How NetGalley Ruined My Life

I know I’ve been a poor blogger and a bad blogging-friend this summer, for I’ve been all but absent (basically). I’m sorry, I really am! But it’s NetGalley’s fault.

Okay, that’s mean–and untrue. It’s not NetGalley’s fault but my own, and my life wasn’t ruined but my summer certainly was. You see, what makes NetGalley so addicting is the idea of all these books just waiting for requests from bloggers, and I can’t resist that. Literary temptation is always my downfall, and my binge on galley requests from months before almost tanked me.

Words of advice: If you don’t have to do it and you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.

What I used to look upon as an exciting privilege turned into a nightmare. It destroyed a hobby that, in the past, provided relaxation and escape without fail. I entered summer with the prospect that, because school couldn’t interfere, I could and would enjoy all the books at my disposal. How wrong I was. You see, all these books I’d requested jumped up and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hello.” There was some eyebrow-wiggling, a groan, a gasp, a sigh. Lots of groaning. Groans of regret. Sighs of disappointment.

I was approved! But I wanted rejection! Oh no.

If you take a fun activity and turn it into a job, if you feel like it’s work, then something is wrong. And something was wrong. Speed-reading through this and that NetGalley-approved book became my summer chore, and when I wasn’t trying and failing to churn out a review on non-NetGalley books, I wasn’t reading. I couldn’t read because every book I picked up reminded me of the x number of galleys left–but then it got worse. Enter: Early Reviewers.

Over at LibraryThing–a website that I still cannot navigate without perplexing question marks sprouting around my head–runs a neat giveaway. Each month an ARC stash goes up for Early Review members. Similar to GoodReads’ First Reads, if you win an Early Review book, you should review that book lest you mar your chances for future wins. I won two books, read one, reviewed zero.

Is it all right if I scream? Reading should not feel stressful, but for this summer, it did. If anything, at least I can say that I have made it through the bulk of my NetGalley stack. Only two galleys remain, which gives me some peace of mind. Then, of course, there is a physical to-review stack of giveaway-wins that I feel obligated to review…  at some point…

to-review stack

The good news is that my hate for reading is dissolving. I’m no longer picking up a book only to sit it down after trudging through ten pages. I am actively reading The Ask & The Answer as well as Peter Pan–both of which I find easy to engage in, what with a surprise at every page-turn that Ness throws and the magic J.M. Barrie gives. So long as my to-review stack is reviewed, the pressure to schedule (gross) books and reviews–the pressure I felt from NetGalley books–is non-existent. With only two galleys left, my new direction as a reader and blogger is to steer clear of that ‘organized constraint.’ I want to put the fun back in reading. I want the freedom to read what I want when I want, which–as a mood-reader–is important.

And after three months of fret and fuss, I’m finally getting there.

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8 thoughts on “How NetGalley Ruined My Life

  1. You’re reading The Ask and the Answer? *shivers* Let me know how that goes, okay? I’m scared to even touch that book.

    I’m glad you’re getting back to reading things you want to read. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t even considered Netgalley. I know that I’ll be slightly trigger-happy and go mad requesting books left, right and center. And then I’ll be obligated to review them. Which puts a damper on the actual reading of the book, yes? I don’t think I have the discipline to do that. :\

    P.S. I went out and got The Book Thief yesterday, I’m hoping to start it soon. As always, thanks for the recommendation! :)

    • I might have read The Ask & the Answer after I finished The Knife of Never Letting Go, but I was in school at the time and, well… It’s taken me MONTHS to get over you-know-which-character’s death. So far, I think book 2 is less likely to ruffle your feathers as much as book 1 (but it will still ruffle you!), and the pacing feels different… mainly because Viola and Todd aren’t on the run anymore. Oh, and it switches POVs between V and Todd! It threw me off, since book 1 is all from Todd’s perspective. Usually I don’t like alternating POVs, but I love both characters, and Viola’s pretty much a main character as Todd at this point. Ugh, I feel like the third book will ruin me, but I can’t wait to read it at the same time.

      If your self-restraint is as terrible as mine, I’d stay away from NetGalley! It’s a great website, but I also wish there was a way to reverse a request, because once you request a book all you can do is hope for an approval or rejection from the publisher. I haven’t dared to look at which books are available for request either. I log in, send my review, exit out.

      Yay! :D You will love The Book Thief, I’m sure of it! (:

  2. I haven’t requested any ARCs from Netgalley in a while. I only have one more to do and that’s not until October, so hopefully I will be okay. I even said that I won’t be accepting anymore books to review on my Review Policy page because I want to do my own thing and read what I want, which has worked out well so far. Have you enjoyed The Chaos Walking Trilogy so far? I know that you really enjoyed The Knife of Never Letting Go. By the way how are you doing? I haven’t heard from you in a really long time! Are you starting school soon?

    • I won’t even peek at which ARCs are up for request now. After this experience, all I want to do is put as much distance between NetGalley and myself as possible. Same with me on the review policy. I made a note on my policy shortly after my classes ended in spring… The request-binge taught me a lesson.

      The series is amazing! And I mean that. I mean, the books frustrate me because of certain situations, misunderstandings, and things that characters do, but the plot and writing and character development and EVERYTHING is just so good. I heard they were making film adaptions, which honestly worries me…

      Classes start at the end of the month for me, and it’s a terrible mess. I decided not to carry on with nursing pre-reqs, so I’m getting my transfer degree instead. I only need one sustainable science and one communications class. I’m registering late, so I’m on wait lists :/ I was accepted into an online interpersonal comm class, thankfully! (I really didn’t want to take comm face-to-face, ha ha.) My problem is finding a sustainable science class. I was on the wait list for environmental science and was actually accepted into the class, but then I withdrew for a chem class… I found out today that the chem isn’t sustainable BUT environmental science is, and now I’m back on the wait list for environmental science. (I’m screaming.) In the mean time, I’m signed up for a biological anthropology class just in case I can’t get into the environmental science.

      • I’ve seen some of the ARCS that look interesting, but then I’m just yeah…no I have enough books to read already. I can wait till the books come out. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.

        I’m really glad you’re enjoying the series :). I was talking to a librarian last year and he felt like the trilogy went downhill after the second book. I don’t know if I’ll read the book this year, but I really want to see a copy of the non-illustrated Monster Calls. I wonder how that would work since the illustrations were so integral to the book. I’m kind of getting tired of Hollywood adapting a lot of YA titles into movies. I feel like Hollywood has lost it’s creativity and they need another outlet. I think there are some books that should be left alone. Have you seen the trailer for The Book Thief? I’m not sure if I’ll go and see the movie but I would be interested to see if death is actually narrating it.

        I was going to ask, have you had a chance to read The Flute Player?

        Oh wow, sounds like you’ve got your work cut out in terms of classes and administration stuff. So is sustainable science kind of like taking a natural science course? Biological Anthropology sounds like a really interesting course! If you take it let me know how it is! Are you going to be doing an English major then? Sorry I’m a bit confused with the term transfer degree lol. I haven’t heard that in Canada. Is it kind of like taking other courses to satisfy a new major? If you have sometime during school send me a letter :).

  3. Steering clear of ‘organized constraints’ sounds good to me! “If you take a fun activity and turn it into a job, if you feel like it’s work, then something is wrong.” – Agreed. I’ve felt like this at times with e-ARCs, but ultimately it’s the price you pay for the honor.

    If you can limit your requests so you only ask for what you really want and you only have a few books (with release dates spaced out) then that’s ok, if you tend to binge request… avoid, avoid, avoid!

    I have been in the situation where you have to read a review copy instead of what you want to read and that does suck. :-) Hope your new plan leaves you open to enjoying reading again!

    • It is, and I decided to stay far, far away from that honor. It sucks all the enjoyment out of reading, and I can’t imagine losing interest over books and book series that I love because the pressure to review them got to me. Lesson learned–never again!

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