I’d spent the last week glued to my desk gearing up for the launch of DELIO. I really needed a day off the computer and figured I’d pop into my local Waterstones for some new books.
And lo! What did my eyes fall upon but a Brand Spanking New Hardback Book on the front and centre plinth of wonder and awe.
Ooooh, I thought. I like that author. Shall I? Should I? I mean, it’s right there on the front and centre plinth of wonder and awe.
Seize the day! I cried and duly bought myself a copy and so on Sunday morning, after long dog walks, I made a brew and got comfy on the sofa with my shiny new hardback… and promptly wished I hadn’t.
I mean. It just wasn’t very good. It was average. Bland. Dull. It was painting by numbers. It felt flat and boring.
But then it was on the front and centre plinth of wonder and awe and much heralded, and the author is one of the most successful British authors ever – so I tried again, but honestly, I couldn’t get past the first chapter.
‘Would you like some tea, dear?’
‘Yes. I would like some tea, dear.’
‘I will make the tea then, dear.’
‘Okay. I will wait for the tea. Oh, and by the way. Racism is bad.’
‘Yes. Racism is bad. And so is any form of oppression towards any marginalised group, which isn’t authentic in anyway bloody way whatsoever because this book is set like way back in the past when people were absolute fuckers to each other.’
‘Yes, dear. Which is why we have been married for thirty years, which I didn’t need to say because people wot have been married for 30 years don’t feel the need to remind their spouse of that while partaking in general chit chat.’
(I won’t identify the book, or the author, because firstly that’s a shitty thing to do, and secondly, the author is so well connected that I would get a visit from the Wordy People In Black Who Break Knee Caps.)
But you get what I mean, right? It was clunky and the characters were two-dimensional, and each one that came into a scene was introduced with a backstory of death. It pulls you out of the flow, and most time I don’t give a shit what the dude’s backstory is. Let it play out naturally if it’s needed at all.
Then I remembered that I’d actually stopped reading that author a long time ago because of that reason. Their earlier books were brilliant and deserved to be on the front and centre plinths of wonder and awe, but that hadn’t been for a long time.
And that just isn’t right.
Publishers don’t like risk, so they stick with the same few authors, which means the publishing industry becomes this weird self-serving monster which doesn’t allow new voices to shine through. And it's the publishers who buy the plinth and window displays space to promote those same few authors and on it goes. It's nuts when you think about it.
I know some sensational indie authors who are working their socks off. Luke Smitherd’s The Stone Man and his other works are brilliant. Iain Rob Wright is a bloody fantastic. Keith A. Pearson is great. Philip C. Qauntrell’s Rise of the Ranger series is epic.
Why aren’t they on the front and centre plinth of wonder and awe?
You even see it with small publishers and boutique literary agents who make a song and dance about seeking unique storytelling and strong voices – and yet they panic at anything different coming into their slush piles and stick with the same cop-thrillers or mysteries again and again.
“It’s not on trend.”
“It’s just too different for me.”
“I loved it so much! But I just think it’ll be such a hard sell.”
That’s some of the feedback I got for A TOWN CALLED DISCOVERY when it was first out on sub – but on release it sat at the top of lots of charts for nearly 20 weeks.
And that feedback was from industry folk overtly seeking strong new voices and unique stories.
This also isn’t a bitter rant for myself either. I’m making good deals at the mo and things are strong (touch wood) but reading the first chapter of that tired book from a tired author and having been around long enough to know the sheer amounts of energy needed to drive that book with advertising and marketing and buying shelf-space. I don’t know. It’s just didn’t sit right and I wanted to talk about it.
So. The next time you walk into Waterstones, or delve into the book aisle at Tesco – suppress the urge to go for the plinth books under the glowing lights and try and source indie authors. You won’t find us in Waterstones, or in supermarkets, but we are out there.
Find us on Amazon and Audible. Look for the product details and see who the publisher is. Look for the big creative adverts that use up half of the landing page for the book on Amazon. Most indie authors don’t have capability to produce those massive adverts.
Honestly. You’ll be blown away by some of the work us Indie authors are putting out, and on top of that – think of this - that top author is selling their Kindle version for £9.99. I don’t know any Indie author who sells a book for over £5.99. We are nearly always priced from £1.99 to £4.99 – and most of us sign up to Kindle Unlimited, which means you can try it for free as part of your sub.
So yes. Do something awesome. Feed an Indie author and let us sizzle your brain!
And if you know of any other great indie authors pop their names on the comments.
DELIO. Phase One is out 3rd March on Kindle & Pback. Audio version to follow soon.
"Brilliant." "A gripping story. Harrowing, and often hysterical." "This book is very different to anything else out there - and brilliantly so." "You'll fall so hard for these characters, you'll wish the world would freeze just so you could stay with them forever."
A single bed in a small room. The centre of Piccadilly Circus. A street in New York city outside of a 7-Eleven. A young woman taken from her country. A drug dealer who paid his debt. A suicidal, washed-up cop. The rest of the world now frozen. Unmoving. Unblinking. From RR Haywood, the author of the worldwide bestselling Extracted, and The Code trilogies, and the phenomenal Undead Series - DELIO PHASE ONE is a heart-pounding, relentless, often laugh-out-loud blockbuster adventure. When nearly every person on the planet becomes frozen a small group of survivors must navigate the darkest sides of human behaviour while learning about the creation of the world's first fully self-aware Artificial Intelligence. In London, Yelena is trapped in a room after being sex-trafficked from Romania, and Alfie has one more drop to make then he's free of drug dealing forever. In New York, Detective Joe Stephens is working a case. Life has worn him down. He's ready to end it. Poppy is a film-maker desperate to never go back to the UK, and Tripal is a clerk in a 7-Eleven that has a secret. A secret that might be connected to why every human being on the planet just froze.