Pay It Forward

Good Evening!

A few things tonight: a review of one of my latest reads, some helpful advice I’ve gotten, and an offer for other indie authors.

First, the review! I had the great pleasure to read Pale Queen’s Courtyard by indie author Marcin Wrona. As a ridiculously brief run-down of the story, two main characters highlight the political and social complexities of ancient Mesopotamia, with a dose of magic and religious disapproval thrown in.

The main word I would use to describe the book is raw – Wrona’s talent with language is apparent, and his storyline is both complex enough to engage and clear enough to follow. While he has taken liberties with the culture of Mesopotamia, he has done so deliberately and with forethought; it is difficult to tell where historical complexity fades into the fantastical. However, the novel displays some issues with pacing and highlighting. Certain moments that could have been pivotal, or served to deepen the plot (the battle at the ruined temple, for example, or the last few sentences of the final chapter) were underplayed, some coming off as merely connecting scenes, and others feeling somewhat unsatisfying. Also, I would have liked to learn more both about Barsam, and about the cult of Nin.

None of this should deter you from reading the book – indie fiction offers a rare glimpse into the growing and shaping of an author’s talent, and Wrona has talent to spare. I recommend this book, and I will be intrigued to see where his writing has gone since 2011 (Golden Feathers Falling is Book 2 in the series I began, and Wrona has since ventured into steampunk.)

Now! Onwards. I wanted to share a few helpful books, blog posts, and tips I’ve learned over the course of my publishing and research, so without further ado:

  • Smart Self-Publishing by Zoe Winters – an incredibly helpful book, very strongly focused on the pragmatic side of self-publishing. Takeaway: treat it like a business. Winters will give you some tips on how, as well as some tips on formatting manuscripts and so on!
  • Be the Monkey by Barry Eisler and J.A. Konrath – an intriguing and helpful look at publishing from authors who have been successful both in traditional and self publishing. Takeaway: one of your best methods of self-promotion is to have more books published and available online.
  • 30 Day Books – the spouses who co-run this site have been immensely successful on the self-published side of publishing. Immensely. While much of their advice is more useful to those who write non-fiction, fiction and genre fiction authors should still check them out. There is a free email list, and numerous other helpful aspects to the site. Takeaway: presentation is important, and you can make it work for you.
  • How to Run a Goodreads Giveaway – the author of this blog post has a degree in survey methodology, and has put it to excellent use here. From her own experience with 11 Goodreads giveaways, she offers her insights on the best time frame to use, the best way to make a description, and whether to offer additional copies. Takeaway: exposure is also important!
  • Have you written a blog post or book about self-publishing that you’d like me to highlight, or do you know of one that would be useful to other indie authors? Leave a comment and let us know!

Finally, as promised, an offer to those of you who have read this far. While my time is not unlimited, I have a hearty appreciation for the talent in the indie community, and I do keep a reading list. I will be doing about one review per month, and encourage you to submit your book!

Now, off to read another delicious chapter of River of Stars, and do some editing on Inheritance! Have a wonderful night, gentle readers!

-M

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