Have You ever received unexpected Positive Reviews?


A to Z stories

Stories from A to Z

Two years ago, I wrote a collection of Flash Fiction: A to Z Stories of  Life and Death, which started from Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

That was in 2011. I appeared in a few blogs for interviews and guest posts hosted by a few very kind blog friends, made sundry posts on Facebook, then stopped. It was an experiment in publishing an ebook, and that’s where I left it. Till date I have no idea how many copies have sold on Amazon– those excel sheets intimidate me, and since I figure I can’t be making more than the price of a dozen or so coffees, I’ve let sleeping dogs lie. (I’ll never make a successful Indie author, I can see that, sigh.)

Imagine my surprise when I received a tweet recently, from a reader who was recommending my book. On a whim, I googled up A to Z Stories of Life and Death, and these are the reviews I found:

At the Conscientious Reader by Stephanie Hasty: “I gotta tell you, I’m pretty impressed with these stories and they remind me a lot of Annie Proloux’s Wyoming Stories and Sue Miller’s book Inventing the Abbott’s and Other Stories. They are sparse and true and sexy and tragic. They are about life and each one has a taste of bittersweet.

At Echoes of the Pen by Paul Ruddock: “As a European reader, I was captivated by the author’s accounts of life in other cultures, many of which are saddening and hard to comprehend; our (European) notions of poverty and depravation are quickly turned on their heads by the honest and sensitive way in which they form the backdrop to the stories. Elements of the storyline in each case often deliberately remain unwritten, i.e. implied or hinted at, forcing the reader to use their imagination and interpret each story in their own way and really think about what they are reading. Some of the stories conclude with a glimmer of hope for the future set against the harrowing circumstances of what’s gone before; others do not, which for me really gives them added authenticity – life isn’t all about happy endings.”

At Keep Calm and Write On by Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie:” Twenty-six bite size stories comprise A to Z Stories of Life and Death by D. Biswas. In just a few paragraphs, Biswas manages to tell a complete, captivating story.”

At Different Frontiers by Fabio Fernandes: “She decided to blog not posts, but short narratives. Narratives of love, death, pain and hope. If you like flash fiction, this collection was made for you. Biswas’ stories are short, (very) sharp shocks – cultural, emotional shocks.”

Animal My Soul by Martin Raybould “Damyanti describes herself as someone who “lives more in the head than the world” but these stories are far from being disengaged from the real world. They tell of people torn by indecision or intent on some desperate course of action, of abusers and victims ….and of fish!  In P for Perilous, a character seems to speak for her:  “The stories I have told you, they’re quirky no doubt but they’re real, somehow”.

In book form you can set aside a few minutes to sample these “bite-sized stories” one at a time or binge on them all at once. To savour their flavour best, I’d recommend the former .

My favourite opening line is  “Raju woke up each morning to the sight of his mother’s rear end” in O for Okay and the story I liked the most is I Have A Secret , the story of a 50-year-old woman isolated by unexpressed homosexual inclinations who painfully reflects “I know now why no man’s body could ever satisfy me. Not even my husband who gave me three children”.

Whatever the subject matter, the compassionate voice of the writer draws you into these worlds and, like all the best short stories, what she leaves out is as important as what is included.

I have seen reviews of the book before on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads, but the ones above are new and completely unexpected because I put no effort into promoting the book beyond leaving them in the sidebar of this blog and Amlokiblogs.

I’m so thankful to these readers who found the book who knows how, read it, and devoted time and effort in publishing a review on their blogs. This gives me so much hope– that my writing perhaps has a life beyond my pen and paper.

It makes me feel happy that someone, somewhere, read my stuff, and liked it enough to spend time writing about it– with no effort or knowledge at all on my part! I see writers and reviewers at odds everywhere, but my reviewers, thankfully and incredibly, seem to have only kindness for me.

Makes me wonder– I have flash pieces lying here and there, should I collect them, or edit and write new ones and make another book? On this blog I have these that I could find that aren’t already in the collection: Hymn of Faith, Shadow of Your Smile, The Last Day of a Southern Summer, Beautiful Eyes, Let’s go for a walk– You and I, It wasn’t her fault. Then there are the 26 stories I wrote for the A to Z Challenge in 2012.

Maybe after I’m through the second draft of my WIP, I’ll find all these scattered stories, cull them, replenish them, and do another collection of A to Z Stories.

——

Have you ever received unexpected positive reviews? Do you write or read flash fiction? Would you buy a collection like A to Z Stories of Life and Death?

57 thoughts on “Have You ever received unexpected Positive Reviews?

  1. This warms my heart. I love the reviews you found. Makes me want to read your book, definitely. And makes me want to publish my short stories, my little fairy tales. Or my haibun. Or poetry. Really, I like to read everything and write everything. I am intoxicated by the written word and its interaction with life. I am enjoying your blog.

  2. Damyanti, thank you for stopping by Bold Blind Beauty and congratulations on the positive reviews on your book. I’m new to blogging and am amazed by the different writing styles, volume of blogs and the networks of people drawn to specific blogs. It’s fascinating and the nice thing is with the vast amount of people around the world and taking into account varied interests there will always be something for everyone. Thank you again and I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for new posts from you.

  3. What a lovely gift, those reviews! And what a fun way to get an e-book: the A-Z Challenge! Best of luck in the challenge this year (I re-discovered your blog thanks to your post over at the Challenge blog…happy to find you again!)

    Jen

  4. Congratulations on your works, you have a very nice expression of the written word. Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for Field of Flowers Award, if you choose to accept. No worries if wish not to.

  5. I have nominated you for a Sunshine Award for the beauty you bring to blogging. You may accept the award at “Little Wing” . If you don’t have time to accept the award, I understand completely. But I wanted to let you know you are appreciated. Have a great day!

  6. Damyanti, thank you for having a look at my blog. I was happy to find that you are in love with writing as well. Well done for posing questions in your posts, such a good idea to get people involved. Looking forward to learning from you.

  7. Can’t say that I have (not that I published anything). The last unexpected ‘reviews’ I got were on a writing website (I long since abandoned :x ).
    But that is inspiring indeed! Congrats ;)

  8. Yes, I decided to google my book one day, just out of boredom, and I found a lovely review comparing me to Jane Yolen on GoodReads, I didn’t know if GoodReads existence then so it was a double surprise.

  9. You have every right to feel good about yourself for things like this, D. You put a lot of work into them. I love it when other storytellers get the respect they deserve. I can’t wait to read more of your material. I hope, one day, to hear you’ve read something of mine and found it worth your time.

  10. The reviews well deserved, but yes, I agree it’s especially satisfying to read of a stranger’s appreciation when it comes ‘out of the blue’ so to speak. It’s also worth bearing in mind that for every published review you get there are probably several more readers who also enjoyed them too but just haven’t reviewed them in print or online – not because they didn’t enjoy them but simply because not every reader has any inclination towards writing themselves, but you can be sure there are many more times as unknown fans out there too. And please put together another collection; I’ll be first in the queue to read them…

    • Paul, thank you once again for your review, and your kind words here.

      Like a lot of writers, I’m an insecure soul, a huge self-critic. Validation from a reader like you is a good thing to cling on to when the words won’t come, or when I hate each syllable I write.

  11. Wow, that’s great! A welcomed surprise, I’m sure.

    ” should I collect them, or edit and write new ones and make another book?”

    I’d say, yes absolutely! You’ve got that following for those stories, I’m sure the readers want more and the reviewers would be interested in knowing you have more to tell.

    • Of course, it was welcomed, and so this post in gratitude. Every time I really hate my writing, which is every week, I’ll come back and look at these comments and find the courage to put another word on paper.

      I’m considering another collection, but feel hesitant, afraid. I like writing, but publishing? It scares me a little.

    • Thank you. Encouragement from friends is welcome, but the unexpected ones from strangers are a shot in the arm, a sort of validation of being able to communicate across time and place.

    • You’re so right, Michelle, I automatically hate most things I write, because I wrote it, and because they must be bad. So it is nice to have an absolute stranger say otherwise.

  12. It’s amazing to get bonus praise. I dont know about you, but it always seems to come just when you need it-I love pingbacks because you get that immediate love, but there is something extra wonderful about stumbling onto total strangers talking about you (and in the best way possible). Keep writing and publishing- that’s how you end up getting to do this forever!

    • Yes, Sarah, that’s what it was– a sort of reassuring pat in the back, that I’m not completely wasting anyone’s time when they read my book.
      I never find writing a waste of time, myself, because it is something I have to do, and though it is sometimes torturous, it also brings a lot of fulfillment.

      But it Is very nice to know that my writing has a life beyond the time I spend on it.

  13. I’m definitely interested in reading these stories! I had never heard of flash fiction before I started blogging a couple of months ago, but I love the idea of it.

  14. Congratulations!
    You should put together another collection. Those who liked your first one will buy it.
    And yes, i still get surprise reviews on my books, from people I don’t even know, and that is just awesome.

    • Thanks, Alex.

      Depending on how soon I can finish my WIP, I’ll try and do another collection. It was a load of work though– I was never happy with the stories, and still hate a few of them.

      Good reviews for your books are hardly a surprise– they’re not only good, but also very well marketed ;)

  15. What a nice surprise for you. I have a couple of teaching books that I don’t really promote either. Every now and then I’ll get an email from a reader who’s reading the book and using it in the classroom and finding it so helpful. It’s like, “Oh yeah, my book, it’s out there, people are reading it.” I will have to check into your book!

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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