Saturday, January 31, 2009

Books from uncommon sources

Self-published and small press books

Having received my Kindle in February, I've been following the forums at MobileRead and have become aware of a number of authors who have either self-published or published through a small press rather than waiting to be discovered by one of the big publishing houses. I've acquired a number of books (either freely distributed by the author or purchased) and even have read a couple of books from these authors.

As my previous post says, one of these books was a surprisingly excellent book, Soul Identity by Dennis Batchelder. I'm quite surprised that Batchelder couldn't attract a literary agent or publisher, since his novel has none of the awkwardness which I found in other independently published first novels.

So far this year, in addition to Soul Identity, I've read April Hamilton's Snow Ball, The Onuissance Cells by Steve Jordan, MotherShip by Tony Chandler, and MaidenFlight by Bianca D'Arc.

April had posted an introduction at MobileRead, so I decided to purchase Snow Ball from Amazon for my Kindle. The plot is creative and April has a real knack for capturing the speech patterns/cadence of her primary characters. The dialog was nearly brilliant. Unfortunately, her opening paragraphs are stiff and stilted; someone picking up the book for a quick look might think that the entire book was written in this manner and pass it by. I wrote to April in mid-April (doesn't that sound really strange?) and in her reply, she indicates that she actually took this approach deliberately, "trying to set up the ladies and place as very ordinary, and the tone as very nothing-much-happens-around-here." Here's where I think a good editor could have helped her accomplish her goal without producing such an awkward passage.

About MotherShip, Lisa DuMond's review at The SciFi Site says, "One thing: more aggressive surgery by an editor would be a huge improvement. This is yet another small press project that seems to have received the spell-check-only treatment, when it needed and merited more." Lisa may be correct, but I didn't find any serious problems with the book. I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the action. An author can't ask for much more than that from his audience. The sequel is finally available, and I plan to purchase it this year.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for your kind words about my first novel, MotherShip. Lisa DuMond reviewed the first edition. When MotherShip won the 2002 EPPIE, I transferred to Hard Shell and they re-edited and published the current edition. Please, let me know what you think of the sequel - Borne on Wings of Steel. You can contact me at my web site, and there is artwork and sample chapters of both. I just completed a fantasy trilogy and hope it will be published soon.