I know I’m not alone when I say I’m behind on books I have for review. Sometimes it’s because my eyes were bigger than my … eyes? (Yeah, that metaphor doesn’t work for books the way it works for food.) Or sometimes it’s because a book that I really wanted to read somehow lost its luster along the way and I wasn’t excited about it anymore. For whatever reason, not every book I have for review has gotten read. But recently I’ve been making a concerted effort to read some of those older review titles that have been waiting for me.
Some strategies I’ve used lately to catch up on those review books:
- Sign up for blog tours.
Nowadays, when I sign up for a blog tour, it’s almost always for a book I already have for review. So, why bother signing up for a tour, you ask? Because then I have a deadline. I mean, you could argue that the release date is a deadline anyway, but no one’s checking my blog on release day to make sure I posted that review. And no matter how much I tell myself that I need to get the book read before release, sometimes … I don’t. But I always have a review up for my tour date. Plus, I get to offer up a giveaway for my readers, so it’s really a win all around!
- Listen to audiobooks.
Here’s a weird thing: In my mind, audiobooks are like “bonus” books. They aren’t required reading, and I don’t push myself to get them done faster. Anything I read via audio feels to me like just extra use of time that would otherwise be ignored (like while I’m in the car or while I’m sorting laundry or doing dishes). I get lots of “extra” reading done via audiobooks, but lately I’ve also been finding audiobooks at my library that I have for review that I never got to. I listen to them and it feels like I somehow snuck an extra review book in! Plus, this strategy is great for books that I was originally excited about reading but then sort of lost interest in for one reason or another—especially if it’s because some so-so reviews came in and people said the book was slow. I’ve discovered that I have a way higher tolerance for books with pacing issues when I listen. Probably because I listen in snippets anyway, so the pacing isn’t as critical. Plus, listening to a great narrator read to you is just generally entertaining.
- Request WAY less.
Obviously, I can’t ever catch up if I keep requesting at a ridiculous rate. Lately, I’ve been a whole lot better about this, though. Which brings me to my next point…
- Review one book for every one I’ve received.
Some of you have seen that I do this because I have it as a goal in my monthly wrap-up posts. I’ve made it a point this year of making sure that I’m reading at least one review book for every book I receive for review (even if it’s unsolicited). This way, I don’t get even further behind. As of November, I was ahead of the goal on this, so it’s been working well.
- Clear out those really old books.
Okay, so there are some books that I’ve had for years that I’ve never reviewed. Some of them are from events like BEA, some are random unsolicited books that were sent to me, and some are NetGalley books I accepted early in my blogging years but never got to. I had good intentions when I took these books, but at some point, I just have to cut my losses and realize that I’m not going to manage to read them all. I finally took some of the physical books off my shelf and donated them (much guilt was involved). For the NetGalley ones, I’m doing my best to read one now and then, even if I’m fairly certain I’m not going to like it, but I’m giving myself permission to skim read if one really isn’t working for me. If I can’t give it at least three stars, I put a basic review in Goodreads and move on. This gleaning of books has been a semi-painful process, but it’s necessary.