How often do you review books for authors who request? (Discussion)

Over the past few months I have become inundated with review requests from authors. Many of the book reviews I have listed are from authors who have graciously provided me a copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. While I absolutely love to be given the opportunity to give back to these people who have worked so hard, I have started to think that I need to take a little bit of a step back.

When I first started my blog, it was solely for the purpose of talking about all the great books I have chosen to read for myself, and hoping to get the chance to read some for review as well. I started to list my blog name under book blogger lists and directories and became really excited when I started getting an influx of requests on a daily basis. During this point in time, I would pretty much accept anything. There are definitely a few titles under my book review list that I would have never considered reading in the first place, but had felt bad about rejecting. While I never lied in my reviews if the book wasn’t good, there are still many times that I have been brought into horrible ‘reading slumps’ because of them, and it has gotten to the point many times that I don’t even want to read. Unfortunately, I am now in a dilemma because I know I told people that I would review their books; however, I am no longer excited for them.

At this point in time, I have about 6 books that I am ‘supposed’ to read and review; however, I think I am going to have to narrow it down to 2, and then start out fresh. I am currently reading one (and am enjoying it), and that is ‘Home to Roost’ by Chauncey Rogers, and I have another one that I am interested in, but after that I think it will be time for a break.

I want to read and review more books that I WANT to read, and feel less pressured into pumping out the reviews from requests. Since I am not getting paid around here, its time to start being a little more picky with what I choose to read. With that being said, how often do y’all review books for authors that request?

-Carissa

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14 thoughts on “How often do you review books for authors who request? (Discussion)”

  1. First, I’m not a book blogger, so maybe you’re not looking for an answer from me quite as much. However, I have some experience being on the other end of that relationship–being the one asking for the review.
    From that position, I would encourage you to read what you want to read. It’s your time, it’s your hobby. It’s awesome that there are book bloggers who will read Indie stuff, but Indie authors (myself included) aren’t entitled to your time or favor. I’ve asked plenty of bloggers to give my book a try. Most don’t say anything back. Some say “No thank you.” A few have been interested and agreed to read it. And that’s just fine. I’ve read enough Indie titles to know that some are great, but many are not very good at all. So agreeing to read an Indie title is a bit of a gamble as to whether or not it will be an unpleasant experience. I would think (and hope) that other Indie authors understand that, and thus keep a pretty thick skin when it comes to requesting book reviews.
    In short, I guess what I’m saying is if you don’t actually want to read it, then don’t feel obligated to. And maybe don’t be too afraid to make a healthy stack of DNF titles, too. Some books, sad as it is, just aren’t worth the time.
    But that’s just my two cents. I’m curious what others think.

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    1. Thanks for your insight! I agree, some titles that I have accepted have been good, and some are very good… but then there are some that are so bad that when I put the book down for any given time, I seriously dread picking it back up. When I eventually do pick them back up, I really have to push my self to the end in agony, and I never want to have to think about one of my favorite hobbies being agonizing.

      -Carissa

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      1. Exactly. I would feel bad if I knew that somebody read through my book out of obligation, and really disliked the experience. I’d much rather that they DNF’d it then agonized their way to the end.

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  2. I usually decline the offer unless it sounds like something I would enjoy. Simply for the reason that if I really hated the book, I would feel bad giving my honest opinion, seeing how the author contacted me directly. This is difficult enough to do with my Netgalley reviews, because there is an author who worked really hard behind every book that is published, and I hate having to give negative reviews. When I first started my blog I was so desperate to build up my stats that I would also accept anything, and like you I felt like I was forcing myself to read a lot of books that weren’t really “me” – and DNFing gave me a bad ratio on Netgalley. So I have become quite selective with what I request, and am finding that I have had a really good run this year with excellent reads, which makes me happy and hopefully also the publishers, since my reviews have been mostly positive. Also, I work full time, and there never is enough time to read all the books I want and post regularly on my blog, so having to force myself to read something I don’t enjoy feels like a waste of time for everyone concerned. So I don’t feel bad about saying no any more if the book doesn’t sound like my sort of read.

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  3. My blog is centered around my own compulsive reading. I don’t know if that influences authors (or if my light following does) but I don’t get requests and doubt I’d respond if I did. On the other hand I post links on Twitter and have had authors and publishing houses follow me. That’s led to me reading a few books I might not have found otherwise.

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  4. I definitely can relate to how you are feeling. Even though my book blog is fairly new and I started it (about 2 months ago) with the notion of reading books that I wanted and providing my thoughts about them with my fellow book bloggers.
    However now that I am learning more about book reviewing in the sphere of digital media, such as with platforms such as NetGalley and getting into contact with authors who wish to market their books, I’ve become more open about what I read. This isn’t exactly because I want to, but rather because I am still trying to “create a name for myself.” As a result, I can’t be too choosy until I have established good enough relationships with authors and publishers.
    Amazing post – very insightful.
    I look forward to reading more from you in the future Carissa… Happy Reading! 🙂

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  5. It can take all the enjoyment out if you ‘feel’ you have to read. I do not encourage submissions, especially as I do not have as much time to read as I would like. If I do receive such a request, I carefully read the synopsis and anything else available and then make my mind up. Due to the overall nature of my own writing and principle aims for my website etc. I tend, for the best part, to restrict my reading to memoirs/autobiographies/biographies though I do occasionally give my brain a rest and read in another genre. In addition, I favour the works of indie, self-publishers tough again, there is the occasional exception. As someone else has said above, it is your hobby and you should feel free to read what you want. I find a clear, explanatory, refusal helps the author understand and not become offended.

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  6. I usually say no to review books, mostly because most of the requests are for genres I never really read, and I don’t read those genres because I don’t like them. If it is something I would read anyway I accept but most people asking haven’t looked through my blog to see what I actually like.

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  7. I’m not a full time reader, but i read in my spare time to get a break from reality. From the past month my college has reopened and i get almost no time to read. Before the college reopened, i used to read around 2-3 books per month which included the review copies that new authors send me. Yeah at first i was all same like you, i used to be like give me all, I’ll read it all. But after a few books I became choosier and selected only a few books which invoked my interest . After choosing Review books of my interest, i read Review books and the book which i wanted to read in an alternate way which maintained the balance between new authors and the books which i wanted to read. But right now (for the past 1 month), lets just say i read almost nothing at all. All I wanted to say is maintain an alternate pattern and don’t just accept all the books from the authors, accept a few at a time and that too which you find fascinating. Happy Reading . 🙂

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  8. More often than not I politely refuse the myriad review requests that I receive from authors. I would much rather choose my own reading material, therefore I usually get my books from NetGalley and Edelweiss.
    I’ve found that the requesters often don’t take the time to read my review policy and they offer me genres of books that I would never choose for myself. If I begrudgingly read a book my review will more than likely be unfavorable, so I would be doing the hard-working author a disservice if I agreed to review their book.
    Life is too short to read books that you really don’t want to read.

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