Last weekend after finishing up a book, I clicked on over to twitter so I could see what was going on around the book blogging community. I happened along a tweet from Lili from Lili’s Reflections and she was talking about a site called ARCycling. I wanted to know more and she was wonderful in helping me. I was so excited about this site that I just knew I needed to share the word about it. Many of you have probably already heard about the site, but for anyone else who hasn’t, I decided to interview them and let you all know about the wonderful things they are doing. So without further rambling on my part, let’s get down to business!
1. Can you tell the bloggers a little bit about yourself and your blogs?
(yes Lili, I already know about yours but just go with the flow…LOL)
Lili: Well, my name’s Lili and I’m an aspiring young adult editor/publicist for the book publishing industry, but for now I’m content with working at my public library. I’m seventeen and I run the blog Lili’s Reflections that can be found here: http://lilisreflections.blogsp
Jennifer: I’m Jennifer, I am not seventeen. I am a college grad who creates random ideas as she’s floundering through life. I’m a YA writer (no, not published… more like, not yet!) but right now I’m more of a monkey to the film industry. As book blogs, I’ve been in and around the book world for over 4 years and have more experience than I care to admit sometimes.
Lili: Jennifer is also the Queen of Spreadsheets. Seriously, that’s an important thing to know.
Jennifer: Yes, thank film for that little talent!
2. What exactly is ARCycling and how did it come into existence?
Jennifer: In brutal honesty, this idea come from seeing some of the greedy attitudes towards ARCs. Yes, I was like that, but then I came to realize that ARCs are just books with an expiration date and cheaply made to boot. So I thought “what if I gave away my unread, old or whatever ARCs to another blogger so they could review it?” And there you have it. Give an ARC another life continue promotion, and give smaller bloggers a chance to review actual ARCs. Originally this started as a way to get rid of the pile of ARCs I had lying around that I didn’t want or wouldn’t read, what its grown into floors me all the time. I never thought anyone would want to give away their precious ARCs and once I was tapped, it would be dormant. Boy, I was wrong. It grew almost virally and I was dying.
Lili: So I stepped in to save poor Jennifer up there and created the mafia. I put people in jail, I take them out of jail, and I’ll suspend them for eternity if I feel like it while helping Jennifer with all the behind the scenes work. So watch out, because you do not want to mess with LA CAPA. *smirks* (I love this role, guys!)
Jennifer: I try to rule with being too nice, so it’s good to have a hard ass. Can I say ass?
Lili: If we can’t say ass, I don’t even know what they’ll think about my vocabulary.
3. Do you feature just young adult books or are we talking about all ranges of genre?
(because Lili you know I am one who reads and reviews almost anything! LOL)
Lili: We primarily feature young adult books since most of our Donators and Requesters are young adult book reviewers. We’ll also feature middle grade and adult books, but we’ll mention their reading level on the list if it is anything but young adult. While we encourage Donators to donate anything, it does take a little more time for most middle grade and adult books to get snatched up. We are trying to figure out ways to expand to a greater audience, though!
Jennifer: As a charity site, I don’t turn anything down. I do say to Donators who give adult or MG titles that my audience is primarily for YA, so there’s a chance no one will be interested in it, but I always, always give it a shot. In my future plans for this blog/ project I would really, really like to expand more to the MG market, because there is a lot of crossover.
Lili: If you donate ARCs and they aren’t picked up after at least a month, or four sessions, we’re considering giving you the option of sending it to me for charitable purposes due to a school project. I won’t be reviewing them, but I do have connections to a place in dire need of new books, so at least you know that your older books that you want to share with others can be appreciated someplace else. This is only recommended if books don’t go for a while so the books can eventually find a new home. Details on the full project will come out in several more months. 😉
4. How do people get involved with this great site?
Jennifer: Would saying donate books be too blunt? Haha! That certainly helps, but there’s also done of free things, like telling your blogger, teacher, librarian friends, cause this program is open to all of them too. If anyone wants a bookmark to pass out or whatever, I am totally fine with mailing you some! They are very wordy and cute!
Lili: If you can’t donate, you can always request, too! Be one of our amazing reviewers! If not, do something as simple as promote us on Twitter! Anything is appreciated.
5. Say I want to donate some books for the site. How would I go about doing this?
Lili: That’s easy! Donations can be made via e-mail or DM on Twitter, though we do prefer e-mail. Simply send an e-mail to arcycling(at)gmail(dot)com with the titles of the books, the dates they were released, the author(s), and the name and link of your blog so we can put you on our special Donators page! If there’s anything special about the book, like it’s reading level or a note about the condition, we’d like to know that too so our requesters are aware of it. We’ll thank you for your kindness, give you imaginary hugs and cookies, do a happy dance, and notify you if any of your books are taken that session!
6. What happens when you have ARCs leftover after release dates have come and gone? Any suggestions for bloggers on what to do with older ARCs?
Lili: While we’re lucky to get some 2013 ARCs, many of our ARCs aren’t actually placed in the program until the release date has passed. We’re not asking for brand new ARCs, but recycled ones in good condition, though we do get some new ones. For the most part, we want the Donator to enjoy it first and if they want to pass it on, they can do so whenever they see fit, even if its years after the release!
Jennifer: I’ve had ARCs as old as 2007 that have gone, so age isn’t everything. Being an ARC isn’t the sole requirement either. I will totally take finished copies, it just started and mostly runs on ARCs. A book is a book and a story is a story and I hope we’re getting people who not only want to review a book, but read it for pleasure. After all, that’s what we all started from!
7. I know some bloggers don’t have the resources to attain ARCs — such as newer bloggers — is there a way they can help the site if they want without donating ARCs?
Lili: You don’t have to be a Donator to be a part of ARCycling. A lot of our Donators start off as Requesters. They help the site by taking the books they receive and reviewing them, then giving us the review to feature on our site and put in our archive! Then they may turn into Donators by re-arcycling the ARCs they reviewed. While we don’t push this, it is totally appreciated! Reviews make us happy because it shows we are successful, and spreading the words through interviews such as this one are amazing and highly appreciated by both Jennifer and I as well.
Jennifer: Honestly, even putting the blog button on your blog helps. I was randomly perusing a Requester’s blog one night and saw the blog button under the heading “Best Idea Ever”. I died with happiness.
8. Have any tips for first-time requesters?
Jennifer: Yes! Title(s) of the books in the subject line is like, insanely helpful (and required via the rules) but it doesn’t always happen. And ONE email. We drown as it is so sending two emails just adds to the craziness. And no trading back. Once you get a book, stick with it, unless you’re denied, then by all means, try again in that same email. Combine multiple emails and trading out and my brain would just implode. (Note from Lili: mine did just that last session, it’s not fun, guys!) I would highly recommend reading all the rules beforehand. This is the page (http://arcycling.blogspot.
9. What, exactly, is Two Week Time Out and why is it there?
Jennifer: Well, I’ll throw that one to Lili since she’s the Mafia Queen.
Lili: I drive myself crazy with this thing every week, answering people about when they get off, explaining it to others, so let’s see if I can get it right this time! People don’t like our Two Week Time Out, but it’s there purely so we can keep track of things and to allow first time requesters to be able to get books instead of having specific individuals monopolize all of the donations. In one session, an individual can get up to two books. If they get two, they are suspended for the next two sessions and can come back after that. If they only get one in the first session, they have the opportunity to get one more in the next session. Whether they do or don’t is of no concern to us, because you will be banned for the next two weeks to keep things fair. The time out isn’t even an option until you request books, so you can go a month without requesting and not have to worry about whether you’re in time out or not. If you want to know when you’re free from jail, just tweet! We’ll tell you the date ASAP.
10. Would you like to add anything else?
Lili: I’d like to add something! This program has steadily expanded each week and Jennifer and I love it dearly. I don’t think people realize that we literally give up our entire Sunday night’s (4 – 6 hours) to see this thing through every week. (I’m missing Giants games for this, people! My Dad may disown me!) More people are donating and more people are requesting and while this makes us super happy, it’s also really hectic, but we love it because we’re helping so many people! However, we’ve recently come across trolls and individuals trying to bribe us to get more books than they are allowed. This isn’t right, guys. Please, please, don’t view this as a “free books” program because this isn’t what it is. This program is to recycle ARCs, an expensive marketing tool, and give them a second life while benefitting the book blogging community because more reviews will appear, not something to get you free books that you can take advantage of. If you can’t appreciate that, how can the program be a success?
Jennifer: Uh, would it be lame to say ditto that? It was both saddening and a badge of honor to get my first scammer. Like, you know you’re a real blogger when…
Lili: She calls it an honor, I call it a pain in the ass. See, Jennifer, you weren’t the only one to say ass!
Jennifer: See, folks, THIS is why she’s my mafia girl!
Find me on Titter: @LiliReflects
Find me on Twitter: @ARCycling