guess). So for blogs who want to become bigger in the sense of numbers and an audience, this is a huge milestone. That’s where I’m at right now. My goal is to widen my audience, hopefully get a following and really being accepted for an ARC from bigger companies would be some kind of validation for that.

Before we get into the topic of why widening my audience is a big goal for me I want to talk about why I brought this up. As most of you know, recently there’s been a scandal about an author posing as a worker at Penguin Random House reaching out to bloggers to read and review “ARCs”. If you want the full story, Jon at Bookish Antics wrote a full post about the debacle and an update recently. If you’re not feeling up to the longish read and the more research that is inevitably to follow, tl;dr: A woman was posing as an employee to said publishing house and, using the blogger’s trust to Penguin, got their addresses and sent them books that were NOT ARCs except for her book that she wrote.

So now here’s the question: why were bloggers so eager to get ARCs? It’s obvious right? ARCs are kind of a status symbol and also it’s really fucking cool when a publisher reaches out to you specifically so that they can give you an advanced reader copy. That’s super cool right? I think the reason why people have such high regard for ARCs is because it means one thing: you’re popular. Ish. Like if you have enough of an audience to justify publishing companies to give you an ARC you’re popular right? So I think with some of these younger bloggers, it’s kind of a popularity high because they’re young and most young people like the feeling of popularity.

It’s really upsetting that such a scandal happened and now bloggers are not as comfortable with giving their addresses for giveaways or ARCs, but that brings me to a question I want to ask you:

When you started out, did you aim to be able to get ARCs? Or is it something you learned about later on and then had a desire to get them?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning anyone for wanting to become popular or big enough to get ARCs because haha, I’m one of them. I want to grow my audience because I do want to be justifiable for ARCs but I also just want to be able to have a big community to talk about things like this or talk about books. I love having discussions and rarely do I have discussions about books outside of the internet. Tell me what you think, I’m curious.
Also if you’re interested in having a Blind Book Date this Valentine’s Day, there’s a sign up here!

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