Why I Don’t Generally Offer to Review Books

Posted: 25th June 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Books
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Mervidia CoverThere are few books I will actively work to read and review. The reason for this is simple: I have a backlog that I already don’t have time to read (that would be the box you see below). Mervidia, by my very good friends Jay & Katie Barber, is one of the ones I can’t wait to read as soon as I get my hands on it.

You see, I don’t get to read much for fun anymore, except for the rare occasions when something I’m reading for another reason also happens to be fun. I’m not just an author at Grey Gecko Press, I’m also the Chief Gecko, and that means I get to read all the submissions our Slushpile Readers vote up for final review. Currently, that total is 38 novel-length books and 5 short stories… and those are just the digital submissions.

I also have the occasional book I want to read, but don’t have time for, like Skin Game, the newest Harry Dresden book from my acquaintance Jim Butcher. Someday, I’ll get around to it, though if history is any judge, it won’t be until his third book from now. It took me this long to get to Ghost Story and Cold Days.

To add to the list, there’s the books I need to read for/about work or my career, like Getting the Words Right and How To Write a Novel, among others like Let’s Get Visible.

Right now, I’ve got 23 titles on my “To Read & Review” list, not including the 38 submissions. There are a whopping five on my “Read, To Review” list (including the two Dresden books).

My To-Read PileThe upshot of all this is that with the 61 books I have yet to read, it’s going to be some time before I can get to any others. So when you stop me at a convention or book signing or wherever and say, “Can you take a look at this for me? You know, when you get a chance?” I’m going to be nice and say sure, and I’ll really mean to take a look at it – but then it’ll get put at the end of the list (as is only right and fair), and who knows when I’ll get time to read it. I’m actually a big fan of Hugh Howey‘s take on this (I’m a big fan in general, but for this in particular):

Q: Will you read and blurb my book?
I have a pile of “yeses” beside my bed that reaches the ceiling. Again, my difficulty with saying “no” has gotten me into trouble. I can no longer read for pleasure, which is a huge problem. I aim to rectify that this year. That means there’s a greater chance that I’ll read your book and write a review. But it’ll happen organically. Sorry about this. If you want to contact my agent and make a special appeal, you can.

I have three jobs, and none of them is reading, unfortunately. So please, if you ask me to read your work, realize it’s going to take a LONG time. It has nothing to do with you, it’s simply a fact of life. Just know that I’m immensely honored that you would think my opinion is worth asking for, to begin with.

How big is your To Be Read pile? Take a photo and post it here, or on my Facebook, or send me a tweet. And don’t forget to sign up for my New Release mailing list (no spam, I promise)!
  1. Jenna says:

    I have like… 150 books on my TBR. And that’s just the books I own. I do that thing where you know you already have an egregious amount of books to read but you still keep buying more.

    • Jenna: Wow, that’s a lot of books to read! I have over 4,000 in my library, and have read them all, but it’s taken a LONG time to do it. I get frazzled just looking at my box of books, knowing I don’t have the time. I can’t imagine having 150!

      • Jenna says:

        *drops jaw* I am so insanely jealous. I’ve wanted a library that big since I was like 5. Are they all physical copies or does that include e-books? And yeah, I’ll get about halfway through that by the end of the year, but I buy almost as many as I read. Sometimes more. It’s hard being a book fanatic. Haha.

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