Or how not to be afraid of the sheer number of books you want to read.

First, though I doubt many people reading a blog that focuses on promoting books will need this, TBR stands for “to be read,” otherwise known as books one is interested in reading. This post focuses primarily on the TBR or “to-read” shelf that is part of my Goodreads profile and a recent realization that I do not need to fear the size of said shelf.

So many books, so little time. Amiright? I have over 300 books on my Goodreads TBR, which until a month or so ago felt like an insurmountable number. Though I’ve read a bit over 100 books each year for the last several, those 300 on my TBR felt like this thing that I neglected to do. Like cleaning one’s room after the mess has expanded to the point where there are only paths between piles. It didn’t help that I felt I’d outgrown many of them because I added them when I was a very different person with very different interests and a desire to publicly show that I was interested in reading what it was “cool” to read. Indeed, I rarely added anything new to my TBR until about a month ago because I feared the mess getting any bigger.

But then it dawned on me after doing some authorial professional development. Goodreads isn’t just about looking at all the books I’ve read (over 1000) or all the books I want to read. It’s a social media site dedicated to books, and my TBR isn’t the private unruly mess of my room. It’s a tool to expand my reach and, equally important, help other authors expand theirs.

Because if there’s one thing I’m good at talking about, it’s books.

Adding books to my TBR means everyone in my (admittedly small, but growing) network sees them. If I add a book that looks interesting, two or three other people might see that I’ve added it and then add it. If all 3 or 4 of us read and review that book, that’s 3 or 4 potential new avid readers for that author.

Now if 3 or 4 people for each of the initial 3 or 4 become fans of that author…

Math isn’t my best subject, but if there’s anything the last few years have taught me, it’s that exponential growth can happen quickly (thanks, Covid).

I’ve added many books to my TBR in the last month, and I don’t feel at all uneasy about that increasing number of books I want to read. Because every one of them is me telling my (admittedly small, but growing) network about a book they could possibly fall in love with. My TBR isn’t a thing to be anxious about. It’s a tool I choose to use for good.

So many books, so little time. But I (or someone) will get to them.

If you’re on Goodreads, let’s connect and use our powers of good to get books seen.

And here’s a glimpse at my TBR

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