The Times They Are A-Changing

Come gather round people, whatever you read, and admit that the shit that’s gone down the last couple of weeks has you unsettled. Well, okay, I can’t speak for you guys, but I do know that the events of the last couple of weeks, after the stalking of a wonderful and hilarious blogger by an author over a negative review, have left me changed. I don’t want to get into that today. Many people more eloquent than myself have spoken out on it and I don’t think I can really add anything. I wouldn’t be posting about this at all, except that I need to explain, in this limited fashion, the reason for the coming changes on A Reader of Fictions.

No, I’m not quitting blogging. This was the first time I was ever tempted to do so, but I’m not ready to give up this hobby or this community. However, I cannot sustain the frenetic pace that I was holding myself to and I do not want to try.

gif lost ability to can

You might not be aware, but I’ve pushed myself so hard to get to where I am with the blog. Last year, I read 352 books. 73% of them were review books (from publishers, conferences, or NetGalley/Edelweiss). Another 5% were books I read because I received a book later in a series and needed to catch up in order to review a book. Another 10% were Sadie Hawkins books, requested by readers. Only 12% percent of my books did I actually really choose for myself.

Now I’m not complaining. I did choose to allow review books to take over my life. I honestly love getting review books. It makes me feel like someone thinks what I’m doing is worthwhile. Plus, it’s so much fun opening a package to see what’s inside. If I wanted review books to keep coming, I felt I owed it to the sources from which I received them to do my best to read them all. Spoiler: I did not read them all. I DID try though.

gif 101 dalmations reading

This year, I’ve only read 226 books so far, which is paltry in comparison. This is due to personal life stuff. I just do not have the time to read quite so many books. Part of how I read so much was that I didn’t have too many demands on my time, but I have more of those now. It happens. Yet, I felt guilty. About my hobby.

Then all of this shit goes down and I honestly don’t know why I’m pushing myself so hard just to be dismissed as a bitch or a troll or a life-ruiner or jealous aspiring author (note that I’m not an aspiring author) if I happen to say something someone doesn’t like in a review. I’m scared that if I review the wrong person’s book, I could be in danger, most likely emotionally, but possibly physically. After the article hit The Guardian, I couldn’t read for days. Though I’m now reading again, my pace is slowed and I’m not as driven as I was.

gif i can't do it david tennant

All of this is to explain why there are changes coming to A Reader of Fictions. What can you expect?

A. For the last couple of months, I’ve been DNFing anything that didn’t grab my attention. This started back in August and that will not be changing. I already wasn’t in the mood to suffer through something that bored me in order to write a negative review of it, and this incident hasn’t changed that. I will, however, continue to put together posts about what I’ve DNFed, since I find those very helpful as a reader.

B. I will not be seeking out review copies actively anymore. I will continue to work with the connections I already have, but am not going to be stressing myself out looking for new publicity contacts. I will accept review requests when I feel like it. The biggest change with regards to review copies is that I will not put any pressure on myself to try to read the unsolicited books that arrive unless I am incredibly interested in the book. Since I didn’t request it, I should feel no pressure to try to get through it.

C. You guys might not know this, but any book I free read got scheduled for Thursday. I have Thursday reviews slotted in until March 2015. This backlog presents a problem. I’m going to leave it as it is. However, from now on, I’ll be scheduling reviews for whatever I read by when I’ve read them. I used to only schedule review books for the current time and anything else went in that line. Now everything will go up whenever it goes up. Oh, and if I want to read an ARC early, I will.

D. I used to read two review books at any given time. Well, actually it’s more like four, but let’s not get into that. Free reads only happened when I got ahead on one category of review books or another. Now, though, I will continue to read two print books at any given time, but only one will be a review book, unless I choose to free read another review book because I’m in the mood.

gif damn the consequences

Are these changes unfair to publishers? Maybe. I’m not sure. What I know is that it’s a publisher’s choice to send me books. If my new system of reading and scheduling means that publishers don’t want to offer me books, that’s fine. I’d be a bit sad, but I can live with that. I think it’s more important that I continue to enjoy blogging than that I continue to get free shit.

Knowing me, this won’t last forever. Every few months, I do a post on my new ridiculous reading system and that will probably not change. This, however, is what I’m doing right now and I just wanted to give you guys a heads up.

gif parks and rec ron swanson i can do what i want

18 responses to “The Times They Are A-Changing”

  1. Sounds completely fair to me, you owe it to yourself to pursue your hobby however you want! I totally understand fear of missing out, whether that’s not getting a review book or not having the ability to read every book you want to. But it’s good to try and let go of the guilt. I’m working on that and I don’t have nearly as many books as you!

    Also I’m very excited about the first three books on your currently reading sidebar πŸ˜€
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween SpiritMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, the drama of caring so much about getting X new book is also part of why I’m trying to scale back. If I don’t TRY to get a particular book, then I don’t need to feel bad about not getting it. Then I know why, you know?

      Hahaha, I imagine a lot of people are, and should be, excited. The fourth book no one will care about (and I finished that one anyway).

  2. Bekka says:

    I’m so happy you decided not to quit. Your absence from twitter definitely had me worried.

    I’m 100% for you doing whatever you need to do to love blogging again. Passion and enjoyment for what you’re doing definitely bleed into the content and the blog reader’s experience. If that means you have to scale back, or slow down the review copy madness, then that’s all there is to it. Your readers will be here no matter how you decide to read.
    Bekka recently posted…Blogger Trick-or-Treat Day 6My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I don’t think I seriously considered it, but I did start thinking about it more than I have before.

      Most of my issues are things that I need to work with on a personal level. I stress so much about ARCs (which I think not seeking them out actively will improve), about posting constantly (which will be much easier if I don’t decide only reviews of books for review matter), and about reading as much as I can (I really do want to read more books than anyone in the world, but I just can’t). With everything, I just don’t know why I’m denying myself books I want to read so that I can obtain things that just make me more stressed out. I need to read better, not more, I guess.

  3. Casey says:

    Good for you! That is all. πŸ˜‰

  4. Tez Miller says:

    Crikey! So glad to hear you’ll be putting yourself first, because you definitely deserve it. All that reading and reviewing in short time frames you were doing sounds more like work than fun. May your new way of reading and reviewing serve you better πŸ™‚

    (Admittedly, I pay more attention to your Cover Snark than your reviews, but that says more about me than it does about you πŸ˜‰ )
    Tez Miller recently posted…β€œThe League of Evil Book Bloggers”My Profile

  5. Count me in among the people who are glad you aren’t quitting blogging!

    Also, I said this on gchat but you are idle right now, ‘holy shit I’ve read more books than you this year.’ I mean I actually audibly said that while reading this post, not that it’s the one thing I should come away from this post with, just you usually beat me when it comes to reading. Then again, I’ve got all these wicked short audiobooks for the secret project. ANYWAYS.

    I like the changes that you are implementing. I think that it honestly is hard to look at your review pile and say ah, F-it I am going to read what I want. I have trouble with that myself, my whole thing is read a review book, get rid of it and clear a spot in my house. BUT THEN THE VICIOUS CYCLE STARTS – wherein I read a review book, get rid of it, and a package of three more come in the mail to replace that one book. Oh well.

    Also, the best books I read so far this year were not review books (being The Lies Of Locke Lamora series, although book three was a review book). Hmm.

    Anyways, I love these changes and totally agree with the I Do What I Want mindset when it comes to blogging.
    April Books & Wine recently posted…Be With Me by J. Lynn | Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeahhhhh, I’ve been really slow this year. I’m super bummed that I won’t hit 300, but I just won’t.

      I am very familiar with the VICIOUS CYCLE. Like, I couldn’t free read because review books, so I would request a bunch of review books so I would have a chance to read them since I couldn’t free read, so then I would have more review books and I could never read anything else ever.

      I’ve read some good review books, but the non-review ones are doing pretty well.

  6. Meg says:

    I’m going to just leave these here:

    http://d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net/image_cache/1339736789118160.jpg

    https://becomingmrsmccully.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/youre-awesome.gif

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqyuxgzdCZ1qdjj5m.gif

    I am a firm believer that hobbies should be, you know, fun. This doesn’t mean not working at them but like, fun work, not OMG THIS IS TOO MUCH WHAT IS HAPPENING ARE YOU REALITY work. I fully support you doing whatever you need to do to get back to the fun part.
    Meg recently posted…Hot New Titles: October 28th 2014My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      AWWWWWWW, I am having so many feels about those gifs. It’s like you knew of my massive love of all of those things.

      ARE YOU REALITY?

      but yeah, I hope this helps me in the long run and that I stick to it and don’t let the guilt make me go back to my old ways.

  7. Dragana says:

    I’m just glad that you are not quitting and that you found a way to enjoy your hobby again. Read wtf you want – I don’t care. πŸ™‚
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: The Genome by Sergei LukyanenkoMy Profile

  8. I’ve DNF’d a lot of books this year and I haven’t read anything that has blown me away in ages. Books that I thought I’d love I’ve found disappointing.
    Anyway good on you for doing what you want to.
    Read what YOU want πŸ™‚
    Jess @ A Book Addict’s Bookshelves recently posted…Blog Tour + Interview + Giveaway – Love’s Last Call by Beth MatthewsMy Profile

  9. Anya says:

    I feel like if you’re honest about not being able to guarantee getting to a review book, then it is certainly fair to the publisher ;-). There is a part of me that is completely fine if pubs decide to send fewer books because I’ve included in my review policy that I make no guarantees because then I would have fewer review books distracting me from the awesome backlist books on my shelves! In any case, I firmly approve and think it’s really important for you to prioritize enjoying your hobby <3
    Anya recently posted…5 Things to Know About Alix Black {The Bloodbound}My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      In recent months, I’ve gone less to saying that I will review the book to wanting to try it. Often, I let them know that I have a backlog and will get to it when I can. I’ve encountered very few pushy publicists. If they really want to nail down a date, I’ll do that if I want the book enough.

  10. Sophia says:

    Woohoo! Good for you! I’m glad you’re not pressuring yourself anymore–blogging should be fun, right? πŸ™‚ But WOW, that’s a lot of books in one year! *claps*
    Great post! πŸ˜€

  11. Heather says:

    I am happy for you, buddy1! Read what you want, and don’t stress about it; it IS supposed to be fun πŸ™‚

  12. I am absolutely doing the same thing and am no longer accepting as many review books as I have in the past. I also love opening packages and finding new surprises, I love sharing the love of a new upcoming book for everyone else to look forward to and I love feeling like I’m helping publishers. That hasn’t really changed but it’s all become too frenetic for me and I need to take a step back and get back to loving reading for me and me alone. So glad you’re not quitting blogging though. πŸ™‚
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Monthly Rundown: October 2014My Profile

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