Book Bits

ARC Copies – Are they really for HONEST reviews?

Oh me, oh my. I have been in such a mood the past few days! Whyyyy might you ask??? Well, I recently received some messages/emails from an author of a book that I have reviewed here on my blog. I’m not going to say what book, or which author because I am not intending to call this specific person out on anything. This is more of a rant in general about the ARC reviewing world.

When I decided to start this blog, and enter contests to win ARC’s for review, I promised myself that I would REALLY be an HONEST reviewer. I feel like I’ve kept my promise to myself. I absolutely refuse to rate every ARC I receive 5 stars simply because I received it for free. The way I see it is, authors shouldn’t offer up their books for review if they don’t want reviews ranging from 1-5 stars. Not everyone will love your book! There are even books out there that are on the New York Time’s Best Seller’s list that have received less than desirable ratings because, HEY, everyone has different reading preferences. That book that earned a 2 star rating from me, might just very well be someone else’s 5 star, favorite book of the year!

Anyway, this author was very unhappy with my review of their book. I didn’t really give the book a bad review, I liked the book well enough. I just didn’t rate it 5 stars. Apparently though, by reviewing their book honestly and being very candid with my own readers, I have thus hurt their ratings and sales. I, apparently, should have encouraged everyone to go out and buy this book immediately! Which I didn’t do.

Here’s my deal; I was a book blog reader before I was a book blogger. The blogs I enjoyed most, were those who were honest with their readers. The one’s who told me “Hey I would buy this book!” or “Hey, don’t waste the money. If you are curious, go check it our from your library.” I don’t want to go out and spend $10 on a book that is just “eh” because some blogger felt obligated to rate a book 5 stars simply because they WON it FAIR and SQUARE in an ARC giveaway.

I was told my language was too harsh, that my antics may come off cute to my readers but were hurtful to authors who spend a lot of time working on their books. Okay, I get it, however I feel like if you have decided to enter into a profession that puts your work on public display, you should probably toughen up and get ready for some harsh criticism now and again. Whether you are an author, an actor/actress, a BLOGGER, a YouTuber, whatever the case may be. If your work is in the public eye, you will be criticized.

So, in a way, this is my first taste of that criticism. I almost allowed that criticism to cause me to stop reviewing. I almost decided to give up on ARCs and just go back to reading books I purchase. Then I said, you know what? NO. I enjoy picking up an ARC. A book that no one knows about, that isn’t on the New York Time’s Best Seller’s list. I enjoy that anticipation of not knowing if this will be a diamond in the rough or something I will donate to my local library sale next month because it isn’t work the 2 inches of space its taking up on my bookshelf. I’m not going to apologize to every author whose book I don’t rate 5 stars. Take those 1 star, 2 star, and 3 star ratings in stride. Consider what we, as avid readers and book reviews, are telling you and consider it next time you write a book! Isn’t that the point of having your book reviewed? To learn? To improve? To take those reviews, good and bad, and use them when you write your next book? I have learned that’s not the case for some authors!

As for me, I’m going to continue reviewing books the way I have been. If I wouldn’t purchase it, I’m not going to encourage my readers to go out and purchase it. If I would purchase every edition that’s released because it’s so good it’s like chasing Pokeman (Gotta catch them all!), then I’m going to tell my readers that! Because when I visit my favorite blogs, that’s what I hope to see from them too.

By the way, I would totally buy THIS book in every edition released. It was THAT good, AND it was an ARC I received for free for review. It deserved the 5 star rating I gave it! It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now! 

What are your thoughts on dishonest reviews? On author’s who expect special treatment in exchange for receiving a free book FOR review?


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12 thoughts on “ARC Copies – Are they really for HONEST reviews?

  1. I completely agree with you. I understand that when authors are giving their book out for reviews, they’re hoping it’s going to work in their favor and help get the book more sales. But they also have to realize that not everyone is going to like their book and if they end up sending review copies to some bloggers who give it a negative or mediocre review, that’s ok. If they expect bloggers to lie about their opinions, that’s unfair to the blogger and to the people who visit that blog. Reviews are meant to give HONEST opinions and authors need to understand and respect that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! I was a little put back by the authors response to my review of their book! Especially because I actually didn’t rate it that poorly! I just didn’t give it an outstanding 5 stars.

      Glad to see people agree with me on this one! I have been battling some mixed feelings since receiving the emails!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m honestly dreading the day this happens to me. I’ve seen quite a few bloggers who have had similar experiences, so it just kind of feels like it’s inevitable. But honestly, if authors don’t want people reviewing their book with anything less than 5 stars, they shouldn’t be writing. It’s just such an unrealistic expectation.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. I received those emails a couple days ago. And I stood my ground at the time. Later, however, I found myself questioning what I was doing. I nearly swore off ARCs all together. I’m glad I came to my senses. I honestly don’t feel like I am wrong for giving an honest review of a book. That’s what we are asked to do, and that’s what I do 100%.


      1. Me too! I have been plugging “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife” every chance I get! It was an ARC from NetGalley and it was AMAZING. So I am just going to keep plugging it. Because when I find a book I do really love, I want to share that passion with others and help that author get the recognition I feel they deserve.

        I’m just sorry I don’t feel that way about every book.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Right there with you lady! I appreciate the honesty. Just because you got it for free doesn’t mean you should give it glowing reviews if it doesn’t deserve that review.
    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with you!! I am SO thankful for honest reviewers like you. B/c sometimes I read review on other book blogs & all their reviews seem on the positive side and sometime a bit superficial (like reading the dust cover blurb) and I wonder if they are really reviewing them honestly. As an avid reader/book addict I depend on honest reviews to help me pick what book to read, esp if it’s by someone I’ve never read. I always dread having to find new book to read & then finding it hard to get into & ultimately it being a waste of time. LOL (-: So honest reviews are really important. Eventhough I know all our tastes differ (-:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely 100% can relate to what you are saying!

      I am often times, very disappointed after reading a book that received a bunch of 5 star ratings just because they were given a free copy and asked to review it.


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