Gaining a publisher’s trust as a reviewer

A couple of years ago I picked up Heather Burch’s, Halflings, read it and reviewed it on my blog.  A few weeks afterwards, I received an e-mail from the publisher, Zondervan.  They liked my review and wanted to know if I would like to review more books for them.  Of course, my answer was a big YES!!!  They proceeded to send me two more books.  Sadly, I wasn’t particularly fond of either one of them, so I didn’t review them online.  I felt I wouldn’t do justice to the authors or to Zondervan.  I mean, let’s face it.  I’m still a newbie author myself.  Who am I to slam someone else’s dreams on a public forum.  If I was a professional reviewer and people waited with bated breath to know what I thought, then that would be a different story.  Right now, I’m not that person.  I’m a start-up author with a blog who likes to talk up the books I like or that I think others will enjoy.

To make a long story short, after a long hiatus, Zondervan contacted me a few days ago with a request to pick books from a list I might be interested in reading and reviewing.  There was a picture and a blurb for each one in the e-mail and they were all MG or YA reads.  I sent a message back saying I couldn’t pick just one but if I had to, I’d go for the paranormal/fantasy first.  Their response?  “We’ll be happy to send them all.”  Really????   How crazy is that?  There are around 8 books all together AND all but one happened to be on  my TBR list.  The first four arrived Wednesday and Thursday.  Want a peak?

zondervan books May 2013


I’m so stoked!

I think my luck in landing my review gig with Zondervan has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time as well as being honest in my review without being disrespectful.  The books they send and that I read are Young Adult, and Zondervan knows my blog caters to their target audience.  It’s a win-win situation all the way around.

Since my review of Halflings, I have met Heather Burch, and in February of this year, I received a signed copy of her second book in the series, Guardian.  The third and final book in the series, Avenger, is propped in that pretty little picture above.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review this series.

And all it took was one honest review of one book.

I am thrilled Zondervan chose me to periodically review their YA books.  Maybe this will lead to another job all together:  book reviewer extraordinaire.  🙂  How much fun would that be?  I mean, where else can you get copies of books for free that you want to read in exchange for a review?  To me, that sounds like pure bliss.

So for those of you who don’t think reviews drive people to your blogs?  Think again.  All it takes is the right person to get you noticed.  Zondervan Publishing has my utmost respect, and I am honored to have theirs.


23 thoughts on “Gaining a publisher’s trust as a reviewer

  1. How exciting!! Free books!! Us bibliophiles out here are salivating. 🙂

    Reviewing does put a writer in a difficult position, I think. I’m always afraid I’m going to meet the writer at a conference or class and then they’ll be like, “Ugh. There’s that girl that gave me three stars and said my book lacked inspiration.” LOL


    1. I always try to balance my reviews. If I mention something I don’t like, I make sure I point out something I do. If I like nothing about it, I don’t talk about it. I always worry I’m going to run into an author that I gave an ‘eh’ review of his/her book. Then again, maybe they don’t read reviews (keep fingers crossed), in which case, it wouldn’t matter what I thought anyway. 🙂


    1. They are a Christian publisher but their stories aren’t A-line Christian. They have to have a Christian/God theme. Like Heather’s books are about angels, but they’re also about demons. Merlin’s Blade is another one I got today from Zondervan. It’s a Merlin and King Arthur story. As you know, God played a large roll in King Arthur’s life. There just has to be a strong theme involved.


            1. And my mind was on Harris Stanton. It has been for a while. *wink wink* Check out Zondervan’s site. The last time I checked, one needs an agent to submit. I’m so torn about which way to go..agents/doing it on my own with an indie or big guy like Daw. Agents have ‘ins’ where we don’t, but there are so many good publishers out there that don’t require agents – most though don’t have international or movie rights. Yes, I know. I dream WAY big; I’ve just had so many betas tell me David’s and Eric’s story would be a great movie. I just need to write it as well as it can be written and get it in the right person’s hands. ‘Fire’ will find it’s home.


  2. How awesome! I have had to contact publishers myself for copies, but they always seem willing. I do get stuff sent to me in the mail I didn’t ask for, so that’s also nice. And I like Heather’s books, curious to see what you think of the final one!


    1. I think you can actually contact some publishers and tell them you’d like to review certain books on line and they’ll send you those books. It’s worth a shot. What’s the worst thing they can say? 🙂


  3. Good for you – and I love your honesty about not reviewing if you didn’t like the book. I loved the sentence: ‘If I was a professional reviewer and people waited with bated breath to know what I thought, then that would be a different story.’ Do you think some reviewers really feel like that – God-like, dispensing their judgement? Maybe, but I think they are mistaken.


    1. I don’t think reviewers necessarily think that, but you do have your ‘famous’ reviewers for the NYTimes as well as other newspapers or magazines that people read and base their buying habits upon. Kind of like Siskel and Ebert when they did their movie reviews. I don’t think they felt ‘god-like’, but I knew some people that wouldn’t see a movie if they gave it two thumbs down. Professional reviewers have lots of ‘swaying power’, whether they like to think they do or not. :-).


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