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Thursday, September 22, 2016

How to Create a Book Review Schedule that You'll Actually Stick To

I’ve been reviewing books for a long time, but it wasn’t until I got involved in product reviewing that I got organized. Hopefully I can pass along some tips and tricks that will help you get organized without getting overwhelmed.

• Set Limits; I updated my blog and my website to indicate that hard copies of books will take priority over e-books. If I were to accept review invitations from every author willing to send me an e-book, I would have to read 3 or 4 books each day. That quite frankly is too much like work.

• Determine Your Reading Speed; each book is going to be a little different, but it’s generally safe to say you are only going to review books you find interesting and you’ll probably read 1ish pages per minute in most cases (the national adult average reading speed is 300 words per minute). If an author tells me their book is 240 pages, I know I’ll need to set aside 4 hours to read.

• Understand the Expectation; if the author has an expectation that your review will be ready in a week and you have 3 other books to read, your kids have sports, and your garden needs tending, you can respond and let them know your turn around time. If that won’t work for them, then you can pass on that book and wait for the next one. The last thing you want to do is say “I’ll let you know when I’m done” because there is no sense of urgency for you the reader, and the author will likely be waiting on pins and needles for your feedback.

• Mark your Calendar; I mark my calendar the day the book arrives (if it’s a physical book, I take a selfie and post it to Instagram too) and generally speaking I allow 2 weeks’ time for reading, preparing the review, and posting. I literally “check in” the book and pencil the review on my calendar for the “due date”. I have large colorful calendars in my office. Each book has its own calendar and includes pertinent information as well as the important dates mentioned above. It keeps me accountable to myself and helps me achieve and exceed my goals!

• Under Promise & Exceed Expectations; When I worked in the corporate world, I disliked salespeople who would over promise and under deliver. I’ve carried that through and I like to tell authors I’ll be done by such and such a date and then get in touch with them a few days or a week prior and let them know I’m completed. It’s a win for the author and it certainly will build the reputation of the reader/reviewer. There may be times you are busy and don’t get done early, but the author will still be elated you got done on time!

I hope some of these tips will help with your reviewing. What have you found that works for you? What have you tried that doesn’t work? I would love to hear from you!

Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 2, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: and

1 comment:

  1. That's a great idea of determining your reading speed to see how long each book is going to take. Very efficient! I don't have anything to add, but wanted to let you know that I found your post helpful. Thanks, Crystal! :)


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