Scaling The ARC Mountain

I’m sure just about every semi-serious bookblogger has at least heard about them: ARCs (or Advanced Review Copies). I would never ever have guessed a few years ago, but the start of my book blog journey also ment I was slowly introduced to the whole world of ARCs. Free review copies in exchange for an honest review… It sounds like every booklover’s dream right? And to be honest, my heart still skips a beat every time I receive a new ARC.ย BUT. Even though I feel honored to be receiving books for free just because I share my rambles with the blogosphere afterwards, things are starting to get REALLY out of control. (Ok, they have been out of control for a long time haha). Right now, I basically feel like I’m buried under a huge pile of ARCs!

In January, I made a promise to myself to get my pending ARCs more organized and I’ve been trying to get back on track ever since. Here’s how:

Step 1: create a Excel spreadsheet with an ARC schedule.

I guess my Excel skills are pretty basic, but at least it gets the job done. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Pending ARCs are separated by publish date and I start marking them as I read/review them… When I finish a whole month, I get to paint it black. Each ARC has the title, author, source, publish date or date I received it and a read/reviewed option. I’m still hopelessly behind but I’m slowly getting there!

Step 2: Read like a maniac!

Basically, this has been me since January. I’ve been trying to race through my ARCs ever since my promise to get back on track… In fact, out of the 41 books I’ve finished to this date a whopping 64% have been ARCs. I feel bad about neglecting all those other books I’ve been wanting to read, but with a little luck I should be able to squeeze in a few next month. ย Another bonus: this ARC reading madness means I’m finally back at a 82% Netgalley ratio!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Step 3: Join challenges to help your goal

There are probably a lot of similar challenges out there, but this is the one I signed up for: 2017 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge. It’s a fun challenge where you can set your own goals, and it’s definitely a great way to keep track of all those ARCs you read. I made my own list of ARCs as well since I wanted to include non-NG ARCs as well.

Step 4: Don’t request too many new titles at once

Most Netgalley users will probably be able to relate… It’s been less than a year since I signed up for Netgalley, but it has become my main source for ARCs ever since. Although I stillย love the surprise mails by both authors and publishers of course, and I’ve discovered another page (Reading Alley) as well. (I tried Edelweiss, but it’s just too complicated to use for now). Netgalley is both user friendly and offers a wide variety of books. Sure, as a non US/UK/Australia user not all of my requests are approved… But there are still more than enough titles available. And that’s the danger right there: there are so many books available, andย it is REALLY easy to request a whole pile of books just like that. Which leads to the so-called ARC mountain and a lot of extra stress during the struggle to finish them all on time. The best advice is to try and refrain from requesting too many titles at a time, and only request those you would buy in the first place. But I know for a fact that is easier said than done. ๐Ÿ˜‰


What is your experience with ARCs? And how do you control your ARC mountain?


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37 thoughts on “Scaling The ARC Mountain

    • Hahaha I think control went on a loooong vacation and forgot to visit me first… I just managed to request two new books in less than 24 hours. xD (I wanted to request four, so things could have been worse ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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  1. Awesome post. I have been drowning in ARCs though lately, its been easier to manage. I don’t have an Excel spread sheet but I have been writing all the books that need to read in a particular month on a sticknote. Right now I have about 8 books being published in March that are on my sticknote. I like the idea of the spread sheet though. As for reading like a maniac, yeah I can totally relate lol

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    • That definitely works great as well! I was going to make a ‘simple’ list first, but since I already had an Excel file I ended up adding more information. Eight books is a lot! Although I probably have the same number for March and April and then I’m not even counting the non-NG ARCs I have to read. xD I think I have to take maniac to the next level to be able to get them all read on time haha.

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  2. I have made a Word doc with my ARCs and I only have 6 to review so I’m happy about that. I might request one or two more but that’s it. I have to say that I have good self-control because I pick books which I am most excited about. I agree that it gets stressful!

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    • I’ll definitely have to try and control my request addiction a little better… Those crime ARCs are just pretty darn hard to resist. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve never actually received a physical ARC before (blame my location), but that definitely sounds like a great way to start.

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      • I’m struggling to control it too ;-). I’m not in the best location either for bookmail but there are some great publishers (like Orenda) who are so nice to want to send a paperback :-). You can always try to express your interest to publishers when you see a proof copy and see where it goes ๐Ÿ˜‰.

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      • That sounds great! I admit I’ve never tried it before because I feel Latin America is so far away from the English publishing world… The only disadvantage of me saying goodbye to Europe I guess. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. I recently got back to 81% on NetGalley and have been really good at not requesting anything new. Like you mention, I have a whole load of other books which aren’t ARCs that I’d also like the read! I went a bit mad in the Kindle January sale and everytime I see the “other” books on my Kindle I feel bad!! I’m nearly at the top of the ARC mountain but I’m sure I’ll “accidentally” end up requesting a load more. Not helped by the fact that NetGalley now email me, tempting me with new books!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Wow that’s impressive! I’m trying to control my requests as well now I’m back at a 80+ ratio, but it has been pretty hard with all those new ARCs showing up. I agree that Netgalley mail is way too tempting!

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  4. Oh man, I so feel your pain. You’ve read 41 books already this year!?! You are on a roll, lady!
    Sometimes I get really bummed that I can’t get access to NetGalley (I don’t e-read) but then I see things like this and I feel ok about it. I would be so hooped if I had that kind of access to ARCs!
    I think your excel skills are GREAT. Way better than mine. Good luck with your challenge!

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    • I can definitely understand that… I didn’t e-read before either, but I guess I’ve learned to love my kindle and it does have its advantages. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nothing beats reading a physical version though! And thank you. โค

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  5. I borrowed (stole) a Google spreadsheet to track all of my reads but have to admit the Netgalley bit is already to pot because I keep forgetting to update it. I was actually doing quite well getting my ratio up until today when a couple of books I’ve been waiting on popped up…

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    • The updating part is definitely the most tricky thing about it all… So far I’m managing by forcing myself to add it to the list before I add it to my kindle, but it’s not easy. And I ended up requested two books today as well (ok, actually three but one was denied). Good luck with your ratio!

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  6. Yeah Netgalley is such a temptation for me! I had to put myself on a ban, because I fell behind with all the books I requested. I think once I’ve cleared everything up, I’ll only request a few egalleys at a time, since I want to balance ARCS with the books on my own book shelves.

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    • Wow I’m impressed you are able to stick to your ban! I tried that once but I failed hopelessly. xD Requesting just a few books at the time is probably the best way to go like you said; I’m probably going to try and do so as soon as I’ve managed to finish most of my ARCs. Good luck with yours!

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  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds Eidelweiss a bit mystifying. I’ve got an account there, but I went to request something once and I think I was at work at the time, and it seemed too complicated for that moment.

    I’m actually in the Netgalley minority in that in the 15 or so months I’ve been a member, I’ve only requested 23 books (that’s including declines and pending). But with all my other reading commitments I’ve made to myself, even having only two or three ARCs sitting there is enough to make me feel a bit anxious sometimes.

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    • I actually made an Edelweiss account not that long ago to see what it was all about, but saw it was way complicated and decided to leave it for now. I guess Netgalley is already more than I can handle anyway haha. And I can understand your point; having tons of books pending can be stressful… I’m impressed you were able to control your requests; it hasn’t been a year and I have 80 approved titles alone. xD

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  8. Loved this post! Where was this post a year ago when I dug myself into my NetGalley hole of 75 books?! LOL I really like your excel spread sheet idea. Such an organized way to keep things straight. After I dig myself out, I may just adapt this way of keeping tabs on my ARCs.

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    • Wow 75 books is definitely an impressive mountain. xD I guess I was lucky myself to get some Netgalley advice before I actually created my account… So I managed to ‘control’ myself for at least the first few months, although it definitely wasn’t easy. I started with the spreadsheet in January to try and help me control my ARCs better, and so far it’s definitely helping (although I’m still terribly behind with my non-NG ARCs..) Good luck with yours!

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  9. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up: 3/13 – 3/19/17 | Cover2CoverMom

  10. I’ve done a similar thing but on my phone, definitely not as lovely as your spreadsheet! I’m starting to feel like I have a bit more control but my NetGalley ratio is still terrible after requesting so many when I first joined! ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

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    • Having it on your phone does have the advantage of having it with you all the time… I sometimes struggle to keep my spreadsheet up to date. I can definitely understand your struggle with the ratio; I guess the only reason I didn’t overrequest as well is that I arrived ‘late’ at the Netgalley party and was able to follow the advice of fellow bloggers.

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