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The Scaling-Back Book Blogging Stage

A photo of my ARC list for a couple of months

It is a thing seeming to be universally acknowledged, that a blogger in need of respite after a fair few years, should be in want of a few less books.

And, where I’m concerned, possibly some inspiration, too!

Today I’m thinking about ARCs and the interesting way that, no matter how much you think ‘that will never happen to me!’ (complete with a look of horror on your face), at some point in your blogging career you, like those who started long before you, find that the idea of saying ‘no’ more often is a very good habit to adopt.

Given that most book bloggers seem to come to this conclusion as their blog matures, I’m not going to discuss the last four years or speak as an advisor for those who have been blogging for less time. I’m simply going to agree with the concept.

I’ve reached the book blogging age at which less is more. I can’t say I never saw the value in reviewing my own books, or in reviewing older books, because I have always reviewed them. But it takes reaching that point, wherever it may be for you, at which you find you want as well as need to cut back a bit (‘want’ and ‘need’ blending together is more important than just needing in this respect). When you realise that your blog is just as good with a better mix of owned and requested/sent, and, crucially, when you truly madly deeply understand the concept that blogging about exactly, specifically exactly what you want to write about, is the best way forward.

I always knew it, but I didn’t know it. And I think no matter how many blog posts you read advising you that the time will come and that perhaps you’re better off not requesting all those books even though you’re understandably excited and honoured to read them, you have to experience this feeling for yourself for it to really take effect. In this way even though reading a ‘senior’ blogger’s post might make you feel you’ve a long way to go, I feel that despite the general need for a change later on, that excited requesting-everything-saying-yes-to-all stage is important to go through. There’s a general life lesson in there somewhere.

I know I’ve mentioned it in my (few) latest acquisitions posts so I won’t go into it other than to say, I’ve now been doing this ‘no’ thing for a while. And whilst I did wonder at the start if I was loosing my love of blogging, what I realised was that I was actually loving it more, and that was why I was becoming so selective. I love blogging and writing about books so much I want to invest the time in reading books I can give my all to writing about, no matter if I end up disliking them. Accepting a book just because you feel you should all too often leads to a passionate-less response, not to mention more blogging slumps.

It’s quality over quantity.

Suffice to say that writing more about books already published increases conversation, which in turn increases your own interest. And writing about new books that you’re truly interested in is gold.

I am by no means saying no to ARCs. I love to review books for publishers and it broadens my horizons as much as other bloggers’ recommendations do. But I am being very selective, and saying ‘no’ even to books I know I would enjoy.

You need time to read and write about books, and you need to remember to give yourself that time.

Have you reached this stage yet? Did you manage to skip the all-the-books stage? Or, for those of you who have always mostly reviewed ARCs, have you ever felt the desire to change?



June 11, 2014, 2:58 am

Yes? I came to blogging before they were giving away books to blog about – or I missed that when I started – anyway, I was always too self-conscious to review books in exchange for a free copy so I never did accept ARCS and then moved right into not caring to do so! Blog how it works FOR YOU and have fun with it, is this ‘senior’ blogger’s recommendations. BEST to you!


June 11, 2014, 4:19 am

I’m with Care. I never got into the ARC reviewing thing either. When I started my first book blog there weren’t many of us around and we used to just post about books we’d bought or borrowed from the library. I miss the old days of readers just waffling on and chatting about books they love. :)


June 11, 2014, 6:58 am

I still have trouble saying no, but I am more selective so I will not read everything. Just what I want


June 11, 2014, 9:51 am

I’d like to have more time to read what I want to read rather than just ARCs but it’s harder when there are two authors to a blog – I say No don’t take that book, or Can we stop accepting things from publisher X, but hubby carries on regardless and then the TBR pile makes me feel gulity so I read them anyway. Having said that, some of the more interesting books have turned up accidentally.

Tracy Terry

June 11, 2014, 10:11 am

I think I’m just about at that stage now. Quickly coming to the realisation my TBR mountain isn’t going to get any smaller unless I start being more selective as to which books I accept from authors/publishers.


June 11, 2014, 12:59 pm

I do accept review copies and ARCs although I didn’t initially when I started my blog I wanted to get into the blogging swing first. I am selective about what I will accept though preferring ARCs from my favourite genres. I love how you can find new authors you might never have otherwise. It did take a while for me to feel okay about saying no though…always felt a little rude!

Sam (Tiny Library)

June 11, 2014, 1:08 pm

I went through this process too, and although I still theoretically accept review copies, it’s rare that I say ‘yes’ now. I’m reading more like I did before starting blogging four years ago, and it feels great!


June 11, 2014, 1:42 pm

I never looked for review copies and accepted only a few of the ones that came my way. Probably this is because I was older–old enough to know what I wanted, certainly–when I started blogging.
Love your first line.


June 11, 2014, 2:00 pm

Sounds like this is a decision that will make you a lot happier. I went through my Netgally phase last year and it ended up being the worst decision for me as a blogger (even if it helped traffic). I remember asking you for advice back then as I didn’t feel as though I was being true to wanted I wanted to do when I began blogging (your advice was very helpful :) )

Literary Feline

June 11, 2014, 5:45 pm

I’ve become more selective over the years about the books I agree to review, only wanting to read the books I want to read whether review copies or not. I get so little reading time as it is–I want to make it count.

It’s still a struggle, trying to work in both my own books and review books sometimes–more so because I have such a hard time deciding what to read. But the guilt of reading my own book over a review book is gone for the most part. I can only do what I can do.

Jenny @ Reading the End

June 11, 2014, 11:18 pm

I try to be selective about what books I request, and I say no to 95% of the pitches that come my way. Because you’re right: you end up getting bogged down in all the books you have to read, and then you start resenting them. (At least I do.) And that’s no way to feel about reading.


June 12, 2014, 4:23 am

I agree with Jenny above! She is always so smart :). And I agree with your decision, too. Do what you want! It is your time and your blog.

Christine @Buckling Bookshelves

June 12, 2014, 11:06 pm

I haven’t been blogging as long as you, but I think I’m starting to hit this stage now. I get so excited about upcoming books that when I see a giveaway or request form on Shelf Awareness, I just can’t help myself! I absolutely do want to read them and review them, but have ended up with a backlog I feel very guilty about (despite all the advice I’ve read telling me NOT to feel guilty about it — it’s quite a conundrum!) I’ve said so many times, that this backlog is due mainly to the fact that the books from giveaways & Shelf Awareness come sporadically, I never know what I’m getting or when it will arrive, and it’s therefore very hard to plan, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know better. It’s time to cut back, catch up, and then see how I feel about review books later on. Unsubscribing from Shelf Awareness may be a necessity (at least temporarily!)



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