PEOPLE MAGAZINE --3 1/2 out of 4 stars
"Rose's ninth novel has intricate plotting, erotic tension and a didn't-see-it-comging denoument."
Katie McNeil for BC/BlogCritics Magazine
"With the The Reincarnationist, M.J. Rose has crafted a novel that is as interesting as it is entertaining. An unforgettable novel that will leave you with questions about the mysteries of the soul."
New York Times Book Review --Star Search
By RACHEL DONADIO
Published: June 24, 2007
Over three evenings last month, several dozen writers gathered in the airy sanctuary of Hebrew Union College for a bizarre rite of passage: the Jewish book tour casting call. In a combination of "The Gong Show" and speed-dating, they each had two minutes to pitch their books to the Jewish Book Network, 100 cultural programmers from Jewish community centers, or J.C.C.'s, synagogues and libraries nationwide. An M.C. ruthlessly held up a sign when one minute was up and cheerily announced "on deck" to prepare the next speaker.
Joyce Antler, a professor at Brandeis University, presented "You Never Call! You Never Write!," her academic history of the Jewish mother, while Dr. Loren Fishman talked up "Sciatica Solutions." Martin Lemelman pushed his memoir, "Mendel's Daughter," with the promise "I could come to your J.C.C. with a PowerPoint presentation to explain how I came to write ... about the well that saved my mother's life in the forests of Poland." M. J. Rose explained that her novel "The Reincarnationist" stemmed from her deep belief in reincarnation and marked a departure from her "very sexual nine previous novels." Two British Jewish novelists, Howard Jacobson and Charlotte Mendelson, riffed on how America "gets" Jews while England doesn't. Meanwhile, programmers took notes on the authors' book topics — and sense of humor, stage presence, poise and, probably, hairlines.
ART BY NUMBERS
BY CLEA SIMON
If we, the literate public, believe that information is empowering, then it stands to reason that we should applaud Amazon.com’s new "concordance" and "text-stat" features. These services, launched with no fanfare in early March, offer statistical analyses of books by measuring such elements as word repetition, average number of syllables per word, and words per sentence. These features (which seem to have been applied primarily to current works by contemporary authors — no Jane Austen, for instance — and Amazon isn’t saying why) also provide the "Fog Index," developed by one Robert Gunning, which is supposed to rate the difficulty of a text (a score between seven and eight is considered ideal) and the "Flesch-Kincaid Index," which purports to assign a grade level to the reading.
Seeing book sales drop, authors make a plea to Oprah
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff | April 23, 2005
Three years after daytime TV queen Oprah Winfrey discontinued the original model of Oprah's Book Club -- recommending one contemporary American novel per month -- a group of 160 authors have sent her a letter, begging her to bring it back.
Video Shills for Literary Stars
Over the last few years, many book authors have discovered that they can increase awareness of themselves and their works by maintaining an online presence, often in the form of a blog. But until recently, the opportunity for using the web's multimedia capabilities for book promotion has been limited.
Now that is changing. With the advent of services like VidLit, which produces short, humorous, animated Flash films about books, authors have a new way to reach online readers. Because of the viral quality of online videos, some writers are finding success at the end of the broadband pipe.
"I think VidLit is such a terrific idea (because) it creates at least 60 seconds of entertainment and information about a book and allows a publisher and author to use that as a calling card for a book in a much more expansive and elaborate way," said novelist M.J. Rose, who is planning a VidLit for her novel, The Halo Effect.
Bad Girl Press - Bad Girl of the Month Dec 2002/Jan 2003
Meet MJ Rose - Author, teacher, buzzer extraordinaire...
USA TODAY - Jan. 17,2002
Novelists find new reality after 9/11 Explosions and evil- doers are nothing new to authors. But now the reality of terrorism has caught up to their worlds of fantasy. What happens next? Keep reading . . .
M.J. Rose, who writes novels (In Fidelity) and reports on the publishing industry, says some wonderful novels published in the past three months disappeared ''because they couldn't compete with reality. And that's a shame.''
Bella Online - March 27, 2001
Are you ready to confront your worst fears all rolled into one? How sure are you of your romantic partner? Can you honestly and positively say that you would never EVER forgive an infidelity? How eager are you to have your children isolate from you sheltered by their subconscious resentment of your often times seemingly intolerant and righteous decisions? How much of your values and morality issues are you willing to sabotage and even camouflage in the name of love?
Unanswerable rhetorical questions depicting the sentimental and intellectual nightmare many of us are forced to answer. M.J. Roseís In Fidelity, an intense erotic psycho-thriller love story, surely does not deliver answers to these questions, yet it thrusts the reader to question his or her ability to, in all honesty, have an unwavering ready answer.
USA TODAY - Feb. 8, 2001
E-books attract literary superstars Niche grows
beyond marketing tool
By Bob Minzesheimer
....None of this surprises M.J. Rose, an e-publishing pioneer who parlayed a self-published e-novel, Lip Service, into a contract with Pocket Books. Her second novel, In Fidelity, is out as a paperback.
Wired.com - Feb. 8, 2001
What if E-Books Cost Less?
by Kendra Mayfield
With no printing, warehousing or return costs, e-books are cheaper to produce and distribute than print books. So why should consumers pay hardback or even paperback prices for e-book titles?
E-books are the next chapter in reading trends
By Kaesmene Harrison
Publishers Weekly - "Not Just 'Lip Service'" - November 20, 2000
Do-it-yourself books are a dime a dozen--even before they hit the remainder tables. And perhaps even more so when it comes to titles on book publishing and promotion. "Hey, I published a book about publishing a book. You can, too!" But this January, a new do-it-yourself online publishing and promotion title will offer an unusual example of its efficacy: the book is appearing at the same time as the author's second novel.
Time Magazine - "Publish Thyself" - January 24, 2000
More and more, book authors are using the Web--without editorial middlemen--to reach readers Editors at various traditional publishing houses, including two top Manhattan firms, loved Melisse Shapiro's first novel, Lip Service, the story of a homemaker turned phone-sex worker, but their marketing executives didn't. (Too sexy for our readers, they said.) That nixed what would have been her first big publishing deal. So Shapiro decided to find her own audience. Öshe began offering a printed version. Lip Service sold 1,500 copies online, and was picked up by the Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild. It went on to sell more than 12,000 hard copies by September, and Shapiro became the poster girl for a new phenomenon--e-publishing as a cottage industry.
Time Digital Magazine - "you say you want an e-book revolution?"
After years of creating advertising copy and screenplays, M.J. Rose wrote a novel. The problem was that the publishing industry wasn't ready for her. She found an agent, but Lip Service, her erotically charged thriller, was rejected by a dozen publishers. Many editors who liked the book feared that it fell in between recognized fiction genres and would be difficult to market successfully. "So I had the idea of putting my book on the Net as an electronic download.
Forbes Magazine - "Loose Lips" - November 29, 2000
When publishers rejected her soft-porn novel, Melisse Shapiro undertook her own successful self-promotion on the Web
NOM DE PLUME REALLY DOESN'T do justice to Melisse Shapiro's byline "M.J. Rose"--nom de guerre fits better, given her three-year guerrilla war to deliver her first novel, Lip Service, to bookstores. In the process, Shapiro reminded the book industry that do-it-yourself publishing and self-promotion can, occasionally, succeed.
No one knew what to make of the book, which portrays a woman who rebels against her overly controlling husband and gets caught up in a dangerous phone-sex racket; as a thriller laced with soft-core pornography it crosses traditional genres.
She spent six hours a day, six days a week, surfing the Web for female-friendly sites with an interest in books and cajoling on-line editors into reviewing Lip Service. Several did. The reviews created a cybertrail to Amazon, and Shapiro started getting monthly checks--close to $5,000 by Christmas--on an initial investment of $20,000.
LipService is the first book we ever discovered on the Internet and the first self-published book to be featured in one of our catalogs," says Roger Cooper, editorial director for Doubleday Direct. "When we read it we just loved it."
Shapiro received an advance of a few thousand dollars against royalties. Suddenly, publishers were taking notice. In April Pocket Books offered Shapiro an advance in the high five figures against royalties on retail sales, for a first run of 25,000 hardback editions; the paperback comes out next summer. Sales in five other countries will add another $100,000 or so.
The Standard - "Paying Lip Service" - August 20, 1999
How many authors would choose an amateurish Web site over a book deal?
M.J. Rose probably won't win a Pulitzer for Lip Service, her steamy novel about phone sex that was released just in time for the August beach-reading season. But the recognition she earns could be more enduring than any literary award. Rose is being celebrated as the woman who demonstrated that you don't need a publisher to get published - as long as you know how to work the Web.
Even if you don't have a best-seller on your hands, you may well be able to find a solid niche audience online. Rose did this with a mastery that others are sure to imitate. She contacted a collection of tiny sites that featured erotic content and persuaded them to carry hyperlinks to her Web site (www.readlipservice.com)
Lip Service is racier than a Jackie Collins' novel but still contains an intelligent plot that stops it from crossing the line into smut. It was a niche that publishers didn't understand.
"Sure, everyone publishes women's fiction. But what do they do with erotic women's fiction?" asks one of Rose's editors at Simon and Schuster. "Rose knew what to do with it."
"The great thing about the Web," says Rose, "is that if you write a book about a breast-feeding truck driver who likes to scuba dive, you can market it to people devoted to each of those subjects."
CNN.com - "Publishing industry embracing cyber-frontier as 2000 approaches" - December 30, 1999
Another use for the Internet is discovery of new writers. One example is the story of author Melisse Shapiro (pen name M.J. Rose), who used her own site to sell her erotic thriller "Lip Service," which had already been turned down by publishers. ÖWill the next Hemingway find success this way? Instead of heading to Paris, maybe writers should head online. The times are changing.
New York Times - "Portrait of an Artist as an Internet Marketer" - April 20, 2000
In 1996, Melisse Shapiro's novel "Lip Service" was rejected by every major publishing house in New York. After the publishers told her that finding an audience for the book would be difficult, Ms. Shapiro, who writes under the name M. J. Rose, set out to prove them wrong.
Her efforts not only helped her establish a readership but also grabbed the attention of a net-surfing publishing executive who purchased the book for mail-order book clubs.
Ms. Shapiro landed a contract for "Lip Service" with Pocketbooks. The book, which was published in hardback in August 1999, will be issued in paperback this summer, and Ms. Shapiro has written two more novels for the company.
Wall Street Journal - "A New Creative Order" - January 1, 2000
With the Internet, everybody can be an artist.
But is it art? And who decides?
Her reviews ("Leta Nolan Childers captures your imagination in each story she creates") are posted online, where they can take on a life of their own. Up-and-coming e-authors go to some length to leverage these reviews. Just ask Melisse Shapiro, aka MJ Rose.
..after several months of effort and reviews on more than 50 sites, she hit pay dirt; the book was published by Pocket Books in a distinctly low-tech traditional format: a 307-page hardback. "The key to this is that you're willing to promote yourself," she says.
Salon.com - "Pass the virtual champagne, please" - June 1, 2000
On May 16, the tweedy world of publishing changed yet again as AOL's The Book Report hosted the world's first online book party. The guest of honor: self-published author extraordinaire M.J. Rose, an ad exec turned erotic-novelist.
Rose quickly generated buzz that attracted the attention of the Doubleday Book Club and Literary Guild, which listed "Lip Service" in their print catalog.
With "Lip Service" now available in paperback and e-book, it only seemed logical to commemorate Rose's dazzling gifts of Web promotion. In publishing, that usually means a book party. "I always dreamed of having a book party," Rose says. "Even when I was a child."
In keeping with her Web success, Rose decided to throw the party online. The folks at Pocket Books were only happy to oblige; they gave free copies of the e-book to the first 50 pilgrims who bellied-up to the cyber bar. (Rose arranged for another online first -- she "autographed" each book sold that evening with an "e-signature.")
And virtually all the guests praised Rose and her accomplishments, though most had never met her before. Rose was thrilled.
"Before the Internet, authors were incredibly removed from their audience, "she says. "The cyber party is a great, democratic way to get in touch with people who wouldn't otherwise get to come to a regular book party."
Technology Review - "The Real E-Books" - July/August 2000
The power of e-books as a promotional medium has probably best been demonstrated by Melisse Shapiro, who writes under the nom de plume M.J. Rose.
Shapiro has become a leading advocate of e-books, with her frequent reports to Wired News online providing the most comprehensive ongoing coverage of e-publishing. "Everything in my life would be different if not for e-books," she says.
Publishers Weekly - "M.J. Rose: E-book Queen Inks Print, Digital Deals" - April 3, 2000 (scroll down)
Author and freelance journalist M.J. Rose--who became an e-publishing sensation when she parlayed online buzz about her self-published novel, Lip Service, into a five-figure print deal with Pocket Books--is at it again.
The self-styled e-publishing pioneer has kept her hand in the electronic arena, while consolidating her presence in traditional print. Two weeks ago, Fatbrain posted Rose's 120-page novella, Private Places, on its new online literary marketplace, Mightywords.com. Banner ads drew fans to her site--more than 20,000 hits--but she registered only about 150 downloads.
Unsurprisingly, her best hardcover sales have come through online bookstores. "If the book had sold as many copies in regular bookstores as it sold in online bookstores, it would have been a bestseller. As it was, it made it on Barnes & Noble's top 100 list and Amazon's top 100 also. I have to believe that was because there was a lot of Internet press ," Rose said.
After making such a splash on the Internet, there is more than a little irony in Rose's move back to old media. Like many e-book authors, Rose turned to digital publishing because she couldn't get the old media to pay attention to her books.
Content Exchange - "Book Authors: You Can Do It, But You Gotta Use the 'Net" - December 20, 1999
(How To Publish and Promote Online was originally titled Secrets of Our Success)
Secrets (which is currently available as an e-book and will be out in print in January 2000) was written by two women who've had a lot of experience getting successfully published by skirting the traditional publishing industry.
Rose's book became the first self-published novel discovered on the Web and then given a major traditional book deal.
Secrets is meant to inspire aspiring authors, and it does. The message is simple: Use the Internet to take destiny of your book-writing life; don't settle for rejection from mainstream publishers.
Says Rose, "The advent of the superbookstore, the decline of the independent book store, the mergers of so many publishing houses, and the mega deals top authors get have all drastically lowered the number of new authors published each year, by as much as 50% from 10 years ago. There are far too many good manuscripts being passed over these days."
Rose points out that traditional publishers typically want books that will sell at least 25,000 copies. But if you publish your own book, she says, you can make a profit on only 3,000 copies.
Secrets also is a great reference, with hundreds of links to book- and publishing-related Web sites; lists of e-book and print-on-demand publishers; etc. It's a quick read because a big chunk of the book is reference material.
Rose has a clean, expressive writing style that brings you quickly into Julie's (main character's) cold world and then seduces you into her newfound vocation. That the surrounding material is an actual novel -- a true and affecting story of a lost woman trying to find her way out of middle-aged ennui instead of just scaffolding from which sex scenes can be draped -- renders the phone scenes intensely erotic. The reader gets lost in the dialogue, quickly seduced by its suggestive, sensual qualities Rose scratches the staid, theatrical veneer of the amorous pursuits from those assembly-line Harlequins she used to peddle and dives right into their risky, unpredictable, emotional center.
But because so much of Lip Service is a real, functioning novel -- with all that tiresome character development that leaves romance readers skimming pages -- the sex is that much more titillating when it, um, arises.
This is a smart, erotic piece of work that deserves to be ranked closer to Nicholson Baker's Vox than to all that "erotica" crowding the shelf.