How to organize your reading life as a book blogger

I was watching my Goodreads challenges and overall reading stats the other day and realized something. It turns out that I doubled my reading in the last 5 years.

That overwhelming, stunning increase in my reading statistics come from one thing you will see coming: book blogging. Is it because I’ve been surrounded by books more and more every single day? Is it because everyone is talking about all the books and I feel suddenly that need to read them all? Is is because, somehow I managed, as I grew as a blogger, to get the chance to read some books early on?

No matter the reason, the facts are here: I’m reading more than I ever did before and, if I love it, sometimes, it gets a little overwhelming.

As a book blogger, you’re reading so many books, especially if you’re getting involved in the community and the book blogging clichΓ©s. Meaning: you’re requesting and reading ARCs, you’re buddy reading with your friends, participating in readathons, anticipating some books eagerly and more. There is just so much to do and so much happening in your reading life, all of a sudden, you’re lost.

You know what: that’s me. I am lost and confused and sometimes screaming because of all the books. (But aren’t we all.)

So today, I thought I’d share some of my reading organization tips that have helped me over the years, that have made me freak out a little less, somehow.

πŸ“– Requesting and reading ARCs as a book blogger : how to manage it all

I’m not going to lie: one of the most exciting things about being a book blogger is getting some incredible opportunities, reading ARCs being one of the most exciting. ARCs are Advance Reading Copies, by the way, a.k.a bound (or digital) copies of books you’re able to read months before the release date and review.

If ARCs are a fantastic opportunity, it’s also a trick, a trap you can fall into and, somehow never get out of. So here are my tips and tricks about ARCs…. you know, hopefully they will help you not fall into that trap, somehow.

πŸ”On ARC Requests

When you discover platforms such as NetGalley or Edelweiss, when you see all of these wonderful books you can, if you’re lucky enough, request, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed. It’s so easy not to know what you really want to read and click everywhere in a rush, wanting it all. I was that person, I sometimes still am.

Let me tell you one thing: don’t request too many ARCs, because if you get the chance to get approved for everything, you will be drowning in half a second and hating it all. Whenever I feel like hitting that request button, sending that email, I’m doing these things :

  • REALLY take that extra second to read the book’s synopsis and wonder whether or not I really want to read it.
  • Don’t stop at that book cover. At the hype you’ve heard about the book. THINK before hitting request or send. Like, one more second sometimes stops me from regrets.

If you do that, when you get that chance, when luck turns around and you get this book, the thrill will be even greater.

πŸ“Reading your ARCs and organizing it all

The thing, with ARCs, is that you kind of have to read them and review them. That’s the whole purpose of it all. Publishers lose money making ARCs and sending them over for promotion, when they send physical copies. I’m not sure how that works digitally, but I’m sure either way, no matter what, when you have ARCs, know that something is expected of you here: reading and reviewing the book.

I’m one of these book bloggers always trying my best to read the book in due time and, as much as I can, review it as close to the publishing date as I can to promote it well, too and I found out that, the best thing for me to do that, is to keep track of them all in some way. I’m like Dory and I need this okay.

There are many ways you can keep track of your ARCs and, therefore, know what to read, when to read them and what’s ahead of you when it comes to reading, too. Here are some ideas of platforms you can keep track of it all on:

  • An ARC or reading spreadsheet,
  • A bullet journal, or journal or notebook of any kind,
  • Google Calendar,
  • Your phone Notes app,
  • Trello, Evernote or any other kind of app to keep it all organized,
  • Goodreads : make a specific goodreads shelf, for instance…

β˜‚οΈIf you’re looking for an ARC spreadsheet, I have one right here!

Friends, please also know that it’s okay if you’re a little under the weather, overwhelmed or burned out and can’t be on top of your ARCs list at the moment. These things happen and you’re human and allowed to take breaks, too, especially because you’re not getting paid for this all. Just remember to take care of yourself and be honest with the publisher, too, as to keep good relationships with them.

πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ Buddy readings and Readathons

I honestly don’t do that many buddy reads and don’t do readathons or other reading challenges, mostly because I’m a mood reader, I don’t have all the books that could fit the challenges at my disposal, nor can I buy them right away.

THAT being said, buddy reading and readathons are all the rage in the book blogging community and I get why. You’re part of something big, you’re sharing awesome reads and it’s the best and, friends, I’m all for this.

Despite not being fluent in these kind of reading practices in the community, I noticed the way people are participating in these kind of events and, somehow, organizing themselves for it all. They keep track of their readathons with:

  • Blog posts : stating their TBRs at first, showing their progress as the challenge goes on,
  • Twitter threads : updated as they cross a new book off their TBR,
  • Goodreads shelves : creating a specific shelf with the books they plan to read for the challenge, or plan to buddy read.

β˜‚οΈ Also read: How to buddy-read.

πŸ“š Books you want to read, your priority list and so on

There are so many books I want to read, I honestly don’t even know where to start, at times. I have so many books on my goodreads TBR and so many books I want to read, but I don’t want to read them all at specific times. There are books you’re more excited to read than ever, there are books you’re anticipating more than ever, books you don’t want to forget at all, books you want to read in priority as soon as you can afford to get new books or get them at the library, if you have that chance. With all the books we’re hearing about every single day, well…. there’s this one thing, as Ron says, we need to do.

Here are some ways you can keep track of them all, these books you NEED absolutely:

  • Make a priority-to-read list on your goodreads shelves,
  • Write the books you want in priority on your wishlist,
  • or in a bullet journal, a notebook of some kind…
  • Write blog posts about these books to keep you accountable all through the month or year.

❀️ Keep your love for reading alive

When there are so many books you want to read, being organized for your reading life is key, at least, for me.

Yet, I find it so important to remember why I’m here. I’m here because I love reading. While some people love to keep their TBRs organized at all times, know that, personally, if I don’t keep some mood reading in my organization, I’ll burn out.

Listen to your heart, always, even when there is too much to read, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Pick up that book you want to read even if it’s not supposed to be prioritized at the moment. Leave that book alone if you feel like you need a break. Don’t get that book if you feel the hype screaming at you, but you’re not feeling that book so much.

Always, always remember, no matter how organized you want to be -or not- that reading is fun and you should keep it that way.

β˜‚οΈ You might also be interested in: How to organize your book blogging life.

How do you organize your reading as a book blogger? Do you manage to keep track of your ARCs and books you want to read, or do you just… not?

Do you have some tips and tricks to share, when it comes to organizing your reading? I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments!

 

 

 

 

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

67 thoughts on “How to organize your reading life as a book blogger

  1. Great post!! I am trying to get myself organized better. I am currently using a small notebook (I got as preorder swag) as my required reading list with dates when I need to get them done by. I want to be all caught up by the end of this year. So I am hoping this works because I tend to say yes way to much when people reach out to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ARCs are such a trap! They’re like candy–so much fun, but they can quickly become too much of a good thing. On the other hand, requesting ARCs and then having to read and review has really broadened my reading horizons. I’m reading much more widely now than I was a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? They’re so attractive, but they can get overwhelming pretty quickly, too πŸ™‚
      I’m so happy you got to read more widely! The community overall made me do that and I am so so grateful for all the wonderful reads I’ve discovered ❀
      Thank you so much for your comment πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh this is such a helpful post, Marie! My ARC strategy is that I don’t request it unless it’s already on my TBR (as in, I don’t add books to my TBR from scrolling through NetGalley or Edelweiss). This still ends up being a lot of books, but I think it’s slightly less than if I just requested anything that looked remotely interesting! πŸ˜…

    I totally understand being overwhelmed by the size of your TBR and not knowing which books to prioritize omg. I usually get books from the library, so that helps me prioritize somewhat since I have due dates to pay attention to, but that also means I neglect the books that I already own. And I have the bad habit of checking out WAY too many library books at once.

    Anyways, wonderful post as always, and I’m definitely going to be taking some of these organizational tips into account!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much Margaret, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post ❀
      I think that's a great strategy! I always always try to do that, too, but sometimes a book catches my attention anyway hahaha.
      Thank you so, so much once again for your sweet comment! ❀ ❀

      Like

  4. Great post! The gifs were absolutely perfect, I love Gilmore Girls! I personally use a notebook to keep track of which books are in my TBR for the month, when I acquired a book and when I need to review it by. I’m a deadlines oriented person so I set them for myself before they’re actually due. This way I know I have wiggle room!

    As more people in my life are discovering I am a book blogger and reviewer I’m having lots of well meaning people want to lend me their favourite books. Which is lovely, and I’m grateful for the bonding experience… I have so much to read already though!
    As a people pleaser, that’s when I find my book organisation and stress levels go crazy! Any tips for navigating this social situation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much, so happy you enjoyed it ❀ and YAY another Gilmore Girls fan, I love this show so much ❀
      You're SO organized, I admire that so much! and I get that people pleaser thing, I'm exactly the same way. There's a moment where you just can't do it all, unfortunately 😦 honestly, I'm just trying to write down the suggestions people give me, but just try to let them know that I don't have the time at the moment to get to them, but will later on! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know that I’ll have time to request and read ARCs right now, so I’m just reading what I want, when I want, and when I can! I took part in my first buddy read, and I really enjoyed that, so I do think it’s something that I’ll do more often. I can’t imagine how much time must go into doing all of this; I admire it! I really need to start using Trello though, it seems like such a great tool xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like doing reading challenges because they help focus my reading a bit, by setting a specific TBR and working on it all year. There aren’t too many books that I prioritize over others, I kind of just grab whatever I’m in the mood for or whatever is available at the library, but if there’s something I really want to read, I make sure I get myself on the wait list early!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh that’s lovely! I don’t really like them because I kind of feel pressured, but I have to say that yes, they can really help with the whole tackling your TBR thing haha πŸ™‚
      Thank you, Angela πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. I guess I’m kind of organised with my reading because I always have a set amount of chapters that I read per day, but I don’t really like doing anything that pressures me to read more than I feel like it so I don’t really take part in readathons or anything like that. I also try to make sure that what I’m reading is what I personally want to read, and not what everyone else tells me I should be reading because then it just feels like a chore.

    Great tips! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah that’s great you’re so organized! I’m the same, I don’t like to feel too pressured so I’d rather avoid big readathons haha πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much, Louise πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Netgalley and Edelweiss are tricky, because sometimes the approvals take soooooooo long, and you think you’re out of the game, so you request more, and then BAM! Approved. I have a magic number of ARCs per month, but that is how it gets messed up – late approvals.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fantastic post!! πŸ₯° I love organization and books, so I’m what you would call a very organized reader – I’ve discovered this super cool Book Blogger Spreadsheet by Kal @ readervoracious that I use to keep track of all things reading this year πŸ™‚ As a Readathon veteran I usually use Twitter to keep track of my reading progress, but I also love planning out TBR’s in Google Docs in advance and list all the possible prompts of the Readathon πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Just caught sight of this post and immediately had to stop and read it. Loved it! It hit a lot of great points.

    Since I’m still in that “beginning” stage with few followers, I haven’t felt comfortable enough requesting ARCs, so the few I get are from contests and such later in the game, but even with just those few I’ve realized that there are some I just can’t make myself read and know to be careful when I do start requesting.

    Organizing my reading is something I’ve only started recently, but not long ago, I thought about doing a “priority list” for my books (since I use my bullet journal just for marking down books I’ve read or a basic TBR list), and it’s definitely helped me to want to read instead of only picking up a book every few weeks. I tend to prioritize a handful of books that have been on my TBR for some time, or books that I had highly recommended to me that I never got around to. That way I’ll read all of those sooner, but I also have more than one book that I “choose” from if I want a certain topic/genre. I’ve also taken lately to using loaned ebooks or library books to help prioritize, since those must be read in a certain length of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so so much, I’m so happy you enjoyed this ❀ ❀ I feel like you're so organized already, and making a priority list is such a fantastic idea, I need to do that too! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  11. These are some great tips! Whilst I’m generally unorganized with everything, I’m not too bad with my reading life because I don’t request ARCs or do any kind of readathons, purely because I’m too much of a mood reader to commit ahead of time to reading certain books at certain times. I do need to get my TBR in order though, because there are just too many books I want to read, and I just have one long list that I should probably put into priority order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Laura! πŸ™‚ I’m so happy to hear that, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with it all, so it’s nice to hear you have it all under control haha πŸ™‚ and YES to priority lists, I need to do one for sure πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Marie!! I’m always such a big fan of your how-to posts, and this one was just as amazing πŸ™‚ It’s honestly so important to stay organized as a blogger, and it really helps with staying motivated when you’re busy too. I used to request ARCs left and right because I thought it was cool and fun to be able to read these books early, but it’s so much better to pace yourself and only request for the books you’re extremely enthusiastic about because when you’re swamped with ARCs, you want to focus on the books you really WANT to read!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you Tiffany, this means so, so, so much ❀ ❀
      Agree, that's exactly it!! I'm trying to pace myself and to do my best to really think about everything I really want and am genuinely excited to read, because…. it can quickly become a chore and we don't want that at all!
      Thank you ❀ ❀

      Like

  13. Well I avoid Readathon as it would be too much of a “run to finish” and I don’t need the pressure BUT I do buddy read and love it! It’s so good to be able to chat about the book with a friend while you are both reading it! As far as ARCs are concerned, I use the google calendar. I choose the color green to indicate when I should begin to read the ARC and who sent it to me. Then yellow is for the day I must publish the review. This way I know how many ARCs are planned for a month and I don’t want more than 3 per month to keep room for moody reads. It helps not requesting too many!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yes, agree, it’s a lot of fun to buddy read πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re not a fan of readathons, either, I just feel too stressed out about it haha.
      OH THIS IS SO GREAT. This is such a fantastic tip, thank you for sharing!! It’s a great way to see everything you have planned out in a month, too πŸ˜€

      Like

  14. My bullet journal is my best friend when it comes to organising my life, the blog, and everything in between. I’m no master at managing my time, but I have been making more of an effort to read more, especially since I’m finally in the mood to read. I find that I don’t like reading to deadlines, which is why I think I would completely flounder when it comes to readathons, and I feel like I’d be reading for the sake of the challenge more than I would be reading for fun. Basically, I go with the flow, which may not be the best way to organise my reading time haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh that’s so great. I’ve been wanting to try bullet journaling for so long, I really should someday aha πŸ™‚
      I’m right here with you on that, I don’t want to feel stressed out while reading either, I want to keep enjoying it πŸ™‚
      Thank you, Lois! ❀

      Like

    1. OH I FEEL THIS? It’s terrible, but NG books don’t feel as urgent to me as direct-contact from a publisher either and… I need to stop thinking that way because it doesn’t help πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      I’m glad to hear that! it’s always good to step back and pick our next reads when we want to πŸ˜€

      Like

  15. I don’t get that many early books but I always try to make them a priority when I do get them. I didn’t get my most recent two done before their release date due to illness though and felt awful about it. I’ve finished them both now but have no internet to post them /: I also try to mostly read what I feel like though. If I planned things out too much is end up feeling like it was a chore I think. That’s what happened in the past at least and I really don’t want to fall into that trap again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get that, I feel so stressed out about it, sometimes, but…. sometimes life comes first and when you’re unwell, it’s always best to take care of yourself first! ❀ ❀
      I agree with you – I don't want to plan out too much, otherwise it would feel like a chore and I might not enjoy it anymore and we don't want that 😦
      Thank you, Charlotte! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that’s true. I do find it hard not to feel guilty but once I was able to I did send an email apologising that it was going to be late.
        Definitely not. I hope you continue to enjoy reading β™‘

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I needed this xD It’s been a while since I’ve last requested ARCs, and I really wanna go back BUT I’m also scared of rejection and not being able to keep up. I’m probably gonna post-pone it for a few more months. )): But it’s probably for the best, I don’t feel very organized now and on top of my school work, so later is probably better. In the meantime, I’ll try not to forget that I’m reading for enjoyment πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I get that! The best advice I can give is to pace yourself with it all and do it when you’re ready, too. ❀ and yes, no matter what it's so important to remember to read because you love it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This post is so useful!! At one point I was drowning in Netgalley ARCs and… it was stressful, but now I kinda got the hang of it! I really love your writing style- and ahah, I can’t believe that I waited so long to check out your blog even though I’ve heard do many great things about you! πŸ’Ÿ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thank you, I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I’m glad you got the hang of it – it took me a while to do so, but it feels way less stressful when we are in control haha.
      Aw really, that’s so, so sweet of you 😭 thank you so, so much!!! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi! Fabulous post! I can relate to most of what you’ve said (I don’t do readathon or buddy reading – too much commitment;)). I would like your opinion please – I’ve been blogging for just over a year, I networked so much, that now I’m on quite a few publishers and tour organisers lists, which at the time was great (a year of stress, books kept me going). Because book reading recently became a chore, no fun and overwhelming, I contacted most of those people to say I’m slowing down. My main question is: I have over a years worth of copies, arcs etc that were sent to me, would you read them from the oldest received or the newest with closest to release dates?
    I have loved blogging and reading, although now I feel I want to read on my own terms, I feel very guilty that I didn’t read all those books before, just concentrated on the blog tours. I can’t seem to say no – til now (ish). I have even rearranged my bookshelf to show all the books I have been sent to review! I hope that’s a step in the right direction!?
    Sorry for the huge message too lol!
    πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Oh thank you so, so much, I’m so happy you enjoyed it, thank you! πŸ™‚
      Wow, that’s incredible that you got so many opportunities, though I get the overwhelming feeling that can come with it, too. I can’t speak from experience in that case, but if it were me, I would try and do my very best to read the ones that have a close release date, so I can hopefully talk about them in the right time frame and, in between, maybe try and fit in one or another older read, too. I understand the guilt and I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling that way! You’re human though and can’t do it all and publishers will understand, to me when you cover the book, even if you’re a little late, you’re still doing alright! πŸ™‚
      Best of luck and happy reading!! πŸ™‚

      Like

  19. I feel like the more I read, the more pressure I put on myself to read if that makes sense? This year has been hard for me with a months-long reading slump and a growing pile of overdue ARCs to read. I’d be in a world of hurt if I weren’t organized with my own spreadsheet and already limiting my ARC requests. I shudder to think about how buried I’d be if I still requested/accepted everything that sounds interesting without thinking critically about if I would actually read the damn thing.

    Great post as always, Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes PERFECT sense, this is exactly how I feel at times. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and like we have to read it all and the more we read, the more we feel like we can be reading and… it’s a never ending cycle haha. I’m glad you’re organized with your (awesome!!!) spreadsheets and hope that the pressure will lessen, with time ❀

      Like

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