Several years before I took the plunge and started this blog, I participated in Elle Magazine’s Elle’s Lettres Reader’s Prize, a book review program whereby Elle solicited interested readers to read and write short reviews of three current books, either fiction or non-fiction. You had to send in an application with a sample book review so they could evaluate your writing skills. They selected fifteen reviewers each month, and all fifteen were sent the three books in question. Each month, they would alternate fiction or non-fiction, and when you applied, you could state your preference. I was lucky enough to be chosen three times during a two-year period. (You had to reapply each time, so once you completed your reviews, you could send in another application.) Then, after sending in your reviews, Elle editors would select a few excerpts to print in the magazine. Of course, all this happened months ahead of time, because in the publishing world, as you all know, things take time!
Writing that first book review to send in for my application was the first time I’d ever taken a shot at reviewing a book, and I was hooked. I was turned down by Elle a bunch of times before they finally selected me, but I was so excited when I got that email telling me I would be a reader for the March 2008 issue. After reading the books and writing my reviews, I anxiously awaited the release of the magazine to see if Elle had chosen my reviews to blurb. Of course, that was the best part of the experience, seeing my words and name in a national magazine!
After that first time, I was selected two more times, but I was placed in non-fiction months instead of fiction. Not to worry, however! Even though I’m not much of a non-fiction reader, it was still an awesome experience. And I got blurbed in both issues!
The Reader’s Prize is still going on, although it’s mostly online now, unfortunately. A sign of the times, I guess! Several years ago, Elle cut way back on their print book reviews, probably for budgetary reasons. But despite this, I still find their book recommendations to be some of the best out there. Are you interested in joining the Reader’s Prize program? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! And check out the latest Reader’s Prize books here.