The process usually begins when I receive a request from an author to have her or his book featured on the FlaxFlower page. I respond to the author, sending the FlaxFlower rules and asking for the needed information. Then I try to match the book with the reading likes of one of my much valued team of reviewers, offer it to them and, when I’m successful, arrange for the book to be sent to me. I send it on to the reviewer.
Yes, this double-handling takes more of my time, but an important FlaxFlower rule is that the author and the reviewer do not know each other. The author doesn’t learn the reviewer’s identity till the review is published - to ensure a robust and impartial review.
When the review arrives I submit it to the author, or their publicity agent, for approval – a matter of yes go ahead and publish it, or no don’t publish. I give that choice because my intention with FlaxFlower is to support my fellow NZ authors – I don’t wish to work against anyone. Some writers take up the option not to publish, so the number of reviews I have handled is higher than 250.
Then it’s a matter of posting the review on my site, letting all on my posting list know it’s there, putting notification on the Flaxroots Facebook page, and tweeting about it to bring the review to more readers’ notice.
From start to finish, each one takes many hours of my time, and sometimes I wonder why I keep on doing it. Most authors are grateful, and that’s what keeps me going. That and the increasing number requesting reviews. There are now too many to take them all on, so some books don’t get accepted.
But I'm not the only one who works to make this successful. The wonderful FlaxFlower reviewers put in their time and their expertise – continuing thanks to you all!
And everyone who takes the time to read these reviews, buys a book or requests it from a library – you all do your part.
New Zealand authors work hard to produce a large number of excellent books – they deserve support.