Book Blogger Confessions – Deadlines

Book Blogger Confessions is a new(ish) meme run by Tiger at All-Consuming Media and Karen at For What It’s Worth. Every first and third Monday they post a new question to open up discussion about common frustrations to book bloggers. Link up your post on either blog and hop around to listen to and learn from your fellow bloggers!

This week’s question is:

Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?
I typically operate with soft deadlines, meaning when I accept a book for review, I calendar a date by which I want the review posted. I also enter it in a spreadsheet that tracks all of my pending review books, and prioritize the list based on the release date. Books with closer release dates get read first, as those are the dates around which I schedule my reviews.

These dates are not set in stone, however. The longer I blog, the more lee-way I give myself to push those deadlines back as needed. When I first started, I was incredibly rigid about my deadlines, but this led to me reading a lot of review books and very few pleasure books. This is a big reason (if not the reason) that I have stopped accepting review copies. I make an exception for NetGalley, because I have more self-control where those books are concerned, and I’ve made a conscious effort to only request books I know I want to read.

If I’m coming up on a deadline and I haven’t gotten around to reading the book, I push the review posting date back to a time when I think I’ll read the book. For a lot of my review copies, this has happened with embarrassing regularity, and it’s reached the point where I may have to contact the authors and tell them I can’t review their books.

Finding the balance between a blog made up entirely of review deadlines and one with a structure so loose that nobody cares to read it anymore is harder than I first thought. I thought deadlines would give me structure and allow me to plan my blog out to well-oiled machinery perfection, but what I ended up with was a joyless blog that consisted of lots of reviews and memes with little room for spontaneity. I have more demands on my time than ever, and blogging has taken a back seat. I still have a long list of books to read and review, but my posting schedule has more room on it now for interesting discussion topics that may come up or new memes I want to try without having to schedule them three months in advance.

Deadlines give me structure, but I can get a little crazy with them. I’ve found that without them, however, I tend to push everything off my plate and get nothing done. I’m still looking for that happy medium.

11 thoughts on “Book Blogger Confessions – Deadlines

  1. I have the same problem balancing review commitments. Too many and blogging seems like a chore. Not enough, and I feel as though I am adrift. I think finding a happy medium is a lot harder than it sounds!

  2. I agree with trying to find the happy medium with blogging and reading for fun. I also think trying to have the reviews in timely manner helps blogging easier.

  3. Fantastic post, this sounds like I could have written it! I like the idea or prioritizing the books based on review dates. I keep a list of books, but end up jumping around. When you find that happy medium, make sure you tell us how to get there, too.

  4. I love the idea of soft deadlines that are there to give you a guideline of what needs to be done but can still be flexible. I think that is the perfect balance right there. I have come to realize that I need to be able to recognize my own limitations as a book blogger and work within them… it is not realistic for me to review 10-15 books a month and as a result I have currently stopped accepting review books because it is going to take me a few months to work through the books that I currently have to the to be reviewed shelf. And I still have my own reading for pleasure to think about. At one point last year I was a little resentful of my to be reviewed pile because it felt as though it was taking away from the new released that I wanted to read for myself – so this year for every 2 review books I read I am reading 1 book from my own list. I also have to say your blog is absolutely lovely! I'm looking forward to reading more from you! :)Bonnie @

  5. This seems to be the year of finding balance for a lot of us.Last year I had 6 days a week filled on the blog but I was hating it. Reading books I didn't like, scouring goodreads just to find a WoW pick…..I try for two reviews a week and a few memes or spontaneous posts now and I'm much happier.

  6. I also like soft deadlines, and for my blogging, try to keep myself within a pattern (I find the word schedule makes it feel too much like work).

  7. I honestly can't find balance between indie author requests and the reviews I request or books I purchase. I feel required to meet NetGalley's publisher deadlines and I hate telling an indie author maybe three months from now, but when do I review my books. The ones I bought? I really don't know how to balance it except to start saying no. Unitl I get caught up. I'm double posting now and I do want to have a life. Boy am I whiny today. I think I need some sleep. Anyway Logan, if you do find a better way to do it, let me know. I think I might be becoming desperate!!Heather

  8. I used to be so organized about it. I did it very similar to you. Now deadlines come and go. It gets overwhelming because it feels like missing a deadline even though I have soft deadlines. I think it is a mindset issue for me.

  9. I don't really take review request either. I can't take the pressure! Even a "soft" schedule like you have is impressive to me!

  10. Yes, I totally know what you mean about review books and deadlines. I just want to read for fun. I usually just get my books from Netgalley or the Digital Library. My blog is small, I don't get a huge crowd knocking down my door for revews.

  11. Whoa, I'm thrilled that you at least try to set read-by dates, and those spreadsheets sound like a great blog-organizing tool. 🙂 Deadlines can nudge us in the right direction, so long as they don't dominate us!

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