I always worry that highlighting reviews for my novels will come across as bragging. The last thing in the world I want is to be thought of as a show-off. I think what most people don't realize, though--non-writers, anyway--is that being a published author feels like climbing the side of a cliff. There are few handholds and footholds. It takes so, so much work to move up even just a little bit.
Small press authors have so few chances, and no real advantages over other authors. We generally can't get stocked in bookstores. We can't get advertising space in Amazon email newsletters and whatnot. We can't afford to give away hundreds of review copies in order to create buzz about a book.
So, we rely on readers. It may sound kind of unfair-ish. But the truth is, all that marketing stuff the big presses do is to create a giant spark. What really sells books even for them is word of mouth. It's people saying to their friends, "Hey, have you read This Awesome Book? Well, you should!" I never saw an ounce of advertising for the Harry Potter books, or Twilight, or any of the other blockbusters out there. I had friends tell me about them, because friends had told them, or their kids were reading them because their kids' friends were reading them. And so on and so forth.
Reviews feel like my life-blood. It's not bragging--it's hanging on to the one and only thing that keeps me going in this business.
And over the past two weeks I got two emails from readers (well, readers' moms) and two new 5-star reviews of Finding Angel. I'm sharing them with you today, starting with the moms who emailed me:
"So Nick walked in the door from church, sat down and finished the last 20 pages of the book. We were supposed to leave for Epcot and he wouldn't let us go until he finished. And then he said 'its a good thing we already have the second book, b/c I'm starting it as soon as we get home'. I'd say he liked it ;-)"
"Holly can't put your books down!:)"
Now the reviews:
"Finding Angel was one of the two best books I read in 2012. It's a page-turning quest. Angel is a compelling heroine. Gregor may be one of my favorite heroes, ever and I'm a hero-girl.
If you're a Chronicles of Narnia fan, Finding Angel is "that book" where you enter the wardrobe (except that you enter through a hand-drawn gate) and are transported to a world that vibrates with description.
The pace of the story is what catapulted it to the top of my list. I'm not a fan of slow start, action, slight breath, more action (I skim adrenaline moments). I want a story that unfolds smoothly where each page, word, description makes me want to read more. Finding Angel is that story. Angel is brought into a world she knows nothing of and discovers it's beauty, magic, and power through daily chores, visits to town, and her relationship to her cousin, Gregor. While that may sound boring, it's not, trust me. It allows the reader to experience Angel's world through her eyes. Of course, those chores help Angel discover her talents, those visits uncover secrets, and Gregor (insert swoon), his story is what makes Finding Angel exceptional.
The story is even richer for Christians. The faith elements of the story are Easter eggs. They're cleverly intertwined through the story so that when you know what to look for, you find them and smile."
"Finding Angel is a well-crafted and enjoyable contemporary fantasy for younger teens. I was impressed by the clean style and creative story. It's refreshing to get away from vampires, witches and werewolves. There is magic in this story, but not witches or wizards, simply those with Talents.
(a bit of plot summary, which I cut to save space) What follows is an excellent story that weaves elves, dragons, a singing beetle, a family feud and scientists into a something refreshingly unpredictable, very suitable for the age group and pleasant to read."
(This one came along with the Seal there on the right. It's from the Awesome Indies site.)
Well, I hope you didn't find this post braggy. It's really meant to be a thank-you to all the people who have supported me, read and reviewed my books, and told others about them. You really are my handholds and footholds right now. Without you, I'd have fallen off this cliff a long time ago.