Book blogging, Discussion, Diversity, NetGalley

So You’re An International Book Blogger? DON’T GIVE UP! You ARE Needed In The Book World

In light of the things that have been going on in the book world, I feel like international bloggers might feel horribly betrayed and unappreciated right now. We’ve seen our share of sad posts already (I will agree that I feel incredibly sad too because of what’s been going on), and we need to keep seeing those and putting them out for American bloggers and publishers to see and support us, but… They also bring us down so much, don’t they?

That’s why I’ve abandoned my planned post schedule and decided to post something different. See, right now, I fear that a lot of international bloggers might start harboring thoughts of giving up. That maybe, when we’re constantly told we are so irrelevant, not good enough and not needed, you’ll go like “**** this! Why do I need this second job that doesn’t even pay??” and drop everything. And I want to prevent that.

But First, A Little Background

For those of you who are not international, let me explain in short what it is that we struggle with so much:

  1. We’re not eligible for most giveaways. That’s really fine. Win some, lose some. It’s life.
  2. Buying books online and shipping them is kind of expensive. And takes a while. For a lot of us.
  3. Buying locally is not an option. Nothing is available. Sometimes it’s incredibly expensive too.
  4. We also don’t get print ARCs. Even when our blogs are good. That’s alright. Or, that was alright.
  5. Because we could sign up for NetGalley or Edelweiss and get eARCs…
    However, that’s now becoming challenging. While I haven’t heard of anything ominous from Edelweiss, you all might have heard what has happened with NetGalley lately (international reviewers are no longer free to request anything and everything as easily)
  6. Even if we ditched the ARCs, some of us just have no way to easily get books that are fresh releases. So we can’t blog about what’s relevant. (No, I still can’t afford The Hate U Give. I need to pay bills.)
  7. And certainly no libraries. Forget libraries. Libraries where we live lag years behind actual publications.
  8. Aside from these things, we have the usual “bookmerch costs a week’s wage for me” or “I will never see my writer live”, but let’s call those “just perks”. Along with “I will also never stand in line for ARCs at a bookcon.”
  9. To top it off, we can’t really monetize our blogs (before you say that we can? Nope, we can’t have Amazon affiliate links outside of the US. And that’s really the only kind of monetization that is actually worth anything. So no monetizing. A year’s worth of Book Depository affiliate links hasn’t generated a cent.)

So right about now you might start realizing why we internationals always “whine about it”. And before you start saying that “blogging is not about getting free books”, let me remind you that that’s a privileged answer. First of all, if we bought and shipped those books, some of us would have to effectively stop eating. Some of us live in countries where money is a looooot different than in America. Buying one book for us means so much more than it does for you. But that’s fine! Even aside from that…

There’s the thing of how unwanted we feel. How we have to try ten times more to even get a book before its releaase. I’ve seen some really, really bad blogs (horrible graphics from 1999, no comments or likes whatsoever, spelling mistakes and really, REALLY doubtful content) get print ARCs in the mail every month. EVERY. MONTH. Want to know how that makes me feel?

Imagine being in an exam and scoring 90%. And imagine you had a deskmate who barely did 14%. And they get into the university, and you don’t. How do you feel?

……………

That’s how it feels.

And that’s no good.

(Disclaimer: Some people will want to tell me here that my blog is nowhere near 90%, and I’ve heard my share of crap since I started talking about this, so please consider that even though you don’t care about my blog, you certainly don’t mean to say that everyone else’s who’s international blogs are not up to par? Also, no – we’re not equating this with human rights, so enough of that – but we work in this industry so we’d like to be treated fairly, and if that’s too much to ask, I apologize.)

Anyway, let’s put aside all the pain and discomfort and see what we can actually do about it!

First, Don’t Give Up!

I know if feels bad, but if you’re international, don’t give up now! Yes, we will get less ARCs. But maybe things can change. If they don’t? We’ll find other reasons to blog! Book blogging is your identity. Don’t abandon it.

There’s The Community

Whether we get ARCs or not, if we’re good bloggers and if we’re nice people, the community will keep reading us and engaging with us. They’ll still be our friends! I don’t care where you’re from, I want to read your thoughts. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

Edelweiss.

There’s still Edelweiss! I know a lot of you will say that the interface is daunting or that you haven’t been approved as much. But you know what? Get this:

  1. You probably haven’t been approved as much because you haven’t requested as much as on NetGalley 🙂
  2. Edelweiss sends weekly newsletters and even does webinars to help you understand the interface better!
  3. They’ve also just revamped it and it looks nice so far.
  4. You can request from ANY market. Regardless of where you live!
  5. If you have questions, you can email support and they’re very nice and helpful.
  6. Through the weekly newsletters, you’ll never miss an ARC that’s coming out. Or even ARC catalogs.
  7. You can write motivational text in every request, which is something you could never do on NetGalley.
  8. I might be doing a little Edelweiss tutorial sometime soon if you all want it! (Mention it in the comments!)

I have similar approval rates on Edelweiss as I have on NetGalley, so if any of you want to make the transition and don’t know how to fill out your profile, contact me either through my contact form or DM me on Twitter and I will try to help you clean up your profile so you get approved more.

The Publishers

I admit I’ve never really done this before, but I know international bloggers who have had the guts to talk to publishers directly and get print ARCs sent to them regularly. Maybe it won’t hurt us to mail them and ask them for at least an eARC? They can give out eARCs very simply! We just need to buckle up and ask! I think I will start my journey with this soon. So if you have any experience, talk to me! I want to know it all.

Self-pubs

Don’t forget to include a review policy on your blog. If you’re posting consistently, you will be approached with ARC request from smaller publishers weekly! (No joke.) Maybe those books are lesser known, but some of them really do need a voice. And they’ll be happy to have you. Some of them will even be happy to send a print ARC to you!

Book Tours

Sign up for a book tour or two. You don’t have to accept all their books! But the ones I’ve accepted so far I’ve really liked. It’s a good alternative. Maybe they also won’t be as well-known as ones found on NetGalley, but between Edelweiss and Book Tours, you should be busy enough to not mourn what’s lost!

For All You State of the ARCers?

Let’s look at this positively. We all have overdue ARCs! I know it’s the best push to clean up my ARC stack! It may be daunting to figure I’ll probably not get my much anticipated reads of 2018, but hey. We all know I still have work to do! And maybe things will change as we go, right? (For those of you who are curious about what State of the ARC is, read more here and visit the Goodreads group)

Ending Thoughts

I guess, my main message here is, DON’T GIVE UP! NetGalley and Goodreads Giveaways is NOT the voice of the community. They don’t determine whether we’re needed or not! Our community is made up of our readers and of fellow bloggers! And I’m pretty sure they still want us to stay. I want you to stay! So don’t have second thoughts about your blog. You are needed.

Read more about this:

Goodreads and Netgalley are hurting diversity in the book community

Blogging as an International | Access to books and ARCs

Nose Graze says it might not even be as bad as it sounds:

What are your thoughts on this? Maybe you have something to add? Or questions? I’ll be waiting for them all!
Also, please share this post on Twitter and tag any international bloggers who might find it useful.

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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thecursedbooks
Guest
I think this is a great post and it has a very important message because while I’ll rant about Netgalley and everything else, at the end of the day, I’ll still blog. But it’s easy to understand why people get discouraged since these things don’t make international bloggers feel very welcomed. I loved your alternatives, since this thing happened, I actually emailed some publishers and two publishers accepted my requests. So, it’s totally possible! Edelweiss is also a nice option, though no matter how cliche this is going to be, I never get accepted for anything. I was actually declined… Read more »
Rasya
Guest

Aww, I seriously feel bad for all of the book bloggers who’re affected.

Never give up hope guys!

Darius Jung
Guest

This is a great post and I’m glad you talk about solutions, too! I don’t review ARCs, so this doesn’t affect me as a blogger, but I see lots of wonderful international sites that do so it’s upsetting to see how unfair this is. As an indie author, I’m also happy to see you shout out the self pubs as well!

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Guest
Great post, Evelina! I think you covered everything that needs to be covered here. And I agree – telling us international bloggers ‘to get over it’ was the worst feeling ever. Plus, the libraries in the US probably have most books in English – the main language of the country – I don’t understand why anyone would think the local language wouldn’t be the language of the books carried in libraries in other countries. Edelweiss is nice, and I have a good approval rate over there as well, so I, personally, probably won’t suffer too much from the NetGalley changes.… Read more »
H.P.
Guest
Damnit, 1999 was cool! Kids today, I swear. I wonder how much of this is driven by rights issues. As I understand it, traditional publishing deals are country-specific. Publishers may be worried about piracy for coverage by a blogger in a country where they don’t have a deal (although I assume most of your readership is still in the US). Or the contract may not even allow for distribution of review copies to bloggers in countries not covered (which is something publishers and authors could totally work on rectifying). Which is all to say that requesting review copies of indie… Read more »
Michelle
Guest

What a wonderful post Evelina! My heart goes out to all the international bloggers and it’s so upsetting to see access slowly be restricted. Thanks for providing alternatives in the meantime <3

Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books
Guest
This is such a beautiful post, I loved it and it warms my heart to see something like that written on the page. It’s true that sometimes, for us international bloggers, it can be a bit discouraging at times….seeing everything other bloggers might have and that we have to work for so much more and never, ever get the same opportunities. Thank you for the great post and encouragement and for all of your help just as well! I’m speaking for myself and so many other bloggers, I am sure, when I say we’d all love to read your thoughts… Read more »
Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest
Wow, thank you so much for your post! 🙂 I have read lots of posts on the issue and am glad that you had a different take on it. Among all the disappointment and anger, I have also felt that we should not let this get us down, no matter how hard it is. I am an international blogger and yes these new changes are hard to swallow, but I still love blogging (especially the amazing community) and reading very much. I want to keep blogging and sharing my love for books and hope that everyone else that has been… Read more »
Pamela
Guest

I think this post was very much needed. At the end of the day, it’s the other bloggers and readers that make this community, and if they can support us, then it’ll all be alright. We’ll find the way to deal with it and enjoy ourselves.

Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
Guest
really feel for international bloggers! I have a coblogger from Canada, which is just right across the border. She probably lives closer to me than someone out west in California, but because it is another country few publishers have the budget to send books to her. Sometimes the publicists’ hands are tied too, what with all this legalese and regional copyright laws, they aren’t allowed to send book internationally even if they desperately want to get a book into as many hands as possible. I didn’t know about the NetGalley changes though. I know they’ve been giving publishers a lot… Read more »
Chauncey Rogers
Guest

It really was a pretty lame thing for both NetGalley and Goodreads to suddenly drop such a lousy policy change, but you’re right: this isn’t the end for international bookbloggers, and this isn’t a reflection upon the importance of their voices. Some (or many) may have to shift their approaches a bit. Really, I think that the biggest thing is that it’s just hurtful. But hopefully international bloggers will feel the love from the rest of the community. 🙂

Lashaan Balasingam
Guest
I love how the post starts off by pointing out how insane this whole situation is before having the second half of the post super positive with excellent alternatives. I’m really sorry that you have to live through this crap… I wish it were easier for you guys to get ARCs and enjoy books as much as other bloggers out there, especially those who receive them but have some of the LAMEST blogs out there. I’m 1000% with ya on that. Your blog deserves the privileges that those ugly, unsuccessful and uninteractive blogs get. I mean… I saw some random… Read more »
Anna @ Adventures with a Book Nerd
Guest

Awwww, I heard a little bit about this on Twitter, but didn’t understand how deeply this went. I’m sorry, love. 🙁 I haven’t been on NetGalley lately because I have SO many books that I still need to read and review, so I’m with you in 2018. Let’s get those ARCs cleaned out! Great post. 🙂

Manasa
Guest

So true! Thank you for your support!

Lara @ Words With Lara
Guest

Yes.yes.yes! Thank you so much for writing this. It’s so important to have stuff like this out there because it has been a wee bit crappy for international bloggers and authors. I hope things do improve for the better. Ah well!! Great post!!!

Jemima Jamir
Guest

Yes! You literally wrote everything I ever wanted to say!

Debbie
Guest
Thank you for writing this post. To be honest I might switch to Edelweiss once I have finished every book I still need to read from Netgalley. But I won’t give up! Overall reading is enjoyable and it connects people. I don’t think publishers, Netgalley and Goodreads have the right to make it any less fun. But like you said, after all you will still have your friends. Buying books in the Netherlands is pretty expensive, we don’t get offers like Black Friday on books or Buy 1 Get 1 For Half. So my friends (none book blogging friends) here… Read more »
Emma
Guest
Thanks for sharing, so sad. However, yes Edelweiss is great. Take time to really update nicely your profile to get to the Excellent status. Do you know that Netgalley exists now for France, Germany, Japan, and England? I know it does not cover the whole world, but that’s a start. At France Book Tours (http://francebooktours.com ), most of our authors accept to send a reading copy anywhere in the world – except if there’s a copyright issue for the book, but that’s not often. Books copyrights are specific for each country. And by the way, Bookdepositery ships for free, always.… Read more »
lindaslittlelibrary
Guest

A 1000 times YES to this post! Thanks for writing this post!
Please do an edelweiss tutorial! I need that in my life!

Taiwo
Guest

Great post Evelina!! Thanks for putting into words our frustration and pain and thanks for adding alternatives. I would love to see an Edelweiss tutorial. I get so tired and confused when I see the interface. I know a couple of bloggers get e-ARCs there. It would be nice to be part of them.

Michelle
Guest

Great post Evelina!! International bloggers really shouldn’t give up, because there are a lot of us in the community who support them {and love hearing their perspectives and hearing about the differences in the book world in their countries as compared to the US}. I am hopeful that by drawing more attention to this issue that more publishers will get on board to support international bloggers as well. The farther they can cast their net, the better for the book world in general!

Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium
Guest
like other issues that affect minorities or group of people in disadvantage it gets often underestimated by the people that are not affected WHICH ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE USUALLY IN THE POSITION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. So THANK YOU for raising your voice for all the bloggers out there that are dealing with this! Especially because this not only affect bloggers but readers in general I still have to learn more about how NetGalley works so I can help champion this issue the right way. Make noise in the right places and to the right people. But I just… Read more »
Jacqueline @bluejaybooks
Guest

Sorry this is happening! Please don’t give up, your blog is too awesome 🙂 Thanks for bringing awareness to this issue!

Danielle
Guest
Fantastic post! While, sadly I am familiar with a lot of the above issues (most of my blogging friends and the blogs I follow are international). We have often discussed to difficulties of obtaining books and lack of access through libraries. And now the changes with Netgalley and GR seems to add to the challenges. So I hold a lot of respect for the extra hurddles my fellow international bloggers face. But many need to be aware. It needs to be addressed. I do hope that theses recent decisions by Netgalley, etc. are not being interpreted as the voice and… Read more »
Wattle
Guest
Wonderful post Evelina 🙂 I think what Goodreads are doing re: giveaways is completely ridiculous (what an asshole move!) and I guess I can sort of see why NetGalley have made the move they did (international rights being a weird, weird place) but if one can buy a book from Book Depository that is not available locally, how is that any different? I used to do it all the time (and don’t anymore, because being an adult sucks lol) I will continue to blog, but I guess will be not doing many new releases (I didn’t do all that many… Read more »
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[…] Avalinah’s Books advises International Book Bloggers Not to Give Up […]

Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews
Guest
Uh the struggle of being an international book blogger… I’ve been doing this for more than five years now and I’ve never seen a detailed post like this one about the struggle so thank you! Things have always been bad for us but when I saw the NG policy change and immediately thought the worst but the majority of the books on NG you can find via blog tours, publishers and the rest on Edelweiss. It’s true that my approved books on NG and Edelweiss are worlds apart, like in the hundreds, but I’ve gotten books from Edelweiss I would… Read more »
Karen Blue
Guest
I am so sorry this is happening. I think NetGalley must of had some pressure from publishers to make this change. Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think. It will still be the at the publishers discretion. I get most of my books from Edelweiss tbh. By the time it gets to NetGalley, there is way too much competition for my blog to get most of those books. I know certain pubs have information they want in every Edelweiss request, so it takes longer than just a click to get some pubs from Edelweiss, but it is worth… Read more »
Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy
Guest
I had no idea this was going on with NetGalley! I know that I often see books from Australian or UK, or Canadian publishers that won’t approve US readers, so I guess it works both ways. It doesn’t make sense because it’s all digital. It’s not like they have to spend money on postage! Maybe if enough readers protest you can keep that from happening. I don’t know what country you live in, but I occasionally get books in the mail from overseas publishers (not often, but once in a while), so maybe one could assume it would work the… Read more »
Julie Wright
Guest

I have been saying this for years!
Thnak you for saying this, as it needs to be said and my voice is obviously not loud enough on my own.
It sucks that the rest of the world is ‘penalised’ for not being american, I have had so many discussions about this subject.
Also, book fairs etc need to venture out of the US too and let us, the rest of the world enjoy them!

Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA
Guest
I used to live outside of the US where we didn’t have any libraries (except school libraries that don’t carry fiction, or elementary school libraries where only students are allowed to borrow books) and we didn’t have a SINGLE bookstore that sold fiction books. Yes it was hard. But I have been a reader all my life and I made do. Sure, I wasn’t getting the latest books but I was happy with what I got. So, while I understand your pain, I also understand that it’s not the end of the world. I used to get all my books… Read more »
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I’m glad you’re not giving up. This news is disheartening, but it’s not the end of international book blogging by a long shot!

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity
Guest
I have been meaning to comment on this post for a good long while because this is the post I wanted to write when the whole Netgalley fiasco began. It is way too easy for folks to get disheartened by the fact that the number of books they are able to request is reduced but it isn’t all publishers. I am lucky enough to live in the UK where there is a more active publishing industry than in many countries but even I am disheartened to see some publishers restricting their requests, especially when it’s a publisher I have frequently… Read more »
Jackie B.
Guest
It makes me so happy to see you taking up the mantle on this topic, Evelina. If anyone can make waves and impact the international book blogger community at large, I know you can. I’m so sad that you guys are shut out of so many things. Your feelings analogy above really hit home with me. 🙁 I appreciate the positivity you have piled into this post. I know it’s exactly what the community needs at this time. Because feeling alone in a void with no idea what to do is hard. I want to know how I can help.… Read more »
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[…] International Book Bloggers Don’t Give Up (Avalinah @ avalinahsbooks) […]

ireadthatinabook
Guest

This is such a great post! I mostly read old stuff anyway (and have a tiny blog) so it doesn’t really influence me but it has been great to get a better sense of the international book blogging community. I’ve found several new great blogs just by following these discussions!

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[…] amazing posts by Avalinah @Avalinah’s Books (for positivity in the community) and Marie @Drizzleandhurricanebooks (who talks about ARC […]

Charvi
Guest
This post made me feel kinda sad, scream ‘RELATABLE’ at the top of my voice but also inspired me. I’m new to blogging and the fact that international bloggers are at a disadvantage really saddens me but at the same time it isn’t as bad as I had thought. I had expected much less book bloggers from my country and was really surprised when I got my first blog tour and recently, my first e-ARC. So basically I just want to say I 100% agree with this post and loved it ♡ Also, I would love to read a post… Read more »