Monday, August 15, 2022

Turning Readers' Guilt to Delight

Pause by Yaoyao Ma Van As

Recently I experienced readers' guilt. With so many books on my TBR list, and the privilege of being asked by authors for cover copy quotes, I painted myself into a corner by saying YES to everyone... just as my editor sent pages for rewrites with a crazy deadline attached. The results? Having to say, "Not yet..." to myself and to requesting authors, and subsequently feeling guilty because of it.

That's when I discovered that readers' guilt is an actual thing. People feel it all the time and it doesn't help the shui. The good news is there are things you can do right now to release the problem and turn any hint of guilt into delight.

If you have ever felt anxiety over failing your, or other peoples', expectations, consider these guidelines from NetGalley, the site that is all about staying ahead of the textual wave, guilt-free.

First of all, if your GoodreadsNetGalley or physical bookshelf is crammed tight with books yet to be read--what's known as shelf overload--don't worryIt can feel like a burden, but there are things you can do to see it differently. 

First, agree with yourself that you will only add a new book when you have read and reviewed a precious one. It's zero population growth for your TBR list, I promise!

Then, contemplate your feedback ratio. This is important if you have goals to support and help promote books you love, and if you want publishers to start, or continue, approving your requests for ARCs (advanced reader copies) of your favourite authors.

Image by Vocaloidlober690

Note: One of the best things you can ever do for an author is to leave a review (a single one can be posted on multiple sites don't forget).

Still, it can be challenging to keep on top of the reviewing process. One way to deal with any feedback gap is to set aside a single day of the week, or month, just for writing your reviews If you assign the first Wednesday of the month, for example, to reflect, review and update your shelves, you'll be way ahead in no time. The guilt lifts just thinking about this plan.

Another consideration is the DNF pile, the books you did not finish. It's tricky because you want to give each story and author your best, but you also don't want to spend time on something you aren't enjoying. It might help to set a page goal and decide when you reach it if you will continue. That way, you aren't constantly struggling with it as you plough ahead. If by 40 or 60 pages you really don't want to continue, then don't. Making a considered choice is not something to feel guilty about!

Most importantly, set goals you are happy with and give yourself credit for the books you do read and review or share on your social media. Your time and energy are gifts that all authors are deeply grateful for. 

So, let go of the guilt, and reframe your thinking no matter how many books you have yet to read. 

As Stephan King says, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 

Let's honour the magic, and port them around with reverence and delight!


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About The Author:

Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, has recently released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows coming out December 6, 2022.

Kim can be found on AKWilder Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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