As book bloggers, we understand the way our community works. We know that some lucky, hard-working bloggers receive ARCs from publishers to help build hype. We know that physical ARCs are more expensive to produce than a finished copy of the book. We love ARCs. We covet them. We worship them.
We also know that as reviewers, the only thing we’ve got going for us is our reputation. So we’ve got to be completely honest about how we feel about books, otherwise what’s the point?
Recently I came across some criticism on Amazon’s algorithms on how they show reviews and I was shocked to see quite a few voices saying they don’t trust ‘received in exchange for an honest review’ reviews. Because the person got the item for free and it is, essentially, a payment.
As book bloggers, we shouldn’t feel bad giving negative reviews to ARCs. Publishers want to know our honest feelings and here’s a secret lots of authors don’t want you to know: Publishers actually LIKE getting the full range of ratings from DNF to 5 stars.
We in the book community know that ARCs are completely normal and we see negative and positively reviewed ARCs all the time. We put hours into our hobby and sometimes getting a much-coveted ARC is a nice way for the publicists to say ‘thank you for all of your time and effort.’
So why is this ‘don’t trust reviewers who get something for free’ attitude in the wider (non-book) reviewing community?