I’ve previously discussed how I had a problem with book overload – requesting too many ARCs and then reading other things, going on crazy book buying sprees in charity shops and taking out far too many books from the library. However, what I wanted to discuss today is how you read those ARCs. I’m talking about ARCs in particular because often there’s some sort of deadline, either to get the review written and published around the publication date, or within a few weeks of receiving the book. I’ve noticed that some people are REALLY organised when it comes to reading and reviewing, and it makes me feel a bit useless!
I have a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of all my ARCs, hosted on Google Docs. It’s viewable to everyone and I link to it on my review policy – so people can see my awful requested to review ratio at all times. I prefer to use Google Docs than something like Excel because I can access it anywhere, even on my phone (or *coughcough*at work*cough*). Within the spreadsheet I have tabs for each ‘source’ – Netgalley, Edelweiss and from the author or publisher.
As soon as a book is received, I add it to the list and include title, author, publication date, received date, number of pages (helpful if I want to quickly read a few review copies), whether I was auto-approved for the book or not and any notes such as a target date for the review. The latter is a more recent addition, one of my attempts to sort out my review pile. I try to colour code books – high priority (which is sometimes to do with publication date and sometimes to do with how badly I want to read the book!), currently reading, read and review to be written, or read and review scheduled. I also have a formula (that Faith shared with me) that lets me know how many Netgalley books I need to read to reach each percentage mark.
I also have another doc for publication dates, which I’ll often use for choosing an ARC. This document is actually pretty shameful – I have ARCs dating back to September 2012, just after I started blogging, that I still haven’t read. I’m mostly concentrating on books sent to me by Hodderscape and Headline at the moment, as they’re physical copies as opposed to ebooks, and I will only have access to them for the next two months!
Although I feel a lot more organised with my spreadsheet and document, I don’t feel it has really helped me to review books any more quickly. It’s more obvious to me now when target dates for reviews are coming up, but unfortunately the only way I can make sure to reach them is to push myself! Or perhaps just not request quite so many books from Netgalley… although I am getting better at that.