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I DNF’d An ARC – Am I A Bad Blogger?

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It’s been a while since I’ve written a discussion post on my blog and this is something that’s been on my mind for a long time now so I decided it was time to talk about it. At the end of the year I requested an ARC via Netgalley that I was convinced I was going to love. It was a genre I had regularly started reading and was full of topics and themes that interest me. It was even a collection of short stories, which I haven’t really read before, so I was excited for this new and interesting journey into fiction for me. I pushed myself to read over half of the book and consequently into one of my biggest reading slumps I’d ever experiences. I found myself avoiding the book and dreading having to read. Eventually I decided not to finish the book and it became one of the only books on my DNF pile (or my Did Not Finish pile, if you’re not sure what that meant). I’d convinced myself I would continue it eventually but 2017 soon passed and I greeted 2018 enthusiastically. Yet I still haven’t finished the book. So, am I a bad blogger?


Why is finishing an ARC important?

When I requested this ARC on Netgalley I knew I was entering an agreement; I would receive an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Requesting an Advanced Readers Copy of any book is such a big responsibility. Once you’ve pressed the request button and been approved you are agreeing to provide a review that gives feedback to authors and publishers. It felt mandatory to finish the book in order to do this so I was completely terrified when I realised I would never be finishing the book. DNF’ing this ARC soon began to make me feel like a failure as a blogger. I felt like I wasn’t a good enough reader and like I was letting lots of people down. I was set a job that I just couldn’t finish, despite trying my hardest. But should we force ourselves to read a book that just isn’t working for us?


Why did I decide to DNF the ARC?

Deciding not to finish any book is a difficult decision we can debate for a long time, but deciding to DNF and ARC was even harder. To make it worse, the book wasn’t necessarily bad, it just wasn’t for me. Right from the start I struggled to immerse myself into the first story  in the collection, which made it inevitably difficult to enjoy every other tale. The writing wasn’t bad but it didn’t grab me by the cheeks and pull me into the pages, the stories didn’t have a pace, slow or fast, to hook me. I often look back and wonder if this book had any major flaws at all (which often makes me feel much worse about my decision to DNF) but it just didn’t work for me and that’s something I couldn’t help. I couldn’t force myself to continue reading any longer. So, should I feel bad?


Am I a bad blogger?

Does DNF’ing an ARC really make me a bad blogger like I have felt for so long? Whilst I felt extremely guilty and worried about my decision for months, I don’t think I’m a bad blogger. As bloggers, readers, and people we all enjoy different things and that’s only human. I’m mature enough to provide good feedback without being unnecessarily negative. That way I’s still holding up my part of the agreement and providing valuable feedback to both the author and publisher. Sometimes I still feel guilty for not forcing myself to finish the book but no one should feel bad about a decision they made, no matter what the reasons. Since deciding to officially DNF the ARC I’ve read a whole host of books which have seen my fly out of my reading slump. Now I can look back constructively to provide feedback for this book, understanding that it wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t for me.


Have you ever DNF’d an ARC or proof you’ve requested or been sent? Do you feel as guilty as I did or are you confident in your decision? Do you think I’m a bad blogger or do you agree with me? I’d love to hear all your opinions and chat about this discussion!

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23 thoughts on “I DNF’d An ARC – Am I A Bad Blogger?

  1. I DNF’d one book because I really did not rate the quality of the writing or the story and one because I simply was not in the right frame of mind to read it (though I thought it was good).

    I felt more guilty about the latter, but rated the book up to the point where I stopped reading and explained in my feedback to NetGalley why I had done so. The first one I felt no guilt about. I did not think it was very good or worth my time reading it. That as my honest feedback.

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  2. This is such a great discussion piece! I joined NetGalley last year, and was accepted for about 7 books, I believe. At the time I requested these books, I was active with my blog and had every intention to write reviews for all these books. Unfortunately, I ended up hardly reading that year and was in one of the worst slumps I’ve ever been in (nearly a whole year! Ah!). I finally ended up reading two of them, but I never wrote a review for them, because my blog had literally died. Lol. Hopefully I will write a review for them one day, but I don’t think it makes you a bad blogger if you DNF’d an ARC. It just wasn’t for you, and I think the publisher would understand your feedback. 🙂

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    1. Thank you! I’m lucky I managed to restrain myself and he really sensible when I first started requesting so I think this made me feel even worse when I DNF’d the book. I think as long as you can provide decent feedback and use it critically on Netgalley it’s all valid😊

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  3. Well It’s my current predicament. I requested an ARC on Netgalley but I don’t feel it at all. I always try to finish but what’s the point if you know you’ll end up giving a “negative” review? Why torture yourself? It’s pointless. I think we are honest and say it was not for us. Not every book is for everyone!

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    1. That was exactly my predicament! I didn’t want to slate the book just because it wasn’t for me, so I tried to force myself through it. I’m glad other people understand this discussion and feel the same!


  4. I think DNF’ing *is* a form of reviewing, especially if you have specific tangible reasons why you decided to stop reading. As always, it’s your blog and your time, and you can choose what to do with it! (Even if that means not finishing an ARC.) I try to give away ARCs I’m done with (either because I’ve read them or no longer going to read them) to other bloggers or friends, then to my local library; you can’t really do that with eARCs but I feel less guilty knowing someone else is going to read them!

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  5. I dnfd one because i absolutely couldn’t stand it.
    Neither the plot nor the characters appealed to me, and the story was nothing like the synopsis. I think it was a bit misleading to be fair.

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  6. I think it’s totally fine you didn’t finish. You tried, you gave it a real shot, and you just couldn’t read it. Why force yourself? And really, not finishing it is in itself a review of the book. You can write your review based on why you didn’t finish it, and that will still be giving feedback. So no, you’re not a bad blogger!

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  7. I’ve only ever DNF’d one arc (Nevernight) but I did explain to the publisher why I dnf’d it. You can always do a dnf review – because you’re still reviewing what you read.

    So, if you’re a bad blogger, so am I!

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  8. I think not finishing an ARC is sometimes part of honest feedback. If a book is just not well written or compelling, publishers should know. You shouldn’t be forced to finish reading a book, even for ARC reviews.
    I’ve definitely not finished an ARC, but I try to always have multiple reasons, not just because I ran out of time, or wasn’t’ in the mood. Then I make sure I write that in the review.

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    1. I’m glad to know other people have been in the same situation, too. I’ll definitely take all the advice from the comments and provide some decent feedback, and I won’t be feeling bad about it!


  9. Great post! And you are definitely not a bad blogger. I have DNFed a couple of ARCs for various reasons. Its hard to struggle through a book that you are not enjoying and as you mentioned, such books can easily send you into a reading slump. I think its okay to DNF but let the publishers know why, politely of course. I usually let them know what I struggled with, apologize and thank them for the ARC.


  10. It would be worse if you forced your way through it and wrote a glowing review, even though you hated it. I pounced on an ARC of Tennison recently; I loved the TV series. Except the series and the book are the same story. I enjoyed them too close to each other. The review started with “It’s a good book, but I DNF’d it”.


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