Category Archives: New Writing Update

Survived – The First Review!

Survived_Kindle_Cover

Reviews can be tricky. You need reviews (ideally positive) to get people to read a book, but, you also need people to read a book in order to get reviews. It’s a vicious cycle that is the bane of many an author.

Unless you’re already a powerhouse author, a celebrity, or the child of a publishing executive, chances are that the New York Times isn’t going to come knocking on your door for the privilege of reviewing an advance copy of your latest tale. That’s okay. It’s just life as an author. Everyone has to earn their stripes.

What it means to authors like yours truly is that we have to engage with unbiased third parties to review our books. For the most part these are trade publications that specialize in reviewing new books — folks like Kirkus, Clarion, and Publisher’s Weekly. These reviews, when positive, can let readers know what to expect from a book, hopefully, enticing them to read and leave a review of their own on sites like Goodreads or Amazon.

Which is why I was absolutely stoked to see the first trade review for Survived come back. Foreword Clarion reviewed the novel ahead of its release and awarded it five out of five stars. Check out the review in its entirety here: https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/survived/

I’m setting up a Goodreads giveaway for the book as well, it should be up in a couple of weeks. I’ll also be posting a page for more information about the novel soon.

Survived is scheduled to launch on September 1st.

Cover Reveal: Survived

So the cover artwork for Survived, the sequel to The Changed, has been completed. I’m very excited about how it turned out and I can’t want to get this bad boy on the cover of the forthcoming book. It was painted by none other than the great Kyna Tek, you can see more of his work on his Facebook page.

The_Survived_Cover_Final_Kyna_Tek

Some Love for The Changed

Reviews are important. People need a trusted source (not from the author’s homies or cousins) to get more information about a book beyond what they get in the sales copy and flavor text. Sure, not all reviews will be applicable to all readers as tastes vary widely, but overall it’s a helpful tool. When it comes to getting your work into the hands of readers there really is no substitute.

There are some little known nuances when it comes to getting reviews, though. Most readers aren’t aware of this because, well, why should they care, but getting a novel reviewed is actually sort of difficult. If you want a trade publication to review a book that isn’t being published by an already well known author or from a juggernaut publisher, it can take a lot of time and money to make it happen. Because of this, reader reviews become even more important to today’s authors. There are way more books than there are trade publications so we rely heavily on the opinion of readers to help others navigate a marketplace stuffed full of content and find the books they’ll love.

Point is, I truly and deeply appreciate when readers write reviews. It takes their time and attention to do so and it means a great deal to me when they do. Earlier this week I received a message from Hayley Cosgrove, showing me her review of The Changed which appeared in a recent issue of her university’s library circular (on the first page, no less!). You can check it out here: What We Read 201510

So here’s a big shout out to Hayley for sharing her review and pimping my book for all of her university’s reading community to see!

If you’ve ever shared some love for The Changed drop me a line, I’d love to hear about it.

First Post in Forever!

Yes, I know… I’ve been a bad, bad writer. I’ve written exactly zero-point-zero posts in over a hundred days. But let’s be real here, I don’t think there have been any hurt feelings over it. I’m sure that the readers I do have are okay with a little quiet from me and I don’t need to pretend otherwise. Despite what I’m constantly being told by other writers, and social media “experts.”

See, there’s a sentiment in the author community – specifically in the indie circles – that you have to “fake it ’til you make it.” Meaning that even though you’re new and unknown as an author, you should act that part of a best-selling writer so that readers will take you seriously. Kind of like how some salespeople will wear expensive watches or drive cars they can’t really afford. It’s all done in an effort to convince people that they are successful in their profession and therefore should be trusted.

"You see this watch?"

“You see this watch?”

I get it. But I don’t like it and I’m not going to do it.

For me to pretend that I have a larger reach than I do, or that there are throngs of salivating readers trying to get a piece of my time seems to insult the intelligence of my actual readers; people who have been good to me. That’s not what I’m about. It’s more than enough to know that there are people who have read my stories and enjoyed them. Getting a message or a review from a reader who liked the novel I wrote is all I could ask for. Pretending that I’m the next Stephen King or J to the K. R. feels to me like I’m diminishing those folks. It’s like saying, “Hey, having you as a reader is cool and everything…  But, I’m destined for much greater things, kid.”

Tacking “Kid” at the end of the sentence makes it so much more condescending.

To be fair, I can understand the intense drive to sell books and make money if writing is the heart and soul of your financial planning. Many moons ago I accepted that writing will probably never pay my bills, and that’s not a bad thing. I have a career that I’ve worked hard for and love. That’s what pays my bills. So, when I write I get to create the stories that I want to tell without worrying about publishing potential at a big six house, which makes the content in my stories and communication with readers much more honest.

Anyway, I’m working hard on my next novel, the sequel to The Changed, which I have, like, six working titles for right now. Production went a little behind schedule on this one. Life was a bit nuts these past few months, and while I’m not a big fan of excuses I did want to let those who are interested know that the novel is definitely still happening, it’s just a bit delayed. Let’s go ahead and blame life, work, and DAI. As of now it’s looking like it’ll be spring before the novel is publishable.  I’m really excited to get out to you all though.  The story is much larger than what happened in Center City and I can’t wait for readers to see the bigger picture unfold.

Writer Artisan — Getting off your ass and writing. Well, on your ass… Whatever.

For as long as I can remember I’ve written stories.  A little over a year ago I was with family at my mom’s house for Christmas.  She was showing old photos to significant others — the more embarrassing the better, as per article six, subsection three of the Mother Code.  But inside one of these boxes was a single-sheet newsletter from my second grade class, where an A. Michael Marsh original was featured front and center.  Okay, it was in the back, but that doesn’t help the story so let me embellish a bit.  What are you, the story police?  Anyway, this little nugget of prose was my retelling of a family camping trip that featured such zingers as, “I’m not saying mom’s cooking was bad, but I barfed.”  Or, in regard to a campfire ghost story, “Real scary.  Last time I heard that one I fell off my dinosaur.”  Yep.  Gold, people.  Pure gold.

Point is, story has always been something that I naturally gravitated to.  I’ve always written.  The first time I set out to write a novel I was ten.  It was going to be about a cop that gets injured in the line of duty and returns to service as a half-man, half-machine servant of justice.  Yeah, I know that’s the plot of Robocop, but lay off.  I was ten, okay?  What were you doing at that age, Captain Judgmentalpants?

That’s what I thought.

Regardless, I must have gotten about twenty five pages into the rough draft before I lost interest.  That was probably the first time I realized the biggest fact about writing that people who don’t write will never truly understand:  Writing is hard.

Shout out to Brittany Dashiell

Shout out to Brittany Dashiell

Which was a shame because I had big plans for “Night of the Cyborg” (oh, shut up already).  The book was going to be a bestseller, on the shelves of every library and bookstore around.  Once the ducats came rolling in we’d be able to afford name brand cereal and cable tv.  Shit was going to be legit, folks.

Fast-forward a decade or so and I’d still been writing.  Short stories, journals, that sort of thing.  There was even the occasional foray into poetry but I’ll just file that alongside cyborg cop stories as “failed experiments.”  Around that time I decided to make a serious go of it.  Actually write a novel, start to finish.  Ever since then, I’ve been a daily writer.

Except for about nine or ten months out of the past year.  I could speculate as to why I didn’t feel the drive to produce as much as I normally do, but that’s beside the point.  For a long while I didn’t get my fingers on the keyboard, and a hole formed inside of me because of it.  Even though I had thought that I was long past the stage of abandoning drafts twenty-five pages in, I realized that there’s a part of me that will always need a kick in the ass every now and again in order to get going.

Chuck Wendig wrote in his book, The Kick-Ass Writer, that “…just finish the shit that you started.  Stop abandoning your children.  You wouldn’t call yourself a runner if you quit every race halfway through.”  It’s absolutely and unequivocally true.  For those writers out there, just write.  It’s okay if it doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would the first time around.  Just start and don’t stop until it’s done.  There’s a corollary truth to Chuck’s lesson as well:

Aaaaadventure Time!

Aaaaadventure Time!

Sucking really is the first step to being sort of good at something.  Writing is no exception to that rule.  You get better by practicing, learning, and honing your skills.  Period.  People don’t become virtuoso violinists by simply intending to play.  A painter doesn’t master their technique by reading books about Van Gough and picking up their brush once every couple months.  You have to actually do it.  Writers are absolutely not an exception to this rule.  For a while there, I forgot those fundamentals and it affected me in more ways than I realized.  Never again.

For any readers who are interested, the sequel to The Changed is coming along and should be released this winter.  I can’t wait to bring it to you.

Pretty Awesome News

Yesterday I received a review on The Changed from Foreward Clarion.  For those who haven’t heard of them Foreword Clarion is a book review publication, like Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly.  The purpose of their publication is to provide critical feedback on available titles for the good people who purchase books for libraries and the few surviving bookstores.  These publications aren’t known for pulling punches or treating authors with kid gloves.  Their reviewers provide an unbiased opinion, which is exactly why purchasers care what they have to say.

I’m not one of those writers that labors under the impression that every sentence I type is pure gold.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I work very hard to improve with every story I write.  To me, one of the greatest gifts a storyteller can give someone is a sense of wonder, and the feeling that they’ve been taken to a new world — even if it’s just for a couple hundred pages.  My writing process is a series of emotional highs and lows, writing, re-writing, re-writing, more writing, then followed by re-writing.  It’s hard to leave the baggage of all that work behind when you submit something that has been such a large part of your life for review to a complete stranger.  When I put my work out there like that, I can only hope that the reader will care about my story as much as I did.

So, needless to say, I was ecstatic, surprised, and maybe a little shocked when they rated The Changed five out of five stars, and wrote a glowing review about my novel.

Just wanted to share, because this really made my week.

Book Giveaway!

Here’s the thing:

On December 15th, my new book goes on sale.  I’d love for you to have a copy, so I’m doing two giveaways to mark the occasion.  The first giveaway is going to be held on Goodreads, where I’ll be giving away twenty free copies of the book.  Click the link below to see all the details and enter.  In conjunction with that, I’m also giving another ten copies on my Facebook page.   Just give the page a like and comment on the giveaway pic on the page timeline.  When the contest ends on January 15th, ten commenters will be selected at random to receive a copy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Changed by A. Michael Marsh

The Changed

by A. Michael Marsh

Giveaway ends January 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

That’s all!  Best of luck to all who enter.

New Cover Artwork for The Changed

Howdy.

Just wanted to share a quick peek at the original illustration which will be used for the cover of The Changed.  This piece was done by Kyna Tek, and I think he did an outstanding job.  If you’re a writer who’s looking for a talented and dependable artist to work on your cover, I highly recommend getting in touch with him.  I’m really excited to get it typeset and ready to go to production.  Right now it’s looking like the book will be available in early December.

TheChanged_Final_Merged_Web

I’m going to write a post about creating a cover as part of my Writer-Artisan series, but that won’t be completed for another couple of weeks.  In that post I’ll share more about the progression of cover art and some of my thoughts on collaborating well with a visual artist.

 

upgrayedd in Progress

Yes, that’s spelled with two d’s — for a “double-dose” of pimping. idiocracy

Seriously, though.

I finally ditched all the old html and css that I was using before. I liked it, but I was long since due for a web 2.0 site. To make things easier, I just went full WordPress and started customizing the css and php as needed. It may take a day or two to get all of the content from the old site migrated over, but it will happen soon.

Take care, be well. 🙂