Advice Needed…Believe It or Not My Health is at Risk!

HELP!  Everyone reading my blog knows the difficulties I’ve been going through lately.  I’ve spoken about Blogger Burn Out and the general stress I’ve been under which has made it hard for me to enjoy blogging at the moment.  I’ve had a lot of helpful advice including advice that I can let people know I can’t review their books as I’m super overwhelmed.  Well, I might take that advice, at least with some books and authors, given some recent health problems that are getting worse rather than better due to the stress.  I’m not obligated to review a book, especially electronic ones which cost nothing to send out.  However I need some advice about a few physical books I was sent some time ago.

A lot of book reviewers have stated on their review policy that they won’t review a book if they don’t enjoy it, even if it’s a physical one.  Well, I never put that on my submissions page, I never thought to put it but now I wish I had!  I was sent a few physical books, not many but a handful.  A few of them I’m happy to read, but some of the books I’m struggling with.  They are books I’ve tried to read again and again and I just can’t get into them.  To read them now is definitely a chore and no longer a pleasure and I’m so disengaged that I forget what I’ve just read when turning to the next page.

I know I can’t read these books anymore, maybe one day a long time away, but the stress of feeling obligated to review them is stopping me from being able to read pretty much anything else 😥 .  I would offer to send them back but they were all sent from the US and it’s far too big a cost of postage for me to return them right now.   On top of that I did say before that I’ve been suffering some stress related symptoms… I’d really rather not say what exactly my symptoms are but my doctor’s advice is to just stop all reviewing if it’s making me this stressed as it’s pretty serious at this point.  My own problem is that I feel a sort of ‘guilt’ for having these books which did cost the authors in postage costs and it’s this ‘guilt’ which leads to incredible stress and without going into detail, I’m basically making myself dangerously ill.

I can’t review them now, or possibly ever.  This has happened before with a publisher and they just said nevermind.  But I’m not sure if the same applies to authors. 😦

What do I do?

EDIT: Forgot to add that it’s not all book reviewing that’s stressing me out, well sort of, but the feeling of obligation to certain books I no longer can review is what’s making me super ill and ruining any future reviewing 😦


31 thoughts on “Advice Needed…Believe It or Not My Health is at Risk!

  1. Cat, take a break and may even go on holiday if you can. Dont put pressure on yourself and dont take it personally. If you cant read you cant read… what you do you do for free. So, take the other commentors advice..take a break and dint take to heart. And if you cant read it you cant read it… i am not a reviewer . I paid for a best seller and i cant read it… i like message but the way it is written it is too much hard work to read…

    You need a break … ps…i am on a blogging break and on man i am so glad i am taking time out…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent advice from Georgia. She’s right it is a lottery. I sent off books when I self published and never heard another word. It’s a risk you take. That’s publishing. Definitely change your review policy. Don’t feel guilty. Take a break. Know that it’s absolutely OK not to review these books ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your health is your wealth, C… Literally. It’s everything! I understand the guilt you must be feeling. It’s something I struggle with myself. Stress too. To the point of making myself sick (it normally hits my stomach). Sometimes saying no is a kindness, towards yourself and for the author. Deep down, I’d like to think most authors care about their reviewers’ overall well-being. And I’m sure they wouldn’t want someone to read their book and review if they’re extremely stressed out. That’ll certainly have a negative impact on the reviewers’ overall experience, which could even impact the review itself.

    Just keep these authors in the loop. Some may be disappointed and perhaps a few won’t be all that understanding, but you know what? Your wellness is far more important than pleasing people. Trust me.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support and you kind words. You are right, health is far more important. I will tell the authors. I do know I struggle to say no sometimes as I want to help people but it’s something I have to work on as it’s not good for my health if I’m not taking care of myself. Thank you again, you’re a great friend ❤ ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Honesty and caring for your body and mind are the #1 concern for you to focus upon. Guilt feelings should not enter here. Be happy you are making a positive and good decision to care for #1. Authors of any substance will understand. And those who don’t? Well, they will when their turn comes. Take a deep breath, Meerkat. Relax and smile in you mirror every day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh Cat! Your health is much more important than any review! All the above comments are excellent – you just decide how you go on from here. I also realise that if you are clinically depressed and physically ill any decisions are almost impossible to make so…. I would suggest you ask a trusted friend or relative to read all these comments and between you, you can decide how to proceed. Your friend could send messages etc on your behalf. The more ill you get the more difficult any task becomes and the guiltier you feel when the jobs pile up. This blog was started because you enjoy reading and you are good at reviewing. As soon as it stops being fun and your health is at risk you must give it up, either until you feel better or even permanently. Listen to your doctor, look after yourself, only read books that make you happy, only watch TV and films the make you feel good. Eat plenty of good food. Take exercise and get lots of fresh air. Let me know how you get on. You can e-mail me if you would like to when you feel better. My e-mail address is on my blog.
    Clare xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your support. You are quite right, health is so much more important. I plan to take a break, just blogged that fact to everyone. I would like to stay in touch via email if we can. ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Explain to the authors that while you feel badly about it, you’re unable to read and review their books at this time. Ask if they’d like you to host a giveaway for those books, donate them to a library or shelter (in the author’s name), or some other random act of kindness (I know one author who intentionally leaves a copy of her book in locations around town with a note inside asking the finder to read, review, and send her an email about the book. She usually announces on her Facebook page her intention to plant a book in a town near her.
    Authors Kennedy Ryan and Ginger Scott organize an annual fundraiser benefitting different autism organizations. They are always looking for author and blogger donations.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think your health has to come first and from a certain perspective, you can’t give your all to reviewing if you’re not in a good place mentally. In terms of the physical books, if you’re feeling obligated in some way, maybe you can reach out to some friends close by who might be willing to read and review them on your behalf?
    Hope you feel better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with everyone who has commented here – for your own sake, follow the doctor’s orders and stop reviewing for a while. I would add that, if you have friends close by who are interested in reading and writing reviews of those books for you while you take time off (especially the books you couldn’t get into) then it might be an idea to ask them to guest review on your blog. That would also help you to meet those obligations that are making you feel (unnecessarily) guilty, and would also allow you time to catch up with the backlog you have. Then, when you do return, it’s to a clean slate and you may begin all over again, but at a pace of reading and reviewing that works best for you, not for the benefit of those demanding authors.

    You might consider asking at your local library to see if anyone there, librarians or patrons, would be interested in reading and reviewing the print books you’ve received.

    Take care of yourself first, Cat, and may you recover fully very soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s perfectly reasonable to refuse to read/review a book if you don’t like it. And it doesn’t matter a fig if you didn’t tell the author that to start with. However, I always email folk to let them know I’m not going to post a review and I tell them why. In my experience, most authors totally understand, and even though I’ve had a few who I never heard from again, I’ve never had anyone respond negatively. And anyway, they’re just books – no-one’s life depends on your reviews, so try and keep it in perspective and do only what you can, and want to do. Your health is more important than whether you upset one or two ditzy authors.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry to hear all this, Cat 😦 You should follow your doctor’s advice and just give yourself a break. Nothing is more important than your health!
    Remember that you didn’t ask for any of those books. They were sent to you on the authors’/publishers’ free will. So there’s nothing to feel guilty about, especially considering the amount of effort you’ve been putting into reading them and still being unable to do it. It’s not like you just decided to not read/review them based on a whim. You’ve tried and done your best. Now it’s time to give it up and think about yourself and what is best for you.
    I agree with all the advice given and I think you should follow it. I hope you get better soon ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey there,
    Take a break. Take two or three weeks off and concentrate on your own book. Say no, can’t do. And reassess later. You deserve a good and happy life. You have worked hard on the reviews. Ut it is okay to say, no more, thanks. I need that break. 🙂
    I look forward to hearing about your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Stop with the guilt. It’s as simple as that. You are under no obligation to review a book. You are meant to be doing this for pleasure, I’m assuming, and this does not sound like fun, at all. Authors and publishers send out books for review all the time, some you win and some you lose. As we all know we can’t please everyone and why on earth should you drag yourself through a book your are not enjoying? I suggest you give each one a go (if you haven’t already) and if you can’t finish it then it’s a DNF and you can’t review.

    Speaking as an author it would be nice if you could feed that back to the publisher or author that is wasn’t for you and you couldn’t finish it. But we accept most reviewers don’t do this, and you just never hear any further from them so assume they didn’t get on with it. And update your book review policy accordingly. Then you only have to review the books you can actually read and enjoy. This will reduce your stress considerably.

    And to be honest I would take a complete break from reviewing and reread one or more books that you have loved in the past and remind yourself why it is you do this. We authors love you for it, but seriously your health must come first. So go and look after yourself. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Don’t review them.

    Health is more important and after what happened in London yesterday, in the grand scheme of things they’re not that important.

    If authors can’t accept you’re unwell, they’re not worth reviewing anyway.

    People who are hurtful aren’t worth your time.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Be true to yourself. If you cannot read a book, don’t. It’s not worth stewing over, there are authors out there who cannot write worth beans, or put demands on reviewers that are not realistic, such as a 5 star review when the book is dribble.

    Make yourself clear to everyone who asks you for a review. Example – as a courtesy, I am upfront about giving an honest rating. If I have to give up reading the book or need to give it a low rating, I let the author know I was unable to review it. It is not my job to fix their book or cause them undue stress from a less than 3 star review. I have been suckered in a few times and it can be stressful reading dribble or something way out of my comfort zone. It’s hard to tell an author politely I can’t review their book. I suspect most of us share that feeling.

    In the end, a comprehensive review policy on your site should be required reading of all those who ask you for a review. You can’t please everyone. You are a great reviewer and blogger. Those who do get a review from you are fortunate. You are worthy of respect, consideration and appreciation from the authors you review.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You’ve been honest in your blog. As others have assured you, anyone ought to be able to empathise with your dilemma. If you feel able to contact the individual authors by all means let them know, but if they’ve sent you a book, chances are they have just read your blog and should understand if a review of their book isn’t forthcoming. Take care of yourself – that’s the priority..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Learning to say no is a very valuable lesson, so I’m glad you learned it, but am very sorry you needed to learn it the stressful way.
    As an author, I don’t expect everyone to love what I write, so if someone would feel uncomfortable reviewing it, I would expect them not to read/review. I rarely ask anyone to review, but do leave notes at the end of my books stating that if they’ve enjoyed the story (and if they reach that point, it is logical to assume they liked it enough to finish it). that a review would be appreciated.
    Let’s face it, if someone loved 50 shades of Gray, it is highly unlikely that they would like my family-frinedly novels…. Vice-versa is also true.
    Decide what you are comfortable with and what makes you happy, then stick to whatever that is.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Absolutely stop. I just sent a couple copies of my book overseas, and while it would stink if they did not review it, I would completely understand if they were having health problems! It’s a risk, sending your book to reviewer’s, one that Authors should be quite aware of. If it were me, I would completely understand. You just need to be honest with the authors and let them know that you will not be doing it. If they are nice people, it will be fine. If they are not nice people, then they can just get over it. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  18. We will back you indeed. You can say honestly that you are too ill at the moment to review and recommend another reviewer who could help them. That way you are not under the stress and you can relax and get your health back. Your health is the most important thing. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Hi Cat, I am sorry to hear you’re not doing well. Reach out to the authors and inform them that due to severe medical issues you are unable to fulfill your promise of reviewing their books. Tell them you’re sorry for the inconvenience this unforeseen event has caused and that you appreciate their time and the effort they put into sending it to you. Leave it at that. Your personal health is more important and if that fails you can’t be of any help to them anyway. The humble author will understand. For those that don’t, they just don’t but you cant worry about that. Take some time off and take care of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I do understand. This morning I had to say no to 5 authors. And the answer I gave was true. I am booked through October. Can I let you know when I’m free? You know we will all back you here no matter what!

    Liked by 2 people

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