LET’S TALK ABOUT… where I’ve been, ARC down-sizing, and new blogging plans!

November 12, 2020

I feel like we just had a big discussion post recently, but I’ve got a lot on my mind lately, so bear with me, folks. ♥

First of all, sorry I kind of… disappeared?

A few weeks ago, I realized as I was getting ready for bed one night that I hadn’t written a post for the next day, and instead of rushing to my computer to piece something together really quickly, I decided to just let it go. And then another day passed, and another, and another… and after a couple of days of missed posts, I realized I seriously needed a break.

So, I decided to take an unannounced, indefinite hiatus, and while I was gone, I realized I don’t want to follow a blogging schedule anymore. It worked well for me for a long time, but now? I’d rather just post what I want, when I want. No more filling the void with random posts I don’t actually enjoy writing (like a weekly tag, when I don’t even like doing tags that often). No more memes that I have to force myself to finish in time (lookin’ at you, Top Ten Tuesday).

At the end of the day… what’s the post of doing this if I’m not doing it in a way I actually enjoy?

So, from here on out, you might see 3 posts from me one week and nothing the next and then 5 posts the week after that — I honestly don’t know right now! I’m sorry, but this is what I need to do and I hope you’ll understand!

While I was gone, I decided to cut myself some slack in a few other areas, too.

Namely, my review copy backlist.

You’ve all heard me lament plenty of times over my review copy backlist, so we don’t need to re-hash all of that. Over-estimating my own ability to focus, getting overly excited when I first became a librarian and got that sweet, sweet librarian NetGalley account status, and having a mental illness that most notably manifests in poor impulse control? Pretty much a recipe for disaster for a while there. While I’ve gotten much better about what ARCs I choose to accept or request, it doesn’t do anything to help with that big-ass backlist that’s been breathing down my neck, making it difficult for me to read ANYTHING at all because every book I try to pick up that isn’t on the backlist makes me feel guilty, and every book that is on the backlist feels like a chore at this point.

So, I finally took the advice of some very dear friends (mostly Ellyn ♥) and decided to dump almost my entire review copy backlist… and it feels incredible.

I made myself a couple of rules:

  1. Remove every single copy that published before 2020.
  2. Remove every single book that I don’t want to read ASAP and have not been inclined to pick up within the last six months.
  3. Remove every single book I’ve started and set down “for later” but haven’t picked back up in a while.
  4. I also allowed myself to keep many of these books on my overall Goodreads TBR shelf, just not my review shelf — which made it a lot easier to let go of the pressure, because I’m viewing those as “eventually” reads instead of “gotta read it right now” reads.

The final result? I lowered my backlist of review copies down to only 35 releases from this year, with a handful for next year waiting on me, too. That’s a huge change from the 300+ review copies I had on my backlist before making this decision.

And you might be wondering, do I feel guilty for removing these books from my reviewing list? Honestly, I did at first… until I really thought long and hard about what I was asking of myself here.

First of all, I promote every single review copy I haul. Whether it’s through haul posts, videos, bookstagram pictures, book lists, whatever — I know for a fact I’ve promoted and even sold many books without ever reading a single page of the book myself. So, it’s not like skipping a review means I haven’t done anything for the book at all.

Second, because I prioritize print titles (since those are the ones publishers actually spend money to create and send out), the titles I removed were almost exclusively eARCs (and even more, most of them were auto-approvals that were available to all librarians — not requested titles I might have indirectly prevented another reviewer from receiving).

Third, I don’t know why it took me four freaking years for this to sink in… but it’s not like I’m getting paid for this effort. A free review copy does not legitimately match up in terms of payment to the ridiculous amounts of effort I’ve gone to for promoting some of these titles, honestly. So, when I weigh it all out… I think I can forgive myself for de-prioritizing some eARCs.

And, uh… well, that’s it, really! 😅 I kind of just wanted to give you all an update on where I’m at right now and the status of those two things.

I won’t be posting any more monthly ARC updates this year, but I’ll post a new one in January for our “clean slate”, in a sense. Any 2020 titles I don’t read by the end of this year might be removed as well, just for the sake of making 2021 a lot more manageable for myself.

ALSO, I’m not reading much these days, but I do want to start adding in some gaming content and I’ve received a lot of requests for video game reviews lately — so, keep an eye out for those to begin soon! ♥


twitter | booktube | bookstagram | facebook | goodreads


More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. Speaking as someone who also kind of just disappeared, I definitely agree with you that blogging schedules can sometimes be stressful!! I know for me I just watched them pile up and pile up and my motivation seeped away further and further. Good for you for deciding to put it away when it wasn’t working!! It’s really great to see all of the ways that you’ve been working on improving your relationship to blogging and I hope you’re doing well!

    1. I think some of us are all over the map with everything going on in the world and in our personal lives! Hang in there. I hope these changes help you and keep on reading!!

    1. Hang in there and youbare doing the right thing. In fact you have inspired me to go through my tbr and remove some that I don’t even know why I got! I am in another huge slump so it needs to be done!

    1. This sounds like a terrific plan! I tend to have “I want to read them all” when I visit Netgalley and the only way to curb that is to stay very far away. Still, I have a bunch that are ancient now and I feel the guilt. But you are 100% right. We hand sell a ton of books by mentioning them, bookstagramming them, twittering them – all that stuff.There are several big names in the community who don’t review them all but do promote them so I try not to let the guilt eat at me. Our own mental well being comes first. I hope this new plans helps you feel unburdened and freeeee!

    1. proud of you for putting yourself and your health first, destiny. and i’m rooting for you, your happiness, and all the interests that make you happy (especially in… the world with now) forever and ever. i love you 💕

    1. Sending you so much love Destiny! 💜 Sometimes you just need to take a step back and decide what’s best for you. I’m proud of you and I hope going forward you keeping finding what makes you happy, you keep enjoying the things you love, and nothing but good things come your way! 💜

    1. I think it’s great that you decided to put yourself first! 🙂 There is a lot of pressure when you’re a book blogger and even though a lot of people don’t see or acknowledge it, it’s still there. So it’s good you’re doing what makes you happy and that you reduced your TBR and ARCs. 🙂 2020 has been a tough year for everyone and it’s even more important to look out for yourself. <3

    1. Welcome back! I love to read that you’re letting go of things that may have been dragging you down re: reading and blogging. I hope you find more joy in this and whatever else you choose to do now 🙂

    1. YES. This sounds so good for you and I am proud you are making the change. It’s a weird thing with review copies where you feel obligated even though we aren’t held by any contract. I’ve been doing something similar, where I am just super ruthless with books that I don’t enjoy or care to read anymore. It’s a priveldge to receive books and give a first impression, but we also don’t owe anything. I hope this is a refresh to make things more enjoyable for you <3

    1. I’m glad you made the decision to let go of those old review copies! I hope this’ll make reading the ones you’re still interested in and want to get to easier / less stressful. Wishing you all the luck for that. 😀 Scheduling works for me – but then again, I don’t post a lot and have a co-blogger – but it’s 1000% understandable that it doesn’t work for you at all. I hope this will work out for you! ♥♥

    1. I’m a big fan of this plan! I hope you are enjoying your break and can get back to having fun posting about the books you love.

    1. Over 300 review copies? Oh WOW, Destiny, I don’t blame you for trimming things down to the essentials! I hope the adjustment makes things much easier for you, and that you enjoy what you do pick up!

Say hello! ♥

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.