My TBR PileThe dreaded TBR pile. To Be Read. It is something, as a book blogger we are all faced with. No matter how big or small a blog we have, if we are an avid read, we have a TBR pile.

Our To Be Read pile, called simply, the TBR, is a source of stress for book bloggers. No matter how much of a conservative you are as far as accepting reviews, or purchasing books, there are always more good books to be bought or accepted. It happens to the best of us, our TBR grows and suddenly it’s just too much! As the books pile up, our stress increases…we have to review faster, read faster…just get through it…faster! This is no fun for a book blogger. This is also when reading turns from FUN to a TASK. No one wants reading to be a task.

We started book blogging for the love of reading. Let’s keep it fun!

So, how do we keep it fun?

Proper organization of our review books and better discretion as far as accepting review copies could easily reduce stress and make book blogging more enjoyable.

How to Prioritize and Organize your TBR

Organize:

Reader Social Site

The biggest suggestion I can give you to organize your TBR list is to join an online “reader social site” like goodreads.com, booklikes.com or LibraryThing.com. My TBR is so big I have a Goodreads account just for my TBR. My main Goodreads account is currently used to manage my read pile and a to-be-reviewed area along with marking books that I want to read but have not purchased or received for review. To separate books that are in my possession I’ve set up a new account (I’ve used my gaming Facebook account as login) and I only mark books that I plan to review. It is a quick way to check release dates, publishers and I can label them how I received them, whether a purchase, unsolicited, solicited etc and I don’t have to worry about it being monitored.

This list can also be exported as an Excel spreadsheet and imported into your local programs or even into Google Docs (which is what I use). In my Google document, I keep track of reading dates, publication contacts or author contacts (whoever sent the book) and the email I need to forward the review link. I can also prioritize within this document (without being seen in a social site) and mark notes.

Prioritize:

Now that all the books are in a document, or at least marked in a social site, my second suggestion is to prioritize. There is one thing you have to realize, the bigger your contact list expands, the more review requests you will receive, not to mention, more and more unsolicited review copies will come to your doorstep. You have to decide which of these books have priority.

I personally place the books that I say “Yes” to as the top priority. These authors or publishers took the time to email me with the request and the synopsis was something that I believed I would enjoy, because of this they take the top spot. Second on the list will be the unsolicited books that I wanted to read. They are like little gifts of joy in the mailbox, those, even though I probably want to read them first, will be second on the priority list. Next, book club, features, or purchased books that I am reading for a reason, dying to read or need to read to protect my sanity. Finally, books I purchased or collected via a convention are the final ones on the list. All this would be noted in my spreadsheet.

Shelves

Organize:

Editorial Calendar

Now that you’ve organized your list and prioritized who you should read first…the next step is setting up your editorial calendar. I found a beautiful plugin for this (search editorial calendar), but those of you who don’t self-host you should utilize Google Calendar, or even a simple desk calendar. I always note release dates of the books in my possession that I plan to review. Then I place them on my Editorial Calendar around the release date, just to give me a go-by. This gives me a plan, I can look at my calendar and know I have to review this book by this date.

Tips & Tricks to Manage Your TBR

  1. Keep your shelves organized, place READ books on one shelf TO-BE-READ books on another shelf
  2. You can do this for eBooks also, organize your eReader with folders
  3. Remember YOU CAN’T READ/REVIEW THEM ALL!
  4. Just because they ask, does not mean you have to accept! Only accept review copies of books you would purchase for yourself
  5. Check goodreads and Amazon before you accept a copy of the book, have your friends read it? Does it have favorable reviews? Will you be the first to review it? All of these could change your mind.
  6. If you aren’t going to read those books, do a giveaway!
  7. If you have way too many books, you can always STOP accepting reviews
  8. Stay off of NetGalley! If your TBR is out of control you do not need to request books
  9. Try doing MINI-Reviews instead of FULL reviews
  10. Set guidelines and DNF quickly. If you aren’t getting into the books by page 50, put it to the side.

Finally, remember, if you aren’t having fun, is it worth it? If your TBR has you stress, maybe it’s time to take a look at your priorities.

Do you have any tips on how to manage your TBR? What works for you?