Knowing when to review a book can be a bit of a confusing minefield for book reviewers, both new and old alike. I have been a book blogger for just over 2 years now and I still don’t know when the “right time” to review is because there are no hard and fast rules about reviewing. It is entirely dependent on the publisher/author as well as yourself!
Publishers and/or Authors
I receive ARCs and review copies from both publishers and authors. What I’ve found is that each publisher and/or author will have different expectations of when the “right time” to review is. Some will want the review posted 1-3 weeks in advance of the book coming out so that your review can contribute to building up hype for the book as it comes up to its release date. Some like the review to be posted either a few days before, on the publication day, or a few days afterwards to celebrate the release of the book. I’ve also had some publishers/authors express a preference for the review to be published 2-3 weeks after the release of the book and some don’t care when you post your review, they are just happy to receive a review form you!
The key point here is that many publishers/authors have different preferences so it’s always worth openly communicating with them. Asking a publisher/author is a great way to not only build up a relationship with them but also means you won’t inadvertently post your review at the “wrong time”. Whilst this isn’t an issue most of the time, book bloggers can sometimes receive ARCs and review copies which are under embargo, meaning that you cannot post your review until after the embargo has been lifted. Most new releases will have some kind of marketing strategy attached to them of which book bloggers are included in, so it can be helpful to know how we fit into a book’s marketing strategy to help the book (and the author) do well.
Where this gets tricky for me personally is when I receive a review copy via Netgalley as it isn’t easy or always possible to contact the publisher to clarify when they would like the review posted. In these cases I try to post my review 1 week prior to the release date, although I know that many of us have different ideas about when the right time is post reviews.
✨ When reviewing via sites like Netgalley or Edelweiss, do you have an idea of when reviews should be posted?
✨ Do you communicate with publishers/authors to find out when they would like you to publish your review or do you post reviews according to your own schedule?
One thing that is really important to remember, and that many of us forget, is that we also need to post reviews when it’s the right time for us. Those of us who review new releases are under a lot of pressure to review books and review them “on time” but this is often a lot harder than it seems. Although it may seem fairly simple to create a schedule of when things need to be reviewed by it can be hard to stick these deadlines when we have piles of other book blog related work as well as our own lives. We do not get paid for being bloggers, we do this because we love books. Whilst I think it is important to commit to reviewing books I have received ARCs and review copies (that I specifically requested), I think it is also hugely important for us to look after ourselves.
Many of us have a lot going on outside of book blogging including things like work, education, caring responsibilities and disabilities which have to take precedence over reviewing but at the same time I know a lot of us pile pressure on ourselves to still deliver reviews “on time”, whatever that may mean for us. I know that when I fall behind on reviewing I worry that I am letting the publisher/author down and get worried that they may not want to work with me again, but at the same time I know that I need to balance book blogging with the rest of my life.
✨ Do you have an ideal time frame in which you try to review books?
✨ Do you have any tools you use to manage reading and reviewing such as scheduling or spreadsheets?