I’ve been blogging for a few years now, starting well before I published Shallow Waters in December last year. I wrote about my love of crime fiction and my journey towards my debut novel being released. Within those parameters, I wrote posts about books I’d been reading. The majority of which were naturally biased towards crime.
Over time, this has turned more and more into a proper reviewers role. As well as being a member of NetGalley, I’m also in contact with several publishing houses PRs who send me books before they’re released so I can review them. I know this is an honour. The publisher/author and reviewer relationship, as I know (because even though I publish myself, I still have to do all these roles myself) are symbiotic. The publisher/author can create a buzz for their book by getting advance readers talking about their upcoming release and the book blogger can get their hands on some great books free of charge and earlier than the buying public can get them. The problem is that being a book blogger is hectic work. Great books are coming out all the time and it can get overwhelming and it ends up with a situation where you’re no longer providing the buzz before the book comes out because your TBR pile is just so high, it’s impossible to get to the books in time when you’re reading them in the order you received them. And all the while you’re holding down your own job and personal life.
And that’s where I am right now. I’m so far behind with my books I’m not offering any kind of service and I’m just left feeling hassled and stressed. It’s not supposed to be that way. Reading is not supposed to be that way. I went into town shopping at the weekend with my daughter and bought three non-crime books specifically because I’m feeling burnt-out. A sure-fire sign that I shouldn’t be doing it. Reading should be fun. It should be relaxing.
Another reason I am stepping back from book reviewing is that I don’t want to just be known as a book reviewer. I’m an author. I was sharing books I’d read and enjoyed and it kind of spiralled into a reviewers role. I’ll still be reading and putting my reviews of books I’ve read on Goodreads if you want to see what I’m reading, you can find me on there. But I feel as though my identity is getting smudged. That it’s not clear. So now my focus will be on other things. Writing will be my main focus! But on the blog I’ll still be doing the First Draft series, the Policing series, I will start back up the Nottingham series (which is where my novels are set), the bite-sized interviews (I have a great one tomorrow with Caroline Mitchell on the supernatural in crime fiction!) and anything else that pops into my head.
I still have a lot of books on my TBR that were given to me as review books that I still need to read and review, so for a few months you will continue to see book reviews on here (if I enjoyed them). I will keep my NetGalley account open and will at times pick up at book, from a debut author maybe, and join in with creating a buzz for a great book, but I’m not going to get myself into the state I’m in now where I have far too many books, I’m stressed over them and I should really be more focused on my writing life. I’ll also keep reading – which is a given! – but it’ll be for me and will include a variety of books, not just crime. And these I might share with you if I’ve loved them, just because I love books and that’s what started all this. Below are the books I bought at the weekend!
I hope you understand my withdrawal and continue to come to the blog to read the other content that will be provided. Though the reviews will be here regularly for another few months as my list is that far behind!
If you review, how do you cope and strategise your reading time?