Discussion | When Is the Right Time to Review New Releases?

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!

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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.

Discussion Point(s):

✨ 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?

 

Book Reviewers

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.

Discussion Point(s):

✨ 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?

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14 thoughts on “Discussion | When Is the Right Time to Review New Releases?

  1. I don’t really have an ideal time frame. I know I have slowed waaaaay down on requesting ARCs though because I started to feel behind and I hated that feeling. Right now I only have one Netgalley request that’s open and I think I’ll keep it to one or two going forward. My other issue is I am still backed up on indie/self published review requests because I am A) a mood reader and B) for a while was really bad at saying no to people (something I’m still working on). I want to be able to read all the books! I want to help boost authors and books! I want to do it all. But realistically, I only have so much free time and blogging itself takes up a huge chunk of time-not even counting reading. So it’s tough trying to learn how to strike a balance between everything.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yesss, indie authors are always my crux as well because I want to help smaller authors out. I think I’ve got about 8 or 9 that I’m overdue on to catch up with and 2 from last month, so it’s definitely getting a lot better. I can’t wait to be caught up on them all though

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  2. I have a HUGE problem feeling like I’m being a “bad reviewer” if I don’t get NetGalley/Edelweiss reviews at least submitted by the release date – I’ve missed that deadline once or twice. When I’m on time, I try to post my review one to two weeks before the release. As you rightly point out, we don’t get paid at all for what we do, other than the free review books (if we are so lucky), but I feel the mental pressure to stay on the publisher’s good side. That said, I did read a Twitter thread a month or two ago from someone who used to work at Penguin who said that reviews that went up 8 weeks after publication were actually incredibly helpful; they gave a post-release boost, plus people who read the reviews could actually purchase the book at that point, instead of waiting on a pre-order.

    As for mental balance, I face on on-going struggle of 2019 Releases vs. Backlist. While I appreciate review copies letting me stay on top of new releases, there are SO MANY good books that have come out in the last five years that I still haven’t gotten to, and I want to make time for them too! I’m trying to be better about making sure that I leave room in my reading schedule for backlist reads, but the lure of the shiny new release is hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The lure of the shiny new releases is definitely the ongoing battle for us all haha. Hearing from people who work at publishing houses is definitely super helpful as it can be so difficult to know *for sure* otherwise. Most times I manage to get it within the ballpark of pre-2 weeks or post-6 weeks, sometimes I really slip up and before I know it it’s been a year. I’ve put a stop to that now though because I couldn’t live with the guilt, I just need to catch up with the last few ones from last year now.

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  3. You really have outdone yourself with this post, Avery! I never know when it is the right time to post my reviews either, but I try to schedule them for 2 weeks prior to the release date. Sometimes it can help to visit the publisher’s page on NetGalley and see if they have attached any information to their profile about when they want the reviews to be posted. Most of the time, I don’t find anything, so I stick to my 2-week-in-advance plan. But the biggest publishers do include hints at when it is the best time to post! When I get a book from an indie author directly, I always tell them about my schedule and ask them to tell me when they want the review to be posted. I make sure to be extra sure I can deliver on time, since it can really help these smaller authors…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rita. I always find it so much easier when working with indie publishers and authors as they have a lot more time to reach out directly and communicate more via email. Working with bigger publishers, especially via netgalley, is where it gets a bit confusing although I try to stick to the 2-week prior rule as well.

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  4. Great idea for a discussion post cos, as you note, there’s no consensus on this topic. I generally post my reviews in the week leading up to a book’s review date or when the publisher requests, but I keep my review policy general to allow me to be flexible.

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  5. Most publishers have noted on netgalley when they like reviews posts. i typically try for about 2 weeks ahead except when I have more than one book releasing on a day. Then they scale before or after the ideal. I schedule my reviews on a calendar and shoot for a couple days minimum before that date. It seems to work well for me. 😉 You’re right thought we have to think and balance between ourselves and the publisher. I just finished Aurora Rising and loved it! I hope you’re enjoying it. (Saw in your sidebar!)

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  6. Good question… i usually post them around the time of the release. It’s usually not a conscious decision tho, i just end up reading them close to the time before they get released.
    I think there was only one time when the publisher put a note on when to post the review. I missed that though, because i didn’t receive the book on time. Well, on time for me anyway 😀

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