When Do You Read and Review ARCs?

Discussion Post

This may sound kind of stupid…but did you know that up until a couple of months ago, I had no idea that you were actually supposed to review ARCs by the publication date?

I feel like such a nutcase when I say that, but I swear, I really didn’t know! I just figured that, as long as you read it, wrote a review, and got that information out into the blogosphere, it didn’t really matter when the review actually was posted. But then I occasionally heard other bloggers were talking about how it was hard to keep up with reading ARCs before their publication date and I was like…what?!

It made me think…how and when do bloggers usually read and review ARCs?

Ever since I realized my mistake, I’ve been diligent about the whole thing. I only request ARCs when I know that I’ll have time to read them before the publication date. Then I mark the date I need to read it by in my calendar, mark the date I should probably try to start the book by, and make sure to have everything posted on Goodreads, Amazon, my blog, and NetGalley/Edelweiss/an email to the publisher right on time.

But how do you go about it? I feel like there’s a couple of different ways:

  1. Read the ARC right before it’s about to be released, and post your review immediately afterwards. (This is what I do.)
  2. Read the ARC as soon as you get it, then immediately post your review, even if the publication date is months away.
  3. Read the ARC as soon as you get it, then post your review on/around the publication date.
  4. Read the ARC whenever the hell you want and don’t pay attention to release dates.
  5. Attempt to read the ARC on time, but your review ends up being posted a little bit after the release date.


When do you read and review your ARCs? Is there a right or wrong way to do it? Did you ever make any newbie mistakes like I did when you started book blogging?

25 responses to “When Do You Read and Review ARCs?

  1. You’re not the only one who got confused! I mean, ARC: advanced readers copy. Should be obvious, right? Since it says advanced, you’d think it’s a given that everything should be done before the release date. But no, it wasn’t to me because I had a few review copies of books that had already been released by the time I received them. So yeah, it also took me some time to realize that the point is to review those books before their release.

    I don’t really review all that many ARCs though (mostly because I’m still new to book blogging, so it’s not like I get accepted for many. Hah.), so that misconception hasn’t been a problem for me. Those ARCs that I do get, I also mark on my calendar. To me, that’s the best way to stay on top of everything. My estimated review time would be maybe up to two before release. Unless it’s slated to be a NYT seller, I doubt many non-bloggers bother keeping track of release dates of books that seem interested. I know I rarely did before I started blogging.

    As for when I read them? Anytime I feel like it, and the sooner the better. I request books I absolutely want to read, so that reading them asap doesn’t feel like a chore. That way I’ll have my reviews ready to post when the time comes.

    • Yeah, I don’t want reading ARCs to feel like a chore either. I try to make sure that it’s actually something I’d be interested in reading, although sometimes it’s hard to tell from just the blurb, without other people’s reviews to go on. There’s definitely been a lot of times where I thought that I was really going to like an ARC based on the blurb, then ended up really not liking it. Sometimes it’s hard to pick the good ones out from the pack!

  2. I don’t think you necessarily have to do it by the release date. Most publishers say a month either side is best- so within a month before or a month after the release date (because the purpose of ARCs is to create buzz. Therefore if you review them too early then people forget about the title by the time it comes out. They don’t seem too fussed if it’s past the release date though.) There are actually some publishers that state that you shouldn’t post any reviews of titles before the release date/before 30 days before the release date/before one week before the release date etc, so you should probably check their NetGalley profiles and such for that.

    I personally just read and review the ARCs whenever I want but then schedule the review to be posted usually one or two weeks before the release date of the book. I definitely tend to try post reviews before the book comes out- although if I have a lot of review books, or if I just don’t feel like reading/reviewing the book by the time the release date comes, then I’m not really fussed if the review is a bit “late” anyway.

    • Yeah, that’s a good point. I feel like I’ve definitely seen other bloggers post reviews for books WAY too early. Personally, if it’s a book I’m excited about, I’ll keep track of it and its release date and stuff, but not a whole lot of people do that, so I can see why publishers wouldn’t want that. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of the process, I pretty much post all of my reviews right around the publication date, so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. It’s just easier that way!

  3. I’ve always known what ARCs are about, and that you are “expected” to read and review the book somewhere around the release date. It’s keeping up with that that’s hard;-) I try my best to get my reviews up just before or on the day or release, or within a week of the release. But it doesn’t always work that way, ha ha!

  4. I didn’t know either! Haha, I always thought, like you, that if I read it eventually and reviewed it, that’d be enough. And I’m GOD AWFUL at reviewing ARCs on time because life always seems to get in the way. When publishers ask me if I’d like to read a certain book, I used to always accept them, excited that they were reaching out to me. But I never actually reviewed them on time! To be honest, I have A TON of ARCs on my shelves that I accepted MONTHS ago that I haven’t read yet. It’s absolutely terrible of me, I know. So I’ve stopped accepting them from publishers now. I feel too bad about how I’ve been in the past that I just can’t accept any more, unless it’s for a book that I REALLY need.

    • It’s like I wrote this comment, haha. Yeah I have a TON that I need to read that are wayyy past their publication date. Right now, I’m barely requesting any, and the only ones I’m requesting are the ones that I really, really want and would be reading anyway. Mostly I’m just working on all of the old ones that haven’t gotten read yet, ugh. There’s a ton! And I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who thought this! When I wrote the post, I was sure that everybody was going to think I’m so stupid haha.

  5. Honestly … who knows??? I hear you are suppose to do it a couple weeks before publication. But who is saying this??? I never see it posted on netgalley or anywhere like that. I just post it when I post it, and that’s that. I don’t think that has made me get turned down for any books.

    • Hmmm good to know. I feel like it’s implied that we’re supposed to be building buzz about the book around its publication date. Somebody else left a comment saying that posting your review a month before to a month after the date (unless given other instructions directly from the publisher) is usually a good strategy.

  6. When I first started reading ARCS, I asked a publicist when she likes reviews to be posted, and she said as close to the release date as possible. I think posting a little in advance of the pub. date helps build buzz, but I wouldn’t stress out too much about it. I usually post reviews within two weeks on either side of the release date.

    • Thanks for the advice! I usually try to shoot for posting my reviews right on the publication date, but if that doesn’t work out, then I do it a couple days before. I’m just glad that I figured out a system that works for me! Now I usually don’t have any problems getting ARC reviews in on time, although I’m still working on a huge pile that’s long overdue from when I first started book blogging :/

  7. I’m number 3. I just have a few ARC’s, but I got them with quite a lot of time to go before publication date. What I do is read them whenever I want, but still before publication and post the review within a week of publication (before or after). I don’t think you are obligated to review it on a specific date, because sometimes you just can’t. Though I do think people should try to make it work. But I don’t think it’s stupid you didn’t know most publishers want a review before publication date. After all, it’s not really something they say when you get an ARC through Netgalley!

    • Thanks for not thinking I’m stupid! haha. Yeah, I don’t think it’s an obligation to post on a specific date, I just think that it’s like “expected” or what we’re supposed to do. I know that there aren’t any hard and fast rules, but I think that most bloggers have some sort unspoken idea in their head of how they should tackle ARCs, but it’s probably a little different for every person. I want to be number 3 eventually! Right now I’ve just got a bunch on my plate that I need to finally get to, but hopefully I’ll make a lot of progress on those this year.

  8. I’m a little bit of a mix of 1, 3, 4, and 5! It really depends on the ARC. I try my best to review them as soon as I can (sometimes I procrastinate and read them last minute) and get the review scheduled anywhere from a few days to a month before the release date. Then there’s certain ARCs that I wanted when I got them, and somewhere along the way I lost interest – so I put it off…and put it off…then it’s 3 months (or a year…ha) past the release date. Sometime I just don’t care! I’m pretty good about reviewing most of them in a timely manner, so if a few slip through the cracks I’m not too worried.
    I never post mine earlier than a month before the release though…while there’s no set rules for that, I think the publishers frown on them being posted TOO early.

    • That’s good to know about posting them too early. I’ve never done that, but I’ve definitely seen it from other bloggers and, yeah, I think it’s a little bit weird if it’s too far in advance. I’m going to stick to the “one month before” rule, but usually I try to post them the same week as the publication date, although I still have a bunch that I’m catching up on that are long overdue :/

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  10. I’m actually a mix between reading them very early and waiting to post them close to publication date (if it’s an ARC I’ve been highly anticipating), reading them a couple of days before it (wasn’t feeling like reading it early) or posting it some after the publication date (forgot it or just felt like ‘I don’t care’ :p)

  11. I’m currently trying out a new strategy for 2014 and liking it a lot: read all of next month’s releases this month and schedule the reviews where they fit; once I’m done with those, read whatever I want for the rest of the month including older books or farther out ARCs that I’m really pumped for :D. I know of some reviewers who post reviews super early since it’s fun and apparently ups their SEO, but I think that publishers really prefer you don’t, so I’ve been trying to keep mine within the one month pub window.

    I do feel confident that if you can’t make the pub date, it’s okay and publishers are happy with you reviewing the book whenever you are able to over not reviewing it at all 😉

  12. I usually read the ARC whenever I feel like it, then if I’m in time, I’ll post the review on or just after the publication date. I don’t want to pressurise myself into a reading schedule ‘coz this is a hobby and not a job, ya know? And I’ve realised that I hate reading on a schedule. I’ve gotten into quite a few reading slumps because I force myself to read on a schedule 😦

    • Yeah some people are just more emotional readers vs. schedule-followers. Personally, I love reading on a schedule. But it’s definitely not for some people, and I can totally understand what it would cause a reading slump. But I think it’s good that you don’t let yourself get too pressured over it! You’re right…it’s a hobby, not a job.

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  14. I normally only figure out an ARC is available for request on Netgalley or whatever, or get approved, like, a day before it’s published, and often after. I still get approved, so I figure I can read it whenever, It’s their fault they approve me AFTER publication. In which case I treat them like review copies, not ARCs.

  15. I *attempt* to read the book within (+/-) 2 weeks of it’s release. I feel like if it’s too much earlier, then people will forget about it before it comes out. Lately, though, I’m really far behind and also am having a hard time writing reviews (articulating my feelings about the books has become REALLY hard without sounding the same every.single.post), it’s really frustrating!

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