Spin City, Baby

I don’t remember doing this. (That’s one of the charming side effects of life with ADD.) But I guess I submitted a copy of  Allies and Enemies: Fallen to the Midwest Book Review.

How do I know this? Yesterday, I got an email from their editor telling me my book is included in their February issue of MBR Bookwatch.

Yay! Right? Err…. maybe?

While I am grateful for the coverage (MBR has a pretty solid reputation), it’s not the most glowing missive. It does produce some pretty nice “sound bites”. In our present world of spin doctoring and fake news, it’s a boon of sorts. However, I do have to recognize that it’s the opinion of one person. Like a Jackson Pollock or one of those weird 3D prints from the 90s, not everyone is going to see the same thing. Consider

Consider The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book is beautifully written and seamless. This is my favorite book. I look to it for inspiration in writing style. But the subject matter is easy to consider depressing. I mean, it is the story of an oppressed woman, Ofglen. A lot of terrible things have happened to her and continue to happen to her. That’s the 20,000-foot view. Look lower, under that cloud layer, and you see the so much more than that. You see a spirit that refuses to be shaped by her new reality, a warning, a cautionary tale, a disconnected love story. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not comparing myself to Atwood. She’s got the 120 pack of crayons with the built-in sharpener on the box. I have the cheapo pack of 3 that they give you with the kid’s menu at Denny’s. My point is everyone has different viewpoints.

“…a solid SF tale. It has a nice layered storyline with a relatively fast paced plot… Fallen has everything you would want in a SF suspense space opera.” [Midwest Review]

So do I imagine hearing the above “sound bite” in some gritty movie trailer voice? You bet. 🙂 Will I take the full review’s comments to heart? Not sure. But it did give me pause to reflect on the nature of professional reviews and the roles they play in the world of self-publishing. They’re meant to help potential readers make a decision about what book they want to read next.

In the same vein, does the phrase “New York Times Bestseller” compel someone on Amazon to pick that book over another? Or does it simply place that book in a higher spot of prominence so that the consumer is less likely to dig deeper beyond the first few results? Personally, before I got wrapped up in this indy publishing journey, I never really noticed the “NY Times” bannered books. But then… that’s just me.

 

Plotting like a “Real” Writer: The Grand Experiment

Plotting like a “Real” Writer: The Grand Experiment

I have a confession to make. I, Amy J. Murphy, was born a pantser. You know… an author that writes from the “seat of their pants.” It goes a long way in explaining why it took me about 10 years to finish my first book, what ended up (after much hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth) to become Allies and Enemies: Fallen. Basically, I’d read what I wrote previously, tweak it, re-read it, tweak it some more and then set off on some tangent that made very little sense in the scheme of an overall story. If you plotted my course,...

Big Things. Small Beginnings.

How do you get your ideas for stories? I have a long-winded answer to this common question. To answer, we have to hop into our DeLorean and travel back to the late 90s. Like much of cable programming at the time a “science fiction news” show was in heavy repeat on one of the channels. Unlike my favorite protagonist, I lack an eidetic memory. I cannot recall the name of the show. That memory file is corrupt in my brainbox. But what I do remember is this: Harlan Ellison seated in a bookstore window typing out (on a typewriter—how retro!)...
Book Three Coming Soon!

Book Three Coming Soon!

Your wait for book three is drawing to a close. I’m very happy to say that the third book in the series Allies and Enemies: Exiles is going to be available very soon. My stalwart editor is hard at work doing her thing to my manuscript. Before long I should be hard at work putting her edits into action. Then it’s ebook city, baby! There are other authors out there that seem to churn out a book a month. I am not one of those, try as I might. However, in my defense, I will say that my first book took...
Livin’ the Con Life

Livin’ the Con Life

I’ve been going to science fiction conventions for over a decade now. My first one “barely” qualifies as a real con in the eyes of the true, hard-core convention goer. It was poorly attended, run by a company that charged crazy money for the pleasure of sitting in a room to watch some of my fave actors talk about their experience with Star Trek and its various spawned franchises. The dealer room was basically a closet and the food was ridiculously expensive. It sounds like a dreadful experience. But, you know what? I was hooked. It was like the mother...
Write a @$%*! Author Bio, already.

Write a @$%*! Author Bio, already.

You stare at the blank screen. The little cursor is blinking away—you swear it’s mocking you. You have to be witty, charming, appealing. You have to write your author bio. Sure, you can talk about your book for hours, but when it’s time to talk about you, your muse clams up and slinks off to a desolate corner of your little mental cocktail party or maybe goes to bury herself under the thick pile of winter coats in the master bedroom. You need a good author bio. It may seem unimportant: why would anyone care if you live in Montana?...
Meet Me At Arisia 2017

Meet Me At Arisia 2017

Arisia, “New England’s Largest and Most Diverse Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention” has just announced its programming for 2017 and I am delighted to be on two panels. Taking place from January 13 – 16, 2017 at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, this con seems to grow bigger every year. I’ve been attending religiously, but this is my first chance to be part of a panel as a legit author (the second panel is about costuming). This year’s Guest of Honor is Ursula Vernon. If you’re attending Arisia, why not stop by and say hi? Marketing Your Book in a Digital Age...
Don’t Blow Your Blurb

Don’t Blow Your Blurb

You’ve done all the heavy lifting (as in writing an 80,000 word novel). You’ve polished the prose, checked all your commas, formatted the ebook and even your roommate’s cat loves the cover art. For all intents and purposes, your ebook is ready to go. But wait! You’ve got to write your book’s description for the Amazon listing. For some hellish reason, you’re expected to summarize your blood, sweat and tears into a concise, compelling paragraph that will convince would-be readers to buy your book. It’s your sales pitch. It’s all come down to this. This is the reader’s introduction to...