Saturday, 8 October 2016

Ye Old e-Book Shoppe

Buy a book at the supermarket? Job done, but surely you’re getting jaded with the humdrum of celebrity autobiographies, keep-fit and cook books?

Perhaps you’ve bought yourself an e-reader, you simply download books; easy innit? You download a virtual Bibliotheque of classics free but, it’s thorny hunting something different. Someplace though, there’s a wealth of aspiring authors, begging you to open a page of their humble outpourings but it’s a needle in a haystack.

There’s been an explosion of self-publishing; any Tom, Dick, Harry or Harry’s pet dog can throw a perfunctory novel together complete with more grammatical errors then a day on Twitter and a plot so weak it couldn’t interest a primate. So you avoid plunging into the depths of this ocean, without the recommendation of a billboard or Guardian reviewer you worry you’re going to waste your hard-earned pennies on some pile of uninspiring codswallop.

I feel your pain, but fear not oh fearless one; I’m here to rumble through the haystack and find you the perfect needle. The concern is those untrusting, namby-pamby customer-propelled reviews on the big book sites. There may well be twenty-eight five star reviews on the book you’re pursuing, but they all seem to be from the author’s mum.

The issue for the author is the world of self-publishing rarely peaks its head out of its own backside and so ranting to friends on social networks means preaching to the converted; plus, they have their own torrents to endorse. If an author doesn’t promote themselves ain’t nobody gonna see their stuff, shamelessly over-plug and they get accused of “spamming,” by people who will quite willingly succumb to a large poster on the wall advertising a big publisher’s book.

So here I stand, or lounge, hoping to attract a new audience to this world, longing to tug you away from Katie Price’s tenth autobiography. Tune in every week where I’ll spotlight a few self-published books that may be up your street but you didn’t hear tapping at your door. You can expect honesty, at last; I won’t call in on those which do not meet a standard of distinction.

Think of it as a bucket list; An unspecified amount of self-published books to read before you either die or go buy another book by a big publishing house… or something like that.

Maybe you haven’t given in to the technological revolution; you favour the feel and smell of a real book; I don’t blame you but you might be surprised to note many self-publishers do release books on paper too.

One trick of the eBook trade is to look out for free promotion days; this way if the author is bad you’ve lost nothing. Never think for a second though only rubbish authors run such promotions; anyone wanting to further their appeal will. You may pick a dreadful one but, you might just stumble on some greatness.

In fact, this is the way I discovered possibly my favourite self-published author…like, ever. From Orange County, Alexes Razevich attended California State University, earning a degree in creative writing. A former editor for Electronic Engineering Times, her work has appeared in Rolling Stone among others.

I downloaded her sci-fi epic, “Khe.” Within just a few short chapters Razevich creates a believable but complex alternative world which would have taken other authors a hundred pages or more to immerse the reader into its unique fantasy realm.

The adventure takes you on a journey unlike anything I could try to compare it to. If you forced a comparison out of me; I’d say like Frank Herbert, with a feminine angle. This totally original page-turner wouldn’t look out of place as an advert on the walls of a multiplex. If I was James Cameron I’d snap it up but, well, I’m not. Its narrative is easy despite the vast cultural differences between our world and that of Khe’s.

From the absorbing plot to the smaller elements, such as the species emotion spots that glow a different colour to represent their moods, this book had me hooked. I could see a thousand possibilities for other equally interesting plots using the universe Razevich calls “The Ahsenthe Cycle.” Since I read this the highly anticipated second part of the series, “Ashes and Rain” has been released and it’s burning my kindle as we speak. But there are so many other authors I need to tell you about; stay tuned.

There cannot be many better places to start out on your self-publishing expedition then Alexes Razevich. We’ll look at her other offering next week along with a couple more. So, pop to my virtual bookshop column next time when I’ll try to reduce the rambling and random tangents….. I said “try!”


I’ve put a Facebook group together called Ye OldE-book Shoppe, please join for more coverage of great books and meet the authors:

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