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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Discussion: Do free books take away our blogging freedom?

Okay, so I am not feeling at all inspired this morning. But I refuse to let my not so enjoyable working week dampen my weekend and spoil my blogging. So I am steaming ahead with this discussion post even though my cheerfulness is probably running at about 60% of its usual efficiency.

When I was at the book signing on Monday, Jenny from Wondrous Reads gave me some good advice as I was feeling stressed about the number of review books I received last week. Here is her advice:
  • You don't have to review every book sent to you by a publisher
  • You don't have to review the book on its release day
  • Remember blogging is not a job and it shouldn't feel like one
All great points that helped me to put last week's level of review books in perspective. But I still think that it is more difficult for new bloggers. Jenny has just had her first Blogoversary and has developed good relationships with her publishing contacts. For a newer blogger like myself, I feel that I need to develop a relationship of trust with the publishers who have decided to send me review books. This is where I feel that I need to write a review for or near to the publication date. Of course, this is impractical if you end out with so many books needing reviews in the same week.

The other issue we discussed is the fact that if we are all reviewing the same books at the same time then blogging can get really boring. The reason I love following so many blogs (UK or otherwise) is to find out about books that I haven't heard of or wouldn't normally read etc. If we are all reviewing the same books, perhaps blogging will lose its joyous spark. I don't feel that way right now but I can see that it could become a possibility. So I guess what I'm asking is: how can we keep variety in our reading if we are all reading for publishers and not for ourselves?

I am trying to alternate review books with books I want to read just for me. I think it is working but I'm interested to find out if any of you feel my blog is becoming publisher driven rather than Bookette driven. I am not ashmaed to say that the Bookette is all about me: my reading, my thoughts, my passion about books. I guess if I'm reviewing for a publisher all this still applies but I want to hear your thoughts on this issue.

I should probably finish by saying that it is great to receive review copies especially when you get a book like Montacute House in the mail. The issue is not review books per se; it is more the need to read them en masse rather than when the mood takes you.

Any advice or thoughts to share?

The Bookette


Luisa at Chicklish said...

I know exactly what you mean, and I think you've made some excellent points, and so has Jenny! When I started Chicklish with two friends nearly four years ago, we only reviewed the books we'd bought or borrowed from the library, so our focus was entirely on "our kind of books". It was really exciting when we started receiving books for review, but so many of them were not books we'd have chosen ourselves that the site's focus started to change - plus there wasn't time to read everything, especially the books that weren't really "us"! That's when I started asking other friends, and their teenage children, to contribute to the site. Then people started writing in asking to review, too. It's only because of these extra reviewers that we manage to review most books we're sent - and even then it's only 'most'! So I really don't know how any of you do it all on your own...! I admire you.

I don't think any of the sites are in danger of losing their individuality, though. Even if we all receive the same books, I can't imagine us reviewing them the same way, or in the same order! Anyway, we'll always be adding "our choice", I think - we can't help gravitating to our favourite reads.

I definitely don't think it's important to review a book for publication day. One of the beauty of book blogs is that they go into back catalogues and revive older books instead of focusing on the 'brand new' all the time. (In fact, now that Chicklish is creakily old in Blog Years, I'm thinking of resurrecting some of our old posts as a regular feature!)

Also, reviews endure on the web, so even if you review a book a long time after it comes out, you'll find people searching for the book years later and arriving at your site. We regularly get teenagers commenting on books we reviewed years ago!

Having said all this, I've had some moments recently where it's started to feel like a job and I've had to remind myself that everything I do for Chicklish is voluntary, unpaid... and FUN!

Thanks for the really interesting discussion topic - I'm definitely popping back later to read other opinions!

Luisa at Chicklish said...

P.S. Sorry that was really long and waffly!

prophecygirl said...

My turn to write an essay...

Like I told you Becky, sometimes publishers will send you books you have absolutely no interest in reading. Over the last year, this has only happened to me once or twice, which isn't too bad, and each time I've passed the book onto a fellow blogger or bookseller - someone who can still help and enjoy that book by reading it.

I try to read every book I'm sent for review, but sometimes it will end up being months after I receive it. And like I mentioned, if bloggers continue posting reviews a few months after initial publication, it will stay in people's thoughts for longer.

Alternating between your own books and review copies can be hard. But as you said, if all UK blogs have the same posts each week, it's going to get boring. So keep reading your own stuff, and if you end up posting the same review as another blogger, it doesn't matter. We've all got different thoughts, opinions and styles, and reading more than one review for the same title can still be helpful.

So, some more advice: if you receive a book you REALLY don't want to read, just pass it on. Give it to your local booksellers, a fellow librarian, a blogger etc... that way, it will still be going to good use. :)

Oh, and everything Luisa said as well. That lady knows what she's talking about!

Okey dokey.. I'm done now ;)

Lauren said...

We've been blogging for around the same amount of time, so I can relate to your feelings at this stage. I don't feel that I can not read a book that's sent to me either. So yes, there's a little bit of pressure. Some of it is self-imposed though - I have noticed that other bloggers sometimes don't review a book until a few weeks after release date, but I don't feel comfortable doing that yet either. If I don't manage to review a stack of books as quick as I would like, I would be most likely to leave the 'biggest' title till last, since I figure it's probably getting the most coverage elsewhere.

I think it's also worth bearing in mind that although you tend to write quite detailed reviews, you don't need to do that on every occasion. (Yes, I should practice what I preach). I *love* your reviews, but a shorter review is fine on occasion I think.

I think alternating is a good strategy. I also don't think your blog seems too publisher driven: but then, I don't know what mix of books you'd be reading right now if you were just buying them all yourself. In all honesty, if none of us received review books then our content would be quite different - but we might miss out on some surprise favourite reads. Any type of TBR pile is likely to seem daunting if there's that many books in it, whether or not you chose them yourself. It's like eating chocolate at Christmas time - sometimes you just have your fill and need a break for a few days.

I also think you're more established than you think you are, by the way. I think publishers would think that one of your particular brand of thoughtful, palpably enthusiastic reviews is worth waiting a little longer for.

Becky said...

Luisa, the great thing about discussions is the thought that goes into the answer. In a way the more advice you can give, the better. Okay, I am going to have to give up on this release date business. This Bookette can not be a slave to a calendar of dates.

Jenny, yep I am going to have accept that I'm not going to want to read all of these review books. I'm already giving away lots of books. If they're not really me, once I've reviewed them I'm passing them on to good homes. Not really for the publisher but more because I like to make other bloggers feel happy that they get to review the book too. Certainly, if I really don't want to read a book (say it was a horror book) I would definitely give it away. I could always ask someone to do a guest review for me.

LovesSam said...

I'm going to chime in too :-)

The way I see it is the blog I run is my blog, no-ones else's, mine. I decide when a book review is posted and I decide how to divide the time I have spare between connecting with other bloggers, reading and still having a social life.

This may sound selfish but when I receive a book for review, I will not drop other books that I have been wanting to read for a while. I spend a lot of money on books, on average I buy around 5 a week. I obviously buy these booms because I really want to read them, so why should I sacrifice the books I want to read in favour of one's I've received for review.

Look at it this way, we all know that the majority of UK bloggers we are friends with etc all received Everwild last week, I seen it in all of our mailboxes. Imagine if on the 4th February, all of us posted a review of the same book. There would be no variation apart from the fact that each one would differ because of our own personal views. So if the reviews were staggered, it would get more publicity over a longer time period.

I think people need to calm down on the book review copy "thing" that everyone seems to be going crazy over. I am sure if someone ever feels they are in a position that they can't review a book, why not just pass it along to someone else who would read and enjoy it and let the publisher know.

I started reading a book once that I received for review (this was a while back) and I didn't enjoy it, it wasn't my cup of tea, and I couldn't finish it. So instead of posting a negative review of why I didn't like the book and finish, I just passed it along to someone who would love it.

I think you need to start thinking more of yourself, this is a hobby, you are not getting paid to do this. If you have a review policy, stipulate that you may not be able to review every single book you receive, but that you would try and pass it onto someone who would. Remember hoe fun blogging can be, don't let the pressure of review copies get to you, you do this in your spare time.

I have never read my review copies en masse, I read what I want to read, and not because I feel I have to read something. Don't feel pressured, seriously, it will only get you down and it will start showing on the blog. You'll start resenting the publishing houses for making you feel that way, when you should have a good relationship with them.

Okay, so putting it in perspective, read what you want to read when you want to read it. It's your blog, your time.

Becky said...

Lauren, it is great to hear you say that you are sharing similar feelings. I guess we are at the same point in the bloggy road. (I love that by the way.) You've brought up a good point. What books would I be reading right now if I wasn't reading review books? I am going to make a pile and push those up my list.

Alternating does feel like it is working for me. I am also definitely reading some fabulous books because they are Debut UK authors and that has doing to do with my review book issue. That is a conscious choice for the Bookette and it seems like a good avenue to pursue.

And a big thanks your final comment. I'm not sure it is strictly true but the fact that you read The Bookette that way means so much to me. *big hug*

Becky said...

Carla, everything you say is true. I make no pretences that The Bookette is anything other than about me, me, me. Hey, I pretty much think I'm great most of the time so why should it be anything else. Like you say, it is your time that goes into the blog, therefore it should be you and your reading that the blog is all about. This is how I read The Bookette. I try to make it as "me" as possible.

But on the flip side, there is a part of me that feels like I haven't handed my homework in if I don't review a book like NOW. I know it is ridiculous and some days you just don't feel like reading a particular book. It is hard to find a balance. Hence me alternating review then book of my choice.

The Book Bug said...

I agree! I think all of us Uk bloggers should try to mix or review books with our 'for us' books. I started my blog for a similiar reason. Its great to know what everyone else thinks about a book that you have read, but sometimes you want to read something different. As you said, its great when you get stuff for review (and I feel like I've got a bit too much stuff at the moment. You should see the size of my tbr pile. It is unbelievable) and debuts are espiecially amazing, but you're right. This isn't a job, its a hobby.

Thats all I have to say on the matter, great post. I wish I could write that much on actually interesting subjects (Claire-rants are not interesting subjects, I have concluded.)

Becky said...

Chloe, I love the Book Bug. Your reviews are well-thought out and I especially love the humour in them. You do write interesting posts and I refuse to let you say other wise. The Book Bug is great!

I agree that sometimes it is fab to read lots of thoughts about one book. If you have a particular opinion about a book, it is fascinating if everyone else differs. But you wouldn't want to do that everyday. Variety is the spice of life!

Now, I have to go to Ikea. Hubby is buying book shelves for my little room where The Bookette is made. Apparently, I'm not the only one stressing over the number of review copies I'm getting. Although his issue is space and mine more relates to time.

I won't be back to read more comments until this evening but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be back!

prophecygirl said...

Can I comment again? I'll make it quick..

Review copies are great, and I've found so many good books that way, ones I never would have heard of or found by myself. But they're not the most important part of blogging, and they're not why I do it. Just think of them as an added bonus for all your hard work... try to enjoy!

Sasha said...

This post was really interesting for me because I'm a new book blogger (2 months and 4 days (not like I've been counting)) and it's not until I suppose today that I've been getting a lot of books to review. Today I just opened a package from a publisher and received 4 books for review. I definitely understand when you say it is stressfull but it's also really important to remember that you started your blog for you and you should be able to read whatever you want when you want to. I agree with always reviewing books sent by publishers to gain their trust but you sould always try and find time for your own reading :)

I suppose some people may find it boring if blogs just review the same book but what I find really interesting is how differently each blogger percieves each book and their different opinions. I also keep a close eye on everyone's reviews so if a fellow blogger reviews a book one week I try and post it the next week just to keep things different.

I tried to restrain this to two paragraphs :)

Sasha said...

P.S. Congrats on gaining 200 followers! That's fantastic *hug* :)

Lenore said...

It's great that you are bringing this up. It's a question that has been making the rounds of blogs I read where the bloggers, like me, have been receiving a glut of review books and reading them instead of our bought books due to a sense of obligation.

Most have come to the conclusion that we as book bloggers need to read more deliberately - that is, find a balance between review books and other books (be it from the library, bought, years in your to be read, what have you). No question free books are great, and it is SO hard to say no to some queries, but if you really want to acheive a balance, you've got to get tough.

I know my review pile is out of control. I am just getting around to reading some books I've had for over a year!! And yes, it makes me feel terrible, like I've let someone down. But really, my blog is about my joy of reading, and yours is about yours. So do what it takes to bring back that joy and keep it. Sprinkle your reading stew with "experimental" review books, but remember that your main ingredient should books that make you happy. (And hey, if the two coincide, all the better).

Lenore said...

PS. In my reviewer profile, I no longer promise that I'll get to read a book I'm sent for review and that lets me off the hook a bit. Still, I always get to a book if an author sends it directly.

Shweta said...

Really interesting discussion. I for one haven't got the privilege of getting books for reviews being a non US /UK blogger . For that reason alone I review books I have read for myself.My pleasure reads.

About the thing that seeing the same book being reviewed on many blogs, I think it's good in a way. I get to read varying view points. And I have rarely seen reviewers having same views.

Having said that I personally feel a blog is about the person who starts it , it's about YOU. I think blogger philosophy has to be " ME FIRST" Obligations will be there but never let them be so burdening that they take pleasure out of something you love doing.

Janssen said...

Great post. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I don't like to review books right when they come out because most of my readers are non-book-bloggers and more likely to use the library to get a book, so I want to make sure it's available.

And I really try to only review books I really recommend.

robby (once upon a book blog/fourteen years) said...

ARCs and review copies of books have never been important to me. If I'm really looking forward to a book that's forthcoming, I probably won't email the publisher but instead I'll go out and buy it, support the author. Yes, I love review copies, and they are pretty awesome, but they aren't why I became a book blogger. I feel like a lot of people who don't blog misunderstand.
This was a really wonderful, honest post. I understand where you're coming from.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Great topic! Everyone has said wonderful things so I'll only comment on two pieces.

I too don't really like it when it seems like the same book is being reviewed over and over and over all at the same time. I get that's what the publishers want, but it gets old. I like to see a vast array of books!

The only time I'll drop what I'm reading and read a book that comes for review is when it's on a blog tour (and that kinda contradicts my first answer doesn't it! but I don't do many tours) I only get to it right away because someone needs it next. I've only done 2 tours, so it doesn't mess with my reading much at all.

Thanks for bringing up this topic.

Kate said...

I will just throw my two cents in. You probably started a blog because you wanted to talk about the books you had read, were reading, or would read in the future. No where in this reasoning did you start because of the publishers/authors and the idea of free review copies. That is just something that comes along later with the territory. And I find it humorous that you mention this topic today, when just last night a blogger friend of mine and I were talking about our backlog. I have been terrible about keeping up with my review titles, and I feel like it has begun to spin out of control. Count as of last night: 22 novels and 7 ebooks. I guess my point is that we all need to find a happy balance for ourselves. I understand the importance and honor of receiving a review book, but at the end of the day, they are not what is most important. You have to enjoy your blog and the order of the books you read in, or else blogging and review titles are going to feel more like a job than fun.

Sorry if I rambled :)

Emily said...

Great post! I completely hear what you're saying and have experienced a lot of those feelings myself, especially recently. I think blogging is kind of an "if you build it, they will come" kind of thing- I had only been blogging a couple of months before I was contacted to review a title and it's kind of taken off from there.

One thing that I've found to be helpful is to work with one review title at a time, instead of thinking about the huge stack of them that's waiting to be read. I find if say, oh it's just one book, then I get it read a lot sooner and get the review up sooner too.

Great topic!

Kathy Martin said...

I think your process of reading one for you and one sent for review is a good one. I also like the idea of passing on books that don't really interest you to others who might enjoy it more.

I agree with those above me in the comments who said that it gets boring to keep seeing the same book reviewed again and again in the blogs I read. I like to find out about a variety of books.

I watch the In My Mailbox posts each week and it is easy to see when publishers send out copies for review. The same book or books appear again and again on the blogs.

Since I buy all my books (no publisher has ever offered me one), I also don't want to see a review of a book that isn't available for me to purchase. I can't tell you how many times I have read a review of a book that sounds wonderful only to find out that it isn't even available for pre-order yet. I just have to hope the title reappears on blogs when it is actually available. I do wish bloggers would put the publication date prominently in their reviews of books.

I think it is more valuable for the long term sales of a book to have the reviews appear over time rather than all at once.

Great post!

Tynga said...

Hello Bookette!
I definately hear what you say, when I first started blogging I accepted to review books that didn't really appeal to me, because I feel like was obliged to say yes to every books offered to me... And they are still sitting on my TBR shelf sadly.
The only publisher I would say I have a relation with is Penguin Canada, my contact there is totally awesome. I write to her once in a while, link post I made about penguin books, and give her a list of upcomming release I'd like to review and she sends them to me.
I'm really happy in that relation, cause I receive only books I really want to read, and I don't feel forced to read them, because hey if they weren't review copies I would ahve bought them anyway.
Also they aren't ARCs, they are finished copies, so I usualy receive them a little after release date, so no pressure there.

I sometime receive review copies, out of the blue (aka that I didn't request), most of the time I'm really happy to get them cause they are books are really wanted to read, but I still have books I haven't reviewed because they either don't interest me, or they are a later book in a series I haven't read.

I also tend to alternate review copies with personnal shelf books.
I only started reading in 2009 so there are TONS of books that were release in the past that I want to read, and It's hard to balance that with shiny new release lol

So yeah lots of blabla, not many advice, I'm sorry lol!
I'd say blog blogging is something you should enjoy, so don't put to much pressure on yourself. And Reviewing book at a later date isn't a bad thing. The tons of reviews made on release date created an excitement, but I'm sure it's good for the sales to have some later reviews to, to remind everyone that book is still out there, waiting to be bought!

Becky said...

WOW. I just got back from Ikea and I am so overwhelmed by the amazing and thoughtful comments that you have all left.

Jenny, I certainly used to think of them as a reward and I will try keep doing that. It is more my own need to please people *analysing my beaviour* that makes me add this pressure to myself. I'm going to need a system. I work well with systems.

Sasha, I remember when I got my first review book. It wasn't that it was free that made it so exciting. It was the thought that someone thought my reviews were worth having. Yep, I've found my weakness, it's vanity! I like the idea of holding on to a review if you have seen another blogger post about a certain book but I would be worried about not having any content to post. I like to post at least two reviews a week. Honestly, I get so annoyed when a book blogger does a meme everyday and doesn't post a review for a month. (Just a pet hate there). And thanks for the congratulations. 200 followers *big smiles*

Lenore, I know what you mean about it being hard to say no. I am kind of the sort of person that likes to be helpful. I can only remember turning 1 request down. The book had no appeal whatsoever. The issue is more to do with publishers sending lots of books at once and then me getting overwhelmed by the sheer number that are published at the same time. I think I need to add in my review policy that I do not guarantee timescales for review or that unsolicited books may not be reviewed at all. I will do that tomorrow. Thanks.

Shweta, thanks for bringing up this point. I'm interested to find out if it is only UK/US publishers that issue review copies. A survey might be an interesting way to find out. I will keep in mind that I need to review some books that have been on the shelves for a long time too.

Janssen, you know I love the books you pick out for review. From other peoples comments, it sounds like books that are not pre-publication are sort of unhelpful in a way. So I will try to review some books that are available at the public library too.

Robby, I really love your sentiment. Readers should definitely support authors by buying books. What use is a book with 50 glowing reviews but no actual copies sold? We as book lovers should lead the way! This probably sounds crazy but because of the insane level of books coming through, I can't actually face going into a book store. The pleasure of browsing in Waterstones is lost to me. All the YA book sthey have, I already know about through blogging because they only pick up titles from big publishers. I need to find an excellent independent book store to move forward in my book buying.

Becky said...

Jill, you have hit on another really important issue. Blog tours! They are such a double-egded sword. I love supporting new authors so I have agreed to take part in two so far. They are a lot of work and you don't actually know if you are even going to like the book before you participate. Of course, you have to post your review on a specified date so there is a need to be really organised with this and thus more pressure. Great point. I think I am going to have to set myself a limit on the whole blog tour thing and stick to it.

Kate, you're absolutely right! It is all about balance. Finding a way to manage review books and make time for your own reading so that you don't lose your reader identity. I'm so glad other people are going through this issue too. You didn't ramble! :-)

Emily, your way of thinking sounds good. One book at a time kind of thing. I'm not sure my brain works in that kind of way but it is certainly worth a try.

Kathy, love your comment. I shall take not e and make sure the publication date is clear on my reviews. I might find it tricky to know the US date for releases but I can without doubt do the UK one. I also agree that reviews filtered out over time is a better technique for publishers then one explosion of reviews in one week. I wonder if they know this?

Tynga, it is interesting that you say you have one really good relatiosnhip with one publisher. I'm thinking this is what I would like too. Rather than be bombarded by so many. I will have to investigate which one publishes the books that I most like to read and then make more of a focus on their books. This should work for both parties I guess.

Thanks to everyone that has stopped by so far today. Your comments were much appreciated and I feel so much more supported in my mini-crisis now. You are all welcome to get in touch any time if there is something I can help you with. I think I'm going to form some blogging objectives from this discussion to help me move forward. Thanks all for your contributions.
More comments welcome!

Jo said...

You know, I actually had this discussion with a publicist while I was on work experience. Before I go into my own thoughts, I thought I'd pass on what she told me.

1. Publishers do not expect you to review every book they send you. With the press, publishers are lucky if, if they send out four books, two are read, and even luckier if one of them is reviewed. They view book bloggers in a similar way.
2. Publishers don't mind too much if books are not reviewed before or on their release date. Of course, they would prefer reviews posted close to it's release date, but you'll be generating interest whenever you post a review, which is just as helpful.

With this in mind, and after reading all the comments posted here, I've decided I'm going to relax about my review copies. I was starting to get a little stressed out with all my books, but after reading all these comments, I think I'll choose when I read what book. Ohh, I already feel a little lighter!

Becky said...

Jo, that is fab to hear that you've discussed this with publishers and they say they do not expect a review posted on the release day. It is a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders. Thanks!!!

Yunaleska said...

So many great comments here. I'd like to put in my thoughts:

I'm a book reviewer. I began with 0 ARCs. I reviewed books I enjoyed. Now, I'm starting to get more ARC's. They are a great gift, and I love them.

Yes, a small part of me does feel bad that I won't get them all read on time. It is partly my fault because I like so many genres and refuse to specialise like so many of you do. The ARC's are books I love. Yes, I do have a personal book shelf with books I've bought, but all the books I review are ones I would buy. It doesn't feel like a job to me. I find is such a pleasure to learn of new authors, to find out what is currently popular. I like reading older books too. Book reviewing, for me, is a brilliant outlet to chat about a subject I'm passionate about. I think if it starts to feel like a job, or a chore, then maybe rethink how reviews are posted on a blog, take a little break and remember why you do it. Not for free books - that is a bonus. If I got 0 ARC's I'd still be reading as much as I am now. I used to take out the maximum loan on my library card, and I'd read them within the time limit (some of the time).

Jo - what you said is enlightening. To me, if I get sent a book, then naturally (unless I really hate it) I'll review it. I eat books at the moment, and hopefully I'll continue to enjoy them as much as I do now.

Becky said...

Yunaleska, it sounds to me like you have a naturl love of a wide range of fiction and so are therefore more open to reviewing different types of books. If you enjoy reviewing for publishers, then fab!

I Want To Read That said...

I don't think there is a right or wrong - I think you just need to do what works best for you. I love The Bookette - because it is Becky driven - whether you are talking about a review copy you have read or a book you have bought that will still be the same!

I really don't think you should stress over the review copies. They should be fun - an added bonus not an added pressure. Unless you specifically agree a date for the review with the publisher/author I don't think it should matter when you post the review or if you post it at all. I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to review any unsolicited books and I don't think the publishers expect you to anyway. I know it's easy to say and I do feel guilty too (and I only have 3 review copies!) but at the end of the day I do this because I love doing it and I want that to continue. Maybe it's selfish but I don't want to waste my time reading a book because I feel I have to - I'd much rather read and review something I really want to.

I can honestly say that if I never got books for review it wouldn't bother me. Yes it is lovely for publishers/authors to notice my blog and like my reviews enough to want me to review their book but there is a freedom to just reviewing the books I really want to read when I want to read them. I also don't want to spend all my reading time just reading review copies - there are too many books I want to read! And being this strange book collector I tend to buy all my books anyway so the only benefit of a review copy is I get to read it before it's publication date. And believe me when I say my TBR pile really doesn't need anymore books (doesn't stop me buying them though!)

I think I may have rambled for long enough. Thanks for the post - I've really enjoyed reading everyones thoughts.

Becky said...

Thanks Sammee. Just reading your post is a calming influence on my chaotic mind. I have to say I love that you are always reviewing things I wouldn't generally read or have even heard of before. This is what makes blogging so interesting. It is in no way selfish to want to read what you want. It is only natural and after all wehn we read it is our own imaginations doing the work and that is a freedom no one can take from us where ever the book came from.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Great topic! I'm going to limit myself since I have to go soon, but the gist is: I'm in the exact same position as you. I just got my first influx of review copies this week, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I feel a strong obligation to post as close to the release date as possible, and that I definitely, definitely need to read all of them soon. Is that possible? Not really. I can't say how it's affected me before since this is really my first time receiving a number of review copies, but, gah, I'm basically just stressing and having to say no to all review requests that are being emailed to me. What I'm trying to do now is set up a schedule for me to read and review, so I can finish all the books that were sent to me while leaving some room for my personal books. It's made me feel a lot better, so I think that's what I'm going to do from now on.

Does that limit the spontaneity of what I read and when? Yes, but that has yet to affect me; I'll see what happens. I'm hoping that as I continue blogging, I'll be better able to handle things and adapt, and if reading really ever loses that joyous spark for me, I'm definitely going to have to take a break from blogging for a bit. But in the end, I'm pretty sure I'll still come back. As for your blog, I love it! I definitely don't feel like it's publisher driven, and I can see your personality through each review and post. :)

Lea said...

I know how you feel. Being that my blog is only half a year old, I feel like I have to review every book I receive. I've been pretty lucky, though, so far. I've enjoyed every book I've received, and the only one I really didn't like was one for a tour. Like Jenn, I'm trying to schedule when to read & review so I can fit in the books I buy.

Ah, I think everyone already said it all. And don't worry Becky, your blog is amazing. Your personality shines with every word. :D

Yunaleska said...

:) Thanks Becky. I used to be quite limited in what I read - now I like everything (almost...).

Becky said...

Jenn, congratulations on receiving your first review books. I told you it would happen because your blog is so great. I thought about setting a schedule too and I actually tried it. But it just increased my stress so I need another way forward. Godd luck with it and let me know how you get on.

Lea, awww...thanks. You have given me the best start to the day. So we have had our blogs for the same amount of time and you share my need to please the publisher. Not with what I write but by being reliable and providing a timely review. I'm going to try to worry about that less.

Yunaleska, you are most welcome! :-)

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Aww, well thank you, though I think it's partly thanks to you because you were always there to encourage me.
As for the schedule, I definitely can see it as not working for everyone. I hope you find a way for you that works for you! :D

Becky said...

Jenn, thanks for stopping by again. I'm here to support you anytime. You know that! And thanks, I'm sure I'll find a good way forward.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great topic! I made my self a promise awhile back. I only accept books I think I will enjoy.

When I accept the book I let the publisher now what time frame I feel I will be able to read the book.

I usually give my self a couple weeks of a buffer.

The only time I read immediately is for blog tours.

I like to mix it up a bit. Read one book I want and then one for review.

brizmus said...

I meant to comment on this post when I read it, but I didn't have time, and now I am back, and it looks like a bagazillion people have said a lot of VERY LONG things. . .
I mainly wanted to say that I know how you feel. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the fact that so many bloggers blog about books that are sent to them for review as opposed to books that they have picked out themselves, and it makes quite a few of the blogs redundant.
And then there is the question of: how can you truly judge a book if you are feeling stressed out and like you HAVE to read it because a publisher sent it to you?
Anyhow, I do my best to remember the tips that you have said - I don't have to review EVERYTHING, and I especially try to remember that my blog is for ME!
In a weird way, I feel lucky to live in a place to which most publishers don't want to ship. It helps me to not feel to overwhelmed by review copies. :-)
Okay, I have a lot more I could say about this post, but I'm sure everyone else has already said it, so the end!

Becky said...

Juju, you sound like you are using the same technique as me. Hope it keeps working for you.

Brizmuz, that is such a good point. I do sometimes resent the book I'm reading if it is for review because it isn't want I want to read. But hey, as long as I keep alternating, I think I'll be okay. And I agree, that although at times it must be hard to be excluded from publisher copies, it is also a blessing. More freedom to set your own reading. Thanks for stopping by!

Elie said...

I am going to speculate, because I generally don't receive review books other than 1-2 from authors. I did work with a UK publisher once, but that was an isolated event.

I think as long as you post your review policy somewhere that states you may not review every book you receive, you should be ok. Let's face it, no one is going to like every book and book blogger's have limited time. If you don't stick with books you like, or if try to force yourself to read something you don't like, blogging will become more like a bad job and less like an enjoyable hobby.

Elie said...

I do a post on my blog called Melting Pot Monday. These are USUALLY books that I am not interested in reviewing. Occassionally I get requests from reviews and the book doesn't sound like something I would read. Instead of shutting them down, I thank them for considering my blog and tell them that although I can't review their book, I will gladly feature it on my Monday post. Many times they appreciate the free publicity and it keeps me on good terms in case something I do want to review comes up.

Tynga said...

It's a good idea Elie!

Becky said...

Too true, Tynga and Elie. All publicity is good publicity!