Friday, 10 August 2012

The Future of Writing from the Tub


I've been suffering from major blog burn out lately. Really, it's been for most of 2012 but I've just about kept things ticking over. However, over the last few weeks I've really questioned whether I want to continue blogging or not (the answer is yes, I do, so I'm not going anywhere). I think there are a few things that made me feel like this.

I've been quite inundated with books this year and more and more of the books I'm getting are unsolicited. There's nothing I love more than receiving a surprise in the post but the vast majority of unsolicited books I get at the moment are fantasy or paranormal romance, both of which are genres I haven't accepted for review for at least a year. There are very, very few paranormal romance and fantasy novels that I accept for review so I've stressed in my review policy for a long time that it's always best to check with me first. It really makes me sad when I get a book for review that I know I don't want to read because somebody has taken the time to send me the book, I'm also aware that proofs in particular are expensive to produce so I do feel a certain amount of pressure (not pressure, exactly, maybe obligation) to review every proof I'm sent.

I've started to realise I shouldn't feel that way.

My review policy is clear and easy to find; if people want to ignore it then that's okay but if a book is sent to me unsolicited I think I need to stop feeling pressure to review it, particularly if it's not a book I've expressed any interest to read. Particularly if it's an adult fantasy novel. Particularly if it's book seventeen in a series I haven't read a single volume of...

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I've realised I need to chill out. I run Writing from the Tub for myself, first and foremost, because I love talking about books. I adore receiving review copies and I love talking to publicists about new releases but it's not why I blog.

So, from now on, I'm going to be far, far more selective about the books I accept for review. I'm going to tighten up my review policy again and make sure I'm as clear as possible about what I do and do not accept. I don't want anybody to waste their time and money sending me a book that will end up donated to my library, although I can't really think of a better place for a book to end up. I’d much rather the book got sent to a blogger who will read and review and really enjoy it.

At Writing from the Tub I've always tried to review a wide range of books, from contemporary to horror to paranormal, with MG and YA and a few adult books thrown into the mix. I've reviewed novels, short story collections, poetry - I've tried to review as many different genres and styles as possible. And at first I loved the huge range of books I blogged about. However, that has changed lately and I've found myself tiring of certain genres (paranormal romance, I'm glaring at you). I will still continue to read anything and everything I can get my hands on but from a blogging and reviewing point of view there are going to be some major changes at Writing from the Tub.

Firstly, this is going to become a blog dedicated (in the most part) to contemporary YA. As anybody who has spent five minutes at Writing from the Tub knows, I'm a huge, mega contemporary fan. It's what I write, it makes up the majority of what I read and I adore it. I think part of the reason I've become quite distant with blogging is because I felt incapable of doing everything I wanted to; I felt like it was impossible to ever get through my TBR pile, or interview every author I wanted to, or keep up with new releases and news and trends etc etc. By focusing on my favourite genre I think I will be able to write better quality posts as I won't be spreading myself so thin. It also means my TBR pile will be smaller and more concentrated, so I'll be able to deliver reviews closer to the release dates and actually, you know, keep up with things!

I've also noticed a distinct lack of contemporary only blogs. There are a tonne of great paranormal, dystopia (and the like) blogs but I'm always looking for contemporary reviews and news - it's something I've lamented time and time again so I'm going to represent contemporary in my own little corner of the Internet, because I love it so.

In preparation for major changes at Writing from the Tub I've been working my way through my remaining non-contemporary review copies to get up to date with them, so do look out for an influx of mini reviews for all things non-contemp. Once the new face of WftT is launched I'll be featuring (fornightly, maybe?) occasional reviews of certain non-contemporary novels that have really grabbed my attention, as there are still a bunch of paranormal, horror and dystopian books I'm reading and loving.

Lastly, thanks for sticking with me over the last few months; I know there hasn't been much going on here and I've been flying under the radar but I have some really exciting plans for the rest of 2012 and beyond!

9 comments:

  1. I think this is a wonderful decision, Carly. We're not super bloggers as much as we may want to be. Lately I've been seeing bloggers from the community, including myself, getting pickier about what we will accept and review and pushing away the unnecessary guilt we feel about unsolicited material we may receive but aren't interested in. Most of all, a lot of are finally making good use of the word "no". There might still be a twinge of guilt, but we can't do everything and there's always someone else out there who will probably accept a book we decline.

    I'm looking forward to your re-vamp! I've really started getting into contemporary YA this year and have really found a few gems.

    For now, have a lovely weekend!

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  2. Good for you Carly! What a good idea to make the blog contemp (nearly) only. I love seeing the contemp books you review and you always give me loads to add to my wishlist!

    I had to take a break to sort out my blog burnout but I went the other way. I decided to review more genres as I was reading too much of the same all the time.

    Can't wait for more contemp reviews from you :D

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  3. Glad to hear that you are sticking around. I look forward to your reviews and can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve.

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  4. I've just returned to blogging and I'm pleased to hear you're planning to focus on contemporary YA because that's by far my favourite branch of YA,I particularly love US stuff so I look forward to reading your reviews!

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  5. I completely hear what you'r e saying, and must say I'm beginning to tire a little of the Paranormal genre myself. I find myself loving contemporary fic more and more lately, but also don't seem to stumble across many blogs that are specifically contemporary fiction orientated. Looking forward to seeing what you've got up your sleeve Carly. xoxo

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  6. I am so pleased you aren't giving up & I love how focused you are <3 It fab that you know what you like and are going for that *hugs*

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  7. I go through phases of preferring different genres but I have to admit that I too usually go for contemporary YA. If I receive a contemp book it's likely to be read much sooner. I think it's great that you're planning to focus on where your main interests lie.

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  8. I also feel awful when I receive unsolicited paranormal romance/fantasy books, because I know I won't read them, so I decided to email every publisher I'm in contact with and explain why I'm no longer accepting unsolicited review copies. I want to make sure that I'm actually going to read and review everything I receive so I don't waste anyone's time or money. I think the most important thing is that you're making a change to ensure that you continue to enjoy blogging, so I think you're doing the right thing!

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  9. I'm so glad you decided not to give up and focusing almost entirely on a genre you love is a great way to go - after all blogs are meant to be an enjoyable way to spend some time - no point in reading lots of things you're not enjoying!

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Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.