Going in with another discussion today because it’s something I’ve had on my mind. In the years that I’ve operated this blog, one thing is for sure, my experiences because of its existence have changed. Some certainly for good, and others not. One of the things that I think changes, or has changed, the most is an expectation vs experience (true for many) in receiving review copies. Or rather my experience with ARC review books.

Before pressing ahead, I do want to say the following, in no way am I saying I’m not grateful (beyond words) for all of the reviewing opportunities or chances I’ve had in these years. Many I accepted gratefully or signed up for, others I politely decline depending on genre or familiarity with the author. That said, through the years I’ve experienced, and chosen, changes in reviewing.


In these years, the opportunity to review books has, for me, dwindled. I don’t know why and I don’t know if there is a “why.” Maybe it’s because in general publishers don’t print or send out ARCs anymore or maybe it’s because of how I review. Or maybe it’s because the time for smaller reviewers is over. I don’t know; any or none of these things could be true. Another thing that was (or is?) more popular now is author launch teams, and since I chose not to have a Facebook presence with my website, I likely miss them. Any or all of these may be possible, some of which I acknowledge is choice.

One of the ways I chose not to review as many publisher books is by not signing up with the few publishers who still send me options. Where I used to sign up for nearly everything (never something I’d recommend for anyone), now I’m way more discerning. Now I only sign up for the ONE (or two) books I’m as sure as is reasonable that I’ll enjoy. This is a happier place to be when it comes to receiving review copies. Here are four reasons why this is true.

  • + MY BOOKSHELF: I own so many books I haven’t yet read, but really want to read them!
  • + NO REPLIES: Sometimes if I do request an arc from a mainstream publisher or even Christian and don’t receive a reply. This could be because there’s no ARCs or because the person I’m emailing doesn’t see the request. Or maybe it’s because they don’t think I have enough experience or reach to review their book. Totally their right, and that’s fine. However, though some recommend, I will not review just any book that comes my way just for the sake of getting more “exposure.” I request things I’m more sure than not I’ll have a chance of enjoying. This then means a more positive review.
  • + PRESSURE: There’s way more pressure to review a book when a publisher considers you someone who is a “good fit” to receive their book.
  • + READING: I’ve written on this before, but honestly, I’m simply not reading as much which means it’s not fair to accept a book that I won’t have a good review turnaround time on.

Another thing, which I won’t get into right now, that I think is overtaking publishing is person specific request priorities. I’m not sure how widespread this is, or if it’s something more localized, but I have heard of it, and think if true, contrary to what publishers think, it’s moving backwards, not looking forward. The latter being what they think and want us to believe they’re doing.

All this to just say, I’m not reading as much. Additionally, as a result of some of the things going on in the bookish and publishing world, there’s disappointment. While some of these things are a choice, it also makes me to look at things in a new perspective. The results of which brings more regret than joy.

What about you? What are your thoughts or experience with ARC review books? Has it changed for you or anything specific in the landscape changed? Is it choice or rejections, or both? Comment all of your thoughts down below.


10 YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY: HOW MY ARC BOOK REVIEWING EXPERIENCE CHANGED. Chatting experience with ARC review books and reviewing in general. © Rissi JC

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About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I’m coming up on my 12th anniversary, and I have faced all the things you mentioned. Retirement did not mean more time to read in my experience. I have become more discriminating and the opportunities to review have narrowed or just don’t fit my priotities right now. I’ve been trying to embrace a whole new reading mindset, if that makes sense. I walk past bookshelves packed with great books that I chose for a reason, and I am determined to do something about it. ;) Love your blog! Congrats on 10 years!

    1. CONGRATS, Beckie!! That’s awesome. :) I’ve seen so many changes in these years and I’m sure it’s very much the same for you. I find that much of my lack of reading right now can also go into the reading “culture” (if that makes sense?) or the drama of bookstagram right now. I’ve never seen it like it is now and it’s kind of put a damper on how I feel about the world of reading and what’s going on. I know it’s silly because that has nothing to do with most of the books on my shelf, but it’s there and it makes me sad.

      I for sure do understand a new reading mindset. I’m trying to adopt my own, too and realize that just because I’m not reading now doesn’t mean I don’t still love reading. Appreciate your perspective and the comment. :)

  2. I never went the traditional route of contacting publishers or signing up for Netgalley to get ARCs. I’ve had a few authors contact me over the years, but I say no more often than I say yes. A promotional tour company has reached out to me a few times, and I enjoy working with them. It’s nice to get free, early-release books, but it’s definitely not one of the reasons I started blogging!

    1. I certainly didn’t know how it worked, but I may have known about it pre. I cannot remember, honestly. However, I do remember having this desire to start a blog to WRITE. I really wanted to do that. Of course, through the years that’s changed and grown, but I still do love that aspect of it. I also really love conversation so I’m hoping to create more of that. :) Thanks for being a part of the conversation, Angela.

  3. I started out requesting way too many on Netgalley and I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up! I’ve definitely honed my tastes and it’s easier to pass over books I would have requested in the past in order to save my time for those I know I’ll enjoy. I still try some new authors, especially in contemporary romance, when they come highly recommended.

    1. I used to request a title here and there from NetGalley and even, much to my surprise, did get approved for a few I never imagined. However I don’t even know that my account is still active. I really don’t like e-readers so I haven’t read an e-book for a LONG time now and in fact haven’t even bothered to replace my broken Kindle. :D I enjoy giving a debut/new author a chance if, like you, it’s in a favorite genre. :)

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