Reader Request Week #1: Finding Time to Read and Review

Megan S. of Life’s Unfiltered Ramblings submitted this question for my first reader request week:

Hey Carrie, my question to you is how you are able to not only read and review as many books as you do, but how you obtain all your books and ebooks. Do you have a partnership with someone? Do you get free copies from the authors? Also, how do you find the time? Do you have another job that may get in the way?

I have a full-time job and find it hard to accomplish all that I want with my blog, and seeing yours so successful has had me reevaluate my time and break down everything to reach my goals. Thanks for the inspiration and support you’ve provided me in the past.

There are a lot of pretty good questions in here so I’ll do my best to address them all in two parts.

Part #1: Finding books.

Well, the answer is dependent on when you’re talking about in the history of my blog.  Prior to starting a book reviewing blog I actually had quite a fair collection of books, which made up something around 200 of my first reviews.  But what happened when those were exhausted?  Well obviously I continued buying books but I also tapped other sources for books: authors and publishers.

Authors and publishers are a great source of free books and all you have to do in return is provide an honest review.  When I had my review requests open I got several free books this way, but after I closed my requests I joined NetGalley.  NetGalley is an online book catalog that’s perfect for bloggers like me to have a somewhat sustainable book habit because all you do for a free book is give it an honest review (if you’re approved).  I also request specific titles from authors and publishers (mainly authors) through email.  To someone not in the book blogging community you’d be surprised at how willing people are to give things away for free at the promise of an honest review.

Basically most of my books now come from either NetGalley or publishers/authors that I request books from personally.

Part #2: Finding Time.

(Just so we’re clear: I don’t work full time in the winter because our little tourist town decreases in population by at least 50%.  Working in a lumber yard/hardware store/building company does have its downsides.  But since we’re talking about blogging while holding a full time job I’ll talk about how I manage things for the other half of the year.)

The question I encounter frequently on the blogosphere is how do bloggers find time to blog?  Well, the answer is simple: The 168 Principle.

The 168 Principle was taught to me by a very wise man and it basically goes like this: there are 168 hours in a week.  Ideally you spend about 56 of those sleeping, leaving you with 112 hours.  In the peak season I work about 48 hours a week (6 days a week, 8 hours a day).  That’s a fair bit but that still leaves me with 64 hours to do whatever I want.  You can get a lot done in 64 hours a week, believe me.

Not all of those spare 64 hours are devoted to reading or blogging but the main idea behind this principle is that if you want to find time for something, you can.  If you want to blog, blog.  If you want to read, read.  It’s all a matter of scheduling.  Almost everyone can find a spare hour every day to set aside for themselves if they really try.  For example, if you’re a writer there are plenty of writers that find they have no time to themselves during normal hours so they write late at night or get up extra early to write.  The same thing goes for bloggers.  If I know my week is going to be tight scheduling-wise, then I just stay up a little later and read.


If this post raises a new question or you have another topic you’d like to see me cover for the 2014 Reader Request Week, head on over to this post and comment!

My question for you guys is: How do you manage your time?  Are some times of the year busier for you than others?  If you’re a book blogger, where do you get the majority of your books from?


    • Carrie Slager

      I’m the exact opposite: I stay up late because I’m such a night owl. But if you’re a morning person and getting up early works for you, that’s awesome too. 🙂

  1. piarve

    I’m new to book blogging, and I’m using it as a way to track down the books I read, but I would also like to add my own personal thoughts to it or perhaps feedback from events. Before I had a blog I would write down mini reviews of interesting places I go and reviews on books (since I left university I still seem to be in ‘take down notes/student mode’).

    I usually jot things down and do so much of my work on the bus (since I have a tablet) and even at work during my breaks. I also find time to read between breaks, sometimes again on the bus. Whenever I get free time at home (since I have a daughter I have a whole bunch of things reaching for my attention when I get a moments of peace). My new found book place is…THE GYM! (It may take me longer to loose weight since I’m reading whilst on the bike, but I get to go through books quicker, and it makes exercising less of a chore AND I am more motivated to go to the gym- I was surprised how much I sweated-sorry if its tmi)

    Like you many of my books are on my -to be read- shelf, so I am still going through that and adding on books (there are too many books on this planet!)

    Wow what a long answer =x

    • Carrie Slager

      I’ve found a lot of people actually started book blogs because they like to keep track of what they read! In hindsight I guess that’s partially why I also started my own book blog.

      Your way of jotting down notes for reviews is actually pretty similar to mine. At work I like to compose my reviews in my head throughout the day so when I get home all I have to do is type them out rather than stare at the computer and try to figure out what to say. 🙂

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  3. Harliqueen

    I only review one book a month, so it’s not so bad for me 😀 I usually read very late at night though, when everything else if finally completed.

    Great post 🙂

    • Carrie Slager

      Part of my night-reading is that I’ve always been a night owl, but it’s also because nothing will interrupt me. Everything’s done for the day and all I have to do is read. 🙂

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  5. Pabkins

    Yes! thats a good principle. I do spend most of my free time with my son, reading or blogging. And Most people always ask – how do you read so much. Which is a question that I just HATE! SHould I instead ask them How do you sit infront of the TV so much??

    #cackles madly

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