In a Slump…

For some reason, the last two weeks has seen me slip into a book slump. I’ve got plenty to read, in fact, I’ve got books coming out of my ears. There are books under the bed, books on the TBR bookcase and books in the towering review pile. However, I seem to be very indecisive at present. One problem was the sheer amount of Olympic coverage I watched which kind of broke my momentum. Then there was my birthday (which was lovely) which took up a significant amount of time in which I celebrated with family and friends… taking time away from sitting with a book.


Then comes the big issue – review copies. I’ve had a lot of proofs through recently and all are books that I want to read, but my TBR and books received for my birthday, keep stealing my glances. This leads me to a conundrum and I would like the advice of bloggers and/or publishers (well, anyone is welcome to pitch in!).

How URGENT are review copies?

Each time I receive a review copy the first thing I do is look up the release date and then list them in the order of release. My aim is always to read and review by launch day to ensure the best coverage for the publisher and author. Usually I hit that aim on the head and feel I’m pretty reliable. But, like any form of entertainment, it’s about the experience that you want at the time. So, if I’ve got a stack of literary books for review but fancy some genre at the time, do I give in to my whims or force myself to read a book that excited me but I’m not perhaps in the mood for?

I feel that if I force myself to read say, Dirt by David Vann when I’m not in the mood for a deep, emotional, literary read, that I will inevitably walk away unhappy. But, then the guilt kicks in that the publisher has sent it to me in faith and as a book blogger, I want to represent their book.

This is my issue currently, I believe. I have books on my review pile that I just don’t fancy this week… what is the cut off date for reviewing a review copy for other bloggers? I feel as if I need to set some sort of system. Most are books I’ve expressed interest in and the publisher has kindly sent over, but then, what happens when there are older books we want to read or a latest release has caught your eye in the bookshop?

Gosh, this has turned into a bit of a ramble, hasn’t it? I suppose I’m postulating on how best to approach my bookcase and endless love of books (one that is consuming my tiny flat). What do you put first? I’ve always felt as if I’m a rather slow reader – an average of two books a week – but of course there are so many to read.

Head or heart, readers? Head or heart?

7 thoughts on “In a Slump…

  1. notesoflifeuk

    I try to prioritise my review books and they do usually come first, but there’s a couple of issues there:
    – i get more review copies than I can possibly read before their release date.
    – Sometimes I really want to read a book I’ve bought for myself.

    Go with instinct… If you want to read a book, then read it. If you get bogged down with HAVING to read books then you’re not going to enjoy it (it’s that school mentality, if you see what I mean).

    I tend to read a few review books and then grab a book from my TBR pile to read.

    It’s got to be enjoyable.

    Plus… Don’t forget… If you’re receiving review copies of hardback books then there’s usually a paperback release date which will follow in a few months time, so your review is still going to be useful to the publishers.

    1. Dog Ear Post author

      “Plus… Don’t forget… If you’re receiving review copies of hardback books then there’s usually a paperback release date which will follow in a few months time, so your review is still going to be useful to the publishers.”

      This, I didn’t think off. Very good point!

      I think that’s the issue, when you force yourself to read certain books, it feels like work and not fun.

  2. Ellie Warren (@patchworkbunny)

    I have become quite selfish in the matter. No one is paying me to read/review these books and I do get a fair amount of unsolicited copies now. If I have specifically asked for a print copy, I will review within a few weeks of release date. Otherwise I’ll get to them when I get to them. This should be fun and I think those of us of a more eclectic nature, will go through phases. The Olympics has been a huge reading barrier, I agree. Most of book group last night were all “it took me weeks to read because I kept watching the Olympics”. I know I have been struggling to hit my self-imposed targets 🙂

    I do give every book, either print or ebook, I receive a bit of free advertising. I have an Amazon widget that I add them to and do a weekly shout out of “books in”. At least I am letting people know they exist that way.

    I don’t think you can stress about it. Publishers know we’re not machines and would rather we post a favourable review because we read what we felt like at the time than a negative review just because we were feeling grumpy about having a book forced upon us.

    1. Dog Ear Post author

      That’s pretty much summed up my thoughts… I think.

      I think I’ll impose 3/4 weeks from publication date to review a book. Otherwise I get snowed under and like you say, we’re not machines.

  3. suzigun

    It looks like we all agree that we do this for the fun of it – so if the next book on the list feels like a chore – move on to something you fancy. Perhaps easier said than done but my ‘read but to be reviewed’ pile is starting to challenge the TBR pile, and the truth is I would prefer to be reading rather than writing a review,
    I sometimes think we might put more pressure on ourselves than the publishers would want – not often I see an acknowledgement that I’ve reviewed a book. Who knows, a positive review a few weeks after lots of the same might reinforce the message, rather than getting lost in the crowd!

  4. gaskella

    I make very few promises to read review copies – it’s rare for me to commit to a date in this respect – and I do say that to those offering the books. If I specifically request a book, I will read it, but unsolicited books have to take their chances with all the other books in my house. I love reading new books, but I also like to read whatever I feel like reading too, and hope to find a good balance between the two.

  5. savidgereads

    I get rather a lot of review copies, but I would say 80% of these are unsolicited and therefore I have to say I don’t feel bad if I don’t read them instantly, or even at all. if i have asked for a book then I tend to try and read it/review it within a few weeks of it coming out. That said this rarely happens, especially because of the Green Carnation, but that is something publishers and I have discussed before.

    I think timing with a book is essential. I know lots of publishers would rather I read the book when it was right and the book and I get along much better if that makes sense. Read an amazing book at the wrong time and it could go horribly wrong.

    Also, what people forget is, that while initial hype about a book is great it can really put people off. Bringing Up The Bodies is such a book I had such feelings for a while ago. The PR life of a book shuldn’t have a set end date, if publishers are pushing that on someone it means they don’t care about the book as much as they say they do. It can be better to have a slow burning word of mouth hit than a flash in the pan.

    Last point from me, sorry if am wittering on, it depends what you are blogging for. If it is a diary of what you read then you should be reading what you want when you want, if you want conversations then, and this is what I do, read the book when you want before publishing date and post a review a month after it has come out as then non-bloggers/proof readers can join in. I only break this rule with books I utterly love or authors I love. McEwan will be such an author. Though I have just noticed I have a review of Carlos Ruiz Zafon;s newie that I adored and still haven’t posted. It’s all about mood in reading and reviewing I guess.


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