Something I’ve Been Pondering

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.

7 thoughts on “Something I’ve Been Pondering”

  1. I think a blogger has to do what is best for them and the love of reading. You can always get review books in the future. Also, followers are here because of what you review not the review books you receive 🙂

    I am a total mood reader so definitely don’t enjoy having to schedule my reading.

    Also, I love when you can tell a publisher, virtual assistant or author have actually been to your blog to peruse.

  2. Carol – I think my post could have been a little more clear in spots – I’m not leaving my blog completely; I’m just giving up accepting review books. I will be continuing to review my own books 🙂

    Marce – Thanks for the kind words! Scheduling my reading has been the worst part about the whole process. I’m a mood reader too – and when I start on a new series, I want to read every single one of them back-to-back! So it puts a damper on my style if I HAVE to read something by a certain date.

    I was recently pitched a book about parenting … I don’t have children (yet). At that point I thought, this person has never been to my blog; they have no clue as to what I’m looking for in books. And that’s really what got me wondering about this entire issue. I just realized that my heart was no longer in it (accepting books for review, that is). I still love my blog and reviewing what I read for it – but I’m just burnt out on accepting books to review.

  3. Can I say that I love smaller blogs???!!!?? Seriously, I love reading blogs that are smaller and have less readers. I find that these blogs are more honest with their reviews, less likely to “pimp” a book, and I also find that I connect to them more as a reader. I went an entire year without taking review books, now I take a few here and there as long as it stays low pressure. If I feel any pressure then I tend to rebel and read whatever I want (and that usually means not review copies). I hope that whatever you decide works for you!

  4. Samantha – you know what, I like smaller blogs too! You know what I really like? Getting an email from WordPress saying that I have a comment from Samantha, and immediately knowing who that is! (Same thing with Marce and Carol, too!) I still have one more review book that I have to read and post a review by April 11th and I’m already second guessing my decision to take that book on! Oh and I totally know what you mean about being more honest, I have a terrible time saying that I didn’t like a review book, I always pick out something positive to say – even if there really isn’t anything positive to say. I feel as if I HAVE to like review books. It puts me in a tough spot when I write my reviews. But I think that the hiatus is the right move for me right now. I need to get back to what I truly love, reviewing MY books and networking with some wonderful people!!

  5. I have been reading and spreading the word about my own books since day one on my blog Tara, it turns two in April and this month is only my second blog tour and book promo for an author… I have received a book here and there that I requested to read because feel like once it becomes a “job” am not going to want to do it anymore… In the past months since having trouble with my eyes, having cataract surgery and lens implants and now having construction done in our backyard am not really gung ho with the blog or the books… It is coming back as have been sent some ebooks to review now that I have an ereader and I feel very happy that so far have loved every book…

    Hope you enjoy your hiatus from accepting books and know that since my email feed will allow me to keep up with you whatever you post that catches my curiosity I will be by to comment on!

  6. Thanks, Jackie! It’s funny but ever since I wrote that post on Friday evening to post early Saturday morning it’s like a huge weight has been lifted from me. I definitely feel really good about my decision. And I look forward to seeing what reading you’ve been doing lately 🙂 Hope the construction goes smoothly :):)

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