Tag Archives: readers

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.

 

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Filed under Becoming Magic, Writing

End of Year Retrospective: Why I Write

This is the time of year I look back on what I’ve accomplished and wonder—yet again—why do I bother writing romance novels?

My readers number in the dozens. And most of those are friends. (Wonderful friends!)

I could probably have a very successful career as a journalist or a librarian if I dropped the novelist pretense. (I do have degrees for both.)

If I give up writing romance novels I’d have lots more time for other stuff. Fun stuff. Like kite flying. Or boating. Or acting. (Did you catch that I was in a local production of A Christmas Carol?)

(Have you subscribed to my email list?)

And yet…the truth of the matter is, I don’t really write for readers. I write for me. I even publish for me because I like seeing my writing in book form. It’s satisfying in a weird, probably narcissistic way. But it’d be great to have more readers. It’d even be great to make a living at this thing. To be a best-selling author with Hollywood fighting to turn my books into movies. To be able to donate money to charities and take care of my family and set my parents up in a nice house, preferably closer or at least be able to get to see them more—all that is the dream.

However, as I close out my seventh year as a novelist with thirteen romance novels under my belt, I am faced with the near certainty that that’s not likely to happen.

(Remember to subscribe to my email list.)

Let’s face it, the days of the reclusive novelist who can sit at home and write and send their work out to the publishing world to sell are over. Everyone writes books these days. Actors, politicians, psychiatrists, musicians, librarians, bloggers, YouTubers—I could go on, but you get the picture.

The pipes are literally clogged with all the books all these non-writers are writing. How on earth is little ol’ non-flashy me gonna attract attention to my independently published romances with all those flashy covers “written” by all the flashy personalities taking up all that shelf space?

Gotta try, though, don’t I? (Email list sign up here.)

So, I’m turning over a new leaf in the new year. I’m working out an actual marketing plan and exploring other avenues for publishing. I’m looking at what’s worked and what hasn’t and what I’ve never tried before. And I’m kicking it all off with a newsletter that launches on January 1. If you want to keep up with what’s happening with me, you might want to sign up. Here’s a link to do that: Email list sign up.

Oh, and even if you don’t really care what’s happening with me and my career, you might want to sign up anyway since I’m giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky subscriber. Want that sign up link again? Here you go.

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Filed under Thoughts, Writing

To my readers: Let’s get together.

In twenty-one days, Movie Magic hits virtual shelves everywhere. Meaning my part is done, and it’s up to you guys, my readers, to take it to the next level. You want to know what that feels like for the author?

For me, at least, it’s a strange sort of terrified resignation. I have such great hopes, and I know they can be dashed. Because they have before. Twelve books now—each one well-written with good plots and engaging characters (this from reviewers, not my personal assessment)—but not a bestseller among them. And no matter what I say about writing for myself, it’s not totally true, and I know it. I’m really writing for you.

Who are you? I’ve had the distinct pleasure of hearing from some of my readers. I love reviews because they give me an opportunity to know what I did right and fix what I did wrong the next time, but I never reply to them, although I always “like” them if given the option by the platform. Emails are even better. And I’ve even been invited to speak at a couple of book clubs. So much fun to discuss my book with someone who has read it!

I’m planning something special for the release of Movie Magic. A way for you guys to get to know me, if you so desire. It’s something that’s way out of my comfort zone, so I actually have to make sure it’s something I really want to do, but I’m thinking I’ll be able to do it. If you want to know more, join my Facebook party by clicking the graphic below. I look forward to seeing you there!

Sleight of Hand Series 2-page0001

Movie Magic release party!

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Filed under Writing

Standing on the Verge: Another Release Day

Today’s the day. Release day for Close Up Magic, yet another book I’m cutting the cord on and sending out into the bittersweet world of readers. I’ve called Close Up Magic the book of my dreams, the one I’ve always wanted to write, and it’s true. So today as I stand on the edge of the cliff getting ready to jump into who knows what, I know it matters a lot what happens from here. I’m throwing myself behind my book with all my weight. I’ve already started two more in this series, so the fate of Close Up Magic really does matter a lot. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Release day has to be nerve-wracking for all authors. You know, to the reader it’s another book to pick up or cast aside. But to us, it’s much more. It’s our heart and soul. It’s not ink that book is printed in. It’s blood and sweat and tears.

So here goes. One step and I’m off. Just one link to post and the ball is in your court. But before I do, I’d like to point out that advance readers and reviewers have said Close Up Magic is “magical”, “insightful”, “smart”, “fun to read”, “entertaining”, “humorous” and “passionate”, among other complimentary adjectives. I neither threatened these people nor paid them off, and none of them are related to me in any way. So maybe you’d like to check out Close Up Magic, and just in case you’re of the “try before you buy” mindset, you can read the entire Chapter 1 right here: Close Up Magic Chapter 1.

And with no further ado, here’s my leap. Buy Close Up Magic Now on Amazon!

Final note: Don’t forget to join me on Twitter and Facebook today for pictures of me in fabulous Las Vegas holding a copy of Close Up Magic! And check back a little later to find out who won the Kindle Paperwhite and the $20 Amazon gift card giveaways!

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Filed under Close Up Magic

For the love of it: Reviews and the Writer

Reviews. What would we writers do without them? It’s really the only method we have of getting into our readers’ heads for a glimpse an idea of what we’ve done that works…and what hasn’t. Just recently, I discovered a new review on my book Ducks in a Row that revealed a lot to me of how it’s been received. The reviewer wrote that the book’s subject matter put her as a reader in an uncomfortable place emotionally because it deals with a marriage in trouble and an extramarital affair. She winds up with what might be my favorite line from any review any of my books has ever received:

“I highly recommend this unsettling book.”

Why does that line appeal to me so much? One reason. I intended the reader to be unsettled. Not only by the subject matter, but by the emotions of my characters. Human beings are not perfect, and married ones can be less perfect than most. Marriage is hard work. No matter how idyllic your ideas about love and marriage might be, you remain human after you say your vows. And eventually you end up hurting each other in ways both large and small.

That was what my book was about and this reviewer got it.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working hard to secure reviews for my contemporary romance Close Up Magic. It’s harder than you might think. For every ten people you offer a free copy of your book to, you might get three reviews.

That’s pretty darn understandable, if you consider that most book reviewers don’t actually get paid for what they do. They do it for the love of reading, whether they blog their reviews or just post them on Amazon and Goodreads. So when I ask somebody to review my book, I’m asking them for several hours of unpaid labor, for which I will pay them with my sincere thanks…and hopefully an enjoyable read.

To date, I have six reviews on Amazon and several more promised, so I’m not doing too bad. Here’s what some of the reviewers have said:

“Family and forgiveness play their own parts in Close Up Magic, both in ways that are insightful and also leave you with a sense of the good in humankind.” — Five stars

“The magic element of the book made it fun to read. I have always been a skeptic when it comes to magic, but the story had me believing that maybe Andre did have something special.” — Five stars

“Michelle Garren Flye does a fantastic job of putting her readers into the heads of each of her characters – her words making one feel so profoundly their desires, their reticence, their range of emotions as they fumble towards each other and true love.” — Five stars

“Close Up Magic is an enchanting story that will make the reader believe in romance and magic!” — Four stars

“An overall compelling and magical story that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.” — Four stars

“Whoa…I do believe in magic and the incredible ambience it creates in this wonderful romantic story.” — Four stars

My thanks to all my readers and especially all my reviewers!

If you’d like to read more from my reviewers of Close Up Magic, click here: Close Up Magic
If you’d like to read the whole review of Ducks in a Row, click here: Ducks in a Row

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Filed under Close Up Magic, Ducks in a Row, Reviews