Thursday, July 5, 2012

Declaring My Independence From Accepting (Almost) Any More Books For Review

Book Blogger Convention, May 2010

"You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know, we're just doing what we can." 
John Lennon, "Revolution" 

I know I'm not the only book blogger to notice the increase in the number of emails and requests from publishers and authors. I know this because others (who have much bigger platforms and much more star-power in the world of book blogging than I do) have also written about this very issue. 

I am but a minnow in a very big school of fish of bloggers, someone who reads 60 some odd books per year, on average, give or take. In the world of book bloggers, that's a pittance. I don't even review every book I read. (Have you LOOKED at my Books I've Read in 2012 (Links Take You to My Reviews) Sidebar lately, with all of 9 out of 29 books reviewed? See what I mean?)

Yet, lately, it seems as though the requests from authors, from publishers, from ... everyone has reached a fever pitch (no pun intended; OK, maybe a little bit).

This is, I know, due to several factors: the dynamics of the publishing market, the greater awareness of the power of book blogs. Yes, the power of book blogs. There, I said it because it is true, because we haz it.

My dilemma as a book blogger is no different than that of my peers. Quite simply, while I enjoy receiving new books for review and discovering new authors, I no longer have the time nor the ability to filter through and respond to every email requesting a review. Because what's been happening is some variation of this scenario:

I get an email pitching me a book.
I decline to review said book, explaining to the author that I'm not accepting review books at the present time.
The author then responds by asking WHEN I will be accepting review books again.

Well, damned if I know. Maybe never.

Or it degenerates into a pleading, embarrassing I know you'll really love my book Beg-A-Thon.

Not all of them, mind you. But this has happened with more than a few and on more than a few occasions. Way more than a few.

So, starting today, I've declared my independence from being beholden to the book reviews. I've already made my peace with not reviewing every book I read. I'll strive for that, but ... eh, if it happens, great. My review policy (which nobody reads anyway) is now all of four sentences.

Updated JULY 5, 2012:
Thank you for considering me as a potential blogger to review your book. While I truly appreciate your interest and your time in contacting me for a review, I am currently limiting the review books I accept to those affiliated with TLC BOOK TOURSI am also unable to reply to every email requesting a review. 
Thank you for your understanding.

I greatly enjoy my relationship with TLC Book Tours (who doesn't know I am writing this and singing their praises, by the way) and for the most part, I've enjoyed the books they've sent my way. Sure, there have been some that haven't quite worked for me, but that's to be expected. Moreover, they understand when that happens and the onus isn't on me to plead a mea culpa to the author awaiting their review after our email exchange.

This, then, is my solution to the "do I or don't I" continue to accept books for review dilemma. I will, but through TLC Book Tours. And Netgalley, which I also love. Some may or may not agree on this approach, but combined with my all-too-frequent visits to the library and my need to read from my own stacks, it's what I think will work for this book blogger and my life.

And really, that's all that matters.

Because it's time to treat myself with a little more TLC as far as this reviewing books thing is concerned.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Sounds like a good policy to me. I like doing book tours, since there's less weird author/blogger interaction (like you mentioned), and because I have a date in mine for the review (journalists love deadlines!). I've been getting a lot more pitches lately -- some good, some bad -- but it really has gotten to be a lot. I just stopped responding to pitches I wasn't interested in for the reasons you mentioned -- you are not alone!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

Great post! I read about 100 books a year but still want to scale back the amount of review books I get. I'm being much more picky now and also trying to stay away from Netgalley. I can see myself maybe going review copy free in the future, but I'm not ready to do so yet.

Book Dragon said...

Good for you!

I don't review everything I read either and I too have cut back on the review books. Mainly because I have such a huge pile waiting for me.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I don't like the individual emails either. They are just bothersome. Emailing and asking, emailing and askin again in case you didn't get the first email asking, and then the personal stuff from the authors. I don't mean to be mean; I really don't but I'm not a professional reviewer; I don't get paid; I want to read what I want to read. And, I don't want to feel guilty for saying no and end up reading a book I knew I wouldn't like, not liking it and then having to explain why. :p
I LOVE TLC book tours...LOVE! They're a very respectful bunch, realistic, and work very hard to match up books with particular readers. I appreciate that.

Lisa said...

I keep seeing people talk about this increase, but so far it hasn't happened to me. Probably because I don't write a lot of reviews of the right type of books. I did just renew my interest in netgalley, now that I have a nook, and am SO excited to participate that way. (Mainly for the free ebooks, I can't afford to buy them all and my libraries choices are limited.)