This is a reblogged post by Jennifer Alvarez, on her blog The Jennifer Diaries. Jennifer began her writing career as a self-published author, marketing her own books. Her blog began as a journal of her hard work. She challenged herself to do one thing each day to market her book and establish a brand: “Jennifer Alvarez, children’s author.” Jennifer’s dedicated and hard work paid off. She now has a series, The Guardian Herd, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, including the very first book, originally self-published. Congratulations Jennifer!
Jennifer submitted a book to KLR for review. What follows is her review of Kid Lit Reviews. I had never heard of a review blog being reviewed, but I like the idea. I am sure many authors out there appreciate such reviews. Publishing has changed by leaps and bounds. Today, even traditionally published authors MUST help market their book (an often expensive proposition for many. FYI: To save money mail books through USPS as “MEDIA MAIL.” This is much less expensive).
(From Jennifer Alvarez’s blog, The Jennifer Diaries.)
“Day 36–Kid Lit Reviews
“Today I submitted my book, The Pet Washer, for review at Kid Lit Reviews. This is the eighth website I’ve submitted to in two months. Most sites, including this one, take reviews in the order they are received. A few weeks to a few months is an expected wait time. I’m still waiting on ALL of them! (Kindle Book Reviews, The LL Book Review, Odyssey Book Review, The Kindle Nation, The Childrens Book Review, Janette Fuller.Com, and POD People).Kid Lit Reviews is a site for children’s books. They also host a site for teen and tween books called just that, TWeen and TEen Books.* Middle-grade novels can be submitted to Kid Lit Review but, at the site’s discretion, they may end up featured on the Teen site.
“The submission policies are simple. They have a contact form on their site. They let authors know the details they want included in their request. There is no charge for the reviews. They will consider reviewing ebook formats but they prefer paperbacks. Once the review is completed, the paperback is not returned. It is donated to their local library. This is also a common practice.
“When the review is posted, the book title is linked through their Amazon Associates program. This allows the book to be purchased directly from their site. At no cost to the author, a small commission is generated by Amazon for Kid Lit Reviews to help fund the site. I believe this is a fair trade and I appreciate the site being up front about it. Again, it costs the author nothing.
“Some review sites won’t post negative reviews. If they don’t like your book, they will spare you the pain of public humiliation and you won’t get a review at all. One must be brave to submit to Kid Lit Review because they post negative and positive reviews. They have a five star system with five being the best.
“I read a few of the posted reviews and I was impressed. They are thorough and well-written. I read some negative reviews and was equally impressed. The reviewers backed up their decisions with details. As an author, I feel I can trust this site to produce a fair review of The Pet Washer. As a reader, I feel I can trust this site to find new books for my own kids to read! If you have a book for children or teens, consider submitting them to Kid Lit Reviews or TWeen and TEen Books for a comprehensive and fair review!”
Jennifer Alvarez Author of The Pet Washer Novel for girls aged 9-12
[Posted by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez at 10:30 AM]
*Teens and Tweens no longer exists.
My Response, written the night I found this post, March 24, 2012, (edited 2016).
A reviewer was reviewed. The tables were turned and the reviewer, used to being the one offering criticism and praise, must deal with being criticized and praised (hopefully praised). Honestly, this was not difficult at all, simply because I had no idea I was being reviewed. I happened upon this post one day, after reviewing Jennifer’s book.
Thankfully, Jennifer wrote her review prior to my actually reviewing her story, The Pet Washer. There is nothing more humbling than having someone critique your work, in this case, my blog of book reviews. I don’t think Jennifer knew there was only one reviewer–ME. I must admit, I enjoyed reading Jennifer’s review of KLR. I was surprised, amused, amazed, and then suddenly . . . bewildered?!
Jennifer wrote, “One must be brave to submit to Kid Lit Review . . .” Whoa! Brave? I’ve never considered myself someone to be afraid of or to be approached with caution. Jennifer really hit a chord, but you know what? She’s right. I do write negative reviews and do post them. If the book is exceptionally not ready for public consumption, I try to back out of the review (with reasons I back up). Most authors are appreciative; a few never emailed me again; one insisted I review the book anyway–I did. I can only hope I helped them in the end.
Yet, Jennifer is correct about “negative reviews,” but I sincerely hope this does not scare away a prospective author and their book. I never, ever attack an author or illustrator. My job is the book, not the creators. I hope I have held true to this conviction. “Negative reviews” are meant to inform and educate not only the reader but also, and more importantly, the author.
I like helping writers, not hurting them. No one could review the number of books I and my colleagues review and not like the written word and those who write it. So I hope no one feels they must be “brave” to send a book to KLR (though sending a book to any reviewer is a brave in and of itself).
Thank you, Jennifer, for the interesting and enlightening review of Kid Lit Reviews. I will always be appreciative.
Thank you Jennifer for your review of KLR and its process. The way you described it seems fair and equitable. What I liked about your assessment is that it reminds us that every review is simply one person’s opinion. It adds credibility when that opinion is supported by examples or facts, but the bottom line remains that people think and react differently and not all will agree, especially when it comes to books.
Liz you are so correct and I try to remind authors of this when necessary. Reviews on KLR are only my opinion. Nothing more or less. I try my best to be positive and, no matter the review, make the final paragraph positive. It works for me when coaching kids, so I figured ending positively will work with writers. Encouragement is important. I hope you enjoy the reviews you read and find some wonderful books for you and your kids. Please let me know what you think, even if we disagree. I need to keep learning myself and reader’s honest comments help me. I also worked for CASA. Isn’t this a terrific organization?
Thank you Jennifer for this interesting summary of your experience. I am a new author and am in the KLR “queue” for review. I’m a little less anxious since I have a non-fiction title but am still very eager to read the review and am grateful to have it done. I was an artist promoting my work for years so I have a pretty thick skin but we’ll see! Feedback is so important, especially for a self-publisher. Even though you wrote this post some time ago, it is all still so relevant and it really helps me navigate the world of reviewing.
Jennifer, I am so sorry this has taken me such a long time to reply to your comment. I ever expected anyone would comment on this post (I found this while revamping the site). Thank you for proving me wrong. Ms. Alvarez wrote a nice review of KLR and I am so appreciative to have it reposted here.
Of course, I reviewed your book, Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts. It garnered much interest. The book eventually went to a teacher in China, who teaches young children English. I’m glad you discovered your “anxiousness” was unnecessary. I, too, think Jennifer’s post is relevant, even today and will be tomorrow. I do understand one thing better than I had prior to this review: I understand how nerve-wrecking a review can be for the one being reviewed. Empathy is a good thing.
Good luck in your writing career. I wish you the best.