The fact that I run a book blog says something very important about me: I am a bookaholic. I love books. I love their smell and the sound that the flipping of pages makes. I love seeing my shelves full of gorgeous covers. Because of this, having a book blog may as well be my dream job. However, it's also akin to giving an alcoholic the key to a bar.
Being a part of the book blogging community has introduced me to countless books and authors whom I'd never have known about had I not been a blogger. My to be read (TBR) list has grown massive since starting my blog, and I've read titles and genres that I never would have had the guts to read had it not been for the opinions of my fellow book bloggers. Similarly, review requests have widened the span of my reading and significantly grown my TBR pile.
Needless to say, my love of books has grown from a small affliction to full out addiction because of my blog.
There are tons of people like me in the world who are addicted to books. Because you're reading my blog, you probably are one of them. Many of these people, like me, start book blogs as a way to share their passion with others. Whenever I hear from new bloggers, one of the first questions they ask is how they can get more traffic or how to get ARCs or how to get in touch with a publisher to ask for ARCs. Which brings me back to my previous point: a book blog is a bookaholic's version of a bar.
For many new bloggers, getting books is one of their main concerns. It shouldn't be, but it's undeniable that for many it is the truth. And while it's important to know how to draw traffic, build a reader base, and work with publishers, the most important skill, in my opinion, is knowing how and when to say no.
It can be tempting to accept every book that comes your way because, hey, they're free books. But in the end it will come back to bite you. Saying yes will get you a hefty pile of books, but if you don't know how to manage your requests and what type of books suit you, it will ultimately leave you drowning in a sea of books that you're unsure of.
Saying no and being selective about the books you accept may not get you as many books as saying yes. The books you do get, though, will be ones you're genuinely excited and interested about. And if you know your limits, it will stop you from getting overrun with books, and help you to build a stronger client base. In my opinion, a publisher would rather you say no than accept their book, only to have it get thrown into a pile for who knows how long and then get a lukewarm review.
I myself have fallen prey to the glamor of saying yes, especially when my blog was young. I've been working hard to get out from under the pile that resulted ever since then. Saying no is hard. I feel bad every time I turn a person down, but I know it's the right thing for me and, in the long run, for them.
So when you're the requests start coming in, remember to stop, consider, and, if it's not right for you, just say no.