Tag Archives: Reviews

Being a writer

What’s it like to be a writer?

Here’s the truth. Being a writer sucks.

Being a writer is glorious. Being a writer is frustrating. In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to be successful at being a writer. You spend half your time wishing you were something else.

But it’s not like you choose to be a writer. It’s something you’re born to be, some might say a “calling.” God puts a voice in your head and your heart and it haunts you until you do your best to translate it to the written word. Then you edit and hone and rewrite and, finally, you send it out into the world where it’s mostly ignored when it’s not published with a shiny hardback cover by a huge publisher that sends you on a world book tour with big posters and lots of bling to give away at ever stop.

And yet.

Being a writer is not something you choose, and it’s also not something you can deny. I love being a writer. I love my books that are a part of me and a pale echo of that voice God spoke to me. I know I didn’t get it right because I’m human, but I do my best, and I think I’m getting better at it with every try.

So I keep trying. I keep translating and honing and editing and rewriting. And publishing.

About a month and a half ago I sent one of my books, Movie Magic, out into the world. A few people have read it. One of them was kind enough to review it and tell me he liked it. He’s a fellow writer and a magician I’ve gotten to know through our mutual love of writing and magic. He gave it five stars and a glowing review I’m very proud of.

Tomorrow I begin a review tour. These will be strangers reviewing my book. I personally think Movie Magic is the best book I’ve written so far. I guess I’ll find out if others agree.

Until tomorrow.

 

 

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What a Review Actually Means to a Writer

tourbanner_moviemagic

Review Tour of Movie Magic begins December 14. Watch my blog for details!

As I wait impatiently for more reviews for Movie Magic, I have been reflecting on the nature of the review machine. Authors are constantly asking for reviews. As a reader, maybe you wonder why. Why would we open ourselves up to criticism?

Here’s the thing, though. Reviews—even critical reviews—are not a bad thing for a writer. Sure, we gloat when we get a good review. What writer doesn’t count their five-star reviews on Amazon and feel a little gratified? But it’s the other reviews that truly reveal something to us.

For instance, my book Where the Heart Lies, published by Carina Press in 2012, has 14 reviews and a total of 3.7 stars. This book garnered me my first (though I am sure not last) two-star review on Amazon. It actually has two. Which were kind of “ouch” at the time, but both reviews are chock full of advice that I’ve put into play in my growth as a writer.

I read every review I get and I try to learn something from every review that doesn’t just say “not my cup of tea”. Because, you know, if it’s not your cup of tea, don’t drink it. If you do drink it and feel moved to say something, then say why it’s not your cup of tea. I can’t help it if you picked up the wrong cup of tea, but if I put something in your tea that you didn’t like, definitely tell me!

This is all a rambling way of saying reviews are not just status symbols for writers and we don’t just want you to write a review if you loved the book. Yes, I’d like to see a hundred or more five-star reviews on all my books, but not just because. I want them because I earned them. But if you feel I earned two or three stars instead, tell me why. Then read my next book and see if I paid attention. You might be surprised.

Would you like to review Movie Magic? Contact me for a free copy or sign up here:

Goddess Fish Review Tour

XPresso Book Tours Review Opportunity

Please note, all review requests subject to approval by tour service/author.

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Filed under Movie Magic, Reviews, Writing

Review a Book, Win a $50 AMAZON Gift Card!

Last week I gave away more than a thousand books on Kindle. Free. I was astounded. Blown away, really, by the enthusiasm. Okay, yeah, this is America. Stick the word “FREE” on something and we’ll likely pick it up. Even if we throw it in the garbage can later. But this was different because there are literally hundreds—probably thousands—of Kindle books up for grabs every day. Most written by people like me who are just trying to make it in the big world.

And more than a thousand readers selected MY books from that pile of free Kindle books. That means something. To me, anyway.

Okay, so, step one for me as an author is complete. My books are out there on Kindles everywhere. Check. The next step for me is to encourage you to READ my books. I know how it is. You download a “To Read” list on your Kindle and you never quite get around to actually READING them. And certainly not to REVIEWING them (step three). So here’s my idea. How about, if you read my books by August 15 at 6 p.m. AND review them on AMAZON, you get entered in a drawing for a $50 AMAZON gift card. For FREE! Certainly makes reviewing sound a lot better, doesn’t it?

And I’m talking about a real, honest review. If you don’t like my writing, I invite you to tell me why. If you do like my writing, I’d love to hear from you. I’ve learned a lot from both types of reviews from readers. Of course, I’m taking a risk here. It’s quite possible I could get one star from someone who reads my book just because of this giveaway and posts, “I didn’t like it because it wasn’t the Wall Street Journal.” I hope I don’t get those, but I have enough faith in my ability to write well in my genre that I’m willing to risk it.

So, if you like romance and women’s literature, and if you have read one of my books, and if you’re willing to write a review on one of them before August 15, here’s how to enter:

1. Download and read one of my books or read one of the ones you got in last week’s freebies.
2. Post an honest review on Amazon about the book.
3. Email me at michellegflye@gmail.com to let me know you posted a review.
4. Winner (selected by random draw) will be announced August 15 6 p.m. Eastern!

Good luck! I’ve already got a couple of entries!

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NEW REVIEW! Ducks in a Row still has it!

Ducks_CoverSaturday Love
What a great way to end the old year…especially when I’m kicking off the new one with another book. If you check this page out closely, you’ll see what I’ve been up to besides happy holidaying with my family. Yes, I’m getting ready for the release of SATURDAY LOVE (sequel to DUCKS IN A ROW), which will definitely be available for purchase on January 1, 2014.

And what better way to celebrate the end of the old year than with a FIVE STAR review of DUCKS!? Read below for a bit of what WE’RE JUMPIN BOOKS had to say about DUCKS:

One of the best books I have read this year, very thought provoking…Michelle brings you close to the characters, you can understand their logical, or what seems to be, thinking. This book has so much depth on so many levels. The thought process, and how everything played out was so great! —WE’RE JUMPIN BOOKS

You might want to pick up DUCKS IN A ROW now for only 99 cents on AMAZON…and catch up on the story before it continues in SATURDAY LOVE.

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Filed under Ducks in a Row, Reviews, Saturday Love

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

Ducks in a Row reviewed: “Well-written and thought-provoking novel”

When I decided to self-publish Ducks in a Row, I had plenty of occasion for self-doubt. It’s not easy putting yourself out there, but it’s a lot easier if you’ve got a publisher behind you. A publisher is verification that there’s something in the words you wrote. Somebody else read your work and found it good. Self-published authors don’t have that.

But to sell books, you have to get them reviewed so people know about them, which means asking somebody for an honest opinion about your work. I’ve done that with several reviewers and I got my first real feedback today. Check it out:

Michelle Garren Flye does not hesitate to tackle some pretty uncomfortable subjects in Ducks in a Row. This well-written and thought-provoking novel provides a realistic look into how two people who love one another can find themselves on the verge of losing everything when they stop communicating and begin taking each other for granted.

Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Many thanks to Book Reviews and More by Kathy for the honest and insightful review. I learned a little about my book from your review, and that’s got to mean something. Plus, I finally feel that putting my story out there was the right thing.

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Guilty Indulgences gives 4 chocolate-dipped strawberries to Where the Heart Lies!

What better way to start out the month of December than with a little guilty indulgence? The fabulous folks over at the Guilty Indulgence Review Site just thrilled me with a four-chocolate-dipped-strawberry review of Where the Heart Lies! Here’s an excerpt:

“Romance on the softer side for readers who enjoy a more predictable, mainstream read. … Readers will feel good and happy about this story… it made me smile.”–Guilty Indulgence

How great is that? Seriously. I feel like a reviewer really got what I was trying to do. I didn’t set out to be unpredictable (although I did try to keep the story interesting). All I wanted was to leave my readers with a smile. If I accomplished that, I’m happy because it means they cared about my characters while they read the story. If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is!

Reminder to my blog tour winners: Please send me your mailing address so I can send you your goodies! I’ve got five so far, but there were way more winners than that. 🙂

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Filed under Reviews, Where the Heart Lies