Writer, editor, and book reviewer Wendy Noble is our guest today at Blood-Red Pencil.Years ago a speaker at a writers’ workshop I attended encouraged us to build up our writing portfolio with short stories, articles and reviews. I had the short stories and articles under control but I had no idea how to get a review published. As far as I knew, newspapers and magazines had their own staff. I couldn’t see a way to break in. Neither could I figure out how to get a book early enough that it hadn’t been already reviewed by someone else.
In 2004 a friend of mine, Rosanne Hawke, invited me to the launch of her first picture book, Yardil. I realised there was a strong possibility it hadn’t yet been reviewed. Time to bite the bullet! I searched Google for the terms, “magazines + book reviews” (I’ve since discovered Writers’ Marketplace). I found Good Reading and thought, “Why not?” I sent them a query by email and to my amazement they asked me to send them a draft. I wrote an 800 word review, but then cut it back to 350 words and sent it off hoping it wasn’t too short. The editor wrote back, “That’s very nice, now cut it down to about 120 words and we’ll take it.”
I then sent Good Reading, unsolicited, a review of Rosanne’s next book, Soraya. (Thank goodness she was having a good year!) This, too, was accepted. When I queried them about a third book by Rosanne, they said, “How about we send you the books?” I’ve been in every issue since then.
I was blessed to have a friend with books to review, and a kind-hearted editor who was willing to give me a go. There have also been plenty of times when I’ve had my submission rejected, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying again. Sometimes sheer perseverance will win the day.
Wendy Noble (Adv Dip T; Grad Dip CS; MA Creative Writing) reviews Young Adult and Children’s books for Good Reading Magazine in Australia. She is also a writer, editor, and public speaker. Visit her blog at WendyNoble.com