10/21/13

On Saying No

As I posted earlier, I'm planning to write some more discussion-type posts in the future.  I had previously posted about having the blogging blahs, and I think the stress of trying to read and review in order to have content for the blog was really getting to me.  I keep reading all of these GREAT discussion posts (like Cass' Thursday Thoughts and all of the great discussion posts that Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner posts) and I HAVE all these bookish thoughts, just never the guts to post them.  So here goes.

During the summer, I had a major case of the blogging blahs.  Part of this problem came from the pressure of having too many review books, with their corresponding deadlines, and not enough time to read the books I wanted.  Plus, with a little one on my hands, I barely have enough reading time as it is.

I feel better about my review pile now, and some of this came from me learning to say the magic word NO.  When I first signed up for Netgalley, I requested a ton of books, some of which I was really excited to read.  I got approved for probably my first six requests, and all of a sudden had a ton of books to read with deadlines.  I read some great books at first (like Someday, Someday, Maybe and Hopeless) and was really excited to be part of the process for sharing bookish love on release day.  Then, I started reading a couple that weren't so great and, because I wasn't enjoying them so much, my review book pile got stuck and wasn't going down.  But the approval e-mails were still coming in.  So I put a couple aside, figuring that I'd come back to them in time.

Then I learned that Netgalley e-galleys EXPIRE.  Whoops, didn't realize that!  I had thought that it wouldn't matter if I went back to read the book a few months later, only to find out that my e-galley would no longer open.  THEN the guilt started.  I mean, I'd asked these publishers for permission to read and review the books, and the publishers had TRUSTED me enough to approve my request.  And I had LET THEM DOWN.  So I requested the books at the library and, after waiting FOREVER (my library is seriously slow at processing new titles), the books came in.  It had been so long since I'd started reading them, so I had to start again.  And you know what?  I STILL wasn't enjoying the books.  So I continued feeling guilty and was trying to force myself to read something that I wasn't liking.  Stress stress stress.

So I realized something: it's okay to say that a book isn't for me.  I wrote up a short little blurb, explaining to the publisher that I had tried to get into the book, but it just wasn't for me.  In one case, it was the second book in a series and I had enjoyed the first one, but just couldn't get into the second book.

After I hit send on both messages, I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I realized that it's okay to say no!  Then I read a couple of GREAT review books and felt SO much better.

So, my question to you is this: how do YOU manage your review pile?  Are you picky about the books that you request in order to narrow down your pile?  What do you do when your review pile gets too large?  Do you ever say "thanks but no thanks" after you've been approved to review a title?

As always, your comments make my day!

6 comments:

  1. I went through something like that this summer. I had so many books and a new job starting and I ended up getting so behind that I gave up completely for a few months. I kind of ended up being the best thing for me; I got back to reading books that I liked first and now I'm starting in on the review pile. I'm still really far behind, but since I've already missed the release dates by months, I'm not pressuring myself to speed read things. As for new titles on NetGalley, I've definitely become a lot more picky after getting myself so stressed.

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    1. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment! I'm totally in the same boat as you ... when I first joined Netgalley, I thought I'd get approved for more of the books that I actually WANTED to read if I read and reviewed more books, so I requested a LOT. And when I got approved for lots, my stress level just went way up. Now I'm only requesting books that I really want to read, and not being shy to say that I couldn't finish the book!

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  2. When my review pile gets too much for me to handle, I simply stop accepting requests. And I try and let the authors/publishers know that I rarely read to a deadline, I don't like knowing that I have to read something by a particular date, it just makes reading the books a chore then! I don't really request on Netgalley that often, but I didn't realise that e-galleys expired either! I'll have to keep that in mind as I request the books, haha. I'm getting better at accepting that a book just isn't for me. If I can't get into it, then I can't get into it, and I leave it at that. Forcing myself to read a book that I don't like really doesn't get me very far in terms of reading! :P

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    1. Yup, I learned that one the hard way! You can re-download it if it hasn't been archived yet, but you can't even open them after they've been archived. But I totally agree -- forcing myself to finish a book that I'm not enjoying is NOT the way to go! I'm slowly learning that lesson =P

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  3. Hi! I understand that overwhelming feeling. It's so easy to request galleys and then when you see the list... it can get a little overwhelming especially when so many of us have some wonderful books on our bookshelves already. This year has been a whirlwind, and I've already been getting it in my head that I need to be more aware of release dates and that it's impossible to review everything I want to. So I am watching what I request and what I have for the new year already. On the flip side, it's actually been the first time I've made time for books that Magan liked/reviewed, and also others I bought/had sitting for awhile. It does help that I have a lot of reading time, and also try to only read eGalleys at the gym. So I can almost read two books at once. See? It's getting so intense and I can't really provide any awesome advice here. I think it's easy to get excited when you just start, and then you have to realize what's best for you. It's just not possible for us to get to anything, and I, too, have started just typing a few notes and sending them to the publisher if I can't finish it. I read an article today that said publishers don't expect us to read everything we get approved for, and that made me feel better too. Longest comment ever. :) Just read and enjoy. It's all we can really do? :)

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    1. Oh, Estelle, how do you always manage to perfectly explain my thoughts ... and so much more eloquently than I ever could? Seriously.

      I love your idea of reading e-galleys when you're at the gym...such a great idea! I use my e-reader while breastfeeding, sneaking in a few pages here and there, especially when Marko's falling asleep. It allows me enough time to stay on top of the review books, but only if I refrain from going TOO crazy. But THEN, this amazing thing happened, and I got whitelisted for Harper Teen on Edelweiss! So, of course I went a little crazy downloading e-galleys ... but at least most of them are January/February/March next year, which gives me lots of reading time over the holidays to get ready. And so many amazing books to read too -- I can't wait to dive into them ALL.

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