Disclaimer: I really do not want to offend anyone with this post but I really wanted to talk about this. I've tried to write about it as delicately as possible.
So I was talking with my friend Susan of Wastepaper Prose the other day about ARC distribution among bloggers and it got me thinking. Probably more than something like this should. But anyway, I was complaining a bit about how sometimes I never hear back from publicists about my ARC requests. Like, not even a rejection. It bothers me when I don't know what's going on and if I email someone a few times about the same books (with the proper waiting time in between) and they don't reply, I feel like I'm purposely being ignored. That's most likely not the case, but it feels that way. I do know that publicists are extremely busy and I am grateful that ARCs even get sent to me.
But it would be nice to just hear back if we can't get the ARCs we request. The majority of bloggers are very mature and wouldn't lash out or something if they were rejected. We're a resourceful bunch and can either borrow from a friend, or sign up for an ARC tour, or wait for the book to release to either buy it or borrow from the library. Or, heck, even have the publisher send a finished copy for review. We also realize that ARCs are limited and cost a lot of money to make, though I'll talk about the limited aspect later.
My idea was that there should be a publicist specifically for bloggers in every department of a publishing house (children's, MG/YA, Adult, Non-fiction). I've seen one or two publishing houses do something like this- HarperTeen comes to mind with their Digital Publicists. Have someone just completely immerse themselves in the blogosphere and make spreadsheets detailing which blogs review what, and send books out accordingly. Or something else that could be done, which Little Brown does, is send out a mass email with upcoming books for a certain month and seeing who wants what. Do it a couple months in advance, so in November, send an email about books to be released in February. LB then gives a deadline a few weeks away for bloggers to get their requests in by and the books are sent out shortly after. That way, ARCs get sent to the people who actually want them. While I do enjoy HarperTeen's monthly ARC packages that get sent to me and others blindly, I do get some books I simply don't want or just don't have the time for.
This is where the "limited" thing comes into play. If ARCs are so limited, then why are publicists sending out ARCs to people who don't request them, and in the end, may not want them? If you've seen my past couple In My Mailbox vlogs, I've gotten some stuff from adult departments of HarperCollins that doesn't really interest me. Yes, I have been known to read some adult stuff from them but I am very selective of what I read. Usually, it's YA authors I love who also publish adult books with them (examples being Meg Cabot and Sara Shepard). That doesn't mean I want to read other random books being published by you. I've also received some picture books, which are definitely something I never review; luckily, they were finished copies so I was able to just donate them to my library. But seriously, there are times I get an ARC of something and I just don't know what to do with it, even YA ones. It doesn't make any sense to me to do random mailings like that; it's just a waste of an ARC. I don't have the money to send it to someone else so it just languishes on my shelves. Not exactly what the publicist had in mind, right?
That's why I do think having a more request-based operation would be better, but we need someone whose sole job is to handle blogger reviews, requests, and mailings now that the blogosphere is growing tremondously every day. ARCs would then get into the right hands and bloggers wouldn't have to worry about where to put the 10 unwanted, unsolicited ARCs they received that month. Or put more ARCs up on Netgalley. Netgalley is pretty damn awesome because I'm able to get ARCs that I may not have been able to get otherwise (like from Random House, as I never get any ARCs from them). Plus, it doesn't cost the publisher anything so even if I request a title I have a passing interest in, it doesn't lose them any money if I end up not reviewing it because I don't have the time (though I am trying my best to be more selective and to keep up with my e-galleys).
I don't even know if this is even feasible, but I wanted to get my thoughts out there because it was bothering me just keeping it in. Does anyone else have any thoughts, suggestions, disagreements, trolling, whatever they want to add? Leave a comment! I'd love to hear what other people think. Be aware that I do screen comments, but only so spam doesn't accidentally get through. So your comment won't show up right away, but rest assured that it will show up publicly soon enough!