By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
As a post-graduate of English Literature and Creative Writing and a background in Women’s Studies and Minorities in Canadian Society, I gravitate towards:
- literary fiction
- historical fiction
- children’s illustrated books
- books with marginalized cultural themes (for e.g. Asian, Indian etc.)
As an example of my literary tastes, my favourite authors include:
Margaret Atwood Anita Rau Badami Shauna S. Baldwin
Joseph Boyden Raymond Carver Wayson Choy
Leonard Cohen Douglas Coupland Don Delillo
Timothy Findley Damon Galgut Mavis Gallant
Steven Galloway Barbara Gowdy Elizabeth Hay
Alice Hoffman Khaled Hosseini John Irving
Kazuo Ishiguro Eugenia Kim Joy Kogawa
Jhumpa Lahiri Nicole Lundrigan Gabriel G. Marquez
Cormac McCarthy Ami McKay Anne Michaels
Rohinton Mistry Shani Mootoo Erin Morgenstern
Teá Obreht Michael Ondaatje Sylvia Plath
Annie Proulx Nino Ricci Mordecai Richler
Arundhati Roy Salman Rushdie J.D. Salinger
José Saramago Lisa See Shyam Selvadurai
Johanna Skibsrud Mark Strand Thrity Umrigar
Jane Urquhart M.G. Vassanji Jesmyn Ward
Elie Weisel G. Willow Wilson Max Lucado
Phillip Yancey Dr. Seuss Shel Silverstein
I prefer to read from print hardcopies in consideration that I do not yet own a device with e-reading capabilities. Advance reading copies (ARCs) are accepted.
I currently review books for the following publishers on a monthly basis:
- Random House of Canada
- House of Anansi
- Razorbill (Young Adult imprint of Penguin Books USA)
- Goose Lane Editions
If you are a publisher who is:
- looking to expand your online marketing platform
- interested in promoting new book releases and authors to a wider audience
- looking for a literary book enthusiast, voracious reader, and honest, fair reviewer
- and would like to be added to the list above
please contact me by email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com for an opportunity to collaborate in advocating literacy and a genuine love of reading for great works of writing.
I welcome and accept queries directly from authors in reviewing their new books. Please kindly include:
- genre category
- author name(s)
- format (hardcover, trade paperback, mass paperback), page count
- publication date
- notes of merit (e.g. “Short listed for Giller Prize Award”)
- author bio (5-10 lines, short paragraph)
- author’s blog/webpage name and URL address
If I agree to review the book, I also sometimes choose to feature author interviews on my blog. If you are interested in providing an interview, please include your interest in your query. Interview questions will be emailed to you after I have completed reading the book. Please provide a profile picture along with your author bio (as above) to be included on the post.
Book Giveaways and Contests:
I periodically host book giveaways on my blog to:
- promote upcoming and/or new releases
- advocate literacy
- increase readership/follower traffic to my blog
- celebrate blogging milestones and/or “bloggoversaries”
Books, on the most part, come from my own personal library of duplicates or are bought as new purchases for the intention of giveaways and are shipped at my own personal cost.
It would be greatly appreciated if publishers and/or authors:
- agree to provide a complimentary book copy for giveaway for books that are reviewed upon my request
- agree to be responsible for shipping the book to the winner after I provide the winner’s contact and mailing information
- agree to be responsible for any incurred shipping and handling costs
SWAG (Note to authors): Re: book giveaways and contests
It would be greatly appreciated if promotional SWAG (“stuff we all get”) can also be donated to me as reader, reviewer, and host of the giveaway, along with its book prize to the potential winner, if SWAG is to be included in the giveaway prize pack.
SWAG can take the form of:
- bookmarks book plates stickers
- buttons pens notebooks
- tote bags mugs misc. other
Giveaway Locations and Eligibility:
Most of my book giveaways are open internationally in order to provide wider readership of both the book and of my blog. If an author would prefer otherwise and would like to restrict promotion to domestic entries (Canada and/or U.S.) due to shipping costs, please advise me of this preference.
Readers must be at least 15 years and up to enter my book giveaway contests.
No P.O. box addresses accepted.
Being offered and receiving a complimentary book from a publisher and/or author does not guarantee a review. Books and queries sent to me are for consideration of a potential review depending on:
- my interest in the work
- my reading schedule availability
- provision of complete information and other requested requirements as above
- my own private library collection
- newly purchased books
- new releases from the local library
- books I have received through contest giveaways and winnings
- media copies for review and/or ARCs from publishers
- media copies for review and/or ARC’s from authors
2. I am not financially compensated for the reviews that I provide on my blog. Therefore, I ask that media copies that are sent to me from publishers and/or authors for the purpose of reviews be complimentary and courtesy of the publisher and/or author.
4. My reviews are rated on a five “Z-ring” rating. The lowest rating begins from one to the highest rating of five.
- title of the book
- author’s name
- format, page count
- publisher name
- publication date
- notes of merit (for e.g. “Winner of Giller Prize 2011”)
- image of book cover
- Z-ring rating (from 1-5)
- link to book featured on either publisher’s site or Chapters-Indigo webpage
- link to author’s webpage if applicable
- mention of the publisher/author as provider of media review copy if applicable
6. I aim to write intelligent, thorough, and thoughtful responses to the work and will look at the book as a whole in regards to its narrative, characters and character development, plot, readability, its comparison to its author’s previous works (if applicable), its cover design, and also consider its intended target reading audience.
7. Reading time is at least a month in consideration that I review more than one book at a time from different sources. Reading times vary depending on page count of book, readability, and my reading schedule. I do, however, do the best that I can to read quickly and thoughtfully.
8. My blog does not contain mature language or imagery intended for an 18+ audience. I reject any forms of spam, explicit, disrespectful, racist, sexist, ageist, or questionable content or interaction on my site. Any such content will be blocked and reported.
Other Social Media Sites:
Aside from posting reviews on my blog, I will also:
- post the review on my Bibliotaphe’s Closet Facebook page
- post the review on my Goodreads account
- post the review on the Chapters-Indigo website upon request
- promote the review via Twitter (current following of 300+ and growing)
- promote the review via Networked Blogs
I am a member of:
- Facebook: The Bibliotaphe’s Closet
- Goodreads: Zara Garcia-Alvarez
- Twitter: @ZaraAlexis
- Google +: Zara Garcia-Alvarez
- Networked Blogs: Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
- Linky: Zara Garcia-Alvarez
- Ontario Blog Squad: Zara Alexis: The Bibliotaphe’s Closet
- Book Blogs: Zara Garcia-Alvarez
Outline of Weekly Posts:
I am about to implement a lenient outline of personally created and thematic weekly posts:
Meet Me on Mondays:
Meme of five random questions about the blogger provided by meme host.
Tote Bag Tuesday:
A feature of newly purchased books and/or books recently won in contest giveaways.
On Writing Wednesday:
Word definitions, literary terms, writing quotes, writing tips and advice. Anything and everything about writing from a creative writing perspective.
Wish List Wednesday:
A list of books on my personal wish list to own that I have not yet had the privilege to add to my collection.
Thursday: Zara’s Inkblot:
A feature post of my creative writing in the form of poem, short story, essay, journal entry, or random thought.
Feature Author Friday:
A post featuring an author of the week.
A post of a photograph personally taken by me with as little or as much caption information provided. The intent of this weekly post is to share my love of photography and my photos with others.
I own copyright to all photos posted and request that any use of my photos be first cleared by permission from me with the use of an appropriate credit line, which I will specify and provide, as well as a link back to my webpage.
Copyright requests may be sent to me via email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com
Other content on my blog consists of:
- book reviews author interviews/author feature
- book events blog events
- book giveaways/contests blog hops
- word definitions literary terms
- Zara’s Tote Bag (newly purchased books or contest winnings)
- Zara’s Ink Blot (my creative writing)
- social media tools
- thematic features
- cultural heritage month feature
- holiday features
If you are interested in a review for your book, please send me a query with all pertinent information (as listed above) by email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com.
I will do my best to respond to queries within a 48-hour turnaround time.
Thanks for your interest in The Bibliotaphe’s Closet and wishing you the best of success in the publication and promotion of your book(s).
Happy writing and reading!