Future Book Thoughts…

So all the shelf moving and book sorting has been completed and it has been unnervingly cathartic. I say unnervingly as who would have thought I would enjoy getting books out of the house to new homes? Yet strangely I did. Now that the shelves have all been trimmed down and reorganised (some possibly by the height of the books, is that really anal?) I have also created some kind of system. Whilst I haven’t organised them in exact release date order (which I freely admit I contemplated before telling myself a) I have a life b) not that much of one as I actually have a file with book press releases in date order – let’s move on shall we?) there is a vague sense of when they have come out, sort of. As I was doing this I noticed that I had quite a few books that are coming out in 2014 already, sixteen to be exact. This made me ponder about books of the future and how much I should talk about them or not?


You see what worries me is that some people might come across this post and think of it as showing off, bragging or being a book tease if I am putting pictures like the above up here. I myself have often thought ‘oh stop showing off’ when on twitter I have seen the umpteenth tweet of a picture of some big book of the year six months in advance or when someone is going on about how they are flicking through the brochures of the next six months/year and all the books they will be asking for. Maybe it is all down to the way it is delivered? Which makes me ponder where the line between enthusiasm and excitement and simply showing off is? I hope it is in the intention and that, like with the incoming posts I have brought back, you know that my intention here isn’t to brag – I just love books and get excited about them.

However, the other thing that I have been thinking about in regard to these advance copies of books is just what the point of reading anything too early is? I will admit I read Natalie Young’s book on the train back from London as I couldn’t resist it. I am desperate to read the new Armistead Maupin because ‘Tales of the City’ is one my favourite series (same for Yrsa Sigurdardottir) and I am busting to read Emma Healey’s, because it is about Alzheimer’s which is something close to my heart and having met her (and hearing how her mum reads this blog, hello Ms Healey, and apparently ‘loves it’ – which authors take note; I am that easy to please) and she was lovely. Being a lovely author matters, just to throw that out there, which is why Naomi Wood and James Smythe’s books are also calling to me – not that any authors pictured above aren’t lovely, I just haven’t met them yet. Anyway… BUT. BUT. BUT.

The big issue with all this is, who will I have to talk about them with? If I see a blog about a book coming out in 3 weeks, let alone 3 to 6 months, I either think ‘oh lovely, might come back to that review later’, which realistically won’t happen as a few months or weeks down the line having not read the post in full I will most likely have forgotten where I saw it, or as above  think ‘stop showing off’ depending on who the blogger is.

I can understand it from the publishers point of view. They want people to read their books. The market is really competitive, advance books can get a buzz building nicely. It can also be a bit alienating. There is one title at the moment, which I won’t name, that I am already bored of seeing the hashtag for and it isn’t even out for three months. I actually saw the lovely Jojo Moyes tweeting only today (maybe yesterday or the day before) about Mrs Hemingway and wanting to talk to someone about it, anyone, but have that many people read the advance proof that has come in yet? I am keen to read mine but not too early, so who did Jojo find to have a chat about it with? That was a rhetorical question to which sadly I don’t know the answer.

What I do know though is that (despite my lax commenting of late, which I blame just on catching up on life since post-Gran but is constantly on my to do list) I really like to have a chat about books on here and out in the lands of social media. I have read Natalie Young’s ‘Season To Taste’ and it was brilliant, but apart from the author (who actually I am interviewing in advance for next years You Wrote The Book episode) and the publishers and one or two bloggers, who do I have to chat about it and how cliquey does that make us look? It is the same with the Emma Healey novel ‘Elizabeth is Missing’, I am desperate to read it but who will I have to talk to about it before June? Well, actually, there is Emma’s Mum – hello again Ms Healey! It makes it tricky, how to get the equilibrium right?

So I thought I would ask you lovely lot, after all you are the ones who pop by and most of you aren’t in the bookish industry so it would be really interesting to hear how you all feel about hearing about books in advance. Do you like it, are you put off by it, do you really care? How far in advance is too far in advance? Would you rather hear about paperbacks over hardbacks (this links into something else I have been thinking about) or be reminded of the review when the paperback comes out? All thoughts welcomed and I promise to reply to all of you whilst also going back over last month (or maybe two) comments whilst I am at it. Looking forward to discussing what you think.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

36 responses to “Future Book Thoughts…

  1. I’m possibly slightly biased because I do have a blog as well, but I love reading about forthcoming books. It’s a very rare event if I walk into a bookshop to look at new/recent releases and find anything I’m not already aware of, so I look to blogs in order to build up my wishlist for the future.

    I think 1-3 months before release is an acceptable timeframe for a review to be published. 6 months is perhaps too early – although if I had a book that early and I was desperate to read it and/or a huge fan of the author, I would read it anyway and write my review ready to go up nearer the time!

    I have the Emma Healey too and am very much looking forward to reading it, although I must say I am jealous that you have the new Lucie Whitehouse. Now that is a book I would be reading straight away if I got my hands on it!

    • Wow, Blair I bow down to you. I get lots of catalogues and a few forthcoming books in the post but every time I go to a book shop there are always so many books I see that I haven’t heard of. It is one of the reasons I love going into them and having a mooch.

      I am interested in the Whitehouse though I have yet to dip into it. I liked her first a fair bit the second didn’t do anything but this one sounds very twisty which is good. I actually ended up with two but have passed one onto my future mother in law, who was thrilled to get such an early and exclusive book, ha!

  2. LauraC

    For what it’s worth, if I hear about a book 1-2 months before it is released and I can’t wait to read it, I put a note on my bulletin board with the info (including date available.) Of course, being in the US complicates this re my English book blogs. Further ahead than that, it would have to be a really great review to make me write it down, but that doesn’t mean that when I heard that title again I wouldn’t remember it and look for it. I guess that I wouldn’t want the majority of the reviews to be much in advance, but a few real winners that would be remarked upon again briefly at the time that they are released (and a link to the earlier review) would be fine. I do love the reviews of older, easily obtained materials the best.

    • That is good to know Laura. I think the way I have decided to combat it is to do a monthly, or maybe twice monthly, post of incoming books to give people an idea of what they might want to make a note of – though it will be a select set of books not everything that comes in. The reviews will stay as being books recently out onwards, no advance ones.

  3. I love keeping an eye out for what’s about to be published (I admit, I comb catalogs on Edelweiss a little too much to be considered normal), but even when I get copies several months in advance, I don’t like to read them more than a month or two before they come out. Like you said, I want to have at least someone I can discuss the book with rather than feeling like I’m shouting into a void.

    • I want a discussion too, hence why I normally wait or schedule for some time after a book has come out. I don’t think having a regular gander through catalogues is a bad thing at all 😉

  4. I like to keep an eye out for future launches, but I agree that 6 months can feel a bit too premature… On occasion I have been one of the first people to review a book and there have been no comments, no discussions, it has truly been like shouting into a void – and then, a couple of months later, everybody was buzzing about it, reviewing it, shouting about it. And I felt a little bit out of the discussions, because it feels a icky leaving a comment with ‘check out my own, earlier review of the same book’, doesn’t it?

    • Shouting into a void is EXACTLY what I mean. If people want to have a blog that is just about the latest books and has no discussion but, like your good self, it is not really the sort of thing I want. Unless it is a book that is out that I want people to read so that we can have a discussion about it – that is an exception.

  5. Good question. I think a month or so is fine, but anything earlier doesn’t really make sense.

    Also, I hate when there is buzz over books for months, and when I finally get to it, my expectations are all high, and the book doesn’t deliver.

    • I agree Nish, too much too early isn’t any good for anyone really, well I don’t think so. You are also spot on about the buzz of a book, I don’t think books can ever live up to it!

  6. I pretty much agree with Laura above.

    For myself, I actually don’t like to read reviews beforehand so I keep book blog posts in a separate email folder to read later. It’s a bit frustrating because I can’t really be part of the conversation since reviews are usually posted so long before I can get to the book. (I do skim to get a sense of what is coming out and what I might like.)

    I suppose in an ideal world, a blogger might read and write up reviews in advance, but then only publish general posts about what’s on the horizon (a certain number of books to look out for), and wait to post a full review when the book is out.

    • You see I wish I was that organised I really do. If I see a review on a blog (though I have to say my blog visiting has been dire this year) of a book that I might read quite soon I avoid it like the plague, not even any skim reading. I do think ‘ooh I must pop back and read that at some point’ however I seem to then forget who wrote it.

      I have started doing what you mention. I am doing incoming posts giving people a heads up of books I am excited about that have arrived and will be out in due course. Then I will review them at a timely point.

  7. I agree with other commenters that 2-3 months in advance is great, 6 months in advance gets a bit tricky.
    From your blog I never get the feeling you are showing off, so don’t worry. I like the post about the books you receive (that is something different than a review) and I can understand how you are enthusiastic about these books.

    Kind regards,

    • Phew, it is really good to see your thoughts on the showing off thing. I do think there is a big, and noticeable, difference between enthusiasm and showing off or trying to be the blogger who gets to every new book first.

  8. Hello!

    I agree with the other replies – a few months ok, six months too long! A rule of thumb could be that if your readers can pre-order it on Amazon* then it’s probably ok to publish the review, that way at least the reader can reserve it and they won’t forget it

    The other option is to write your review then hold it in an unpublished file until nearer the date….?

    *other book sources are available

    • Oooh after watching the show on Amazon on the BBC the other night it is now a dirty word to me. I am actually in the process of scheduling lots and lots of reviews. Only issue is time takes me roughly, on and off, four to five hours and a few weeks to write a review.

  9. I agree with the 1-3 month rule of thumb. I frequently will put a book in my wish list on whatever book store site so that I remember titles to look for when they come out.
    Can’t resist saying, I can’t believe you didn’t get us a pic of the whole reorganized shelf! Shame on you for just teasing us with the one section (and no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your excitement of receiving new books and sharing pictures of them with us).

    • I forget about wishlists so that is good to be reminded of, thank you Susan. Sorry about the shelf tease, the room isn’t looking its best pre-decoration – I will at some point, though I have done the Other Peoples Bookshelves post myself which you can hunt down 😉

  10. gaskella

    Whilst I love hearing about new books due out soon, I don’t like to read reviews of them far in advance of publication. Seeing too many review posts about the same book in advance too puts me off adding to their number. I prefer to keep very close to the actual publication date in my reviews – a week in advance is the most I usually go. Note the distinction between incoming / from the catalogues type posts and reviews.

    I love reading hardbacks – but can’t always afford them, so I do feel that getting a good mix of hardbacks and paperbacks gives a broader appeal.

    • Oh the mass reviewing thing winds me up a treat. I can always tell which books those will be though in terms of how they arrive in the post. If it is organic or because a book is brilliant, like Evie Wyld’s say, then I don’t mind so much as in that case the praise is natural not publicity assisted.

  11. I’d prefer not to hear anything about unpublished books until I can read them. I don’t read reviews of books I know I’m going to read or films I’m going to watch. I’m furious that I heard something about the new Maupin before I can find out for myself. Please, I’m begging you, don’t.

  12. Col

    First up the fact that you ask at all puts me to shame! I just do what I like on my blog! (But then again as my mother and her friends account for 80% of my visitors, I dread to think what I’d get back if I did ask!!!). For me I read blogs for interest and ideas of things to read. Personally I just make lists of books to try from reviews -so I don’t mind how far in advance. But I can see why others might not want too far. And I guess if you want to exchange views with others, it’d be better not to go too far into future. Then again if you’re not keen on having a sensible exchange of views, I could always send my mother and her gang your way!!!!!

    • Overall I do what I like on my blog, there is no one else writing it or funding it so why wouldn’t I? I guess with the audience it gets sometimes I just want to ask out – though naturally I will end up doing what I want to anyway 😉

  13. David

    No more than a couple of weeks in advance, I’d say (I don’t see the point in waiting until the ‘official’ publication day with UK books as most UK publishers release stuff about a week early anyway). Otherwise its just really frustrating! Especially if you’re raving about a book that I can’t get hold of for six months.

    The one possible exception to that would be books that aren’t published in the UK yet but are available elsewhere in the world – the internet means you can get hold of most of those even if they aren’t out in the UK yet if you really want to. For instance I’ve recently read Alex Miller’s new novel which isn’t out here until next Spring, and have copies of both Tim Winton’s and Christos Tsiolkas’s – all available from Australia online for not much more than the likely UK cover price. And the vast majority of US books are available on the US publication day from the Book Depository, often cheaper than the UK editions will be.

    • Weirdly I find reviews even on the day of release or a week before a bit strange. No one else, well no one outside of the publishing postal system, can have read them so that seems odd for me – discussion wise. But then I suppose the joy of blogs etc is that they are always here for people to come back to.

      I see your point about overseas books, though I wonder how many readers are aware of books coming out first elsewhere all that often.

      • David

        True, I think perhaps because of my particular fondness for Canadian and Australian fiction (37 of the books I’ve read this year have been Canadian, mostly 2013 releases) I tend to keep an eye on what’s coming out in those countries by reading a few Canadian blogs and looking at the reviews online from Quill & Quire, the Globe & Mail etc. Aussie stuff is harder to find information on – I was completely surprised the other day to discover there is a new Thomas Keneally novel out there at the moment – but Readings.com is quite good for having a bang-up-to-date list of new releases.

        As for the American stuff, the buzz about new books seems to leak over here quite readily – just this weekend in a newspaper ‘Best Books of 2013’ list (already? It isn’t even December!) I saw two authors picking David Gilbert’s ‘& Sons’ even though it isn’t out in the UK until next February, but I’ve had a copy since it came out simply because it was getting so much good press from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly etc. And honestly, anyone whose interest was piqued by those mentions could order a copy today from Book Depository for about 80p more than the UK pre-order (and a US book is guaranteed to be better produced than a British one so worth the extra pennies if, like me, you care about such things) and be reading it by the weekend, which is why I think UK publication dates don’t matter as much as they used to.

      • Your fondness will definitely help David. I would like to read more Australian fiction than I do. Something to work on in 2014.

        I think part of my lack of knowing about books from other countries in advance, not overall, is probably that I am out of the loop with other blogs and the papers. Though Books on the Nightstand is great for a heads up on US books quite often.

  14. I want you to discuss ALL THE BOOKS, and it doesn’t matter how far in advance. I learn about most of the books I read from bloggers like you. If people see your sharing of the books you love as bragging or something, well…I have nothing nice to say about that, really. Those people need to find something more important to complain about.

  15. JanetD

    I tend to avoid reading blogs about books not yet published. I wait for the hype to calm down and then decide which to buy. My tbr list is already out of control! I buy mostly paperbacks because they are cheaper (so more books for my money) and they take up less space on my already creaking shelves. Having said all that I am happy to skip over “early” reviews and leave them to be enjoyed by those who do want to read them as soon as possible. I would though ask for a flag up of your review when the paperback copies are being released.

    • I am like that too Janet and I get sent some of the hype books, there are many hardback books languishing on my shelves waiting for the chatter to die down, and it might not be until after the paperback comes out.

      I forget people can skip at will hahaha. Not that I assume people read every single word I write by the way!

  16. Elizabeth

    Since I am in no way tied to the book industry, other than as a consumer, I can say I love to hear about upcoming releases. I think it keeps it on the radar for me. I think six months out is good, but three months makes it a bit more likely I will remember the title.

    I will admit that I add books to my goodreads shelf as I listen to the readers podcast (you have to love smartphones).

    • Hahaha I love hearing that you add books as you listen to your wishlist on goodreads, that is lovely. Good to hear from someone who has no ties to the industry, that is good to hear that you like a future book tease.

  17. I personally don’t post reviews of new books more than a week or two before publication, but then it’s not a particularly frequent occurrence for me anyway. As brand new books make up so little of my reading I don’t really mind seeing reviews of books a month or two before publication. It helps keep me informed when I daren’t scour the publisher catalogues myself for fear of what would happen to the TBR!

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