When I first began this blog back in 2008 I kept seeing all kinds of more professional looking blogs that were receiving wonderful books from publishers/authors/publicists for review. I wanted to be one of those people SO BAD. So I moved my blog over to WordPress thinking that I would be able to set up my blog more to my liking (and I accomplished that).
I finally got my break with my first review book, The Chemist by Janson Mancheski at the start of 2009. Since then I haven’t necessarily been bombarded by offers (I probably receive 1 offer a week), but I have declined way more than I have accepted. I am very particular about what books I take on for review. I accepted a few early on that I really didn’t enjoy. I didn’t want to feel trapped in a book I didn’t like, so what did I do? I became more cautious – I did more research when a book was originally pitched. I gave most of the people who contacted me regularly more detailed likes and dislikes. And I learned that it was okay to say no. That started to work out wonderfully for me, I got some really good books that I really enjoyed, and a lot of them were books that I never would have picked up in a bookstore or library.
So what happened next? I got burned out. I never accepted/reviewed that many review books. In fact, if you look at my category list, I only have 11 listed, but I know for a fact that I have reviewed more than that, and when I look back at my nearly 500 posts from the past 3 years, I count 22 review books total on this site, with 2 more reviews pending for future blog tours. That’s 24 total books – books that could have come off of my personal shelves. And trust me, if you ever saw the true depth of my TBR shelves … well, those 24 books coming off my shelves might not make a dent, but they couldn’t have hurt anything.
Now I’m starting to get email pitches from people who I honestly wonder if they have even ever see my blog. I have a relatively clearly stated preference list on my blog under “Review Policy”. I am very particular. I have to be – there are too many books out there for me to waste my time reading books I don’t enjoy. So what happens? Now I’m beginning to do something that I never wanted to do – I have been hitting the “delete” button before the “reply” button to people who obviously do not care what my blog focuses on. If it’s someone who I am familiar with from past dealings, I always reply. But if it’s someone who is obviously sending out a mass email without having visited my blog – they’re not getting a response from me. And I hate that. I hate being that person that never replies.
So what does this all add up to? I am seriously considering getting out of the review loop. I don’t like to have to schedule my reading. I want to read what I want when I want. And yeah, I still have most of that freedom seeing as how I’m not taking on too many books. But it’s really starting to lose its appeal to me. I will be completely honest, I don’t have a very big blog; I don’t have a lot of readers. The impact of my reviews are not nearly as impressive as some other more well-established bloggers out there. I almost feel bad for accepting books that I know won’t get the publicity from my blog that they truly deserve. I feel as if I am taking away from another blogger who could do more for the book in the long run as far as pimping it out.
Recently I have noticed that more and more people are kind of stepping away from review books for 3-6 months. I will probably be doing this in the near future. I feel guilty accepting review books. I have a huge supply of books here at the house. I have a pretty much unlimited budget when it comes to purchasing books (even though I’m too cheap to buy books new). I have a grandmother who reads just as voraciously as I do (who does buy books new, though only paperbacks). I have a great local library. I am constantly on PBS. It seems a little silly for me to accept books for review anyway.
I feel a little guilty about having to make this decision. But I honestly feel as if it’s the right move for me. I need to read my books. I need to free up my reading. I need to get back to what I love the most. And if that means giving up something that I wanted so bad in the beginning, then so be it.