• Jane Walsh

New Year, New Decade, New Book Budget

Dealing with my daunting TBR list for 2020.

There’s a freezing rain warning this weekend - my least favourite weather. Probably everyone’s least favourite, really. There’s not much to recommend about the threat of a broken hip or the fear of losing heat during winter. For now, it’s a steady rain falling outside the coffee shop where I do most of my novel writing.

It’s deserted in here today, and this does not feel like a creative day. It feels like a stay-at-home cozy day, with piles of blankets and hot coffee and my cat purring from the windowsill, so I’m about to pack it in and spend the afternoon tackling my To Be Read list.

Unfortunately, this comes with its own challenges.

Managing the TBR List

Task 1 - Make a proper list.

Here's the problem - my TBR list has grown exponentially in the past few months. This is a good thing because I like to read. But it's less of a list and more of a hodge podge of screenshots saved on my phone.

I haven’t been organized enough to actually compile a WRITTEN list that would make things easier - it's just random images of book covers, twitter recommendations, publisher sites, and other people's Good Reads lists.

Some of these books are years old.

Others won’t be released for another year.

This makes the process of choosing a new book to read somewhat daunting.

So first things first - make an excel spreadsheet. (There are few things that can't be solved by a good spreadsheet.)

Task 2 - Check if any books are available at the library.

This is time consuming for two reasons:

(1) My library doesn't carry many queer romance titles. I recommend books all the time for them to purchase but they unfortunately rarely appear.

(2) The books that ARE in the library system often have long waiting lists. I discovered the hard way over Christmas that if sometimes all of the books on hold can come in at once, which means that I didn't even get to read half of them. Lesson learned - pace myself when placing holds.

Task 3 - Budget.

The sad, sad reality is that I only have so much money for books. I bumped up my book budget for 2020 when looking at this year's personal financial budget, but I still need to figure out how many books I can buy each month. This depends on new releases and working through some older series and accounting for some research books that I want to buy.

Really - the answer is another spreadsheet.

Task 4 - Keep an Eye on Sales

This is a daily task but it's probably the easiest and the most fun.

Some FANTASTIC resources for deals are:

(1) Daily deals from Bold Strokes Books, if you're looking specifically for queer books (they have daily sales and it's easy to find on their social media or their website, but signing up for their newsletter is the easiest way to stay notified of great deals).

(2) Smart Bitches Trashy Books regularly promotes sales on their site and on social media (for all romance genres). I recommend following them on twitter because other people chime in with additional sales in the comments - and that's how I scored a KJ Charles novel one time for $0.99.

Task 5 - Curl Up & Read!

And this is the most important part of all - reading and falling in love along with characters as they reach their HEA. <3

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