Discussion | It’s Hard to Say No


Book blogging covers many different degrees of content, opportunities, and of course the goals of book bloggers themselves.  Some of us choose to update sporadically and some of us update every day. Some of us are dying to get our hands on ARCs and some of us couldn’t care less about reading advance copies. I love the range of people and content that this community offers and I think it’s so wonderful to see everyone’s individuality through their blogs, what they write, and how they choose to express their feelings all on the same topics and/or books! I think it’s absolutely fantastic how diverse this community is in countless ways! But this post is for that corner of the internet who are “yes people” like I am. We have trouble saying no to good offers!

Gather ’round, fellow “yes people”! Let’s have a little chat about how to say no. Now I’m not saying that you have to say no to things but I’ve had several posts over the years about my personal experiences where I felt the need to put stress on myself to join challenges, participate in blog tours, accept books/ARCs when they were offered, and run promos for pubs/authors/bloggers. These are only a handful of the opportunities that are possible as a book blogger and I’m sure you know that the list goes on! I was one of those people who was just so excited about being a part of everything that I really and truly did want to say yes to nearly every offer.

When I was a newer blogger, I didn’t have as many opportunities as I do now so I really did say yes to just about damn near every pitch that was sent my way. I read books I probably shouldn’t have, joined blog tours when I wasn’t sure I would be keen on the book but felt like I couldn’t turn a publisher down, and hopped on read alongs/blogger projects because I felt bad saying no to the hosts. The silly thing is, this actually put more stress on myself. Sometimes everything worked out great and I had an absolute blast! But too many times I ended up scrambling to meet deadlines because I was doing so many things, rushing through reads, or simply not enjoying the book I was reading. The commitment added more pressure to my hectic blogging schedule and I ended up feeling worse about the content I was putting out and disappointed when I didn’t enjoy a particular book, especially if I needed to report that back to an author or publisher.

I’ve been blogging for almost four years now and I can honestly tell you that it really has taken me this long to be okay with saying no to people. I had to realize that someone else would be able to provide better content or feedback. Someone else might have more time than I do to put together a more thorough post (although really, I always feel like my posts are too wordy… like this one…). Someone else might really want that opportunity more than I do and authors/publishers will more likely appreciate my honesty that a book might not be a good fit for me and offer it to someone who is better suited to give it good feedback. It also really took me this long to put myself first. Sounds stupid, right? I’m reading and blogging for a hobby — how am I not putting myself first this whole time? But being a “yes person” often goes hand-in-hand in being a giver for me. I like to support authors/publishers/bloggers and like to do everything I can do help out. Sometimes I extend myself a little too far and I’ve started doing too many things for other people that I don’t have time to do my own things like read backlist books or post my own personal features. Not to mention that I also have a personal life and I need time to cook, clean, spend time with family, travel, hang out with friends, or simply sit at home and do nothing!

I was afraid to say no because I was afraid I would lose this opportunities if I did. I didn’t want it to seem like I wasn’t interested in working with a publisher because I kept saying no to their offers. The thing is, I didn’t stop to think that they contacted me for a reason and may end up offering me something more suiting to my tastes if I told them my reasons for why I was refusing the offer. Saying something like “I don’t think this book is the right book for me” or “I’m actually more of a fantasy girl than dystopian” is totally okay to say. I don’t personally know how the publishing/blogger relationship works on their end but I’m betting someone out there makes a note of what your preference is so they can pitch you the right books instead of wasting time/money on sending you a book that you don’t want to promote because it wasn’t right. Logic doesn’t win out over emotions sometimes I had to take a step back to look at it from a head vs heart perspective.

I also have a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), especially with blogger-run events/features. I hate saying no to things that sound like fun but I might be too busy to do them. (Note: I always complete an assignment once I commit but that doesn’t mean I’m not stressed while working to do so!) I didn’t want to hurt my blogger friend’s feelings when I said no to her event but something I’ve learned over the years is that people are generally understanding, especially when you give them genuine reasons why you just can’t commit at the moment. Mostly likely, they don’t want you to be stressed over a fun even that they’re planning because that really takes away from the fun aspect of it! My FOMO also applied a lot to book offers which was so silly because whether it’s an ARC, egalley, or finished copy, this book will be available to me in one way or another. If I say no to it now, I can always buy, borrow from the library, or borrow from a friend later. There will be SOME way for me to read it. I might pass on the opportunity for a blog tour but it’s really not the end of the world to pass on something that will end up stressing me out more!

That being said, I do still say yes to a lot. You’ll still see me in tons of places around the blogosphere because I really do enjoy being a part of so many things! No matter what I’ve committed to in the past or what I might commit to in the future, my participation is always genuine even if my stress levels run high sometimes! It’s still hard for me to say no but I’ve gotten MUCH  better at only committing to what I think I will have time for or what I will really enjoy and I think everyone can understand that when I do have to turn something down, there’s a real reason for it. It’s a bit painful to turn down a review copy or decline and invitation to a blog tour but I’m trying to keep in mind that I might not be the best fit for it and then someone else will get that opportunity instead. I could be making someone else’s day!

Do you have a hard time saying no? Do you have FOMO? What are your best tips to psych yourself up to politely refuse?

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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12 thoughts on “Discussion | It’s Hard to Say No

  1. Olivia Roach

    Oh yes, I have these feels. And it isn’t even just with book blogging. I have trouble saying no to anything – people asking me places in real life or to do this or that and I just want to say yes and make everyone happy and enjoy doing it too. I realise the latter part doesn’t come as easily when you’re saying yes to everything, so I have learned to cut down a bit. But if I ratioed my yes to no’s… well, let’s just say I still know which would win out.

  2. Terri M., the Director

    I am a people pleaser and saying no is hard. However, I discovered the issue with that last year when my health took a nose dive because I was saying yes too much plus work was a beast. I’m trying to be more conscientious of my choices now and trying not to suffer from a case of FOMO. It’s tough! I want to read all the books and do all the things!

  3. Laura @ Scribbles & Wanderlust

    This is a good discussion, Brittany!

    I’m in a really strange corner of the blogging community. I went from writing reviews of books I’d already read / were published years ago to suddenly receiving loads of ARCs because I became a bookseller and a literary agent assistant. The mass of books coming out and excitement around some vs next to no hype for others became overwhelming. I wanted to review the books that weren’t as gushed over, but I also didn’t want to miss out on THE NEXT BIG THING OMG.

    But the tactic I use with my agent work is also proving to be very helpful in my personal reading/blogging life: if I read the query/jacket/pitch/sample/summary and it’s not for me (no matter the size of the hype), it’s not for me. There are so many books in this world and so little time on this earth that if I’m “eh” about it from the get-go, I will turn it down and move on to the next one. It feels so harsh, sometimes, but it brings me closer to the books I DO want to read and WILL flail over.

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    Oh, I definitely understand! I’ve been blogging since 2007 so it’s been a really long and crazy journey. I got better at saying no to things when I realized that it was OKAY to do so but also when my everyday life got more hectic. I read and I blog and I love that, but I’m also a friend, a family member, a student (I was until this past December), a worker, etc. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and all blogs and all bloggers are different. Do what you can – do what you love! 🙂


  5. Charleen

    I totally get wanting to say yes to everything. I never did much with publishers (I was always more comfortable using NetGalley as a middle-man) but when it comes to participating in or volunteering for various things, I just wanted to do it all!

    These days I don’t have nearly as much time for blogging. On the one hand, I’m much better about only jumping in if it’s something I’m really excited about… but on the other, it’s tough feeling like I’m only on the outskirts of the community.

  6. Alexa S.

    Saying no is so hard to do. At least, it is when you’re first teaching yourself how to do it! The past three years have been such a big, eye-opening journey for me when it comes to saying “no”, whether it’s to opportunities that blogging has opened up for me or in real life relationships that required boundaries. I definitely struggled with it for a long time, but in the latter half of 2015 and this year, it’s become easier! I really don’t hesitate to say no these days when I get even the slightest sense that something isn’t going to be for me, which definitely means less stress in my own life. It’s a learning process though!

  7. SERIESous Book Reviews

    I definitely have FOMO and a hard time saying no. It took me the better part of last year to come to the conclusion that I don’t need to read every book as soon as it comes out–that, like you said, there will be some way for me to read the book at one point or another. Of course, there are books and authors that I can’t resist, but I have some guidelines for myself now that help steer me on the right course and stop myself from hitting the request button immediately.

  8. Mel @ Reviews In A Pinch

    I’m awful at saying no (present tense). I even started an Indie Author Spotlight post once a month because I felt so bad about not being able to read a bunch of books that authors requested I read. The only time I’ve been awesome with saying no is if a request has absolutely nothing to do with my blog or the author is rude. Then I just get mad and the no comes out easily. I really need to work on that, but like you I’ve been afraid of missing out on something and then I just stress myself out or read a bunch of books I don’t actually like. For some reason, I didn’t realize other people were in the same boat.

  9. Brittany

    I can relate to this so much! I have an immense fear of rejecting book-related opportunities, so saying something like “this book really isn’t for me” feels ungrateful and makes me paranoid that the publicist or author will hold a grudge or be angry with me. Logically, I know it’s perfectly normal to not read every book that’s offered to me (because I need to sleep sometimes too, I guess? lol) but even still, saying no is an ongoing struggle. Living in NYC, I also try to attend as many events as possible with the logic of “but what if this author won’t be back in the area for a while.. OR EVER?! HOW WILL I GET MY BOOKS SIGNED?!” … So yes. Amazing post =)

  10. Katrina @ Bookish Things

    When I first started I had a hard time saying no. I’ve gotten much better at saying no now. I mean I have no problem saying no with things that don’t have to do with my blog, so why not transfer that attitude their. Most of the time it’s because I either don’t think I’ll enjoy the book, or because I don’t have time. Although, lately, I’ve been pulling back on tours and promo. Here’s to saying no. 😀


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