Bookish Blatherings #12: Never-Ending Review Requests

Posted August 28th, 2014 in Bookish Blatherings, My Features / 34 comments

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Welcome to Bookish Blatherings, a Bad Bird Reads feature where I ramble about bookish or bloggerish things and hopefully you will join in on the discussion.

I’d say for about the past two years, I have been receiving a steady stream of around 10 to 20 review requests (more often that not, review requests mean books from indie/self-published authors) a week. I made the rookie mistake of accepting most of them at first. Then I realized I didn’t have time for all those books. So I started getting more selective. But even then, I always had and have about 10-15 accepted review requests waiting for me at any given time. I feel like I am good at only accepting the rare few that really interest me. And it has become easier to weed out the ones I don’t want when they don’t follow my review request guidelines. But that’s not what this discussion is about.

Even with dropping down to a less than 5% acceptance rate for review requests, I find myself swamped with them. My blog tour books and most ARCs (from NetGalley and Edelweiss mainly) are my main priorities. When those are done, I dive into my review request books. I’d say they have about a 50% chance of being good or bad from my experience. But that’s not what’s bothering me. It’s that I no longer have time for the books I want to read that aren’t a part of a blog tour, an ARC, or a review request.  Like books from series I love or new ones everyone is raving about. I just don’t have time to fit those in with my schedule anymore.

I have realized that I need to cut something. ARCs I love because I get to try out so many different genres and authors. I like blog tours too because they introduce me to books I might have never heard about otherwise and I often get to share extras in my posts. Blog tour and ARC books have a higher chance of me liking them than review requests do; that’s what I have noticed anyway. So I feel like that leaves me with possibly dropping review requests. I don’t know if I need to cut back more or just stop accepting them.

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I do like review request books because I have met some amazing authors out there because of them. But I find myself dreading having to chance another review request and taking away room for my leisure fun books. Maybe I am deluding myself and I need to cut back on blog tour and ARC books as well. I don’t know.

All this has led me to wondering how other bloggers handle review requests.

Do you have a limit on how many review requests you accept?
Do you even accept review requests? Why?
How would you guys feel if I stopped posting reviews from books by indie/self-published authors (ergo, stop accepting review requests)?

I have noticed that my review request posts tend to get less comments, so maybe getting rid of review requests is a good idea. But I can’t help but think that I am giving up a possibly amazing source of  good books.

In general, yay or nay to review requests?

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34 Responses to “Bookish Blatherings #12: Never-Ending Review Requests”

  1. Cora @ Tea Party Princess

    Hmm, it’s a tough one, isn’t it?
    I don’t get many review requests, maybe one a week. I don’t really accept many of them – my blog has a pretty clear audience, so when I get someone requesting a review for a dark high-brow sci-fi I kinda roll my eyes and no-thank-you.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I really wish I got less reviews, this would make the decision so much easier.

  2. Melliane

    I don’t accept a lot of requests I confess but I accept some when I’m interested but well I’m so late with everything and as like you I’m reading my Netgalley and else book first, the others tend to wait for a long time…

  3. Cassidie Jhones

    When I received my first couple of review requests I was so happy, I had the urge to accept them all. In the end, I only accepted just, like, the 3/4 of it, haha. Though since then I became a lot pickier, next to my not lacking ARC pile I still don’t stand a chance finishing them any time soon. I have problems with even getting about them despite the fact that I’ve passed my promised one month deadline for a rather long while now.

    The thing is, so far I haven’t gotten a review request that left me truly impressed. There were some I quite liked, but that’s all. However, among the ARCs I have encountered – either from NetGalley/Edelweiss or book tour, there were a few very remarkable ones.

    And with all that I still haven’t read books from my TBR, books that released years ago and books I’m dying to finally get. To. Read.

    Adding everything up, I’m seriously considering your idea of just ditching review requests as a whole.

    Great topic, and great post! Have a great week.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      See, that’s were is gets hard for me. I have had quite a few that blew my mind. So I feel like if I stop accepting review requests, I am missing out on something.

  4. laura thomas

    That’s a tough question or two. I get many requests each week and wish I could accept some but I’m so far behind already. I’ve met some great authors and read some good books by accepting reviews but time is so hard to come by now. I started this year saying I would read and review one book from my TBR each week and I can’t even meet that. I’m not going to stop accepting requests but I’m definitely getting more selective.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Yeah, I see what you’re saying. I might just have to be more selective too.

  5. Ashley

    Great question! I actually only accepted review requests for a few months on my blog before shutting them down completely. I just hadn’t enjoyed any of the books I received and realized I’d much rather BUY indie books I’m interested in and read them at my leisure than be obligated to fulfill requests.

    But I think you’ve had a different experience than I have and I can tell that you really enjoy the personal connection with the author. So that makes it a tough call!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I know!!! I still don’t know what to do. Maybe I have to make a limit of accepting 10 review requests a year.

  6. Red Iza

    I don’t accept requests any more. They more or less force me to read books I don’t necessarily want to read while there are so many others waiting for me ! I wouldn’t mind if you stopped reviewing requests. Your blog, your time, your books, your choice !

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Yeah, I do enjoy spreading the word about amazing indie books but there haven’t been much this year.

  7. Rita_h

    I’ve stopped accepting any request books now-been -burned too many times.

    I do still request/accept arcs/books from NetGalley, Blogging for Books, Goodreads, and Penguin First Reads, and accept books gifted from authors I enjoy. But I don’t take any random books offered by unknown-to-me authors. I had to cut back somewhere, and I like being in control of my reading so I have a good idea as to its worth to me. Thanks for a good discussion point.

  8. Kristin

    I was the same way when I started out. I accepted everything and found out pretty soon that I could not keep up with it all. Plus, I didn’t even really enjoy all the books. Now I have a disclaimer at the top of my request policy that states that I’m unable to accept all requests. I still find myself rushing to play catch up on the books I have but I am not so overwhelmed anymore. I only accept the books that really interest me. Books that I would be really bummed if I passed on. However, every once in a while I do offer the books I turn down a spotlight post on the blog with an excerpt or guest post from the author and they usually are happy to offer my review copy to a blog winner. So I still get the indie books out there but it doesn’t take up a couple of days of my reading time.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

    • Jennifer Bielman

      True, I need to start offering guest posts and interviews instead. That’s a good idea.

  9. Finley Jayne

    I’ve been blogging since the beginning of the year and I haven’t received one review request yet-either my blog really sucks and it’s scaring authors off, or they’re actually reading my review policy, which states that I only read/review library books. Hopefully, it’s the latter one lol.

  10. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I ignore all review request now. Sad but no one ever listens to my rules. No i don’t review true crime or diet books! The only review books I accept right now are for audiobooks. I used to feel guilty, now Ijust ignore 🙂

  11. Jaclyn Canada

    I have mainly made months dedicated to certain things. This month is my ‘re-read’ and new books in series I love month. Some months I do a bunch of blog tours and some months I try to take on the review requests. That’s the only way I know to sort it out. The #1 thing is that I WILL read the books that I want to even if it takes me a while. I have promised myself blogging wouldn’t keep me from hitting that to-read list. I bet you’ll find a great way to balance it all!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      That is a great idea!!! I should set out a month or two for review requests and that’s it.

  12. Alisa Selene

    When I first started blogging I accepted all request and now I really don’t do them at all as I often find it hard to say something negative when it is for example an Indie author, this is my hang up I admit!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I do hate writing negative reviews for indie authors. Unfortunately, it happens often.

  13. chucklesthescot

    I don’t have a review policy posted on my blog so review requests tend to come through Goodreads groups. Instead I go looking for Indie books that interest me on groups, on blogs, on Smashwords and on Amazon, and I review for author friends. I used to take on 30-40 books a month and after 6 months of that I got too stressed and had to cut back. On the Indie side of things I have found great stuff and utter crap-but every book I’ve ever choosen is a lottery! I personally love reading Indie books and promoting them on my blog but I think you need to look at what works best for you and your blog. Give priority to what you want to read and don’t worry about saying no to more people.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I think in the end I just have to really cut back a lot. I shouldn’t accept more than one review request a month.

  14. Christy

    I don’t accept review requests anymore, and I very rarely do blog tours. I had to cut them because I was seriously starting to hate blogging. I only read the books I stumble across or request. I love being able to select a book off my TBR most times now.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      So far, blog tours have been more good than bad, but the review requests, not so much.

  15. Kimber Leigh Wheaton

    I had to close my blog to review requests at the beginning of the year. They were pouring in at an astronomical rate, up to ten per day. I hate saying no to anyone, but really there’s only so much time in a day. Personally I like supporting Indie authors. Some of the best books I’ve read this year were self-published. I feel for you, though. I have so many books on my TBR that I want to read but don’t need to review. They sit on my Kindle unread because they aren’t a priority. So, I get sad and reading becomes a chore. Not a good thing. You have to find a balance, or you’ll go crazy. My suggestion: add those non-review books to your calendar and read them, close your blog to reviews for a while (or limit requests to your favorite genre only). I DNF a book quickly and without remorse if I don’t like it. That way I don’t have to write negative reviews which to me are a time-sucking waste. If I hated the book, why waste my time reviewing it?

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I think I am going to just limit my acceptance of review request to maybe 1 to 3 a month. That seems manageable. Because, like you said, some of the best books I have ever read were from indie-authors.

  16. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I recently started taking on WAY less tours and only accepting review books that sound REALLY good to me for exactly this reason – I wasn’t able to get to the random books that I really want to read. There are so many amazing books out there and I definitely felt like I was missing out, so I decided to do something about it. I don’t think I want to give up on accepting review books altogether, but I did want to cut way back. But I agree – I get so many of these requests that it can be really overwhelming sometimes!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I respond to every review request which is becoming tedious. I think I should just start deleting the ones I don’t want to accept. I hate not responding to the author but it’s taking up too much time.

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