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Let’s Talk | Updated Annotating Kit

Let's Talk

Hello everyone! A few / a lot of *months* ago (sorry) I posted a poll on twitter to see if anyone was interested in an update on my current essentials for reading, reviewing, and annotating my books. I will say I was not really anticipating a yes, but it seems like it is something that at least a few people wanted to see. So, without more rambling, let’s get to business!


For a reference moving forward, in my previous post, my essentials were: bookmark, mini notebook, 2 mechanical pencils and post-it tabs. If you want some more detail, you can find that here: Writing | My Reading/Review Kit. I didn’t really have specific pencils or anything, but just whatever was available and I already had.

Over the course of nearly a year and a half I feel like a lot has changed when it has come to my review essentials. I feel like I whittled what I carry around and use because I carry so much around for my work. Since I am always carrying around a ton of things, I really tried to not add more, mainly to ensure I don’t break my back. While obviously a few pens and a mini notebook aren’t heavy, but every little thing adds up. Anyway, here are the things I carry around with me now.

My go to writing implement is no longer a pencil, but a pen. I came into the problem where things were getting smudged and I getting graphite everywhere! I now use a Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pen in the color Salmon. It is a light pink in color, which is a perfect combination of grabbing my attention when I go back to look at my notes, but not enough to be to distracting if I was to reread.

A few of the other things to go are my mini notebook, bookmark, and post it tabs. I realized that the mini notebook was not essential and with the lighter color pen I was able to write my notes in the margin or use a notecard, which I was inspired by Waving Fiction’s post, Why I Use Notecards in My Books. But, I only use a notecard in some books, where I realize I am writing a bit too much to fit on a margin. I do note the page number for my notes if I do use a notecard so I can refer back to a quite if my note doesn’t make sense when I look over them.

The last thing I want to mention is a little addition to my essentials and this would be a mini ruler. I was driving myself crazy with lines that went crooked or I accidentally wrote in the middle of a line, so I picked up a ruler. Now, the one I got is metal, but has cork on the underside so I don’t feel like it could hurt my book any, which is great. The best part is I carry it around anyway because I use one in my bujo too! If you want to check my bujo out, you can look at my spreads and such here: Projects: Bullet Journal.

Thanks so much for reading about my annotating supplies, I know it isn’t as much as it used to be, but this is what works for me! I also hope that this little explanation helps you find what works for you on your reviewing and annotating journey!


Do you have any annotation go to supplies?

Do you write in your books or on something else?

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Finding Balance | Netgalley Backlist & Rules

FindingBalance12:17

Overall, I have to say I am pretty good with keeping up with my Netgalley list now. I used to be fairly bad at it. I would often go on requesting sprees because I was not sure if I would or would not get approved for books. I figured most were a long shot and I would just up my odds by requesting a bunch. Well, that approach did not work.

When I first started I had no system or rules in place, so I would just pick a random ARC I needed to review and read it every so often. I did not account for when it came out or how long I had on my shelf. I was kind of overwhelmed and I had a ton on my kindle. I really had no idea where to start so I pick threw a dart and read that one.

This was not the best course of action for me. I saw more and more books go into the 6 months or older section and I became stressed. I was getting approved more often as I handed in reviews, which I was excited about, but then I had more and more books coming into my kindle that I previously. One day I was just so over whelmed I took a day and just went through everything. When I did this I came up with a few rules and tracking system that helped me.

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My Tracking System

I made a really simple tracking system for myself. I write down the title, if I reviewed it, when it is to be published, and when it will be archived. When I go to read an ARC, I go to this list and I look at the published date to determine which one I will read next.

You may notice that I do not track which books I request. I used to, but now I only pick one ARC to request per month. You can see from the above image I have an ARC for February, March, April and July. I only requested one per month so I can’t get over whelmed with the ARCs coming in. Having one ARC a month means I can still read all the books I have on my shelf without worrying about getting my reviews in.

My Rules

Now these rules are just what works for me, that does not mean they will work for you, but I thought it would be interesting to share.

  1. Request one book per month, dependent on the release date.
    • This limits the amount of ARCs coming in
  2. Read the an ARC the month before it’s release date.
    • Takes the pressure off
  3. As soon as I get an approval email, add book to the ARC Tracker
    • This ensures I don’t forget a book I am approved for.
  4. Only request books I would pay to read.
    • This one is my top rules, this makes sure I request only books I will want to read asap. I will not want to put them off and I know I am not taking ARCs away from others who really want to read them.
  5. No book can make it to the 3 month or older shelf.
    • Ensures I keep my feedback ratio over 80%

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The Current State of my Netgalley

Feedback Ratio: 87%

31 Approved  |  27 Feedback Sent

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How do you manage your requests and netgalley reviews?

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