A Book Sale and a Request

I have a Christmas offer for you!

My publisher, MennoMedia, is offering a Christmas special of 40% off select merchandise, including Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings. If you are watching for a good deal on a gift item, this is the perfect opportunity.

Unless it’s a present for your brother-in-law, that could be awkward. Or your mailman. But you know what I mean—for that friend of yours or a young mom at church, your sister-in-law or your mother, the five ladies in your support group. Stuff like that.

Mission: #protectthebrothersinlaw

To access the special price, order from MennoMedia.org and use the coupon code CHRISTMAS. The coupon is good for US orders only, and expires on 12/31.

I like being an author. It’s more quiet, more rewarding, and more naked than I expected.

Sometimes I worry that if I speak of hard times for my words, and the silence that has settled in my heart, you will think it is because of my book. Maybe people hated on Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings, or it’s not doing well?

Neither is true. I am always waiting for the right people to find it and spit on it, but in the meantime, I have received more kindness and delight than I had any reason to expect. It’s been a joy.

Having sent it into the world, I mostly try to let it find its own way, since salesmanship is my least favorite activity and I figure if it’s good, people will read it, and if it’s not, no amount of marketing on my part will fix that. Kinda late in the game, you know?

My Daughter Being an Avid Fan

But I am going to ask one favor of you now.

If you read it and liked it, or if you read it and found fault, you have an opportunity to influence the reading of others by leaving an Amazon review for my book. My publisher set me a fairly modest number goal for reviews, and I carry some guilt for not making an effort in that direction—they have asked so little marketing of me.

People read reviews. And it matters.

By Amazon policy, I am not allowed to incentivize reviews—that is, to offer you anything in exchange for your review. That ties me in knots as a codependent who dislikes asking favors, but it makes sense for two reasons. First, because the exchange already occurred: you are giving me a review in exchange for a product I have given to you. And second, because if I were rewarding you for doing it, you would be biased toward leaving me a nicer review than you might otherwise, for a potentially nicer reward. And in this direction corruption lies, apparently.

Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings in the Act of Being Eaten By Fangorn Forest

But I am going to offer you a non-incentivized incentive, also good through the end of the year.

I know that if your heart connected with my book, it was likely because of something in your own life that rang true—some stretching experience, or brush with inadequacy, or deep dive into grief. Something. If your review lets me know what you are going through (miscarriage, a difficult child, painful relationships, doubt), I will spend significant time in the following week bringing you to Jesus.

I need to warn you that he doesn’t often grant my requests, so don’t expect miracles or anything. This is not like one of those prayer shawls guaranteed to heal you from all ills. But I would love to remember you to the Father, and sit before him with your name in my heart.

I will read what you say.

And if you are one of the beautiful souls who already posted a review, thank you. I have treasured each, more than I can tell you.

Please remember these basic tips:

  1. Draft your review somewhere else (Word, a piece of paper, whatever) and then copy over to Amazon. That way you don’t lose it if it disappears.
  2. Leave out your personal connection to me, and simply write about you. Amazon doesn’t want to hear from my sister or cousin or BFF what they think of my book. They want impartial reviews, so keep it independent. You don’t even have to use your real name.
  3. Don’t stress. Just say a few words about what connected with you. Short is fine. Did you like the stories? A certain chapter? A theme? What emotions did my book make you feel?
  4. Be proud. Amazon reviews are written by humans like you. You don’t have to be fancy shmanzy or polished. Just say what you thought.
  5. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Reviews can take some tenacity, because sometimes they mysteriously vanish if Amazon thinks I’m paying you to post one, or if something goes wrong.

The link to the Amazon page is right here. This is a great gift to me, and I understand if you can’t do it, but I would love to hear from you.

If you are really shy, and want to come back to this space to tell me more about your story than you’re comfortable posting on Amazon, that’s okay too.

And incidentally, if you are wondering what it is that settled silence into my heart on the things that matter most, I can say it in one word: grief.

Just that.

Love you.

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Dawn Harshbarger
2 years ago

Wow! I’ll be doing some Christmas shopping. My question … is it okay to leave more than one review?

I just went to the reviews and started crying while I read them. Maybe stoic Mennonites won’t want to cry. (Maybe -we are all relieved to finally sob and know it is okay.)

Thanks for this chance to buy more books for friends and family.

Shari Zook
2 years ago

Lol – Only one, I’m afraid. But I’ll pray for you too, how’s that?

Courage to you in all your battles, dear lady. Thank you for your support and faith. xo

Dawn Harshbarger
2 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

Thank you, Shari. ????

2 years ago

What about a brother-in-law who needs to read PB &DW to learn how to better care for my sister? Can we make an exception for him?

Shari Zook
2 years ago
Reply to  #helpmysister

Well maybe this once…

I knew I liked you. 🙂

2 years ago

Amazon reviews are pushing my non-existent tech skills pretty far, so I make no promises. But although I’m not a wife, pastor’s wife, firefighter’s wife, mom, or foster mom–and therefore appear to have nothing in common with you–the book made me gasp, made me cry, made me melt. I read it twice, then sent it to a friend in Europe. Bless you, my friend!

Shari Zook
2 years ago
Reply to  Mar

Aww thank you so much! ❤

2 years ago

The “Not a wife, mom, etc. therefore nothing in common” line fits me too but I still read your book and wept and reread and found life and truth there. And I realized how much the same each daughter is regardless of what our “outside” looks like. And then I passed it to my sister.

8 months ago

I just finished reading Peanut butter and dragon wings. I did not expect the book to touch and challenge me as deeply as it did. I cried many times throughout because I could feel your pain and you gave me words for my own. It is a beautiful story and so similar to my own in many ways. I thank you for sharing your story!

8 months ago
Reply to  Susie

Thank you so much for your kind words, Susie! God bless you and your own story.

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