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For Review vs. Review Consideration

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“For Review” Vs. “For Review Consideration”

What is the real difference between “for review” and “for review consideration” anyway? What could one medium-length word really change? Well, instead of trying to convince you myself, I’ll point you to the wonderfully written article that convinced me after I went in expecting to blithely disagree and chortle. Kim explains quite eloquently the difference between accepting books for review and accepting books for review consideration and how the latter is not as evil as so many of us seem to think. Stacked also discussed this idea of what a book blogger’s responsibility actually is. It is so surprising to me that I had never realized this was how a lot of older book bloggers ran their review policy previous to these articles.

The main thrust of the article is that book bloggers as a whole seem to think that receiving books in exchange for a review (even an honest one) is a fair verbal contract. However, (and I didn’t know this previously) editorial media does not enter into this sort of tit-for-tat, book-for-review agreement with publishers, even when a reviewer specifically requests a book from the publisher. Kim argues that we as book bloggers should seriously consider changing how we view review books and our obligations to be more in line with editorial media for a number of reasons. The biggest reason that sticks out to me, however, is that if the norm becomes that we accept books for review consideration and make no promises beyond that, all of a sudden all that stress about being behind on ARCs and review obligations disappears. It is already becoming more accepted to DNF review books if you must and inform the publicist either through NetGalley’s feedback form or directly via email that you decided to DNF said book. There really isn’t much of a leap from there to only accepting books for review consideration, since it is really just stating up front that you make no promises about finishing and reviewing the book.

Many of the commenters weren’t keen on the idea of requesting books with the knowledge that you might not actually review them, but I think that that is the wrong emphasis. As Kim and others point out in the comments, it is rare that she doesn’t read and review a book she requested, but it is important to have the option if you realize in the time between the request going out and the book showing up that you don’t want to read it anymore.

All of this is particularly relevant to me since I’ve reached the point where I look at what I “need” to read for review in the coming months and I look at what is “overdue” for review and I realize that it is simply not possible to read all of the books that have come into my possession. I was becoming pretty burdened by guilt over not having gotten to so many books before they were published and stressed about keeping up with the ones that haven’t been published yet. But as soon as I switch gears into considering these review books all as books for review consideration, I feel much better. Now, when I look at a book that I received for review consideration, but am no longer excited about, I feel okay setting it aside. I did consider it for review, read the first couple of pages, read the reviews of a couple of my book canaries, and realized that it isn’t a book for me at this point. Yes, I could push through to page 50 or 100 and DNF it and write some feedback based on that, but do I really want to do that if I’m pretty sure on page 5 that I’m not interested??

If you hadn’t guessed already, this is also the post where I officially declare that I’m switching to only accepting books for review consideration (with the one exception of the few tours I sign up for). You won’t notice many changes in all likelihood, but here are the things that I have changed to move me into this new mindset:

  • Changed my Review Policy here on the blog as well as putting a note in my NetGalley and Edelweiss profiles
  • Changed my Goodreads “to-review” shelf to a “for-review-consid” shelf
  • Changed the disclosure note on upcoming reviews to change “in exchange for an honest review” to “for review consideration”
  • Looked through my overdue review pile to decide between books that I really do want to get to still and books that I’m okay giving up on at this point

I’m also thinking of starting a monthly feature where I let myself start with a clean slate by giving a bit more publicity to the books that were published that month that I received for consideration but ended up not reading. This way the books have one more chance to get on someone else’s radar who might really enjoy them and I am able to officially let myself off the hook for not reading them. Would you find this an interesting feature?

I’m sure that I’m going to ruffle some feathers with this post since from the comments on Kim’s post, it sounds like it is a pretty touchy issue in the community. I’m happy to discuss it though as long as everyone stays nice ;-). I really feel that this would be a good change for the community as a whole given how much stress I see posted about surrounding overdue books and am already feeling better after making this change myself.

What do you think? Would you be interested in that monthly recap that features books I didn’t get to? Are you thinking about switching your review policy?

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

-Anya

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I think this is more than fair. Publishers never expect you to review ALL books they send you, especially not if they send you a big box. If the book just isn’t for you, they are usually fine with that. Same with most authors. Good luck with considering your review copies :D

    • I have not reached the point of getting boxes fortunately! I think I would get completely overwhelmed then, haha.

  2. I love the idea of “for review consideration” on paper (it would be a great stress relief, that’s for sure!) though I’m still a bit old school on the idea that if I request a book specifically direct from the publisher, I should make an effort to read it and at the very least do my best to read as much as I can and write a review even if I were to DNF. Books that are unsolicited or that were pitched to me and I end up taking them on, I think I can get on board with “FRC”, though.

    • I agree that if I request directly, I’m probably pumped enough about it that I’ll read it as soon as it shows up! I was always confident about not reading books that I got unsolicited if I wasn’t interested, but am more changing my mind on the ones pitched in an email that I agree to, since I felt quite guilty about not reading them if I had agreed a bit spontaneously. I think it’ll end up with me just being more honest about the likelihood of my reading books pitched to me.

  3. I understand the stress of HAVING to read a book vs wanting to read a book. (That’s why I don’t request many) I think it’s a good idea since you state ahead of time that you might change your mind about the book. (I personally will keep reviewing each book I get, but to each her own.) I also like the idea of the monthly post of all the books that didn’t make it.

    • Exactly, since I’m having trouble keeping up, I feel like this will be a way of me being more honest about reading the books I’m getting.

  4. I think you have some valid points and, especially if this cuts back on your stress levels, this is an awesome choice for you. I’m not sure it’s a one-size-fits-all situation; some bloggers may work better with the pressure of owing a review and the unofficial deadlines they set. And if you don’t get a ton of ARC’s, this may not be an issue. Still, I can appreciate keeping your options open, especially with your packed, bowing bookshelves. ;)

    And yeah, giving a little nod to the books you didn’t read sounds like a great idea! Publishers can’t get ticked off that they gave you a book for nothing, and it gives the titles more exposure and the chance that people interested in them will find them. :)
    Kel recently posted…The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley (3 stars)My Profile

    • Oh definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation, having a deadline helped me read more books previously too, though I think it’d help everyone if they realized that it was an option to not feel obligated too. It’s surprising to me how many people have expressed shock at hearing that bloggers didn’t realize the other was an option on both sides.

      Exactly, I’m already trying to give exposure to every book I get through book haul posts, and this would be a second shot too!

  5. I like your post and I think it’s very reasonable. The first point in my review policy is that accepting a review copy does not guarantee a review and the second is that I can’t guarantee a time frame either. When I wrote my review policy, I looked at a few blogs to see what points they covered and how it was worded to see if there was an expected way of doing it and I saw that all had the first point and most had the second as well. There are many reasons for not reviewing or even finishing a book, so I like to, as you say, have an option. There’s a big difference between requesting a book knowing that there is the possibility of not reviewing it (because, being honest, this possibility is always there no matter what your intentions are) and requesting a book without the intention of even reading it. I think that there are people who don’t realise that the former doesn’t mean the latter.

    • I love that review policy! That’s interesting to me that you saw that in a number of other policies since I don’t think I saw that at all when I was looking, but that is a trend I’m seeing, this divide between policies depending on which part of the community you look at.

      Exactly! It’s not like I would ever request a book that I didn’t plan to read, that would be a bit strange. It’s just that I have so many books I’m excited to read so sometimes I can’t figure out how to fit them all in.

  6. I think its reasonable as long as it is used reasonably. Meaning, I would assume that it would be rare for a book you specifically request to not get reviewed, but certainly a possibility for one reason or another. As for unrequested books, I think that goes without saying that they are “Review for Consideration”. I think it in some ways it can be a bit more fair for the book as well. If I feel I HAVE to review a book that is just not working for me, I can guarantee it’s not going to get a very good review. If I feel I have the luxury/option to set it aside, I may find myself more in the mood for it at a later time and be able to find more positive points focus on. This said, I also think when you request digital copies, “Review for Consideration” is just about always fair (there’s much less overhead/investment for the publisher). I have definitely sent replies to publishers saying that I regret that the book just didn’t work for and thank them for the chance to read it.
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Tough Traveling – NecromancyMy Profile

    • Definitely, there are ways that this view could turn unreasonable, but that could happen no matter what the policy if a blogger decides to get greedy. I agree that unsolicited books have always been for review consideration. Exactly, if I force myself through a book it will a. take way longer for me to read and b. probably lead to a negative review.

      I like your point about digital copies. I had actually been making myself feel quite guilty about the earcs I hadn’t gotten to yet, so that was one of the biggest reliefs deciding I wasn’t going to get to those earcs and being okay with that. I sent several of those messages for NetGalley books last week and feel much better.

    • Nicely put! I’ve been considering how to put my thoughts on this into words, but I think Lisa’s already done it :)
      Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Shooting StarsMy Profile

  7. Thanks for linking to my post. This is a really thoughtful reaction to those ideas that I thought was interesting. I like seeing the perspective that newer bloggers have, since the whole landscape of book blogging has changed a lot since I started mine.

    I also really like the idea of a monthly “catch up” post for books you either didn’t get to or didn’t finish. That seems, to me, like a good way to compromise between accepting books for consideration while still being respectful of the fact that you got a book to consider at all.
    Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) recently posted…Books for My Beach Bag: Summer 2014 EditionMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for writing your post! I was heading towards burnout to be honest and this has been a huge help to my mental health when it comes to blogging. <3

  8. I was one who commented on Kim’s post, and I still don’t get why publishers/authors are willing to give free books to bloggers, who in return are under no obligation to write a review (at some point). I just can’t wrap my mind around it :p But, it really doesn’t affect me one way or the other, since I don’t participate in ARCs or any other type of free author/publisher book exchange. The whole subject is kind of fascinating though!
    Finley Jayne recently posted…My Hodgepodge Post {July Edition} a Holiday, a Blogging Milestone and I’m Being Featured!My Profile

    • I think one thing to answer your question is that there are ways to promote a book that isn’t a review. When people post book hauls that link to the books’ goodreads pages, that introduces the book to people who might love it which is promotion for the book. Posting the sort of “books I didn’t get to” wrap-up is another way that the book is promoted to a blogger’s followers that can make it more likely followers will look into it and perhaps buy it if it appeals to them. Some of the time publicists send unsolicited copies simply because they have extras and it is more valuable for the book to be sent out to possibly interested bloggers than to sit on the publicist’s shelf.

  9. This has been my review policy for a couple years now. I started it as a way to deal with self-published authors, honestly. After the whole debacle with one certain author making a certain list, and then other authors also joining the This Blogger Stole from Me Because they Didn’t Review bandwagon, I thought it would be best to cover my ass. If I’m accepting your book, there’s no guarantee of a review. I may not like it, and I may not be able to finish it. It happens. Recently, I’ve been trying to make this clear in my requests to publishers, too. But to be clear: when I request a book, I have every intention of reading it. I don’t just blithely request every title I can and then hoard the ARCs so no other bloggers can get them. That’s ridiculous. But at the same time, I don’t get paid for this, this is a hobby I do out of love, and I am only human.

    I’m really fascinated by the backlash these discussions have been getting. Why do bloggers care how other bloggers run their spaces? Weird. I’m also kind of fascinated that these discussions have even started – for the same reason.

    Oh well. I’m glad you’ve figured out a policy that helps you feel better about the ARC guilt. ARC guilt is a real thing and it be reallllly overwhelming!
    Bekka @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Book Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina LenoMy Profile

    • Ugh, I can’t believe an author would do that, it’s like they don’t understand at all how review copies work. Now that I’ve changed my policy on the blog, that’s what I’m working on next is how to send requests clearly to publishers. Exactly, if I’m going to the effort of updating my stats, finding the publicity email, and writing up a nicely formatted request, I’m definitely excited about the book. I just don’t know how I’m going to feel in the week to months it sometimes takes for the book to show up in the mail.

      Haha, that is true that we are all doing this in our own space, though I feel like whatever is the norm can influence how publishers view us as bloggers. And there is an element of “I didn’t think I could get away with a policy like this and still get ARCs until I saw that other big bloggers do it that way”

  10. I didn’t realize this was a thing, but I’d kind of already unofficially decided this was my stance. I simply cannot read everything I receive for review or even request. I didn’t know that there was specific terminology for this either, but I’m on board. And I agree, the one big change I’ve noticed is that I no longer stress so hard about trying to read ALL the books. I prioritize them and then when it comes closer to release date, I reorganize my list again depending on how excited I am to read the book. I figure publishers — and authors! — would much rather us WANT to read their book and end up liking it than forcing ourselves to read it out of obligation and then potentially writing a negative review. Fantastic post…thanks for sharing!
    starryeyedjen recently posted…Review: Wild by Alex MalloryMy Profile

    • Hehe, happy to help with how to label review policies ;-) it seems like there are labels for everything in blogging these days eh? Exactly, I can write much better reviews when I feel passionately about a book than when I’ve forced myself to read it!

  11. This whole review-consideration-policy is incredibly interesting to me, so I have a lot of various thoughts… bear with me!! :P

    First – FTC guidelines require our disclaimers “in exchange” language because we have to state that we are receiving something for free in exchange for the review, right? But as my mindset on DNFing review books has really opened up lately, I think I’ve actually been doing a similar thing to “For Review Consideration” (FRC?) – requesting ARC’s in exchange for review IF: a) I’m able to read enough of a book to DNF it and want to write a Q&A about it, or b) if I do end up finishing the book, in which case of course I’ll review it. I feel like this basically adds up to a FRC-policy because I’ve given myself the option to DNF it and NOT write anything about it — so there actually might not be any sort of review in the “bargain”. (Sidenote: If I’m not accepting review copies TRULY in exchange for a review of every single title, is my disclaimer totally false now?! =S)

    The FRC-policy really makes sense, though, especially considering how many books are now so easily available as eARC’s. Sometimes TONS of awesome books come out as eARCs over a few weeks, and you end up requesting more than you probably should’ve, and then they ALL get approved (well ok for me they never ALL get approved, lol, but still), and then–WAIT. Suddenly you don’t have enough time and you’re behind! eARC’s, I feel like, are NBD to DNF (lol, nbd to dnf…) — they’re so much cheaper to produce and they reach a MUCH wider reviewer-base than paper ARC’s. But with paper ARC’s, too, if you end up knowing you won’t like it or just don’t have time for it, you can give it away to another reviewer, or just give it away to promote it or something, which is awesome!

    I really like the FRC policy for eARC’s, then, for sure. This might just be because that’s the main way I receive ARC’s right now, but it just makes sense that, with SO many eARC’s, you’re not going to get to them all. I really like the FRC’s option of NOT stressing if you absolutely can’t get to them all, or if you decide later that it’s not something you’ll enjoy and don’t want to read it. In that case, I’m assuming a note to the publisher on NetGalley would be the proper course of action, but… what about EW? There’s really only one place to submit a review, right, not a “sorry this book didn’t make it into my reading-pile” sort of note…?

    BUT back to the FRC-policy: I think where some concern would come in is whether reviewers would *read* a “FRC-copy”, think it was okay, or even good, and then just… not review it for whatever reason, because they didn’t “have much to say about it” or something. I do feel a little uncomfortable with that sort of thing being (to my knowledge) accepted by the “for review consideration” language – especially when it comes to paper ARC’s that cost more to send out. (I’m not talking about unsolicited paper ARC’s though, obviously, reviews for those are never required.) But if you request a paper ARC and you receive it and like it enough to read the whole thing, *then* should a review be expected? I feel like maybe it should? And maybe it IS common enough practice to review all completed-FRC-books that the issue wouldn’t even come up, but it’s something that the language allows for, which is… interesting.

    Final note: This makes me ponder NetGalley’s request-to-feedback ratio, which seems like a way for publishers to tell which bloggers consistently write reviews in exchange for their books, and which do not. I realize that the ratio thing probably isn’t *actually* used to make decisions in many cases, as many bloggers have a very low ratio after being members for a long time and not cross-posting reviews or whatever (which is fine!). But still. It’s just… interesting… ? lol

    Aaaaaaaaand yeah. I told you this was a novel of a comment!!! I almost started tweeting my thoughts @ you on twitter and then I was like NOPE this might be a little too much for 140 characters… I was right!! XD
    Nikki recently posted…ARC Review: ON THE FENCE by Kasie WestMy Profile

    • Haha, I’m going to reiterate some of the things we’ve already discussed just so that anyone else can see them ;-)

      1. I haven’t researched the FTC requirements myself, but I think that we just need to disclose where we got the books, so just saying you got the book for review consideration seems fine to me.

      2. Yes exactly! My biggest problem comes when I get approved for more ARCs than I planned to, mostly because I still never expect to get approved for most of what I request and then get more than expected sometimes. Especially if you hear nothing about a physical request for ages and then all of sudden something shows up and you can’t figure out how to fit it in D:

      3. I’ve done notes through NetGalley, but I don’t think you need to worry about EW. The publicists only care about reviews that do get turned in and the NetGalley ratio is the only reason that I worry about sending a note.

      4. Things get weird once you start saying that a blogger should review a book that they did like all the way through though, since then it is this weird “well then I just won’t finish the book so that I don’t feel guilty about not reviewing the book” I just don’t see how it matters why the book doesn’t get reviewed, just that the blogger wasn’t able to review it for any number of reasons. But yeah, I would almost certainly review any book I finished no matter whether it was FRC or from the library because I want to have content for my site. If a blogger decides not to review, there is almost certainly going to be a good reason for them to be not taking advantage of a content opportunity for their site. And like I said, I think the option is important for those good reasons that are impossible to predict.

      5. Apparently the NetGalley ratio was always a thing publishers could see and they made it available to users for them to motivate themselves to get reviews in. Sending single line notes about not being able to review a book count as feedback for the ratio too though, so it doesn’t actually show publicists exactly how many reviews a user has turned in. I’ve heard that stats and site focus have more to do with decisions than ratios generally.

      I’m glad you wrote your thoughts in a comment though, that’s the best part of blogging is comment threads :D

  12. I honestly never gave much thought to what the difference was of reviewing vs. reviewing for consideration. I read Kim’s article when it was published, and it made me think about how I’m blogging. Like you, I’ve stressed myself out before on knowing that I have so many books to read and the knowledge that I can’t possibly get to all of them. That sometimes leads to forcing myself to finish a book I KNOW I’ll hate and lessens my enjoyment of others I’d probably like otherwise. But I still find myself feeling like I *have* to read the book, like I owe it to the publisher and author. It’s something I’m working on, and I’ll probably be changing my review policy soon. Reading articles like yours is a great way for me to think of what to do about it. And I love your idea of doing a monthly feature for the books you didn’t finish or didn’t want to read.

    Great post!
    Holly U recently posted…Perfected Blog Tour and ReviewMy Profile

    • So far I’ve found that officially changing my policy has helped me get past that “have to” feeling. Since I generally giveaway my ARCs and review copies anyway, that just means that I am able to give the copy away sooner and hopefully someone else will love it sooner! I hope that changing your policy helps :D

  13. I never really get ARCs because I just don’t feel I have the time to commit to them. I would feel guilty if I got one and didn’t review it. I got it for free with the intent to review it. I just feel more comfortable not getting ARCs that I don’t want to read. I think you are making the right choice if you feel that you don’t have enough time to review all the ARCs you get.
    Angie recently posted…The Book of Three by Llyod Alexander- ReviewMy Profile

    • It’s not that we request ARCs we don’t want to read, it’s that we want to read too many books and get overwhelmed sometimes ;-)

  14. I love your plan! Something I’ve been considering lately (in addition to switching to “for review consideration”): Giving away the books I don’t review to other readers (with the authors’ permission, of course) who might in turn read and review it . . . Maybe as a rafflecopter in conjunction with the promos for the unread books. . .

    • Oh I love that idea! I already am working on giving away the ARCs I have once I’m done reading them, but I like the idea of doing a giveaway each month for the extra books, thank you so much for the suggestion :D

      • You’re welcome! I’m all about sharing the wealth when it comes to books–I love to see reviewers pass books along to new readers! :)

  15. I think it’s ok if it makes you feel better. You even make me think about changing my review policy. :D Especially since I always suffer from guilt because I am so behind on reading and reviewing all the ARCs I got.
    And I would definitely be interested in that monthly feature. I hope you will write for every book why you gave up on reading it.
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Turned by Virna DePaulMy Profile

    • I hate that guilt so much! Shouldn’t we be happy and excited about what to read next instead of guilt-ridden??

      Oo, I do like the idea of putting a note about the books I pass on, but I worry that it would get too negative or that sometimes it would really just come down to “there were too many great books to read this month and this one wasn’t as exciting as some others” D:

      • Exactly! We should!

        You are always nice so I doubt it will be too negative. And it would be great opportunity, maybe someone will say something to change your mind about some book and you end up reading (and loving it). That could be an interesting name for the feature ‘Change my mind’…
        Don’t mind me just thinking out loud. :D
        Dragana recently posted…Cover Madness Giveaway HopMy Profile

        • Aw, thanks hun! Hehe, I’m a little terrified about my mind being changed since the only reason I’m not getting to all my review books is because I don’t have time D: However, you’re right, if I really would love a book, I’d hope to find out and then fit it in. I think that someone else really loving a book would definitely be able to get me excited to read it again. I’m going to try to come up with a dragon-themed name to fit the blog, so feel free to use that one ;-)

  16. Anya, this is freaking brilliant. I never really pondered over this issue until now, and I think you make a wonderful point. I have plenty of NetGalley books that I considered, until I read the first few pages and knew, right off the bat, that this wasn’t for me. It wasn’t a bad book, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be a good use of my time for me to cover a book I knew I was going to loathe.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Forgotten Fridays: The Art of Hearing HeartbeatsMy Profile

    • Exactly! I don’t even want to write DNF reviews or something in those instances since if it is a ghost book or a fairie book, it is probably just me and not the book’s fault at all!

  17. You have garnered such an excellent response with this. I completely agree with you that there are some great things to be gained from changing our mind sets. However I do think that in a way this could be abused by some review bloggers who just want the “loots” as opposed to really wanted to review books. Maybe I’m being cynical for thinking that way.

    I definitely always treat unsolicited books as for review consideration only. I rarely ever read them because almost always they are books that I wouldn’t want to read on my own because hey…I didn’t request them. Occassionally I’ll get a book sent to me that I didn’t realize existed and then it’s a win win. And then there are the solicitation emails I get that make it hard to turn down because those I decide I want to read.

    I am going to back on on blog tours as well because they frankly have been stressing me out. I don’t like reading on a deadline.

    • I feel like it wouldn’t be abused anymore than review copies already are since the publicists probably would still have to decide whether the blogger was a good fit and if they notice that a blogger posts a lot of book hauls but no reviews, that would be a red flag no matter what their policy said.

      Yeah, while it is fun to get packages, it is generally unlikely that an unsolicited book is going to interest me since I try to stay up on what is coming out. I did get The Winner’s Curse unsolicited though which was REALLY exciting. Now that I’m requesting fewer though, it seems more possible that I’ll get an unsolicited book that I thought looked vaguely interesting but didn’t go to the effort to request. I do wish I got fewer giant unsolicited books since those are just too intimidating!

      I’ve been doing almost no blog tour except for ones I’m pretty sure about from the major publishers ;-)

  18. This is very interesting.. I have seen many bloggers put on their wrap up posts that say “for review consideration” and never thought anything DIFFERENT about it. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it makes sense.

    In the same token, if a blogger specifies “accepting a book does not guarantee a review” means the same thing, to me anyway. That’s what I do, but I never thought about adding that to my pitch emails or on my NG EW account.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Tonya Henderson recently posted…That’s a Wrap- June EditionMy Profile

    • I’ve definitely seen that on book haul posts as well and just assumed that it meant unsolicited copies since my mind hadn’t eve been introduced to the idea of accepting copies for review consideration!

      Yup, I agree that that sounds like the same thing, I just worry that publicists don’t then check my review policy so I might be misleading them by omission accidentally.

  19. You always have the best discussions, Anya! I’ve never really thought about the language, but I’ve pretty much always operated under a FRC policy. I read and blog for fun in my spare time and I just cannot read everything. I do take blogging seriously, but I can’t always read every arc I receive. Plus I’m a mood reader and have trouble forcing myself to read something I don’t want to read.

    I do try to only request what I can commit to reading in a timely manner, but if I get bombarded (sometimes it’s my fault for having eyes too big!), I have to give up books. Or save them and read them well after release – I personally don’t think later publicity is a bad thing.

    I have started DNFing books that I don’t like. I’ve also been much more militant about avoiding love triangles, and except for rare cases, will not read them. If I find out that a book has a triangle after receiving it – or that a series will have one in the future, even if it was a request, I will not read it. I’ve even written publishers on NG telling them thank you, but I cannot read books with triangles. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s my thing, and I can’t sacrifice my sanity to invest in those books. I do try to check as much as possible ahead of time, but synopsis aren’t always clear and sometimes there aren’t any reviews yet.

    I’m very curious what the major publishers would say about this. Pubs like Harper who send out vast amounts of paper arcs quite randomly, or post most of their catalog on EW. I frequently request more than I can read from them, because it’s all just there! I don’t want to take advantage, but I also don’t get the sense that they’re monitoring that closely. I have no idea if review stats are important on EW. I have a feeling they mostly just want positive reviews that they can star there. NG is much more serious about tracking feedback. And some publishers are a lot more targeted about what they mail out (like Macmillan). I wonder whether pubs think every reviewer is reading everything? There are so many of us out there, that I personally never feel like the fate of a book rests on my shoulders, if I just can’t get to it…

    Anyway, I’ve started to babble. Basically, I need to officially adopt this.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…Things I Dislike About Love Triangles (2)My Profile

    • I didn’t used to be a mood reader, but have found that as I’m allowing myself more breathing room, I’m actually excited about picking out books to read again! Definitely a step in the right direction apparently ;-).

      I agree that later publicity isn’t bad at all, and there are a couple of overdue review books that I’m still planning on reading, but I got to the point that I would have to read nothing but overdue copies for a few months to get caught up, but then I would be behind on what came out in those two months…. Plus, I just wasn’t excited about reading most of them anymore for one reason or another, so letting them go felt like such a relief. The two or three still on my list are ones that it would break my heart to give up on, so I know they are worth keeping around! Look at me relying on my mood and happiness for once :D

      I totally get that! I’ve found that I can generally get past a few annoying things here and there in a book as long as the writing is enjoyable, so I’m able to DNF quite efficiently if the writing just doesn’t work for me in the first few pages. My gut reaction has yet to prove me wrong too, so I’m going to stop forcing myself to get to page whatever if I’m sure from page three that I won’t be happy.

      I get the general impression both from long time bloggers that get a bazillion ARCs and from the various articles and reactions I’ve been reading that publishers don’t mind for review consideration only policies and kind of already expect that from bloggers anyway. Similarly, they’ve said that the ratio on NetGalley was mostly in response to users wanting a way to track that for themselves and publishers don’t really care much about it (ie, bloggers with really low ratios still get approved plenty if their stats are good). So that’s a relief :D

  20. Excellent discussion with so many points of view to consider! I personally don’t see a problem with saying I received a book in exchange for an honest review because that’s more or less what happened. I receive an email pitch, accept their offer, and then review the book. Unless it’s for a blog tour that needs to be posted on a specific date, I tend not to stress too much about when I’ll review the books I do receive. I even give myself a 6 month window in my review policy, with no guarantees that the book will actually be reviewed.

    My main concern is that some newer bloggers might think that every book they request/receive HAS to be reviewed. I also don’t like requirements to shout the book’s praises from every mountaintop.

    Lots to think about!

    • Of course you are completely in control of what wording you use on your site, so please don’t think I’m trying to force everyone to change ;-). I do think that that phrase implies that if you hadn’t reviewed the book you received, you would have been breaking a promise/obligation because exchange implies that there was this agreement in place. If in your review policy you expand and explain you reserve the right to not post a review until 6 months after or not at all, I can definitely see how that helps the stress, though I have to admit that I wouldn’t even be able to get my piles into order with that extended deadline. The one thing I worry about with that being only in a review policy is that I’m not sure how often publicists read review policies in addition to your NG profile or the email you send to request a book.

      Exactly, I’d really like to see our community’s average stress level reduce a bit so that new bloggers don’t get burned out by these increased expectations we’ve been slipping into. Thanks for commenting!

  21. I think you really got down to the problem here. Requesting books that seem good but take a million years to read can be really damaging. It looks like you read books and don’t follow through, so you’re not trustworthy. I think the reason why places won’t change to “for review consideration” is because they really want a review. Optimally a positive one, but they have no way of making sure we follow through for them – even months later. So in the meantime, we are punished by our Netgalley feedback ratio and similar things. The main issue is that we just want to read books at our own pace without pressure, and review when we can. Publishers want to make sure they are sending books into black holes. Because there ARE untrustworthy people out there that just try to get as many books as possible. We just don’t live in a world where we can trust everyone.
    Kate @ The Book Bee recently posted…REVIEW: Masquerade by Melissa de la CruzMy Profile

    • I think that publicists are actually much more understanding than you’re fearing ;-). The NetGalley ratio was implemented for users by user request to better track how you are doing with getting in feedback and publicists don’t actually use it that much in determining which blogs to approve (I know a lot of bloggers with quite low ratios that still get approved for most things). Similarly with physical ARCs, publicists still send books to the bloggers that have a for review consideration only policy because they seem to kind of already assume that the blogger may or may not post a review for the book. That’s why it is sometimes hard to get contacts in the major publishing houses, but once you do and you show the publicist that you can be relied on to review at least most of what you request/they send, they are quite forgiving ;-). It is kind of obvious which bloggers are just in it to get as many books as possible since they post their hauls and don’t review much.

  22. Great post. I often look at my review pile and panic over books not being read for publication. I am definitely going to be updating my review policy and looking forward to the new feature that I’m hoping we can join in on :)
    Michelle @ Much Loved Books recently posted…Book Wars! Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (43)My Profile

    • Awesome, I’m so glad to be helping to reduce panic since I was right there with you! I was literally feeling panic attacks starting and was a bit scared about the road I was heading down, ha.

      So you’d like a monthly feature link-up? I was planning on having a feature title that fits my dragon theme, so maybe I can stick with that but then make a linky and encourage everyone to use whatever title they want or a site-theme-neutral one like “Moving Forward and Looking Back” or something better that hopefully someone proposes >.> ?

  23. The language in my review policy for the past year or so has stated that while I accept review copies, I can’t guarantee *when* a review will be posted. For me that takes away the stress of having to read them immediately or of getting behind. I love the “review consideration” language. I’m going through some of the places on my blog where I say “in exchange for an honest review” and tweaking the wording to make it sound less like a contractual payment.
    Grace recently posted…“Hard to Be a God” by Arkady & Boris StrugatskyMy Profile

    • Yup, I had that when phrase as well, but still felt that it implied I will get to it eventually and I really hated those books hanging over my head a year later D: I’m so glad that the post was helpful :D

  24. This is a really interesting way of approaching it, and actually one I’ve never considered. I too often feel rather under pressure or stressed about the amount of ARCs I have to read, and I’m trying to control it by planning my month’s reading and not requesting any more – but when a book you’ve been waiting for pops up on NG, why deny yourself it, to read something you really aren’t interested in any more?

    I’m not sure if I’m going to change my policy just yet, but I may have to think about it. I think with stuff like NG, because I’ve requested it myself, I’m basically saying I’d be happy to review it, or at least attempt to. But I’m not sure.. hmm. Very interesting points raised here! :D
    Rinn recently posted…Review: Alias Hook by Lisa JensenMy Profile

    • I had never heard of this approach either up until a few weeks ago and it honestly blew my mind, haha. I tried to force myself to keep to only having a certain number of books a month, but then I would fill up the month and have a more exciting book opportunity pop up and couldn’t resist and everything fell apart ;-). I’m also finding that I’m just much happier when I don’t schedule books out more than a couple. I like having the freedom of choice of what to read next. I’ve also suddenly become much more willing to DNF a book the second my thoughts turn to “I have to read this” instead of “I can’t wait to read this” which has been quite a relief and I didn’t realize how much happier I’d be with this switch!

  25. This is very interesting and has certainly sparked a LOT of discussion!! I must admit that I don’t tend to get too stressed. I always try to read a book that I’ve requested before its release dates but I’m not going to lose any sleep if I don’t – sometimes life just gets in the way. I read quite a few review books but it’s a hobby and supposed to be enjoyable. It’s not a job, I’m not being paid and this is my free time – I suppose you could argue that you’re getting the book free but in terms of how much the book costs and the amount of time that you then put into reading it and writing a review – it’s not a one sided deal really! plus reviewing and blogging takes quite a lot of time just by itself. On my profile for Netgalley I do make it quite plain that if I’m not enjoying a book I won’t finish – life is too short – and if I don’t finish a book I’m not reviewing it because it doesn’t seem right to me personally. Also, I have a couple of publishers who email and ask if I’m interested in a book – I like this approach as oppose to just sending without checking first. I have turned books down in this way because they just don’t fall into the category of books that I enjoy and I don’t want books just simply for the sake of it and I also usually state that I’m already a bit chocca so it might not be before the pub date – they’re usually cool about it tbh. I find that I try to rejig my reading list but if I’ve missed a pub date I can still review the book. In fact one publisher specifically didn’t want a review until after the book was published!
    I can see why it causes such a lot of debate and stress though.
    I like your idea for the end of the month post – books that you haven’t got to. I try to do the same thing for ‘newly’ acquired’ – it’s all a bit of extra attention for the books you’ve received after all.
    Lynn :D

    • Definitely lots of awesome discussion! Which was really the goal so score ;-)

      I think I’m a bit of a perfectionist to a negative degree at times so I really needed to find a way to let myself chill out, ha. Exactly! The cost of the book, even the extra cost of physical ARCs, is still below minimum wage given the time it takes to read and review it, screw that comparison!

      Yup, I figure that giving more attention is really the best I can do at times, so that’s what I’ll do to the best of my ability haha

Trackbacks

  1. […] Anya compares “for review” vs. “review consideration”. […]

  2. […] Anya from On Starships & Dragonwings discusses accepting ARCs For Review vs. Review Consideration. […]

  3. […] you made the distinction between “accepting books For Review vs. Review Consideration?” This might change the way you look at the “obligation” to review books you request or […]

  4. […] you accept books for review or review consideration? I think I’m going to be switching to […]

  5. […] doing that, I’m going to point to a discussion over at On Starships and Dragonwings about the difference between accepting books in exchange for a review and accepting books for review considera….  It raises a lot of good points about both blogger and publisher attitudes, as it’s making […]

  6. […] For Review vs. Review Consideration at On Starships and Dragonwings […]

  7. […] more on why I’m saying “For Review Consideration” here, check out this awesome post from Anya at On Starships and […]

  8. […] thoughtful response on On Starships and Dragonwings, weighing in on “exchange” and “consideration” and another from There Were Books […]

  9. […] idea why and feel compelled to investigate >.>. *comes back* It was when I posted my “For Review vs. Review Consideration” post, which I thought was going to go fairly unnoticed, but which ended up super popular and […]

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