Hello, friends! How are you all doing?
Today, I’d love to share with you a snippet of the project that I had been working on for the last two months.
If you have been following my blog since June, you might recall me talking about being contacted by an editor for a Japan-based English entertainment magazine for a book review.
I was initially balked at throwing myself into this project because the book for the review was a biography – a genre that I don’t normally gravitate towards – but I decided to at least give it a try.
The editor and I got connected on Facebook through our mutual friend. My friend with whom I had been taking online English lessons first messaged me and told me that the editor wanted to connect with me on FB.
After being friends with her, she asked me if I was interested in reviewing a biography book for their September issue; an offer that came as a complete surprise. As I said earlier, I was momentarily flustered; I had never officially reviewed a book before, and I wasn’t confident in myself at all.
That said, I decided to at least take a look at the book; she went out of her way to approach me and I wanted to reciprocate her willingness.
After a while, she sent me the book up for the review and I decided to give it a try after skimming through the book. The book seemed interesting and the writing was so captivating. It didn’t feel like I was reading a non-fiction book. It almost felt like reading a novel.
She gave me a plenty of time to read and work on my review. She clearly stated that she was expecting a 1200-1400 words review – perhaps the longest review I had ever written – again, I was balked at the enormity of the project I threw myself in, but I decided that I would power through it.
Basically, once I say I’ll do it, I don’t want to take my words back. I don’t want to let anybody down, I want to live up to their expectations.
In about two weeks, I finished reading the book. It took me much longer than I had expected, but with the notes that I took along the way, I was ready to tackle writing my review.
When I contacted the editor to get her up to speed on my progress, she suggested that I contact the author and send some questions about the book. I was granted a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to directly ask the author what was going on in the author’s mind prior to/when writing the book.
Within a week or so, I got a reply and was I surprised to read his answers!! All the vision and the intentions that the author had in mind were reflected in his writing beautifully; I was amazed by his prowess in writing and the execution.
It was certainly so hard to put my thoughts in the review as well as including the author’s responses/what he had envisioned upon writing the book. Writing and deleting, writing and deleting… I took me a whole week to work on my thoughts.
To tell the truth, my heart was in my mouth when I clicked the ‘send’ button to send my first draft to the editor – it was literally a nerve-wracking experience and I was so concerned about the potential critiques from her.
In fact, I had some nightmares – probably several times while I was working on my review, in which I was knocked for my amateurish, incomplete, lackluster review. It was truly excruciating to sit and wait for her response.
That night, at around 10 pm, I got an e-mail from the editor. When I heard the ringtone telling me that I’d just had an incoming message, my heart was in my mouth once again; my hands were trembling when I opened the message.
On the contrary to my trepidation, quite surprisingly, the response was a positive, pleasant one – the editor commended me for doing a great job in writing a ‘delightful’ book review.
She also said that my writing is ‘vivid, clear, and attractive’ and that it made her want to read the book. I couldn’t believe what I was reading… I was literally on cloud nine. So relieved and felt accomplished. I slept like a baby that night.
But then again, there was another nerve-wracking mission in store for me the next day; I had to send my first draft to the author for approval! Oh, man, how flipping out I was when I sent it to him!!
Although the editor commended me for doing a great job, she hadn’t read the book, so I had no idea whether the author would approve my review or not, and how accurately I got to capture the essence of the book. To be honest, this is one of the concerns that I always have whenever I write a book review; whether I manage to capture the book accurately or not.
The waiting was literally killing me – I was wringing my hands with anxiety,
Within a couple of hours, I got a reply – the author approved my review!!!
He wrote that he had nothing to fault in my review and that it was well observed and crafted, with just the balanced analysis readers need to form an objective judgment.
You can never imagine how relieved I was – I couldn’t believe how swimmingly everything went. I was expecting rejection after rejection; I had actually set aside a large chunk of time for rewriting.
My review is now in the midst of the editing process, and the editor told me my review will be a very important part of the next issue of their magazine. Omg, she should have told me that sooner!! Lol
Anyways, I still cannot believe I actually made it; it was truly a nerve-wracking but an incredible experience.
I am so happy and relieved that my review was appreciated both by the author and the editor… all my time and effort AND nightmares totally paid off! lol
Although I cannot give you any detail or put the actual review up on my blog until about a month or two after the publication, I just wanted to share with you what had been going on in my life, because all of you mean the world to me. I just wanted to share the happiest moment of the year with you all!
Sorry for this post being so lengthy, but thank you so much for reading 🙂
Hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll talk to you all again in my next post!