Will Our Non-Blogger Readers Please Stand Up?

6 January, 2014 Musing Musers 117 comments

readingLately, I’ve been doing some thinking about the way I blog, choose books to read and interact with other readers. And over the past two years of blogging at Cuddlebuggery (OMG, CB will be two next month!), I’ve noticed a pattern: we’ve been mostly catering to other blogger readers. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy interacting with other bloggers, because I REALLY do. But there was a time when I was not a blogger and I reviewed exclusively on Goodreads. I only wrote reviews solely for my own amusement first and my Goodreads friends second. I purchased most of the books I read or visited my library almost every week. I actually read a LOT more books than I do now, because I didn’t feel pressured to have a review or post up everyday.

Since becoming a blogger, I engage far less on Goodreads with other readers (aside from the fact that Goodreads has personally burned me in more ways that one, but that’s besides the point >_>), I don’t read as many of the books I REALLY want to read because I’m always reading ARCs, I always feel behind in reading (which is weird because this isn’t my job and it shouldn’t feel like that), I don’t go to the library for me anymore, I don’t buy that many books and when I do, I almost never have time to read them, I don’t read as much because I spend so much time blogging. I’ve even stopped writing Muser posts because I have to read, review, do a blog tour post and still have time for Real Life. I take more blogging/reviewing breaks than I used to, but blogging is supposed to be my escapism. If I’m feeling the need to escape my escapism, something is not right.

When I look back at the “before” versus where I am today, I think I was a happier reader.

Okay, so let’s back up and get this out the way: This is not a goodbye post. I love blogging, I love the relationships I’ve developed because of it, I love this community filled with people who just get me and I love talking about books. But if I’m really being honest, sometimes blogging can be stressful. Of course, it’s fun at first getting ARCs in the mail, publishers asking you to be on blog tours, etc. But after a while, it starts to feel less like a hobby and more like a responsibility you have to do. Remember when you were in high school and your English teacher gave you the dreaded Required Reading List? That’s how it’s starting to feel. And it shouldn’t because I love doing this, right?

So what’s the solution here? How do I get back to that Happy Reading Place and still enjoy this blogging community? More importantly, what does my angst-filled post have to do with you? Well, I was on twitter today and I was talking with a blogger pal about 2014 and what we planned on doing differently ARC wise. I mentioned that I was barely going to request any this year because I’m finally at a place where I wouldn’t mind if I don’t get the latest and greatest (also, I’m a slow reader and backed up as it is). That’s hard to admit, because a lot of bloggers will tell you that it doesn’t matter, but it feels good to get ARCs or be one of the first people to read a new book. Here’s the thing though, the other day I order Winger by Andrew Smith and I felt just as happy, maybe even more so, than if an ARC came in the mail. So, hey, you know what? I know I would be just fine if publishers were to cut me off tomorrow.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, I started thinking about why it is that I wanted ARCs in the first place? Obviously, because I’m impatient and I hate waiting, but why else? I know as a new blogger it was a status thing for me. I wanted to get a review up early so that people would notice my blog. It’s that urge to stay ahead or relevant because there are so many blogs out there. But that’s crap, because it won’t really get your blog noticed that much. That, instead, depends on the quality of your content. I also thought that’s just what bloggers did. We review ARCs, right? But that’s crap too. A blogger can be just as awesome or more without reviewing any ARCs. Plus, I’m kinda over that and I just want to read what I want. I realized don’t mind waiting for what I want.

But then I really started thinking, “Wait a hot darn minute! Have I been isolating my readership by mostly reviewing ARCs?”

oh no

I mean, it’s no secret that the blogging community caters mostly to its own. Just think about it: Memes, hauls, ARC reviews. Who mostly benefits from those posts? (Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s one thing I love about the community and how welcoming it is. I love you all.) So I posed a question on twitter:

And I was surprised to see how most of the responses indicated that early reviews aren’t really that helpful to non-bloggers. When I think about it, that actually makes sense considering not everyone has access to ARCs. Sure early reviews build buzz for titles and they encourage other reviewers to review their ARCs, which is awesome. I’m not here saying anyone is doing anything wrong. But then someone mentioned this and it gave me pause:

I’ve literally never looked at early buzz as having any negative point until now. Do we as a community sometimes over-hype books? Absolutely, but that’s mostly with really popular titles like books from Cassandra Clare, John Green, Richelle Mead or Veronica Roth. Regardless, it’s an interesting perspective that I never really gave much thought to and I really would hate to potentially alienate readers because the blog seems to be mostly geared to other bloggers. As much as I love other bloggers, I don’t want them to be our sole audience. After all, non-bloggers out number us all anyway.

There are other bloggers who have come up with solutions for this. I love Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner‘s feature Save The Date and we’ve done pre-reviews in the past here on Cuddlebuggery, but that requires for me to write two different posts on the same book. The goal for me is to lessen my blogging load and to sit back and enjoy every aspect. I can’t do that if I’m adding more to my plate. I already review for Cuddlebuggery, YA Books Central and soon-to-be somewhere else. Not to mention, I’m such a mood reader and spontaneous poster that I can’t see myself keeping up with that. I’m likely to forget to actually write the review.

So here’s the deal:

I’m going to do a little experiment. For the first half of 2014, I’m not going to do any early reviews. I’m going to read and review books that are already out or that have just came out. I’m not even going to request ARCs for myself. Now, if an ARC shows up unsolicited, awesome. I’ll review it around release date, otherwise it’s the library for me, folks. I’m not signing up for any blog tours, interviews or extra posts unless it’s a book I really, really loved or an author I love and want to help promote. Disclaimer: interviews and blog tours I’ve already promised will still go up as planned.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there will never be early reviews on the blog. Cuddlebuggery has three other reviewers besides me and they are totally free to review however they want!

I really want to go back to my roots. I just want to sit around and talk about books I loved and books I hated without all the extra blogging politics and stress involved in the process. I want to be able to chat with everyone about a book that I read and not just bloggers. I don’t want to have to wait months later. I miss the feeling of holding a hardcover in my hand. I want to do more giveaways for our non-blogger readers. I want to do more discussion posts where non-bloggers can join in and relate to what I’m talking about. I want to have more time to visit other blogs. In six months, I’ll come back and re-evaluate everything, but for now? Guys, I just want to sit around and talk about books.

 

What do you think? Non-Bloggers, do you think you would like to see this change on Cuddlebuggery?

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
Review: All The Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry https://t.co/fX8fxxoNxS #CuddlebuggeryArchive - 9 hours ago

117 Responses to “Will Our Non-Blogger Readers Please Stand Up?”

  1. Kathy

    I felt the same way! In fact my New Year’s Resolution is to read books I have put on the back burner. Series that I’ve said I want to read for years but never get the chance to do it. I say go for it!

  2. starryeyedjen

    I applaud you for this post, Steph! I try to intersperse older reads I’ve wanted to pick up forever into my reading schedule just so I don’t get the review book only blues, but the whole having a reading schedule thing kind of defeats the purpose. I might try something like this for the second half of 2014, as I’ve already requested far too many titles for the first half of the year and couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t tackle those. It seems we bloggers tend to beat ourselves up a lot, but I take heart in the fact that I’m not alone, that a lot of us want to love reading the way we did when we started our blogs. I hope this plan works out for you and that you find a happy medium when you revisit the topic in 6 months!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Thanks, Jen. I think a lot of bloggers feel the stress of keeping up with their ARC pile and I’m amazed at those who do it well. It can be difficult to find that balance between review books and already released titles. That’s something I’ve struggled with personally because I’m always giving priority to review books. I’m hoping this will be a way to help me achieve this balance more for the future.

  3. Shannon N.

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I like getting ARCs, but I don’t generally post my review until the release week of the book. I started out as a non blogger and then joined up with a book blog to start writing reviews. Sometimes I feel like I can’t read what I want, but we aren’t usually too concerned about getting our blog noticed. It is freeing in the sense that we really can read what we want for the most part. Although I WILL say I have a hefty review pile to start making a dent on… 😉

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      You make a good point about not letting the blog stress you out. It sounds like you have found a nice balance to were you can review both review books and what you want. I think since I started off on GR and never had a reading schedule when I first started accepting review copies, I was so used to just posting a review right after I read the book. I just need to loosen up and put the blog back in its “hobby box”.

  4. Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy
    Twitter:

    Love this Steph! I’m writing up my top ten blogging goals for 2014 right now (ironically a post that will only be of interest to other bloggers LOL!!), and several things you mention are on my list. Good luck, I’m behind you all the way:)

  5. Ashley S

    I am an avid reader, but a non-blogger – and I have been following Cuddlebuggery for some time now. I add a LOT of books to my TBR list based on your recommendations, but it is hard sometimes when many of the book reviews are posted well in advance of the book’s release. I try to keep a calendar of book release dates, but am not always successful. I appreciate your efforts to be inclusive of all readers, including non-bloggers, Steph!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Thank you for commenting, Ashley! I’m so happy you’ve found the blog helpful for finding new books. Hopefully, this will give us the opportunity to chat more about books we are both reading at the same time. 🙂

  6. Tracy

    Hey Steph,
    I think you’ve posed an interesting and important question. I read something from this blog every day. It shows up in my inbox and I really enjoy the posts. I don’t have time to really explore the entire site as my husband and I are renovating a new house, I have a 9 month old puppy who needs to pee ( or poop) every hour (it’s minus 20C here so
    that’s a of deal) and I work full time as a nurse. But I do love reading Cuddlebuggery even though I seldom respond.

    Of course one of the reasons is that you are reviewing books I haven’t read and by the time I do read them and have something to say about them everyone is over it. I mean I just read Divergent. And the only reason I read it was cause the movie was coming out. I often mark books to be read over on Goodreads only to have completely forgotten about them when they are available.

    I feel your pain. I don’t have a lot of time to read and I don’t read fast. I think your experiment is a wise one. I would hate to see you forget why it is that you love books. Or for it to become a huge chore, which reading should not be. Reading should be one of those things you have to do like breathing. I mostly read books from the library ore books on my iPad and books I purchase from bookstores. I love bookstores. Keep reading and blogging. If you are reading something I can actually get hold of I would love that. Now I have to take out my puppy.

    I really do love this blog!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Hey Tracy! It’s so good to hear your thoughts. You’re right. Reading should be a fun experience and I think this will be a great way to keep me from getting burned out. Plus, if it means I get to chat with you and some if our other readers more, that’s a huge plus!

  7. Christine

    I love this! I’m not a blogger, but I follow tons of book blogs because I’m such an avid reader and I love hearing about new books through them. But it can be a bit discouraging to always read reviews for books that are months away from publication–partly because I often forget about them by the time they’re released! I’m looking forward to your upcoming non-ARC reviews very much–thanks for being more inclusive of those of us who aren’t bloggers 😀

  8. Jamie

    Glad that you posted about this because I know it was on your mind a lot! I hope you get a lot of helpful opinions! I think the reason Save the Date works for me is that I DON’T post a lot of early reviews. I am pretty good about leaving most of my review books to read for the month that they are in BUT the ones that I just CAN’T wait for I read them super early, do the Save the Date, write the REAL review and schedule it for nearer to the release date (when I’m not being lazy lolol). So I guess it works because I don’t DO that many if that makes sense?

    This was the post I was telling you about that I wrote a long time ago http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/2011/02/who-are-book-bloggers-catering-to.html and then I made a survey for my non-bloggers and got like 100 or so responses (I bet I’d get more if I had tweeted it again..maybe I should) and it was so helpful! I should have put out this info for everyone…maybe I will get some motivation to put it all together to share with bloggers.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Yes, I’ve gotten great responses. I don’t usually write personal posts, but it’s been very therapeutic.

      I think that’s where I went wrong: I felt this weird urge to try and REVIEW ALL THE ARCS and it’s just way too stressful and unrealistic. Your approach is a good one and I can totally relate because I’m such a mood reader. This whole “must” and “have to” mentality is not working for me.

      Re: your other comment: it’s so easy to get swept up in review books and completely loose focus on why you started blogging in the first place. I think this six month period will help get things back in order for me.

  9. Jamie

    Oh also! I think the only reason I’ve maintained my happiness as a reader AND blogger now is that, if you look at my reviews, I TOTALLY read for me. I read lots of older books and ARCs..I try to balance it and when I’m not feeling like I want review books..I’ve gone a whole month without reading them. So I hope that going back to reading for YOU helps because I know it’s the only thing that has made me a happy reader still throughout this over 3.5 years of doing this. I’m sure it pisses people off that I don’t read ALL THE ARCs but I read what I want, yo!

  10. Andrea Rose
    Twitter:

    This has to be, by far, the best blog post I’ve ever read in my whole time of blogging, Steph. I greatly applaud you for this. When I first started blogging, I felt the same need to get the ARCs and read them before the general public, but then my review pile became too large for me to keep up with and I’m STILL behind to this day. Not to mention I stopped blogging for about 6 months because of the stress. Do you, girl, and take your time. (:

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Thank you, Andrea! Blogging has a way of sucking us into this competition to read and review and post about everything. Sometimes it’s nice to just read and not have that pressure at all.

  11. Lisa

    I really enjoyed your post, Steph. I agree with the Twitter comment that often times early reviews have hurt me as a non-blogger because by the time I get to read the book the discussion is already over and done, and the bloggers I want to discuss books with don’t have much to say anymore, nor do they seem to feel the same excitement about the book that they did when they first read and reviewed it. The worst was with Hallowed by Cynthia Hand because the review copies came out months in advance instead of a few weeks. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman was another one that suffered because the book was reviewed a year in advance by most bloggers. Often times I’m over the book by the time it comes out because it’s been reviewed and discussed to death, and the bloggers have already got me excited about another book that isn’t coming out for another few months.

    I look forward to your experiment with mostly reviewing books that have already been released.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Aww, that totally sucks. 🙁 I can see how that would ruin a book for you. I’m am totally guilty of reviewing Seraphina the moment it went up on Netgalley (I think that was even before this blog).

      As a blogger it often feels like I’m on a different schedule than the rest of the world. I’ve often found myself thinking that a newly released book was “old” because I was already reading books from the next year. That’s totally not the attitude I want to have.

      At the end of 2013, I discovered some older books and I loved them the most out of all the ARCs I read that year. I definitely need to switch things up and widen out.

  12. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction
    Twitter:

    I love that you asked this on Twitter. It really got me thinking about my content as well. There are so many amazing books I’ve not read that are available right now. I know for me, blogging feels like a race at times. Who can get which book the FASTEST. I have no idea why this happens but it does (for me anyway).

    Last week I actually bought books that I’ve wanted to read that have been out for a while. I got so excited to be choosing something on reviews like I used to before reviewing. I am very eager to see how this works for you…more about your stress level than anything.

    For me, I’ll continue to request books but I’m going to be VERY picky about them. I am tired of feeling like my TBR pile is going to eat me. I want to make time to read the books that I want to read that are out. I love you for doing this and posting this discussion.

    I’m curious about my blog…how many of my readers are not bloggers? I’m not sure there are any! I believe I’ll be doing a survey at some point to see. Great idea and post, thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Yes! It does feel like a race! I have no idea why this happens, but I don’t think we all do it on purpose. Maybe it stems from the need to stay relevant to the community?

      And that’s how I felt about Winger! I totally bought it after reading other reviews and it felt so good! Another one I’ll be buying is Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. I think it came out in 2012. 🙂

      I became a lot more picker with requesting after BEA because I don’t have a lot of book storage space and I’m trying to be good. Lol. I think if anything blogging has taught us, it’s how to get better at knowing what you’ll like from certain publishers. I love a lot of Penguin contemporary, dislike a lot of Harper titles and love Macmillan’s fantasy books.

      I think a lot of our blogs have more non-blogger readers than we think. They may lurk more, but they’re reading.

  13. Ann

    Non-blogger here. I like reading reviews before the book comes out. It gives me something to look forward to.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      So do I, Ann! The great thing is that Meg, Kat and I generally have similar tastes and end up reviewing the same books. It makes for a great tag team system on reviewing both early and on release date.

  14. Braiden @ Book Probe

    For me, who cares about reading a book first or posting a review up first. What I’m comfortable doing is posting my reviews a week to two weeks before a book’s publication. Because that is the time when publishers and authors alike will start talking their book up a lot more, would start feeling excited that that publication date is nearing, that there’s a blog tour, there’s this and this and you can buy it here and preorder giveaways. And I just sit here reaping the views from those readers who google the book’s title and see my review sitting there in the listing. I’m happy with just that.

    Of course posting a review early is good for my ego and perhaps may even get blurbed on a cover somewhere which would be nice, but that is what I strive towards. Being a bookseller too I have to cater towards both the readers of my blog and the customers that always come to me for advice – most of the time they’re young adult or sci-fi/fantasy readers too, but other times there’s adult fiction or historical non-fiction and I’m left to squeeze in these books into my schedule so that I can properly sell a book and not bluff my way through every service I give. And probably why I’m cutting the edge here with reviewing.

    I want to get ahead. I want to schedule. But time and life is against us all, and I only wish that I could pull the Matrix out and catch up and be ahead. I still don’t find time to catch up to my own TBR shelves, with books still there from when I began booktubing in 2010 and started to buy A LOT of books and spent my money. Now I wish my money was saved.

    I should stop.

  15. Ellie
    Twitter:

    I think it’s a wonderful idea! My blog is about nine months old and since I’m posting irregularly, I consider myself a newbie. Although it’s great fun and I made a couple of great and close friends, I often feel pressured to write a post every other day and to review virtually every single book I read. So many bloggers around me are requesting and getting arcs and review copies or are boasting about their stats. Every time I read something like that, I suddenly feel very small and insecure and think that I have to change something about how I blog. I always have to remind myself that this is utter bullshit and that I’m not blogging for others but for myself. After all, it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want with it. As much as I’d love to have more readers and get books for free, I’m not going to sell my soul to the publishing industry and become their puppet just to get more traffic. I’m supposed to be having fun doing something that I love: reading and sharing my reading experience with others. I won’t let them take it away from me, even if it means that I go unnoticed. I’d rather have fun and discuss my opinions with the few people who actually care about me and my blog.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      I love, love, love your comment! Before I started blogging with Kat, my old blog was very small and I didn’t post everyday. But I loved doing what I did and wasn’t worried about not having something posted. I felt good about my little slice of the Internet and had fun. I still do have fun now, but not as much as before.

      But I love what you said about selling your soul to the publishing industry. That’s something I’ve always promised that I wouldn’t do even though it’s very easy to do so! I think the hardest thing is saying no to publishers, but it must be done!

  16. Mona

    Thanks Steph! As a non-blogger reader, I see great potential in this. Often I put ARCs on my tbr-list, but never get to reading them.
    Great start for the New Year!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Thanks, Mona! I hope we can chat more about books that are already out! I know I tend to forget about books I see reviewed on other blogs, so it’ll be nice to sit back and read older books.

  17. Jennifer K

    What an interesting post. I read a lot (100+ books a year) and use goodreads everyday (and review there). But I am not a blogger (although I am on netgalley).

    I personally don’t read arc reviews because I don’t like spoilers. So i mostly won’t read reviews of books i am planning to read (although i do read reviews after i’ve read the book). I do like to see how bloggers rate an anticipated book though that hasn’t come out. So I do check out the ratings and the buzz.

    But I can agree with others who find it disheartening sometimes when every blogger seems to already have a copy of the book you are dying for.

    I think that a blogger could do find just reviewing newly released books without having to review arcs months in advance. Good luck.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Spoilers are so hard to avoid when reviewing a book early. I used to talk about plots freely before I became a blogger mostly because the books had been out for a while. But I see how unfair it is to other readers to have spoilers in early reviews. Add to the fact that everyone views spoilers differently and it’s hard to know what not to say.

    • Kaethe

      There is a thrill to reviewing ARCs, but I think for most people it palls. I’m not a blogger because I wanted to keep the fun in my reading, and trying to read books and post reviews to a schedule sucks the fun right out. As a reader-not-blogger I don’t really care about posts that focus on upcoming titles, or cover reveals, or reviews that contain plot. I rarely read reviews, and then usually not until after I’ve read a book. It’s not that I’m so hyper about SPOILERS as I really like as naive a reading experience as possible.

      Many of my favorite posts from bloggers are about rediscovering classics, or overlooked books from a few years ago, or just how the choice of book interacts with a human life. I always love to see people saying what they turn to when nothing else appeals.

      These days I mostly check books out from the library or buy electronic copies. Like everyone else I have way too many books around, unread, that I’m trying to get through and weed out, so a focus on reviewing books that aren’t brand new really appeals to me. I’ve had The Satanic Verses sitting around for more than 20 years: tell me whether I should give it a whirl or toss it.

  18. Tammy
    Twitter:

    Absolutely! I’m a non-blogger, just an avid reader. The only advantage early reviews give me is a heads-up (especially if the book is liked) to request the book from my library or put it on my radar. I like blogs that sum up at the first of the month new releases for the month, books that have buzz, because that’s the advantage book bloggers would have over me, early buzz from the publishing world. But please only a month at a time, I’m not interested in what’s hot in May, that’s 100 books from now 🙂 Also, blogs don’t seem to focus on the past enough, give me the best releases from 2010 that I might have missed but worth a second look.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Your comment reminds me of the time when we almost got rid of Hot New Titles. We didn’t know if people liked those, but a lot of our non-blogger readers spoke up and told us how much it helps them know what’s coming out. And even to this day, though it’s a post that rarely gets a ton of comments, it gets the most views. It’s just another indication that we should cater more to our non-blogger readers!

  19. Cathryn

    As a non-blogger I think it’s a great idea. Do whatever you need to do in order to not get burned out and keep your love for books going.

  20. Kate Copeseeley

    Honestly, I’m with Sarah on this one. I often feel “behind” you bloggers, simply because I’m a non-blogger who doesn’t get early releases, but also because I read what I want to, and I’m a pretty eclectic reader. I would personally love to see 3mths+ away reviews go bye-bye. Reviews that are right before a release are awesome, but far away reviews I tend to forget about.

    Sometimes it makes me sad for bloggers, because it seems like they never get to do re-reads or they don’t have the time to try out some of the older books that they haven’t read before or different age groups or genres because they’ve been pigeon-holed.

    For instance, I’ve thought for a while that you (lover of sci-fi) should read some classic stuff like Anne McCaffrey or Octavia Butler or Sherri S. Tepper, but when would you have the time? And those are some really great authors, let me tell you!

    YA is awesome, but I don’t know what I would do if that was all I ever read. Sometimes I NEED to read stuff written more seriously or without a YA protagonist, or something MG. I don’t know how you feel about it, but it sounds like maybe you’d like to branch out a bit, too.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      That’s so true. Bloggers rarely have time for re-reads because of the infamous review schedule. Though, I could honestly never keep one since I’m a mood reader. I don’t do well with feeling forced to read something hence this burned out feeling.

      There are a bunch of titles I’m planning on getting to during this time period. More classic sci-fi and adult fantasy. I’m really excited for this change.

  21. Rain Jeys

    I’ve only been blogging for a few months and have very few followers so I still kind of consider myself a non-blogger for the purposes of this post. I don’t have publishing contacts or get to do blog tours or anything like that and I don’t post every day. But I’m having fun. I think that is (or should be) the point. Honestly I don’t get why bloggers are supposed to post every day. I know that with as many blogs as I follow I never have time to read every post, not even on my favorite blogs like cuddlebuggery.

    As a bit of a blogging outsider, the politics or ARCs and tours and early reviews and memes and constant posting looks fun, but I also know I’d never have time and really wonder how the big bloggers manage. And I constantly read posts from bloggers who are burned out and that makes me sad. So I think you should do what makes you happy. cuddlebuggery already has a following, and the smart fans read for the content and wit, and won’t unfollow for small changes that will make you happier and less stressed.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      I think the constant posting comes from two things: I remember a while back publishers liked when you posted almost everyday, but it’s a bit much, IMO. It’s almost impossible to do if you are a solo blogger unless you’re a speed reader. I’ve noticed over 2013 a significant increase in co-bloggers and it’s telling. The demands of keeping up with the community can be hard. So I’ve decided to just stop trying and do me.

      We never really did meme or haul posts, and I’m kinda happy about that because I don’t think is be able to keep up with it all. So this change feels right.

  22. Manda

    I’m broke, so almost all books come from the library for me. With a lot of books Cuddlebuggery reviews the books haven’t been placed on order at the library at the time the review comes out, so I can’t put them on hold, so I forget about them. It’s sad but there are more books in the sea so moving on isn’t too hard.

    I’d love to see reviews of any books, new or old. Old is good because the library usually has a copy. Read what you want to read and the community will chug along after you happily.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      I hear you in the library. That is where I used to get most of my books. If the library didn’t have it, I might have purchased, but rarely.

      The more I read the comments, the more resolved I feel about doing this. Seems like it will benefit me and our readers alike.

  23. Katie

    As an adult reader of YA genre, I have noticed how YA books especially are prone to ‘fads’ and ‘what’s hot’ at the expense sometimes of quality. As an example, I have a teenage cousin who loves reading dystopia novels and has read quite a few. Thinking it would be right up her alley, I asked her whether or not she’d ever read The Giver and she’d never even heard of it. To me, The Giver remains one of the best dystopian books meant for younger audiences ever written but because it’s an older book, she’d missed out on it. Which is a huge shame!

    As a blogger, I think you (and every other blogger) are in a unique position to really help make the genre amazing because readers do pay attention to you and follow your lead with what you review. I know I’ve picked up a few series I’ve enjoyed because bloggers I tended to mesh with loved them. But by constantly focusing on ARCs and worrying about creating buzz for upcoming books, a lot of other, amazing books that are already out or maybe are slightly older slip through the cracks. Maybe this is just me, but it seems sometimes quantity and newness not quality are the determining factors in YA books and it’s really too bad because there are so many excellent series that might not have generated the hype early on in their life cycle and are destined to remain in obscurity!

    Besides, what I and I think a lot of readers primarily love about book blogs is finding someone whose tastes and views you like. By reading what you want to read, your audience gets a better feel for your personality and the whole book blogging experience is better for everyone!

    ARCs are important and it is fun to get excited about books your favorite blogger rave about, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by ARCs there are many good reasons for reading and reviewing whatever book you want! The most important thing is to keep reading fun and engaging and not make it into a chore!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      You’re absolutely right and make a great point. There are a lot of older books or lesser known books that are of better quality. YA is full of fads and it seems dystopian novels are starting to decrease in popularity. Contemporary is the new thing, but I’m digging fantasy more right now. 🙂

      (I haven’t even read The Giver myself. It’s a book I’ve been meaning to get to, but never had time to. I’ll be changing that soon!)

      • Arshia
        Twitter:

        I agree. There are so many old school books out there that get overlooked. This might sound weird, but I think reviews of classics (maybe once a month?) would be pretty well received too. There are lots of classics on my TBR but what keeps me from reading them is the fact that it’ll take forever to read and dear god what if I Completely Hate It?

        I do agree that non-bloggers are somewhat alienated by bloggers but that’s sort of inevitable isn’t it?

  24. Arely Z.

    As a reviewer, I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like I used to enjoy books more back when I didn’t have to review them. So I’m doing the same thing, in a way. Dialing back down and trying to tackle all of my purchased e-books (that’s going to be… interesting).

    But I like what you’re doing! 😀

  25. Nova Lee @ Out of Time
    Twitter:

    Dang… this post doe.

    When I started blogging, I never really noticed what a non-blogger would think of reading my blog. Hell, I didn’t even think I had any readers of my blog yet. I just posted whatever made me happy; it was my hobby.

    But now I’m getting more ARCs and I have to review them. I’ve got a bunch due for Jan and Feb and I just don’t have enough space. I put ARCs a week before release date (on purpose) to try to get readers hyped about the book right before it comes out. That’s my thing. But sometimes when you have 5 books coming out on the same week, it gets a little disastrous. For January, I have about 3 reviews that are either finished copy reviews or past ARCs.

    I think it’s so great that you wrote this kind of post. I never really saw it as leaving non-bloggers out. But for me, I can’t just go back to reading books on the backburner. My ARC stack would start to fall on top of me.

    I really appreciate what you’re doing here. As someone who used to just be a blog follower and not a blogger, i can relate to those who don’t care for reviews posted 1-2 months early. And quite frankly, that isn’t my style either 😛

    (I’ve said it like 5 times, but seriously… amazing post.)

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      See, it’s that, “OMG! I have to read these arcs before release day!” stress that I hate. So requesting nothing and waiting for release day will help me with that.

      Since I don’t read many books in a month, if I only just waited for release day to post a review of a book I just read, I would have nothing to post for weeks. T_T Hopefully, this will solve all my problems.

      Thanks for commenting!

  26. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads

    I generally post ARC reviews within two weeks of the release date, either before or after. Either way, I have a bit of wiggle room and it’s around when the book comes out. I just feel that sometimes reviews are posted waaay too early. I’ve seen them posted 2-3 months ahead of release and I just don’t read them because I don’t want any spoilers. Yes, the hype is good, but I’m more likely to actually find the hype useful if I can grab the book shortly after seeing it.

    That being said, I’m not going to be requesting any ARCs for a long while now. I just don’t want to feel obligated to read a certain book at a certain time. So I’m going to read what I want, when I want 🙂

  27. Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    I can’t agree more with most of what you’ve said…a part of why I never review ARCs more than a week before release date. I figure I do my bit for early buzz with my “haul” posts and my teaser posts…The review can wait until release time!

  28. Jessica @ FlytoFiction

    As a fairly new blogger, this post really shed some light for me for a couple of reasons. Of course, I’m always happy to get ARCs, and I’m always jealous of people that have ARCs of books I really want to read, but I’ve recently come to realize that it’s okay not to have ARCs too. For me, this school year has been a lot to juggle for various reasons, and the few books I’ve received through various means have already begun to pile up. I not-so-smartly signed up for some blog tours for books I didn’t really care too much about, and I requested or entered giveaways for some books I only sort of wanted, just for the sake of getting books. Most of those books I still haven’t gotten through because there are so many other books. Now, I’ve started to realize that I don’t really mind getting so many ARCs because I’d just be overwhelmed. I’m STILL trying to get through my new books, and I’d rather be able to read them at a good pace for myself and enjoy them than have to read and review books I might only slightly want for the sake of getting books. I think that’s why I felt so burnt out after just a few months. But I’m so glad that I’ve learned this early on.

    I also think that hearing about the experiences of non-bloggers is also really insightful because we tend to forget about them, in all honesty. And the point that the person made actually makes a lot of sense, and even I’ve felt that way sometimes as a new blogger. I feel like when I do get my hands on a book, everyone else is already on something else and what might actually be a new book doesn’t feel too new anymore.

    I wish you luck with your experiment, and I can’t wait to see how it goes.

  29. Melissa Robles

    I think it would be nice. I love reading reviews of books that are already out, it sort of makes me feel that I’m not that far behind, you know? Like everybody here is saying, when you review an ARC the buzz is in full motion, and by the time most of us get to read them, the buzz is more than over and moved on towards another book, and the cycle repeats itself.
    But it also has to do with the readers, some of us are too excited to get to know about a book that this doesn’t matter because it’s about THAT book. And you want to know about it and you can even join in all the pre-launch hype. Then it’s OK.
    I’m not even sure if I explain myself here, lol. The point is that it depends, some readers love ARC reviews even if they don’t have access to the book yet, while some prefer already released books.
    I like both type, but if I had to pick, I’d go for the already released books because for me it doesn’t matter if it’s an old or new release, I only want to read and talk about good books.

  30. Natalie M.
    Twitter:

    I’m a non-blogger (But I do post reviews on Goodreads) and I’ve never found a particular problem with bloggers reviewing ARCs. To me, it helps me to decide whether to read it or not. But I respect and agree with your decision. Reading isn’t something that should feel like a chore (Though my new semester is coming up along with new Required Readings *sigh*) and I hope you find your happy place again soon! 🙂

  31. Ani

    I see myself as a non-blogger even though I post a lot of book reviews on my own blog and have taken to posting lots of random book-related stuff on my BookLikes page. I also post reviews on GoodReads at random. But I don’t update as regularly as the rest of the book blogging community, have no news about new releases, and I don’t have access to ARCs either.

    I tried to become a regular blogger, once upon a time. It seemed like fun, I always had thoughts about books and I wanted to try my hand at telling the world (in a semi-professional way) how I felt about certain books and book-related info. I wanted to be able to discuss books with other people online, because, in real life, I have extremely few friends who read as much as I do; I have few friends who care to discuss books the way I like to. I had plans and templates and post formats… the like; but kind of like you at this moment, I had “burn out” periods where I felt like I wasn’t reading for my own leisure and pleasure. Writing a review felt like a chore (despite the fact that I had zero followers and was technically writing for nobody’s benefit but my own). So for a few months, I would blog like crazy… then I’d burn out and it’s a miracle if I start up again.

    I still don’t have a good balance. So it’s probably a good thing I don’t have a following, cause I’ve fallen into a “I’ll publish something when I feel like it,” mode.

    But anyway, back to you…

    I’ve never found a problem with seeing early reviews aside from the fact that I get a massive case of “Green-eyed Monster-itis” about NOT having particular books yet. But they help me build my hype, or sometimes decide on whether or not I’ll end up buying that book when it finally comes out. I don’t actually read the reviews, but the small snippet of introductory gives me an idea whether or not I want to spend money on the book, or just wait for it to become available at the library. Other times, I’ve added so many new books to my reading list BECAUSE of the early reviews.

    I’m not an outspoken person and rarely comment on blogs or reviews, so the whole “I’d like to discuss this book with people, but the hype is SO over now” situation doesn’t really apply to me as much. Besides, when it’s an awesome enough book, usually there are a lot of people still willing to discuss it somewhere.

    However, I think it’s a good idea for you to try something new and see how well it helps YOU enjoy reading and blogging again. I love coming to Cuddlebuggery and your reviews on Goodreads were what introduced me to the book blogging community in the first place. I think I’d be pretty bummed if you ended up burning out because blogging has become akin to a required chore instead of a fun escape and then had to stop blogging. While I follow a lot of other blogs, I promise that I would definitely mope and mourn for a while if you ever quit.

    I hope you find what works for you. Reading should be a fun experience; only in school do we ever have to force ourselves to read something we could care less about. Good luck for the new year!

  32. Tory

    I’m not that into ARCs, even as a blogger, because I know I’m terrible at keeping blogging deadlines… which I think, if you look at it from another perspective, is great since it means I blog whenever I’m happy. Stress-free!

    I do agree with you on the part where you said you read more before you started blogging / posting reviews on the blog. I discovered that for myself back in December. I blitzed through books when I don’t think about *needing* to write a review about it later. I only *think* about writing a review when a book really crushes me (good or otherwise). But of course, requests always get posted.

    The funny thing is when a book gets released officially, I don’t read it immediately even if I did rushed to purchase it (especially so for my favourite authors) so I think that kind of makes me a little isolated from other “updated” readers, lol. Plus it’s nice to read after the hype fades away even a little because again, less stress! 😛

    A really great post! I’m a bit on the fence about Required Reading lists, so I think I may write my own post about that because I kind of really like getting RR books from school. XD

  33. Lisa Jo

    Wow. This was like reading my own story! Our endings are different though!  I did give up the blog life. I was in it for over two years and finally realized before blogging I was reading over 100 books a year. Yet while blogging I couldn’t finish more than 80. It was depressing and very frustrating. Unfortunately I had put so much pressure and stress on myself about deadlines and expectations that I was truly unhappy.

    I’m glad you figured out a solution that works well for you and your life! Honestly,  I loved blogging but walking away was the best decision I ever made. I’ve been extremely happy ever since! Some people are meant to do it and others aren’t!   The most important thing is just to do whatever makes you happy!

    Good luck with blogging AND reading in 2014! 

  34. Amber hsu

    Im a non-blogger, but I really just love reading book reviews and just talking about books~ I discovered this blog a while ago, and I can say its one of my favorite blogs… I haven’t noticed this until you posted this, but a lot of the things you stated were true, I just never realized them. Like the over hyping. The not yet-out-but-on-my-tbr-shelf-books. But what was really weird for me was having all you blogger people put up pre release reviews of a book I really really want to read months in advance, and when I really wanted to comment and join your discussions and stuff, but not having anything to say because I haven’t read the books yet… Or when you all have your inside jokes on the endings of my favorite series and me not understanding… but it might just be me though… anyhow, I hope this decision helps you to once again love reading as much as you used to! 🙂

  35. Amenah

    I love this post, Steph! Personally, I prefer reading reviews of books that I know are available already. I do find a lot of books I THINK will be good through early reviews, but I connect a lot more with the reviewer, and enjoy the blog post more, if I know which book is being talked about, or knowing that I can order it at a moment’s notice and see if I agree with the review.
    I look forward to reading your reviews this year. 😀

  36. Adriane

    I blog but on a pretty small scale. I don’t get a lot of ARC’s except off of Netgalley. I was signing up for a lot of tours but I finally realized that I was not reading the books I wanted to read. Kind of the same thing that you realized.

    So I have done the same thing. I only sign up for a tour if it is something that REALLY intrigues me. I try to limit it to 2 – 3 a month max. I have been using the heck out of the library too. It has been fun to read what interests me and only what interests me!

  37. Zarah

    And I say: YAY!
    Nothing wrong with building up a buzz, buuuut I am one of the non-book-bloggers (more or less a non-blogger-altogether, nowadays) so I never recieve ARC’s and thus: My TBR-pile keeps expanding and I never seem to even be able to make a dent in it.
    Also: I would love reviews of an entire series of books, sometimes. Books that are not expecting another piece or eight. Series that are DONE, that I can get in their entirety without waiting years and having to re-read to remember the plot of…
    I really think you’re doing a cool and very good thing here, helping both you (reading is supposed to be fun. YAY for taking the fun back! :D) and us readers-who-do-not-get-the-spiffy-ARCs. 🙂

    Thank you! And good luck and HAVE FUN! 😀

  38. NiceOrc

    Hi, as a non-blogger and an avid reader, I enjoy reading reviews to find out what to read next. What usually happens is I see a review pronouncing this the NEXT GREAT THING and go to the bookshop, to find the book isn’t available yet. So I go to the library and sometimes the book is on order so I can put my name on the request list. Then it will take a while to arrive (sometimes books don’t get to New Zealand for ages after they are published in the US, no idea why) and by the time I pick it up, I’ve forgotten why I requested it, what attracted me to this book. So I head back to the review blogs – only, I forget which one I read the great review on, and all the blogs have moved on to the NEXT great book. My point is, sometimes it would be good to read a review of a book that is available, on the shelves, and readable (reasonably) straight away.

  39. Lynn K.
    Twitter:

    Non blogger here but as a fellow book lover, I think you should do what makes you happy. Find that happy place again.

    Personally, I’m neutral about early reviews. I never buy books without checking for reviews. Even when I’m lured by that omgshinypretty in the bookstore, I will ALWAYS search before deciding so it’s not an issue of when the reviews are posted. That said, early reviews do help me decide which books I can’t live without each month when there are so many new releases (since each paperback costs 30+ here and hardcovers 60+) and they really help prune the wishlist.

  40. holly neale
    Twitter:

    I like this idea of yours, I am a book lover but not a blogger and I enjoy your reviews but find its usually such a long wait between when your reviews are released and when i can actually get my hands on it myself. It can be frustrating. I also find that I forget about some of the ones I really like the sound of because I’m waiting up to a year to actually get hold of them. I buy all my books usually from amazon marketplace and am interested to see how this change in your review practice will affect me and also if it makes you feel the love again. Good luck!

  41. Victoria Scott

    Yeah, my fav reviews of yours are when you review books that are already out or obscure books I haven’t heard of. With a dash of ARC reviews for bigger upcoming titles.

  42. Cyn

    Great discussion! Before I starting blogging, I use to only like to read ARC reviews if the book was coming out soon, otherwise I`d be annoyed that I still had to wait so long to read the book haha. Now that I do blog, I try to not post ARC reviews until a few weeks before release date. But I think it`s a great idea to try to get to older books and stuff. I totally agree with you, I feel like all my reviews that I do write are now because I have to rather than because I wanted to share my thoughts, and I rarely write reviews for older books now. Good luck with your new goals! I think I might need to try something like that and try reviewing older and already released book more (:

    Cyn @ Bookmunchies

  43. Annie
    Twitter:

    I think that sounds awesome.

    I totally get the desire for ARCs because even though I have a blog, I’m not a book blogger. But sometimes I wish I were so I could request ARCs and read books early be both impatient and happy.

    But I also don’t read reviews until after I’ve read the book. Because what I’m looking for in a review is the other person’s point of view on the book and that isn’t much fun if I haven’t read the book and don’t have that context to engage with their review. I like reading reviews that turn into discussions about books because that’s what’s fun for me.

    So, I totally relate to that idea that by the time I get around to reading a book it feels like the blogging community (which I love and are my favorite people to talk to about books) has moved on. But it’s also a very gracious community and even though they’re older reviews I love that bloggers will still read and respond to my comments and we can still talk about books when I get around to reading them 🙂

  44. Anna F.

    Hi Steph,

    This was a great post! Thank you. I am in the group of avid readers who also read a large number of book blogs but is not a reviewer or blogger. I really like the new slant you will be going for, as it can be really hard to keep track of what books are out, or sometimes not coming out for another 6 months!

    I am also not an avid commenter as I read everything through a RSS feed which makes it very hard to comment, but just wanted to say I love the blog and use your recommendations all the time!

  45. Holly Letson
    Twitter:

    I’ll agree with you here. You need to do whatever you are happiest with doing. And, since you felt compelled to write a post like this (which I applaud you for, since most bloggers probably feel similar, yet would not tell the readers so), then it is not what you are presently doing.

    I always enjoy reading your posts, as this blog’s writers have a unique way of handling things, and tend to have fun in the interviews and such that y’all post. I enjoy reading y’all carrying on without worrying that people might think it silly or what-not. It shows that you don’t think of yourself as better than others, which is something that I feel alot of other bloggers seem to do.

    Also, since I read alot of mangas and graphic novels, I have really enjoyed your manga posts. Most blogs tend to not post about mangas/GNs at all, so I really hope that you continue those. I know that feature is relatively new here, but I hope it doesn’t get cut, since there are alot of us out here that read alot of those.

    And, it’s wonderful to hear a blogger saying that they are no longer going to focus primarily on new releases. Most bloggers have ran new releases into the ground by the time that the general public can even purchase them at all. Myself, I’d personally like to see some bloggers doing reviews on some older books. Maybe some from years back even. It seems like most bloggers won’t touch a book if it’s more than 1 or 2 years old nowadays.

    Reading what you want to read when you want to read it will definitely leave you feeling much better. And, I say this as someone who reads 300+ books a year.

    In conclusion, I want to comment that I also enjoy how y’all seem to have such a good relationship with the readers here as well. I always enjoy reading the comments here, since you interact very well with the commenters, instead of ignoring them as it seems that some bloggers do. I know things like that take extra time for you to do, but little things like that make us people enjoy returning here, and make us feel special. (Sorry that I don’t comment often, but I do enjoy the blog.)

  46. Nikki @ Foil the Plot

    First off, BRAVO Steph! Blogging is about connecting with people first and foremost (or at least, it should be) and I think you’re right to do what you’re doing. For most of us, blogging isn’t a job, it’s something that’s supposed to be FUN. I know I blog because these are the things I’m passionate about and I want to connect with others who are passionate about those same things. I want to foster discussion and create relationships based on the connections that I’m making. I can’t do all that if blogging starts to feel like a chore.

    As far as the ARC thing goes, aa fellow blogger (I’m one of the “little” guys) who doesn’t often receive review requests/ARCs/etc., it is hard to see only ARC reviews. Sure, it garners a lot of buzz about a particular release but by the time I’m actually able to get around to reading it, let’s be honest, no one really cares what I have to say because everyone else has already said it. Plus, you can only read SO many reviews of the same popular release at any given time. It makes it feel like there’s a lack of options, a lack of variety in what people are talking about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for talking up an author/book that the blogger loves, but I also feel like some older releases or indie releases get a lot less love.

    So again, bravo and best of luck!

  47. Giselle

    This is what’s great about having a co-blogger, now, who mostly reads the same books. We have a lot of books scheduled so that one of us reviews early (5-6 weeks early) and the other reviews on release day with a link to the previous review at the bottom. Basically it’s like Jamie’s feature but not double the work. You could do that, too, no? You and Kat read a lot of the same books. Whenever I do post post-released book reviews I get half the views on it it seems like once the book is out the review is not as exciting. 🙁

  48. Tamara

    I like when bloggers review books that are already out. Good luck to you! Reading shouldn’t be a job. It should be a hobby. I hope you get back to where you used to be. Best of luck!

  49. erinf1

    best of luck to you! As a non blogger reader, I have to admit that everything you said is exactly true! Most pre-release reviews are up so far in advance, that to be perfectly honest, I forget about the book until I hit a “new release/out now” list. I might add them to an amazon upcoming release list and then I completely forget about them unless they are an autobuy author. And… as someone who has no access to ARCs or ability to read books before they are released, it’s hard to muster up the desire to read a review months in advance of release. I’m either afraid of spoilers or the review is so vague that it does no good to me as a reader. I first started reading blogs to get reading ideas and yes… to find out about upcoming new releases. But getting information has definitely changed in the last year or so and ARCs are definitely a noticeable “status” symbol among a lot of the blogs now. I’m not looking for a deconstruction of a new release, but a blurb, release date and cover is all I need. I’ve definitely noticed a shift this last year or so that a lot of bloggers seem/feel to be blogging for other bloggers and us non blogger readers are losing interest. I subscribe to a lot of blogs through email and I’ve been finding myself doing a lot of skimming and deleting than I used to. As a non blogger reader, I *loathe* memes b/c it’s just multiple blogs doing the same post. Delete, delete, delete! But anyway… that’s my 2 cents 🙂

  50. Thalia Anderson

    I agree with you 100%, Steph! My blog is almost three years old, and while there’s not as much pressure on Tumblr review blogs with having author interviews/blog tour posts/etc, I found myself with a stack of books I was “supposed” to read, and a ROOMFUL of books I’ve owned forever and haven’t been able to get around to because I’ve had other obligations. Before I started my blog, I didn’t even know a world of blogging/book reviewing even existed on a platform I could access. I didn’t know anyone except for fancy schmancy Kirkus reviewers could have access to early releases. And yeah, it’s mega exciting to get an ARC in the mail if it’s a book you’ve really wanted, but once your escape because more a job and less of a hobby…there’s a problem.

    I think a lot of blogs are doing something similar in 2014. I know that I, because I’ve just moved far away to college and have a tiny little dorm on a tiny little island in the middle of the ocean, have chosen to pretty much only read books I own. I’ve been trying to cut back my requests on NetGalley, and make sure to space out a “regular” book between NG reads. I’ve completely closed ARC requests. If something comes unsolicited in the mailbox, it’s my parents’ problem now since that’s the address publishers have, hahah. I’m just going to sit back with my TBR jar and whittle my way through my library full of books at home. I think it’ll be more relaxing and bring me back to when I used to really love writing reviews. And I’m really glad to see other bloggers doing the same. (:

  51. Moonlight Reader

    I have gone back and forth with why I blog. I am a lot older than the majority of book bloggers (47) and I have found a couple of things.

    I blog for the community. I read widely, participate in a couple of active goodreads groups, and post on booklikes and on my blog. I am not all that interested in “reviewing” as I am in connecting with other readers to talk about books, which are literally (aside from husband and kids) the great love of my life. I don’t have access to really good ARCs by the publishers/authors I admire, and for me, reviewing books off of Netgalley pretty much turns reading into a chore.

    I also have a really sour taste in my mouth generally about the behavior of authors who are trying to market their newly released books.

    This year, I’m reading from my own library and taking a year off from buying books (with some built in exceptions). I’m not requesting books from Netgalley because I’ve had horrible luck with the ARCs I’ve requested. I want to build on my relationships within the reading community and just have fun talking about books and reading good stuff.

  52. Kaethe

    I’m really looking forward to see what y’all think of The Giver when you get around to it.

  53. Kelly
    Twitter:

    It’s so funny that I’m returning to blogging, right around the same time a lot of bloggers are feeling this way. I think you nailed our blogging slump issues on the head, Steph. We’ve all started coveting ARCs as a status symbol for success, and once we get them, we quickly become overwhelmed. How am I supposed to read what I want, what will make me happy, if I’ve got months of content already committed to books that I have to have read/reviewed by a certain date?

    Alienating non-bloggers is something I’ve honestly never thought about, but now that you mention it, it makes so much sense. Why would someone, with no access to ARCs, care about early reviews? I know I generally skip over most ARC reviews, even as a blogger, unless it’s for an author I absolutely love.

    Good luck with the next six months – I know I’ll be interested in seeing how this experiment plays out!

  54. sammy

    I havent gotten ARCs myself since I worked at a bookstore, and seeing ARC reviews don’t change much for me one way or the other. I started reading here by finding you first on Goodreads because we have much of the same reading interest, and since I read over 100 books a year anyway, my TBR list will grow no matter what. What is important is that reading always remain fun.

  55. Julie S.

    Before I was a blogger, seeing reviews for books so long before their release just made me add them to my wishlist but I would forget about them by the time they released. But I don’t think I read as many reviews before. I find that I read a lot more reviews now that I’m a blogger.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Really? That’s so interesting because I think I’m the opposite. I read less reviews now than I did before I was a blogger. Though, like you, I also would forget about books from early reviews because another shiny, more readily available book, would distract me.

  56. Elles

    I can totally see where you’re coming from. I’m not a blogger, and so I read the books when they come out or when they’re available in the library. As for me, I do like to see reviews of my favourite books before they come out, so I get hyped about it as well, but there’s nothing quite like seeing a review about a book that you just finished reading and knowing that /that/ reviewer just finished reading it too. I suppose it builds some sort of ‘companionship’? (Am I being coherent or is it just me? :o)

    Anyway, I think it’s a good idea to review books when they come out. That way, the general public will be able to identify more with the review, since they’ve already read it. Also, there’s nothing better than holding the hard copy of a book in your hands.

    🙂

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s nice to be able to chime in on a conversation about a book. It makes you feel included in things. For the most part, a lot of bloggers review ARCs, so I can how that could make some feel excluded. I hope to change that up here on Cuddlebuggery and I hope to chat with you more about books!

  57. Lauren's Loquacious Literature

    I am very excited for this. I AM a blogger, but I get really sick of seeing each and every blogger I follow doing reviews for the same book within a couple of weeks of each other and it really can put me off a book. Not necessarily because I’m not interested (although that can certainly be the case) but by the time I’ve read three people review it, I no longer care/can stand to see what anyone else has to say on it sometimes.

    I like reading blogs to find out about all kinds of books that are coming out or have just come across people’s paths and I think the more you stand out from other blogs the more enjoyable it is to read them. ARCs are great, and getting your hands on Harry Potter before anyone else would be the best thing ever, but reading a book from three years ago and having it instantly become a favourite is also the best thing ever.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      True! Especially when it’s a book everyone has gotten an ARC for and we all start reviewing it at the same time. It’s like we’ve gone and spammed the blogosphere. It’ll be a nice change for me and our readers, I hope.

  58. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex
    Twitter:

    I am a blogger, but I don’t review ARCs because I’m not established enough, and honestly I don’t feel the need to ask for them either because I get enough books as it is from the library. I like seeing reviews of ARCs from bloggers, but not months in advance because I will forget. I think variety in what bloggers read is beneficial to everybody because if all of a sudden bloggers start posting reviews of the same arc, at some point I won’t be interested in reading more reviews so the book doesn’t get as much publicity as it should. So spacing books around works better for everyone.

    Great post!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Yup, I was doing that at one point, but then started feeling so overwhelmed and obligated to READ ALL THE THINGS that came in the mail. Sometimes I have to give myself a little reality check and say, “Steph, no. Just because a book shows up, doesn’t mean you have to read this.” Balance is definitely what I need.

  59. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I’m currently on a requesting-ban, because I want to finish all the ARC/eARC’S I have without adding stress by getting new ones. I don’t have a feeling that I’m letting ARC’s take over, but I can understand you want to change that if it doesn’t make you happy reading wise!

    I actually like reading reviews about books that aren’t recently published. There are so many awesome books out there and sometimes it’s overwhelming to see 10 reviews of the same upcoming book. I end up commenting on some blogs, but I just don’t feel like visiting all of them.

  60. Amber

    I am not a book blogger and I agree with what most of the other people said about it being frustrating to have to wait to read a book and then forget about it when it does come out. I also think that a good book is a good book and I honestly wouldn’t care if you reviewed a good book from 10 years ago. Your reviews are great no matter what you do. Hope your reading becomes exciting to you again. Good luck!!!!

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      You’re absolutely right! A good book is a good book. I think I’ve been so distracted with ARCs lately that I totally let everything else go wayside. This will be a much needed break to branch out and read other things I’ve been missing.

  61. kalasyn

    I’m a non-blogger but I’ve been reading numerous book blogs for years but sometimes I feel like an outsider just because I don’t write reviews. It seems like bloggers comment on each others blogs a lot and everyone seems to know each other.
    One blogger had a pen pal sign up and I got a rejection email telling me I couldn’t have a pen pal because I don’t have a blog. So I felt rejected from a community that I though I was a part of. So, while we know you, you don’t really know us.

    • Steph Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Oh no! I’m so sorry that happened to you. Kat and I have been planning something with another blogger exclusively to include our non-blogger readers in things. I do hope you’ll visit back and participate.

  62. Roro
    Twitter:

    I got into 2011 because it seemed like fun but I began to focus more getting e-arc , so I could be in the “popular” crowd. And also for people to read my posts. And as a result I began to like blogging less and less. This caused a burn out and I quit in 2013 . I’m more motivated this year and I don’t give a shit about being popular anymore and focus more on reading and being more active in the community
    Roro recently posted…Review: Unhinged by A.G. HowardMy Profile

  63. Rebecca

    I think it’s great that you’re trying to get back to what you enjoy doing rather than continuing on feeling like reading is a chore. The fact that you’ve spent so much time thinking about it is great. I personally am not a blogger simply for the fact that I don’t have the time nor do I have enough things to say about the books I read, at least nothing constructive. And honestly I prefer to read reviews about the books that are currently available rather than upcoming books. Do I like to hear that you know about a new book coming soon that sounds interesting? Yeah, that sounds great, but I don’t want to read a review about it weeks before it will even be available to me because I’ll forget. I suppose that’s my piece anyway. I tend to write occasional rambly comments so please forgive me.

  64. Kayto

    I’m late to the party, but I like this idea. I can’t pick up books until my library has them, so the ones with lots of buzz will have a months-long delay before I read them due to the hold list, so I seek out books that have been out for at least six months, but usually a year or more. And because of this, I often find myself looking for reviews of books that have been out for a while–especially if they were *written* after the book was out, it just seems to isolate the review from the pre-release buzz.

  65. Tabitha the Pabkins

    That is so great Steph. I think this change for you will definitely help you become a happier reader again. I went nuts and took on too many books in Dec and Jan all the way through to April and now I look at my packed schedule and I dread it even though all of those books are ones I want to read. I’ve always posted my reviews as close to release date as possible because I hate early reviews. They can so often steal my enthusiasm for a book.

    You’re right ARCs are all about the status for so many of us. I’m actually jealous of my reader friends that aren’t tied to a reading/blogging schedule. Perhaps you’ve hit the nail on the head with why book blogging has such a turnover rate. Because it starts to become a job rather than the fun it starts out as.
    Tabitha the Pabkins recently posted…Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerMy Profile

  66. Bella Grace
    Twitter:

    Your post almost made me cry, Steph. I’m a sucker, but still.

    As a non-blogging reader, I can understand the lure and hype surrounding being a book blogger; recieving ARCs, getting to meet and chat with authors, getting to do book tours, etc. all sound amazing. But like I assumed, the pressure and politics that blogs can ensue upon the blogger must be hard to deal with. Sometimes, we readers forget why we read.

    After reading your post, I have to salute your decision, Steph, because it takes guts to let go of something that must have been so important to you. Now, all I can say is this: you read, girl! 🙂

  67. Holly

    I’m coming in late, but I’m not a blogger, and I would absolutely love to see more reviews for books that are actually available now. So often I read a review, get all excited — and then realize that I can’t read the book for three to six months. And by then it often seems like yesterday’s news, somehow.

    I was really thrilled a couple months ago to read a review here of For Darkness Shows the Stars — and to be able to run to the library that weekend and pick it up. That whole rush of looking forward to it was all fresh, and added an extra dimension to the reading experience.

    So if you want to read and review some older books, or more adult books, or anything that’s actually available right now — please do!

  68. Kim @ Book Munchies

    I completely agree with you. Especially after getting out of college, I just wanted to read the books that caught my eye. After blogging awhile and mostly doing ARC reviews, it got to feel like a 4th job where I had to read and review and post blog tour stuff. Luckily I have a phenomenal blog partner who can juggle it all, so I can go back to just reading for fun with the occasional ARC that comes my way.
    Kim @ Book Munchies recently posted…Sunday Post (54) / Stacking the Shelves (34)My Profile

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