When Sophie is playing Don Quixote


Hi dear friends,
If you follow me for some time now you certainly got that I try to see the bright side. I also like to think that I am pretty easy to collaborate with.
There is enough drama in real life not to take it here and humor is my favorite weapon on the blog. If I can light your day and make it a little bit better I’ve reached my goal.


Today the jokester is hiding in the closet and grouchy Sophie is rearing her irritated head.


Sorry guys but I need to let some steam lose because right now I may be living the adult life but I feel like a sulking teenager relegated to the kiddie pool.

What’s got my panties twisted in a bunch now?
Well have you ever heard of ARCs being “Invite Only”? No? Me neither until very recently.

Before going further into the topic let’s made some things clear:

1) I love and respect authors. I know they do a difficult job. They work hard and never know if their books will be loved. They also deserve to be rewarded and paid for the hours and hours they put into their writing. They are like you and me: they have to pay the bills! Hence sell their books.

2) I like working with PR agencies. They do a fantastic job promoting authors and they make our work as bloggers very easy with html posts.

3) I understand business strategies as I have a Master in economics and finance. I work among sharks every day. Business is business etc. is something I hear all the time.

4) I won’t give names or specifics even if you try to bribe me with the ARC of The Wicked King *something that I really dream of*. I will neither deny neither confirm. My goal today is not to bash but to improve. I hope to change some industry practices in making them more transparent * a girl can dream*

5) My reasons to blog are: talk about something I am passionate about with other passionates; help reader to find their next fix; help authors seasoned or beginners to be better known when I believe in what they do. For some I will be extra “pushy” when I am enthralled and enamored with their stories.

6) I am not paid to blog! As most of you know this very well blogging costs money and time. Lots of time! For your site, your theme, the giveaways * I finance nearly all of them on my own money*…. I am not an Amazon or Book depository associate and I am not paid by authors or PR agencies. I help them like many other bloggers of my own free *literally*will.


Let me tell you a little story now…

Some time ago I saw one of my beloved authors, one I had reviewed and promoted many times was soon to release a book.
I made room in my schedule planning to read the ARC.

Some specifics here: when you plan a book launch, you usually fill in several google docs or a “master” one. A first for the cover reveal and maybe teasers. A second for the release blitz and often promo tour with ARCs being sent.

I filled the master doc for cover reveal, teasers and the release blitz that mentioned *promo only*.
I expected a second doc for a blog tour and ARC sign up. But it never came. I was puzzled….

After some inquiry I was told that …the ARCs were “invite only”…

Aaaaand I hadn’t been invited to the Queen Bee party. It seemed that I was not part of the “in” crowd. Right back to high school really!

Silly for a grown up like me to feel like it when there are so much more important things right?

Well no! I felt used and cheated.

Not because I didn’t get the ARC. This happens plenty of time and if I am disappointed I also am OK with it. Why? Because when we sign docs they often say upfront that ARCs are limited. Of course I understand as they can’t give hundreds of ARCs and if I am not chosen so be it! Like I said business is business. I also know that I’m not the biggest fish in the ocean and that business strategy will lead PR agencies and/or authors to target big blogs to have a wide exposure. That’s economics for you.
Another reason is that when I sign to promote I don’t always request ARCs. It’s more 75% to 80% I don’t ask for the ARC because I have to work, do chores, care for my family, have other hobbies and can’t read all the books.
I still happily promote authors I believe in “Sans ARC” when I know right from the start they are not a sure thing!


What’s really bugging me here is not the “Invite Only” but that it was not stated right from the start! Clearly stated. Before we had to fill in the promo docs.

Not mentioning it upfront is what I would say a big mistake in terms of communication.

It fosters a climate of mistrust among bloggers. Yet bloggers are what makes the indie authors known. PR agencies without a web of blogger would never have half the coverage they get for free. I dare to say bloggers have to be cherished and treated fairly. With respect and honesty. Establishing a climate of mistrust is a huge mistake in my books. And I am speaking with my “Master in economics” goggles now!

Even small blogs can grow. Even small blogs help.

You want to play by “invite only”? Fine. That’s a business strategy that I can understand and respect even if it’s frustrating. Business is business.

But SAY IT RIGHT FROM THE START as I value honesty and loyalty above all else. Be explicit and upfront.

I will be happy to be a “tool” for authors I believe in, even with promo only IF I know where I stand from the beginning.


I am not trying to begin a war here. I am hoping to open some eyes and have us all collaborate with honesty, fairness and enthusiasm to help convey the love for the “written words”.


End of my mood burst now! I promise with my next posts I will be back to my bubbly self! I can’t sulk to save my pride 😀  I’m all volcano and back to kitten again.


Sorry for my rant and thanks for reading!


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  1. I totally get limited arcs or promo only. And I gladly sign up for promo only when my time is limited. And if there is a book on my tbr that I know I can’t get to before release date. But going this method, oh goodness that is so shady. I completely agree with everything you said!

  2. this sounds super frustrating D:
    i havent come across this myself but thats mostly because i rarely take part in blitz and such, mostly because back in 2012-13 i was doingtoo many of them and i realised i didnt want that at this time. but man. honesty is super important and this shouldve been stated from the get go

  3. I don’t see Invite Only ARCs a lot, so I am sorry to hear you ran into one. That’s a shame. Like you said I totally understand if I am not selected for an ARC for whatever reason or if an author doens’t give out ARC’s at all. And even if ARCs are invite only, which is a bit sad, they should at least mention it upfront so you know what to expect. I think with everything in this community communication is key, so everyone on both sides knows what to expect.

  4. I had no idea this was happening…how disheartening! Thanks for bringing this to my attention because I’d definitely want to know if it was “invite” only!

  5. It definitely should have been stated beforehand that it was ‘invite only’ so you wouldn’t have filled everything in if you weren’t going to be ‘invited’. Also, invite only makes it so sound exclusive!! Which could be done better I think >.>

  6. Sigh . . . I so understand limited arcs. I even understand when some authors strictly have their own arc teams / street teams that are outside of a pr company. Invite only is just kind of rude.

    To me, invite only suggests that the blog isn’t good enough, cool enough, big enough . . . something . . . I don’t even know. It is like being back in high school and it stinks.

  7. Wow! Sorry this happened. Never heard of Invite Only arcs. We bloggers do our best to keep their rules and be honest in our reviews. We assume they too keep things fair and above board. You can be up front and fair and still attend to business. A sad day if others pick up this practice too. Thanks for keeping us informed Sophie!

  8. I haven’t seen them do Invite Only. But, I am with you on this. Be upfront about it. Don’t be sneaky – which is what they did. I am and will never be part of the in-crowd and that is ok with me. I do what I want and like it that way. Sorry, this happened to you, Sophie!


  9. Sophie, I totally feel you! I have become quite frustrated with the pr companies myself and the way they are running some of their businesses. Recently I have been trying (it’s hard because some ARC’s make me drool to get my hands on!) to just work with authors on a more direct level. It’s a drag to feel unappreciated or used, and I’m seeing them not being upfront more and more as of late. I’m sorry hun, but I definitely get where you’re coming from!

  10. I have no idea how I feel about this. I’m fairly certain that I would have exploded too. Especially if it was an author that I love and support regularly. At this point, I try to review Indie authors more, which can be hard to do, because they aren’t as well known, like Shay Roberts (I will rave about his books till I’m old and grey – his Heartblaze series gets better through the collection, I swear)! If this happened with his books, I’d cry a river for sure…

  11. I haven’t heard of that kind of nonsense before, I understand why you resent this. I agree that ARCs are supposed to be limited but at least they have to let you know from the start before you sign up for anything!

    1. Sorry Carolina I don’t know what happened but my comment for Talia below was posted in reply to your comment! So exactly be honest it’s important!

  12. I had never heard of Invite Only ARCs before. I kind of stopped requesting them lately so maybe that’s why. I agree with you that it should have been stated from the beginning. Like you, I know I’m not always going to get all the ARCs I want, but one thing is to know that it is because they only have a limited amount and I did not get into their number, another is to know I was not even considered to begin with. That is the sad part. Maybe whoever thought of it will read this post and understand that’s not an intelligent way to promote a book.