December 22, 2011

Reviewing in 2012

Looking back on my first year of blogging I must admit that I did more in regard to reviewing than I initially thought I would. I figured there might be the odd review every now and then, but my stats speak louder than my plans - I reviewed a total of 55 books this year!

New year, new plans!

At least 75% non fiction reviews!
It's no secret that I consider myself to be a non fiction reviewer despite the odd fiction novel occasionaly sneaking in. With 39 non fiction books, and 16 regular novels reviewed this year, I didn't quite reach the 75% hurdle, but next year I really want to make fiction the exception and let those non fiction reviews soar!

No reviews for non-review books!
That might need some explaining. I used to review every single book I read. Those I received specifically for review and my own books (the latter were only put on LibraryThing and Goodreads though). I already cancelled my private reviews this November. It was simply too time consuming and started feeling like a chore. The Damocles Sword of having to write a review really dampened the whole enjoyment of reading. I will still put ratings to the books and post two or three lines about how I found them on my blog each Sunday, but that'll be it.

No more than five eGalleys for review at a time!
Five is the magic number! But seriously, you have to draw the line somewhere and five seemed reasonable. This translates to not requesting tons of books on NetGalley. I sure overdid this when I first discovered the wonderful world of eGalleys. The excitement is still here, yet I'm a lot wiser now, and pressure is not what I need or want. Reading should be fun, not a job. Then again if it was a job and got paid well ... but I digress.

No longer accepting review requests!
From now on I will only actively request books I want to review, be it on sites like NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Galley Grab (in case they ever send out a newsletter again, because the last one I got was back in September) or directly from publishers. Time might not exactly be money, but it sure is precious.

Afterthought on my review policy ...
Some days I seriously wonder why I even have a page advertising my review policy. I receive an awful lot of review requests were it's evident the authors didn't even glance at it. I know I'm not alone with this and other bloggers experience the same thing. I used to explain each and every author why exactly I would not review their books - in most cases because the book simply didn't fit in with my reviewing-theme - but enough of that! From now on it's the standard reply of "Sorry, I no longer accept any new review requests!". Of course I could just ignore them, but to me it's good manners to at least reply.

A word of the wise to authors looking for bloggers to review their books!
Read the f§$%&ing review policy!
Keep it personal, yet short and crisp!
Trust me, heeding these two pieces of advice might not get you that review you want, but it certainly raises your chances!


  1. Aah, great post, Birgit! I would add as well - don't read the book you got for review if you don't like it. I started dnf-ing books like that because there is simply no time in the world for reading something I don't enjoy.

  2. reading should definitely not be a chore, so once you have the slightest feeling of exhaustion, just leave it aside :)

  3. I just received a review request for an urban fantasy novel ... apart from NOT accepting any new requests, I also DO NOT review that genre! To make matters even worse they didn't even address me with Birgit but "Dear The Book Garden"!? It's high time I forgot about manners and simply start ignoring pesky e-mails like that one *grumbles*.

  4. Sounds good! Good luck with the plans. I thought something was wrong with Galley Grab!

  5. I totally get your frustration with review requests where its obvious they have made no effort to read my policy at all. I just have a generic thanks but no thanks email I reply with

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out