ABB link-up: Book blogging – managing the process

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Permalink

The third Aussie Book Bloggers’ Link-up 

I’ve talked ad nauseam about my love of reading. Most weeks I read 3-4 books, depending what I have on. I only read at night and only in the bath. (Yes, weird I know!)

I also love writing, so book blogging is kinda perfect.

But occasionally I get behind in the reviewing process. And before I know it I’m having to force myself to not-read until I catch up on reviewing. Which has been happening of late. A lot!

I’ve been struggling a bit and I’m not quite sure why. I’m still only working part-time but I’ve been letting things slide a little.
** I’ve talked before about the ‘signs’ – my broken windows, my unopened mail and unstacked dishwasher. **

Emails that need a response have gone unanswered and tasks needing to be actioned have been ignored.

And it’s not like I don’t care as I struggle with guilt and that gnawing feeling one gets in the back of their head when there’s stuff you don’t want to think about.



Fellow book blogger Suz, recently asked how others organise their reading and reviewing and suggested it as this week’s #ABBlinkup topic – which is extremely timely.

Reading and reviewing

Although I had a spate of hard copy books delivered in September the flurry is over and I’m back to just requesting ebooks (received for a short period) via NetGalley. Once (if) approved I sort them in order (by publication date) and add them to my reading list. (Downloading each as I go.) It sounds pretty straight forward, doesn’t it?

As I’m usually in the bath when reading and using my iPad, I use a reader which allows me to ‘bookmark’ pages and add notes. Unless the writing is particularly funny or beautiful I rarely provide quotes in my reviews, but I’ll mark a page if I have something to say.

Ideally I then remember to check the bookmarked pages as I’m writing the review. Often the electronic note will say something like – WTF?! – and I’ll have to read over the page to get an idea of what was frustrating me.

I ‘try’ to do the review as soon as possible. Twice I’ve left it so long I’ve had to scour the book to remember what it was about. And once I started reviewing the wrong plot!

Publication Dates

My biggest challenge is writing reviews to publication dates – most publishing companies prefer reviews be released 2 weeks either side of the book’s release. I MOSTLY read advance copies of books. In fact I’m currently reading some books due for publication in January and March 2015.

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 9.59.54 AM

I now try to write the review straight away and schedule it in my blog (for some future date). I’m a WordPress user and I have the Calendar plugin (pic above) so I can coordinate my schedule if there are a lot of books coming out at once and I can see what’s scheduled down the track.

Sharing and promoting reviews

Scheduling reviews in advance and using the calendar for my blog have been great but I still struggle a little with remembering to go onto Goodreads and The Reading Room when my blog goes live to add summaries and links to my blog posts. In addition, to the best of my knowledge Amazon doesn’t allow reviews until AFTER the release date so I need to remember to later add my summary and links there.


I’ve started using sheets of paper to track it all (above). A tick when read, date released, date published in my blog (Goodreads & Reading Room), crossed out when added to Amazon. Oh yeah… definitely high tech!

And as for social media shares – I tweet links to my post when it gets published on my blog but then never really think of it AFTER the book’s been released.

It’s actually all a bit exhausting. I’m sure there must be an easier way…

I’m keen to hear from other book bloggers how they manage their reading and reviewing processes. (Feel free to share your link below if you like!)

And for non book bloggers – anyone else want to share your danger signs: how you know things are spiralling out of control?

  • Char
    October 16, 2014

    I’m exhausted just reading about it. It’s so much work!

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2014

      True. Obviously there’s no money involved, so fortunately I love it!

  • Pinky Poinker
    October 16, 2014

    I admire your organisational skills Deb. You should have been a teacher! I know things are going to the pack when I start forgetting really important things. It means I’m on brain overload. I honestly don’t know how you manage to do so much and do it so well!

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2014

      It’s the little stuff which gets to me.

      PS. On the organisation front… I’m a control freak, so that helps. 😉

  • Satu
    October 16, 2014

    I also think you’re pretty well organized. And you handwriting is way better than mine! 🙂

    My biggest problem with reviewing and reading so many books (if I did it) would be the fact that I would be forced to read lots of bad or mediocre books. The older I get the less tolerance I have for bad writing…

    Is it an issue to you? Can you choose the books your review?

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2014

      Yes, I usually request the books Satu so stick to ones I think I’ll like. I have read a few I disliked though – and I’ll try to explain why in my review (could be a ‘me’ thing).

      A couple of times I haven’t been able to finish a book. If I really hate it or didn’t finish I won’t review it on my blog, but I’ll usually write something in Goodreads etc.

      I’ve recently read a memoir of sorts that I didn’t love and am trying to decide how to review that – given my main issues were with the (in my opinion) not-very-likeable lead character – ie. the author!!!

  • Suzie
    October 16, 2014

    I’m echoing the admiration here, I’m much more ad hoc in my note taking and reviewing. I have a spreadsheet which should logically contain every book on my to be read pile, I’ve never gotten around to filling anything in though.

    I know I’m spiralling out of control when I’m procrastinating with useful stuff and getting through other tasks which, while important, are not urgent. Sometimes I have to be stern and just make myself get the important stuff done.

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2014

      Yes, I make lists. I did get through 2 reviews on my day off on Monday by making a list (and some other stuff which was very overdue!).

  • Bill
    October 16, 2014

    Nice insight into the life of a book blogger. As a semi professional photographer, at times I tend to leave editing of images till the last possible minute before delivery is due which can lead to all nighters in front of the PC.

    • Debbish
      October 17, 2014

      Oh yes… I’ve always thought I worked better under pressure so often left stuff until the last minute!

  • Jess
    October 17, 2014

    Oh it is quite the process! I am impressed! It is amazing how much work is involved just in blogging let alone reviewing books you have read. I can tell my life is spiraling out of control when the laundry backs up, mail stays unopened and my car becomes filled with toys and stuff!

    • Debbish
      October 17, 2014

      I only have my own laundry to do and know what it’s like when I’m apathetic, so with three littlies…. I can only imagine.

  • Tracey
    October 17, 2014

    Great article Debbish. I’m also a fellow booklover and book blogger, and in addition to the work you outlined above, I also track all of the requests I receive from authors, publishers and publicists to review their work. That way I know if I’ve already declined something when another request comes in (happens more than you’d think). I’m a born organiser though and use lists and excel spreadsheets to keep track of everything.

    • Debbish
      October 17, 2014

      Ah see I don’t actually get requests…. I’m only a little book blogger so still do all of the requesting myself! Though I get the generic media releases etc. I like your approach though.

      • Tracey Allen (@Carpe_Librum1)
        October 20, 2014

        Well, if you have your email address available on your website, it’ll only be a matter of time 🙂 In the majority of cases though, NetGalley books are of a much better standard than those offered unsolicited.

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