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You Wanna Know What Grinds My Gears??

Welcome to the You Wanna Know What Grinds My Gears – Bookstagram edition.

Be warned, this post contains mild coarse language, all the ranting, and some opinions that you may not agree with. If you disagree or agree with any of my views, comment below! Lets chat!

Ready to dive in about what grinds my gears about Bookstagram? I’m ready to share!

 

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You wanna know what grinds my gears? Advanced Reader Copies, physical ones. Now don’t take that the wrong way, I am so, so, soo grateful for each and every one I receive (I have literally gotten 1… ever. From a giveaway), I love the purpose they serve and the chance to read something prior to its publication. But what annoys me about them is that Bookstagrammers tend to think that they aren’t good enough, have enough followers, don’t have good enough photos, that they aren’t a real part of the Bookstagram community etc. if they aren’t being sent ARC’s. Well lemme tell you a thing right now. That my friends is a load of steaming hot bullshit. You are enough, your photos are amazing, your opinions are amazing and if you have 1 follower that is incredible. It means there is another person who is into what you are, and when there is 1 there are always more.

Also, you wanna know what makes you a part of the Bookstagram community? YOU!! You and your love of reading, your love of characters, plots, scenes, authors and sharing your views with other like-minded people. What you have or don’t have has absolutely nothing to do with your worth and value. Don’t let not receiving ARC’s get you down. It doesn’t define you!

You wanna know what else grinds my gears? Being upset or feeling left out because you don’t have much bookish merch. Again lovelies, bookstagram isn’t about how many different Book Depository book marks you have, it is about the love of reading. Yes everyone tends to use book marks, candles, prints, pop Funkos etc as props, but you don’t need fifty-thousand of them to be a part of the community! Do you read? Yes. Then welcome aboard! If you have one scarf that you love, make it your background? One candle you can’t get enough of, use it in every photo. Use what you have access to, be proud of your photos, you don’t need the newest everything to feel great about your place on Bookstagram. If you love it, we will too (not necessarily true about books, but if you are confident and love your photos, we will too!).

Which leads me on to feeling shitty about yourself because you aren’t in a financial position to go out and buy all of the new release books, the book subscription boxes or the merch. Buying books is bloody expensive, you shouldn’t feel bad because you can’t afford to have a library full of every YA book released in 2017/18! And your local Library is a magical thing. The best thing about the library is they let you take books home, for free! and if you hate them, you just take them back and never think about them again, there is no regret from buying books, hating them then having to look at them on your shelf. Libraries are my life, I’d be lost without it!

There is no where on Bookstagram that says “You must only read books that you own”, I would definitely be broke by now if that was the case. You know what I like to do? request new releases from the library, take them out, read them, decide if its love or hate, then purchase the ones I need to own. A little try-before-you-buy action. But the best part about ordering them in through the library, is that hundreds of other readers in your community will also be able to have access to books that they usually wouldn’t have access to! Libraries are literally the best things ever.. AAaaand I am off track…

Too much importance is placed on physical items. Yes it is awesome to treat yourself to new books, merch and the like, but does your worth or value come from the things that you own? Or does it come from who you are and the way you interact with the world.

You don’t need to OWN books and merchandise to be a book lover, a reader or a bookstagrammer, all you truly need is YOU and your love for reading.

 

Wow I feel better for getting that off of my chest! A little reminder about how awesome YOU are is never a bad thing.

YOU are valued

YOU are important

YOU do matter.

Thanks for reading folks!

Julie

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Netgalley: Pros & Cons and how to not get overwhelmed.

As a reader, it is hard not to get over-excited at the idea of free books. It feels almost too good to be true, that all you need to do in return is, write a review, a few hundred words in return for free books at your fingertips… But let me give you a tiny bit of advice, don’t do what I did, when I first found the reader’s utopia, NetGalleynetgalley_logo

I, like many readers before me, found Netgalley, made an account and requested every single title that was in the YA section… big, big mistake. In theory, requesting and being accepted for all of the books, is a dream… In reality it is super over whelming and quite intimidating. And I am here,  three years later, still trying to tackle the list of titles that past me requested… Hence why this post came to the fore-front of my mind.

Let us begin. NetGalley Pros and Cons.

Pros 

  1. Come, on… the first one is blatantly obvious… Free books, and lots of them. There is no submission area for you to plead your case, all you do is choose from the options, why you want to read the book, and press submit. Boom, you are in with a pretty good chance of receiving an E-Galley of your chosen book.

2. All you need to do is write a review, in return for your free titles. Maybe copy and paste it to your GoodReads or Amazon account. Give it a /5 rating and then search for more books to request and review.

3. Did I mention free books?

4. It is a fantastic platform to use, easy to find your way around, easy to find titles and easy to request, download and review. 

5. Your review may get featured on the title’s page! It is so rewarding to see a snippet of something you have written, on a page for the whole world to see (well all of the members of NetGalley anyway).

6. There are titles from every genre from non-fiction, to children’s picture books. There Advance Reader Copies, popular books from previous years, books being re-published and so much more. The main point of this website is publicity for all of the available titles. The more readers they can reach, the better, and this is where it gets tricky.

Cons

 

  1. The books are completely free. This may be a strange thing to be adding to a Cons list, but trust me, it is dangerous. You see, knowing they won’t cost you anything, other than your time, is such a tempting factor, to request ALLL of the books. 

2. There is no system in place to remind you when a book is going to be archived. This is when the title you have requested, becomes unavailable for downloading to your device, computer or kindle/kobo. This can lead to you not being able to read the titles you requested.

3. There is no system to remind you to write reviews, or to chase up reviews. This website gives you complete freedom. Firstly it gives you free books, with the expectation that you will review them, but it doesn’t send reminders like ‘hey, we sent you that book, any chance you can review it now?. It leaves you with the ball in your court and it is completely up to you as to when and if you return the ball… so to speak.

 

How to not become completely overwhelmed within the NetGalley platform.

 

As you can see, the pro’s outweigh the cons, but the thing that stands out in my mind, to use this platform efficiently and fairly, (and to not end up like me with a crazy amount of books sitting on my Kindle from years ago, that I still need to read and review), is to not go crazy when you first sign up. 

Here are a few of my NetGalley Reader top tips.

♦ Only choose up to five (5) titles to review per month. 

♦ Only choose those five (5) titles from genres you are genuinely interested in.

♦ Make a note of when the title is going to be archived, if it is an ARC, when it is due to be published, or if it has already been published, when it was.                                                                   This will help you to work out the order in which you need to read your requested titles. remember, publishers like your reviews to be posted as close to the publication date as possible.

♦ Write a full review.                                                                                                                                       I know this one seems obvious, but it can be so tempting to toss a few lines in the review box and move on to the next title. But remember, you are receiving this service for free, in exchange for a full and honest review. Why write something half heartedly, when you are receiving something free of charge, in exchange for your services?

♦ Netgalley have a Review percentage that they look for.                                                    They are more likely to approve you for a title if you have reviewed 80% of the titles that you have been approved for. This is where you can get unstuck. if you download all of the books, chances are you won’t get to them before they are archived. This means, if you read it, after it has been archived and even if you post the best review of your life, it still won’t go towards your review percentage… 

 

I know these things seem to take all of the fun out of the endless supply of free, available books that are at your fingertips, but I think the main thing to remember is, you are providing a service. Yes, you receive all of the ‘goods’ if you like, but this host is expecting you to hold up your end of the bargain. 

It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘collecting’ freebies, if you like, to request, download and hoard these titles for a later date, for when you feel like reading them, but try to avoid this mindset. NetGalley is a business providing readers and reviewers a fantastic service, don’t take advantage of that!

The most important thing is to remember why you signed up for the NetGalley service… wether it be for your love of reading, to get more experience writing reviews, to boost your blog posts or whatever it may be. Enjoy the chance to read something you may not have been able to find or read before. It is such a fantastic platform for readers of every kind.

As I wrap up, I realise that this post isn’t quite what I planned it to be. Sorry-not-sorry. Return the good juju that you receive and it will return to you ten-fold. If you request a book, review it before it’s publishing and archive date. Simples 🙂

As always, Thanks for reading!

Julie