A couple of weeks have passed since this year’s London Book Fair, time enough to process the experience and reflect on its significance to indie publishers. It was the first LBF since the establishment of allonymbooks, and judging from the number of people I met there, it was the first Fair many indie authors had attended. It was also, judging from the paucity of space allocated to the Author Lounge, the first time the Fair’s organisers had begun even to think properly about the impact that indie publishing is going to have on the larger publishing world. Nonetheless it was an interesting experience, not least for the opportunity to hear other indie authors speak, share experiences with peers, and see what organisations and services are out there to support the indie author/publisher.
It is impossible to do justice to the scale of the Fair, although anyone who has visited Earls Court Exhibition Centre before will have a sense of the sheer size of the place. Rows upon rows of exhibitors, from single one chair-tables and simple stands to entire blocks and half-blocks given over to publishing conglomerates. There is an unbelievable intensity about the event, not least in the atmosphere of perpetual drive-to-sell that infuses it, epitomised by the constant scurrying of Continue reading →
As part of our quest to promote allonymbooks‘ novels to a wider readership, and as part of engaging in The Guardian’s quest to find independently published books for review, this week’s blog surveys some of the organisations and websites which offer a quality review process. Definitions of quality in the review are naturally dependent on the quality of the reviewer as much as the book, and a review generally says as much about the person reviewing as it does the subject of the review. But in this context, a quality review process is independent, generates a review of reasonable length and depth, and has no requirement for payment in exchange. Like independent publishing itself, the review process is a work in progress, but here are some suggestions of good places to find reviews of independently published books. Rather than cover ground already covered for alternative and science fiction by Dan Holloway in his Guardian blog, here are some sites which focus on other genres.
The HNS has been in existence for around 15 years, having been set up initially in the hope of reviving interest in what was perceived at the time as a declining historical genre. The Society publishes a printed review magazine, The Historical Novels Review, and its website includes all its more recent print and online reviews, including an Indie section, which is expressly for ‘electronically-published, subsidy-published or self-published historical novels’ where ‘historical’ refers to a setting that is at least 50 years in the past. Reviews of indie books are made on the basis of selection by a dedicated editorial staff and their reviewers are drawn from their membership, of authors and readers of historical fiction. Submitting an indie book for review is very straightforward – fill out a form of information about the book, and await a response from the editorial team who will contact you if they want to review your book. The reviews Continue reading →
After reading the comments which followed Dan Holloway’s recent discussion of effective ways to promote independently published novels, where it was suggested that authors could use the first 100 words of their books as a promotional tool, I considered using this blog entry to explore this approach. So here they are, around one hundred words from the start of my novel Equilibrium.
May 1903. There is surely no more fitting place for a disgraced housemaid to take her life than on the hidden stairs that slide beneath the Wapping wharves into the Thames. Out of sight they plunge into the lower reaches of the river, flights of stone and wood that at low tide lead to quiet shores but, when the business of the river is in full flow, pass utterly unseen beneath significant exchanges played out on grand piles above. The tide is on the turn but Martha cannot see that in the darkness. What she sees is the detritus of a day’s unloading as it smacks and scrapes in waves against the warehouse walls…
But then it occurred to me that if an effective sample is intended to provide a good flavour of the book, then is it really possible to do that with just the first 100 words? Or any 100 words? After all, did you ever see a film trailer that only showed the title sequence? Did you ever go into a bookshop and just read the first paragraph of a book before buying it?
One solution could be to bring together several 100 word extracts from throughout the book – perhaps half a dozen – rather in the style of a trailer, though hopefully not a selection that either leaves you not bothering to go on to read the book, or leaves you knowing how it ends. But as I was leafing through the Continue reading →
Like many indie-publishing authors, allonymbooks was delighted to read Alison Flood’s blog last week in the Guardian newspaper, announcing that not only had she read her first self-published novel (Kerry Wilkinson’s first Jessica Daniel novel, Locked In), but that she was now looking for more. It is to her credit that she acknowledges some of her assumptions: that she was “expecting little”, that she expected the book had “only been through the filter of one person’s brain”, and that her instinct says that if a book is free, it probably isn’t much good. As readers of this blog will know, the issue of editing for content was discussed in a recent column, and it is a rather generalised preconception about the process of self-criticism that indie-publishing authors put themselves through.
Nonetheless, what cheers us is that the key points of Ms Flood’s blog were these. What is she going to read next from the indie-published realm? And how on earth is she to sift through the possibilities to settle on something that will be equally worth her time?
To begin with, her strategy is based on the Kindle free chart, which as she notes is a guide only to people reading the books, but not to their quality. But that too is of course a flawed assumption, as any reader of the Kindle self-publishing forums will know. The Amazon option to price your books for free from time to time is one that many authors employ simply to rocket their books up the chart and, as was noted two weeks ago on this blog, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that a book that is downloaded is a book which is then read, Continue reading →