Author Guest Post
*Good reviews are akin to a moonbeam from heaven. They lift you up and give you a happy buzz that lasts a few days. To know that my words brought someone a smile, a laugh, or even some mild entertainment on a rainy day is such a deep satisfaction that it's unlike anything I've known before. I've gotten dozens of emails from people who have read my book and who just wanted to reach out and connect. That's amazing. Those few words, that connection made, it's so far above any professional happiness that any other job has brought me. I've also learned that it was super silly to assume it would be easy to get reviews. I figured, "Hey, people read it and review it, right?" WRONG! I do that because I blog. In fact, I've learned that for every 1,000 people who read your book about six will review it. That makes each and every review a little more hard won and something to be proud of.
*Bad reviews, on the other hand, are like getting punched in the face with brass knuckles. The first hit is the worst. It takes your breath away, makes you cry, makes you shaky, and knocks out any delusions of writing grandeur. It immediately triggers a protective feeling in you, one that makes you want to snatch your book back and hide it from the world where it is safe and loved. The second punch hurts too. But by the third, as a writer, you become numb. You begin to see the constructive criticism through the words. You take it in without feeling like you swallowed broken glass. It's still painful, but now it's also helpful. It feels good to get over that bad review mountain. I think my next books will be much easier in this realm now that' I've been through it.
* Amazon is confusing. Also, Amazon can give you a complex. In addition to the constant lists and rankings that put your book into a thousand different categories (all ranked), they now have Author Rank. See, if you are an author, you can go onto your Amazon author central page and see where you rank with all the authors in all the world. It's the popularity contest of your worst nightmares. Top Ten? (*Cue hysterical laughter*) Dream on. Those spots are reserved for the Kings, the Martins, Tolkiens and Rowlings. Top 100? No way. Your repeat bestsellers reside there. Patterson. Weiner. Roberts. You, my friend, are more of the 1,300 - 50,000ish ranking, depending on the day. And it changes, every single day. At first I checked it all the time, but it only served to confuse and humble me. Now, I might check it once a month. The internet is a wide world for authors, but not everything is productive.
*I've discovered that I need a community of writers. I need more people who speak this weird language of authors. "Word count. Query. Tracker. POD. India royalty rate." I'm a newbie whose feet are barely wet, and I need some seasoned mentors who have done this already to give me advice. I need women with long braids to pass on their wisdom as we sit around a fire and play tambourines and eat pot-spiked brownies that are now TOTALLY legal in Colorado. We will dance in the flame with our ink quills. Okay, I would never do this, not really, but I do need to go to a writer's conferences and meet some people who have similar experiences and tips.
*I got my first royalty payment. And it was awesome.
*Finally, I have learned that hammering out a writing schedule for myself was of the utmost importance. Not only that, but I learned that I needed to separate out my writing days, so everything gets a fair shake. If writing is your job, you must TREAT it as your job. You must write when you don’t want to. You must write when you don’t feel good, or when you are overwhelmed with other things. The fantasy of padding downstairs in your pj to your beautiful writing nook and churning out a novel in no time is exactly that: a fantasy. Save the imagination for your writing and put your pen to the paper.
About The Author
Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours
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Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback - 324 pages / Kindle - 573 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Elly in Bloom
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It's not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist.
Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls "Snarky Teenager", but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly. Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for.
With the help of her friends, staff and the occasional well-made sandwich, Elly bravely agrees to take on the event that threatens to merge her painful history with her bright new life, and finds herself blooming in a direction she never imagined.
Elly's voice, both charming and hilarious, will appeal to those readers who have been looking for a new voice in chick-lit, and will give women of all sizes the realistic heroine they've been waiting for.
My Book Review:
When Elly Jordan catches her husband cheating, she packs her life up and leaves their home in Georgia to start over in St. Louis. Flowers are her passion, and when she has settled into her new life, she opens up Posies, a boutique florist shop catering to weddings. Life is going well for Elly, and just when she thinks she has moved on from her past, an extravagant wedding contract for a "wedding of the year event" for a person from her past puts everything into perspective, making Elly's journey of self-discovery come full circle.
Elly in Bloom is a heartwarming and enjoyable story about a woman whose journey of self-discovery comes full circle as she learns forgiveness, healing, and the ability to move on with her life. Author Colleen Oakes weaves an entertaining tale written in the third person narrative that follows the journey of thirty-two year old Elly Jordan as she moves on from a painful past into a second chance at a good life.
You can't help but love Elly, she is a realistic woman with flaws and normal life issues that the reader can relate to. Elly restarts her life with a new found independence that has some hilarious laugh-out-loud episodes of clumsiness, mishaps and bantering with her quirky friends, employees and customers. The author provides the reader with some really wonderful descriptions about St. Louis, weddings and the florist shop industry.
This story is a breath of fresh air, everyone can relate to Elly in some way, I think there is a little bit of her in each of us. Elly in Bloom is a delightful story that is thoroughly entertaining, and will give the reader a warm and fuzzy feeling and put a smile on their face.
RATING: 4 STARS ****