Take the Plunge: See beyond the stigma of “self-published”

man standing on brown rock cliff in front of waterfalls photography

How to convince a reader to take that leap of faith into your book? Photo by Oliver Sju00f6stru00f6m on Pexels.com

I get it. I’m old enough to remember vanity presses. I remember the indie-publishing phenomenon of The Christmas BoxRemember how quickly indie publishing grew after Richard Paul Evans’s little treasure was discovered by mainstream publishing? Vanity presses became independent presses and developed into KDP and Smashwords, providing a voice for authors who either can’t make it through the gatekeepers of traditional presses or, like me (I like to think, anyway), lost patience with the hoops you must jump through.

I’ve had three books published by two different traditional publishers. In all three cases, I enjoyed the experience of having professional cover designers, editors and book designers. It was invigorating working on a deadline. But at both publishers, my editors eventually left, putting me back at square one of trying to sell my book to another editor.

I’d rather sell it to you, my readers. But finding you is another process. Gaining your faith is yet another. I’ve been doing this for eight years now. My first book, Secrets of the Lotus, was published by Lyrical Press (now the digital first arm of Kensington Press) on July 5, 2010. I started this blog around then, too. Eight years, fourteen books, and countless blog posts later, I’ve got a few devoted readers. They’re the ones who’ll take the plunge no matter what I put out.

So I better make it good.

I think I’ve managed to improve both my writing and my publishing skills. I edit my own work now, but I have worked with enough professional editors so I have pretty good idea of how to find the holes in my own plots. I put all my manuscripts through a thorough proofreading at least twice by me and I have some beta readers who’ll look over drafts for me, too. I’ve learned a lot about the formatting of both ebooks and print. My self-published books look good now. Clean and pretty with clearly delineated breaks and chapters. And my covers are almost always professionally designed.

Now, I’m working on the marketing. That’s the really tough part. That’s the final push every author—traditional or self—must somehow summon to convince a reader that their book is worth reading. That’s why we query book reviewers and write blogs, why we spend hours writing guest posts for online book tours and tend to all our social media sites from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Goodreads.

It’s all to push you, dear reader, over the edge of a cliff and into the world of our writing.

Go ahead. Jump. If you don’t, you might miss out on the next self-publishing phenomenon.


I am a Writer

It’s always interesting to me when people I’ve known for years say, “Oh, you’re a writer?” It’s such an essential part of who I am. But I’m very, very bad at telling people about it, because it’s also a very personal part of who I am. I always sort of hoped that I’d one day have a best-seller and the New York Times would out me, but that doesn’t really seem to be happening, so…

I write romantic fiction of several different genres. I’ve written a coming-of-age romantic mystery (i.e. Weeds and Flowers), contemporary romances (i.e. my Sleight of Hand series) and romantic fantasy (i.e. my Synchronicity series—see below). Three of my books were traditionally published (Secrets of the Lotus and Winter Solstice by Lyrical Press and Where the Heart Lies by Carina Press). I am also the proud author of a book that’s been called “unsettling” and “thought-provoking” (Ducks in a Row).

And there you have it. That’s me. I’ve outed myself. There’s a little bit of me in every book I write. I am a writer.The Synchronicity Series by Michelle Garren Flye-page0001

Celebrating Winter Solstice with a Giveaway!

It’s the winter solstice! December 21, my favorite day of the year. Guess why?

Here’s a hint:

wintersolstice-cover1.jpgStartled, Becky raised her head to meet John’s gaze in the mirror. He shrugged and smiled at her reflection. “You didn’t look too good, and when you weren’t out by the time I finished my shower, I decided I’d better check on you.”

He crossed the room and turned her to face him, touched her sweaty forehead gently, then reached back and released her hair from its knot. Perhaps his only intention was to help her relax, but as her hair fell around her shoulders, Becky realized with a jolt of self-consciousness that she enjoyed the intimacy of the gesture.

When she looked at him, he moved a little closer, his hand lingering at the nape of her neck. He drew his fingers through her hair, letting it slide through them, and she closed her eyes in pure sensuality, forgetting every tragedy she had witnessed in a simple desire to live in the moment.

Neither spoke as he bent his head to cover her mouth with his. She lost herself in his touch, aware of his arms around her, his lips first on hers, then on her neck. She slid her hands up his biceps, caressing as she did so, wanting to encourage his response. He smelled good–clean and male in a way she had never experienced. In some detached part of her brain, she thought maybe it was the hospital soap.

She clung to him, thankful for the strength of his body as her own betrayed her weakness. Not until his hands slid beneath her scrub top did she come to her senses.

“Not here.” She could only think that she didn’t want to become another of the legends–the PR woman who couldn’t resist the irresistible John Grant in the locker room.

“Where?” His body still pressed hard against hers, his lips against her hair. Becky felt the cold porcelain sink behind her, but he was warm and solid and the heat of their passion was thick in the air around them. In such a position, restraint was the last thing on her mind.

“My place,” she whispered and told him the address.

“I’ve got a few things to take care of.” His lips brushed her ear and she shivered. She felt his smile. “I’ll be there in a couple of hours.”

Before she could change her mind, he left, taking the warmth and safety of his arms with him, and Becky was left to wonder if she had suddenly gone insane.

Okay, maybe that’s not much of a hint, but it’s an excerpt from my book Winter Solstice, which was just a fun romantic romp starring a slightly bumbling public relations guru (Becky) and a sexy, strong, alpha-male ER doctor (John). It was my second published book (2011) from Lyrical Press. And you could win a Kindle copy on Amazon today. Check out the giveaway here: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/78f45d8e0611e57f#ln-tw.

Enjoy the shortest day of the year, and look forward to new, brighter days ahead!


Mayan Apocalypse? Maybe not, but it is the Winter Solstice: A few facts and an excerpt.

This will most likely be my last post…until after Christmas, that is, and I thought I’d make it a blatant sales pitch. Winter Solstice was my second book published, but the first full-length romance I ever wrote. I’m very proud of it, and I’d love to share a little excerpt with you guys. First, though: A few facts about Winter Solstice 2012:

1. It’s the shortest day of the year in my half of the world. Tomorrow, December 21, 2012, daylight will last only about nine and a half hours in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
2. It’s the official start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
3. The actual time of the winter solstice is 6:12 a.m. on December 21 for me. This is, ironically, 11:12 a.m. GMT, meaning the winter solstice actually occurs at 11:12 a.m. 12/21/12 this year, if you happen to be in Great Britain. Ahem, like Stonehenge. Cool, huh?
4. Winter Solstice contains the only phone sex scene I’ve ever written… Oh wait, that’s not about the winter solstice, but it is interesting, isn’t it? 😉

Continuing her tour of the artwork, she paused before a large painting, showing two deer in a wintry landscape before a rising full moon. It occupied the wall opposite the Redlin painting. In sharp contrast to the warm oranges and reds and nostalgia of Redlin, however, everything in this painting, from the stark snowy landscape and sharp blue-black shadows to the bare trees and the ribs showing through the deer’s hides, spoke of starvation. Winter Solstice was printed on a brass plate on the frame. Becky stared at it for several long minutes, letting its barrenness creep into her soul, its iciness encompass her entire being.

“You like it?” he asked from behind her.

“Like isn’t the right word.” She shook off the creeping feeling of cold and loneliness with difficulty. “It’s powerful, though. My favorite day too.” She let him guide her through the swinging door into the large, stone-floored kitchen. Despite the shiny, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, the kitchen had a homey air due to the little breakfast alcove with a rough-hewn wooden table that was now set for dinner under a wrought-iron chandelier. Susie pushed her way through the swinging door and padded over the wide planks of the hardwood floor to the firewarmed stone hearth of a large fireplace near the table. She shifted around on the stones, finally coming to rest with her huge head on her paws.

John opened two beers and set them on the table, taking Becky’s wineglass from her in a smooth movement as he motioned for her to sit. He set a plate of rockfish, steaming baked potato and salad in front of her. “Why is the winter solstice your favorite day? I would have had you
pegged for a spring person.”

He sat across from Becky, focusing all his attention on her. It made her a little self-conscious, but as he turned away to heap butter and sour cream on his potato, she found a reply. “It’s the shortest day of the year.”

His eyebrows shot up and he glanced at her. “Doesn’t explain why an optimist like you would like it. Seems like the perfect day for somebody like me.”

Starting to feel even more ill at ease, as if this were something too personal to tell him, she opened her mouth and closed it again. When he raised his eyebrows, she realized he wouldn’t let her not answer. “Well, if it’s the shortest day of the year, it means the rest of the days afterward
are getting longer, right?”

A slow smile spread across his face and he nodded, as if her answer fit in perfectly with his perception of her. “I get it.”

She wondered why he felt he knew her so well when they’d met such a short time ago. “What exactly do you get?” She took a bite of baked potato and tried to remain calm.

“Obviously, to you, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are so much as where you’re going.” He chewed thoughtfully for a moment. “Whereas I find it difficult to look past where I am at the present.”

Want to BUY IT NOW? The link is to the Lyrical Press store, where you’ll also find links to many other great e-book retailers.