Tag Archives: self publishing

Future Trends – eBooks and bookstores

There is a great discussion going on at the Greylands eBook Launch site, sparked by an excellent guest post by Paul Collins.

These are scary times for writers and publishers. Whereas it’s never been easier to get published, conversely it’s never been harder to sell. This great divide is expanding exponentially. Take a look at the Al Gore demonstration at Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book. All of this seemed pretty whiz-bang a year ago. Now my smart phone can do most this.
The Great Divide Paradox is easily explained.
Major publishers are down-sizing, and guess who goes first? The B-list. With fewer staff, publishers are publishing fewer books. Perhaps only the best-sellers will enjoy print books from the majors with no or little mid-list. It does make you wonder where publishers will find the next generation of best selling authors. They’ll undoubtedly get some from best-selling self-publishers, such as the recent EL James (50 Shades of Grey) and of course this has been happening for a while – Matthew Reilly (Contest) springs to mind. And there will be a proliferation of these authors with the availability of lulu.com, Lightning Source, etc. Even Dymocks has a platform for vanity press at dpublishing.com. I think the self-publisher has replaced the agent for assessing the slush pile for major publishers.

It’s not just the article itself that is worth a read, the discussion below the comment line is well informed and thought provoking too. Anyone with an interest in the subject should check it out.

Review: Gabriel’s Redemption by Steve Umstead

Over the last year I have enjoyed the fact that you can find a huge range of relatively inexpensive books on Amazon, and as a writer I have been very interested to observe the number of self published titles that are cropping up. Self publishing gets a lot of criticism, some warranted and some unfair, and the Amazon selection provides ammunition to both sides of the debate.

Quite a few of the books I have purchased are ones where I have read a few chapters and it has quickly become obvious that they are self published for a reason. Many haven’t been proofed properly and could have done with the services of an editor, or just contain terrible writing, and would have never seen the light of day if it weren’t for the platform Amazon provides. But, there have also been some books where the quality, both of production and of writing, has been indistinguishable from anything coming from a traditional publisher, and demonstrate why self publishing can be a legitimate avenue that provides opportunities for the production of great books.

“Gabriel’s Redemption” is one of those books. From a technical point of view the production values are excellent, with less errors than I have seen in releases from major publishers, though there were one or two places where an a little more editorial input might have been useful. Umstead’s writing is extremely tight, and gives the impression of someone who has been writing for a long time and has put a great deal of effort into honing his craft (whether this is the case I don’t know). Some self published work can be self indulgent and sloppy, but Umstead avoids this trap and is writer at the top of his game.

But, none of that would matter if the story itself wasn’t any good, and this where “Gabriel’s Redemption” really shines. Some so called “military sci fi” simply substitutes lasers for machine guns, but “Gabriel’s Redemption” is science fiction in the true sense of the term. It examines the impact that technological advances would have on combat and the changes it would bring about in traditional strategy, and creates a convincing future with a well fleshed out world and believable science.

This does not come at the expense of action by any means, “Gabriel’s Redemption” moves at a frenetic pace from beginning to end. The plot is full of twists, most of which I didn’t see coming, and the characterisation is strong. It was great to see some original concepts in what can be a derivative field, Unstead is to be commended for the scope of his ideas.

If you are a fan of this genre there is no excuse to not give it a try, especially at this price point (I felt vaguely guilty for getting it so cheap). If you enjoyed books like Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War”, Michael Marks’ “Dominant Species” or S.M. Stirling’s “Draka” series you will undoubtedly enjoy this book immensely.