Reviewing is a tough job. Especially when you’re a full time writer. Not only does it mean taking off days at a time to read other people’s work, but it also means that your reading matches your writing – such as reading a 5 book series about BDSM reminded me that I had a BDSM novel sitting untouched, so I was suddenly in the mood to work on that, even though I have a million other things to do first.
However, I try to keep myself organised. Here’s how –
What I Review
Books I’ve Bought
Requests through my Blog
Divine Magazine Books
How Do I Choose?
Basically, for Netgalley, I choose anything that’s in a genre I like to read, and if the blurb and cover catch my attention, even better. The same goes for Divine, though I have to really curb myself there, to let the other reviewers get a chance. I’d probably read everything they offered if I had the chance. lol.
For requests through my blog and books I’ve bought, I have to consider what free time I have and if the book interests me.
All books are weighed up against my writing schedule – basically, if I have a book coming out in that same week, I’m unlikely to get time to read. Length/page count also applies as a factor.
How Do I Organise?
I have lists. Lots of lists.
First, I have a month planner that I print up. It has dates but no days marked, so that I can make it for any month. I mark off the times when I know I’ll have a full day of reading, then I place a ~200 page book on that day. Days when I only have half a day to dedicate get a short story, if there are any. Everything else is up to chance and how well I get through the ones that have Due Dates.
Now, Due Dates are very important. I always finish in time for a Due Date, because I prioritise the book, even if it means staying up until 3am or 6am, not sleeping at all or doing nothing but reading. However, I try to avoid that for my own sanity.
My Divine Magazine and Blog books go on this monthly planned.
On a separate print out, I have a spreadsheet with my Netgalley books – Title, Page Count, Word Count, Archived, Publisher, Publishing Date and Download Date. That way, I can organise by word count or page count, if I want to work through the shorter books first. Or, if I have a lot of free time, I can read the longer books. Or, I can organise them by the Download Date, which are Archived already etc. You get the picture. I re-print this list at least twice a month, as new requests are fulfilled or books are crossed off. It keeps the sheet clean and keeps my focus on those that need done.
I also keep a separate list, with a two column table, that I print onto the back of the monthly planner. In here go the extras – books that have no set Due Date for Divine and books for my blog etc. They’re listed by Title, Page Count and Where to post my review.
After that, it’s all a matter of timing. At the moment, I am seriously behind on 3 books for Divine, that have no dates, and 2 pages of Netgalley books (I kid you not! It’s double-sided). What I really want to do is spend at least 2-3 weeks zipping through the longest books first, but that’s impossible. I have a book coming out next month, a book that I’ve just finished spending 2 days editing and I have a lot of work going on at home that doesn’t lend itself to calm, quiet reading.
But, I will get them done eventually. I just need a lot of uninterrupted days, where no plot bunnies attack me. I’ll get there, eventually. I will.
I absolutely will not be writing blog posts when I should be reading.