"Tiger and I thought it might be time to start a meme to discuss some of the frustrations that are unique to book bloggers. What happens when the hobby you love becomes more of a chore?This meme will appear on the first and third Mondays of the month. Tiger or Karen will give us a question to respond to and a linky for sharing our responses and developing community.
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 keep a spreadsheet for all my review commitments. Before I accept a book for review, I take a look at my schedule to see if I can make it work. If I accept the book, I immediately add it to that spreadsheet. I organize the spreadsheet by the date the book will be published.
I also just set a new review policy this month. In it I say that I will read and post a review of the book on or before publication date only if I receive it at least 21 days before that date. If it arrives later than than or if it is a previously published book, I tell people right up front that I will fit it in when I can.
I try to accept no more than six books a month for review. I am supporting two blogs - this one and my adult blog Inside of a Dog. I try to choose 3 young adult books and 3 adult books each month. However, that doesn't always work out. Some months are heavier on adult books other months are heavier on YA books and some month more than eight books sneak onto to stack. You can see my spreadsheet here.
Since I am a fairly well-established blogger, I have developed a relationship with a few publishers who supply the bulk of my review books. I am also a member of the Amazon Vine program which supplies me with 4 books a month. I am a member of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program which is where I first received books for review. I also have a few publicists that I work with on a semi-regular basis. NetGalley is also a source I use to find and request review books. All in all, I have to be selective or I will quickly get overwhelmed with titles to read.
I read about 4 books a week during the school year and still want to read books I buy too. My TBR mountain is currently out of control and I really want to whittle down a little in 2012.
I haven't had a problem meeting my commitments yet. I will admit that some of the books sent to me for review back when I was still accepting self-published titles have been on the list for quite a while. In most cases I told the author, when I accepted the book, that I would read it when I could. I think keeping accurate records and not over-extending myself will let me keep up.
In summary, I think the way to be able to meet deadlines is to set a reasonable goal for review books each month and stick to it. It is also very helpful to be organized. I use my spreadsheet; a friend uses a calendar. Whatever works for you is the way to go.