Friday, June 6, 2014

Blogging and organization

I posted this with my mailbox memes this week, and just thought I would make an official post about it.

I have been stressed because I have requested or been sent way too many books. I have left them right to the publication date, and have review after review scheduled and reading the books the night before. Then I get sent books that I didn't request, and I feel bad that I will not get to them, or that I haven't read the first in the series, or just plain not interested. I try to at least post them here, but having a hard time keeping up with that too. Hate to complain about free books, but I feel responsible and that I made a commitment. I don't want to get burned out though, so some of it may start to get pushed back or say no more often.
I was okay with not reading books sent unsolicited for a while. After all, I do warn that in my review polices , but totally felt over my head and the feelings came back.

So, steps to keep from feeling like this again:
I have a "Pub dates doc" that I have been doing for a while, and it looks like this:

But it wasn't working just how I wanted because I just knew what to read next, not a schedule for when to read it. A lot of books will have same pub date and I was thinking, oh its mid april, I don't have to read those (five) may books quite yet. And hence over my head. 

You may notice that I have need post by some of them... I make my html that I have in every review, and pick a date for that review and click save so its just a draft. I do a lot of these at once when I feel like it and it saves me some time in the long run I think. Or at least frustration. Here's an example. On some I will go ahead and have the cover and description because I usually have a google doc with the descriptions of the books on my kindle for when I don't have wifi and want to know what it is about beforehand. 

 I just made a review calendar so maybe that will help if I see if I have time, leaving 3-4 days for each book.

August is a lot like july and then sept is already pretty full

How do you stay organized? Anything different? How do you know when to read books? Do you preplan? Have an idea to make my system any more effecient? How far out do you plan?
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  1. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsJune 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Totally get you though, it's hard to stay organized with books. I've got my separate months schedule so I know when to read and have it up by, and mines pretty full. Back In May I had like 4-5 unsolicited books sent that I prioritized because I'd feel bad if I didn't read them, but then I'd missed out on half my May ebooks because of it. So now, I'm only reviewing ones I've requested, and still my schedules quite full- with ebooks as well, but I mean, you can't read them all, I was doing really good though, up until those books in May that threw off my schedule. I don't pre-plan my posts that much in advance (mine are usually a two or day in front), but my problems with Blog tours and blitz's, which I'm slowly getting into now after a year of blogging since I didn't want to get in over my head with it, I had like 3-4 the past two weeks, so I put the dates in the title of my bog post to remind me, haha. It's worked so I'm not complaining! :)

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

  2. Andrea @The Bookish BabeJune 6, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I use a calendar too, and have my books listed by the pub date. Pre-formatting posts is a great idea, and I've found it saves tons of time. Good luck on staying organized!

  3. I am not organized at all! I read the book I feel the most like reading, even if it's one I requested I really try to read it when I want to because if I feel like I have to, I just might enjoy it less.
    I can totally understand your stress though, I don't get any un-solicited ARCs, as I live in Switzerland, no publishers are going to send any books to my house :) Which is probably a good thing, since I'm very good at requesting books that look interesting.
    I do use a calendar on my blog though, mostly because I want to make sure I won't post two reviews the same day, and also so that my blogtour reviews will be the top post on the day they are due. And that calendar is pretty awesome, especially if I know in advance I will have less time to spend online (like the past months due to exams) and I can make sure that way that my blog won't seem 'dead' while I'm offline doing other things.
    I hope you'll be able to figure out a good way to organize your reading and your blogging so that you won't feel like your in over your head, Brandi.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  4. I stopped feeling overwhelmed this year and just go with it. If I feel like reading and unsolicited book, I will if not, I pass it along. I use the calendar but find I am constantly juggling and moving things and then if I have an ARC that gets poor reviews I skip it. Blogging is a huge undertaking and I let it take over for awhile but this year I took a step back and I spend less time on the blog and more time reading what I want to read and it has become more enjoyable.

  5. If I get unsolicited books and don't care THAT much about reading it, I set it in a different pile. Those are books that I squeeze in if I have extra space. I don't make a schedule for review books since I read by mood, but I make piles (which doesn't work for ebooks) and then work through them. This month I was determined to read books I bought and I wanted them mixed in with the rest, so they are included in my pile. If I don't get in the mood to read some I'll move them to next month. On my kindle I delete what I've read, or if I don't have to read it yet, so every once in awhile I go through and line up what I have on there that I need/want to read. If I have a tour post I schedule it on my blog and save in drafts and I use google docs but that's mostly for the tours I'm organizing.
    I've done much better with being less stressed since I started making the physical pile of books. I can watch them dwindle as I get through them and I know it's all mental, but it helps.
    I think that different types of organizing work for each of us. For me I think I've found what works.
    Also- I don't request books. Well, maybe once in awhile, but it's not even one a month. I do get some through the publishers that are from the catalogs, but maybe only 2-3 month. I get asked to review some books and then I read those for potential tours. But I stay away from NG and EW.

  6. I actually do it pretty differently. Almost all of my reviews are at least a month old. I'm usually picky about the ARCs I request. I personally prefer to have a long time frame so I can stall if necessary. Plus, I only request 3 ARCs at a time. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but hardly more than 5.

    I don't list mine by publication date... I do whichever one I feel like reading. Usually if it's ARCs I read it by publication date. As for unsolicited copies... I don't even reply to them, lol.

  7. Melissa (Books and Things)June 6, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I just have dates set on my blog on the calendar and then I can move everything not set around it if I need to do that. I try to have reviews scheduled one week in advance. Otherwise I don't do too many drafts. Just finish the review and move onto the next. I also have publishing dates on my calendar so I know when things are due.

  8. I could not exist without my calendar and my shelfari shelf where I have all books in order and when they should be read. I used to read books a few days before posting date but now I am trying like a month before to start them

  9. Itara @ My Midnight FantasiesJune 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    I use the calendar on my phone and I do get overwhelmed and it happens really easily. I hate that cause the pressure sometimes it too much. I stopped blogging for about 2-3 months, it got to me. I didn't stop reading though. I just needed a breather and it helped, I stopped accepting books that I wasn't that interested in and only got the ones I really wanted to read. What I did during the break I had was read the books I wanted not the books I was supposed to, so I didn't feel the pressure.

    As of right now, I read what want. I tried to have a schedule but I fell off of that after a month. Now the only thing I schedule are reviews for blog tours or anything to do with blog tours. I'm pretty slow about putting reviews out there since I read faster than review. I take my time doing reviews because it means a lot to me and I want them to be perfect. I read a book a day, sometimes I can do 2 reviews a day but it's rare.

    I hope you can figure out what works best for you. For me not to feel the pressure, I read a book I want then a book I'm sent. Sometimes I do more of one than the other but I mostly change it up so I don't freak out. I hate people waiting on me. I alternate so I don't get burned out, cause been there, done that.

    I loved this post! It's something that needed to be said and it's a read problem for us bloggers. So thanks for the post :)

  10. I use my calendar to keep track of my scheduled posts, so that helps tell me what I need to read next. It helps some, but I still feel overwhelmed sometimes. I've tried cutting back on review requests, but some books just sound too good to pass up and I cave. Still working on it though! :)

  11. For me I think sometimes too much organization makes it worse for me. I have my list of books I need to review and I get to them as I can. I do have a little tag on my calendar saying when pub date is and I'll try for pub date but like you said sometimes multiples on the same day and I only post one review at a time so I've just decided...they can wait. I just had to decide that it would be okay. It won't be the end of the world if the review isn't up on Amazon or the blog seconds after the book has been released. Or even weeks later. Sales any time are a good thing. And a couple weeks after release it's good to have a reminder so seeing it on a blog then isn't a problem to me. You know? Keep in the public eye for a longer period of time instead of a blitz attack on one day.

    Blogging is supposed to be fun and I think we stress a little too much over it some times.

  12. I used to have a similar way of organizing and scheduling book reviews but I stopped because I really disliked adding a burdening sense of obligation to blogging. To me, blogging (and reading) is something I do because it's enjoyable. I still set a target to post one book review every week, and if I have the time to do more, I will, but stepping back and requesting fewer books give me more breather room. Like you, I also set up drafts whenever I can so that I have a place to jot down my thoughts while reading. I am still searching for a perfect system myself. Thanks for sharing your method with us! :)

  13. Since I'm not a mood reader, I just read the books in the order that I'm reviewing them. I have my calendar where I fill in what book goes on what day, and then I just read them. Easy. It's a simple, but very organized method that works for me. If I happen to get a book that's release date I've already passed in my scheduling, I'll just move other reviews back a day, and stick it in if I know I can finish it in time. If not, it goes at the end of the list.

    I don't worry too much about it, since I don't want blogging to be stressful. Plus, it's really not that important to me to get a review up exactly in that two week before/after window that publishers seem to like. I get most of them up in that time, but if not, oh well.

  14. I'm pretty much similar to your organization and scheduling. I have to keep a calender and there are post-it notes all over my desk and my calendar. But, I also try not to get too many review request and this summer I'm taking off from all of that and slowing down on my blogging. I was getting too bogged down and I found myself not wanting to touch books or my blog :( I want to keep the enjoyment of reading, reviewing, and blogging; the excitement of when I first started my blog. It gets hard, life gets busy, but I try!! I'm hoping this summer to tackle my TBR pile and just focus more on reading and a little less on reviewing. I don't want to get to the point where I don't want to do either!!

  15. I admire anyone who can use organizational tools to stay on track. Whenever I do something like that I feel too pressured. I need to wing it lol For some reason that is what keeps me organized. Weird….I know.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  16. Jenea WhittingtonJune 6, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    I am a list maker and a scheduler. Having OCD makes it easy I guess. :) I have a notebook that I have that I keep up with the ARC release dates for each month, and with that I can schedule when I want to be able to read the book and be able to schedule a review post for it on my calendar. Having a schedule for me if helpful with the kids especially now that the kids are out out school. I don't have to spend a bunch of time trying to figure it all out.

  17. shootingstarsmagJune 6, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    I don't have a lot of review books least not ones I specifically accept. If I'm randomly sent something, I might read it, but i might not. I try to be a bit more low key no reading these days, but for reviewing, I have one of those travel calendars that I fill in with when certain posts are scheduled for after I schedule them on blogger. I do want to try and make more drafts with basic details after I read a book so I'm halfway through getting the review done, because I do have a difficult time getting reviews posted soon after reading.


  18. I have all of the release dates written in my planner, but I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. I have been reading some unsolicited ones. I'm not just scheduling the ones that I request - but with so many releasing at the same time I'm trying to be satisfied with them being posted within that month rather than the week.

  19. Jayd @ bfaot blogJune 7, 2014 at 3:28 AM

    I got in way over my head with NetGalley ARCs, and now I've decided that if the pub date has passed, it's not a priority. I will get round to them, mainly when I finish reading other ARCs. This leaves me with about 5 or 6 to read rather than 15.

    I have my blogging notebooks where I have a calendar, lists of ARCs and Blog Tours, and lots of space to make notes on books I'm currently reading and reviewing. This means when I get to actually scheduling the review, I just have to type it up and expand on my bullet points.

  20. Requested books get slots first, and if an unsolicited book looks good I may add it in. I use the calendar method and it's color coded to help me keep track.

  21. This is an area I really need to work on. Organization is not my strong suit. I have calendar entries set up to alert a week before upcoming releases but even that doesnt seem to do it. I had a notebook for a while, but that isnt helping either.

  22. This is some great advice! I love organization. It is a thing with me, everything must be in it's place. I usually just have my calendar on my phone, but as long as it's written somewhere that will notify and remind me, I'm good :)

  23. I am really bad at organizing . . . I should take some of your tips to heart!

  24. I don't really have a set schedule that i do for my review books. But I do keep a list in my phone of all the review books I have with the date they release by them so that I know which ones need to be read first. Your organization skills are awesome!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  25. I get overwhelmed as well, Brandi, but I wouldn't feel bad for not reading and reviewing books I didn't request.

    I make a calendar every month and schedule my reads, but I'm the queen of procrastination so I end up writing my reviews the night before they're supposed to post all the time. It also doesn't help if I see a new shiny book that I'd rather be reading than the one I'm schedule to be working on! Lol! I do set up my posts in advance with the book cover & description & links all ready to go so when I have my (last minute) review done I just have to add it in.

    Great post, Brandi! :)


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