Why is “Self-Publishing” Still a Dirty (Hyphenated) Word?

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Earlier this year, one of my sisters dragged me along to a game show audition. After filling out a four-page questionnaire that asked such insightful questions as “What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?”, “Have you ever been caught out in a lie?” and “Do you have an unusual bucket list item?” (presumably so that they could be discussed and laughed at on national television) as well as what we did for a living, we were then grilled by a producer.

“You’re a writer?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I answered.

“What do you write?”

“Books – novels and how-to guides on writing novels.” I could have given him my entire writing résumé – articles, websites, marketing collateral, corporate tenders, ghost-writing, short stories, song lyrics, poems – but I was trying to keep it brief.

“And you’ve published three books?”

“So far.”

“Who with?”

“I’m self-published,” I said.

“Oh,” he replied with a disapproving tone in his voice. “So you just sell to friends and family?” Continue reading

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Book Review: Hell Island by Matthew Reilly

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Hell Island was released in 2005 as part of the Books Alive promotion – the only way to get it at the time was to buy another Australian book in order to receive it for free. Given Matthew Reilly’s popularity at the time, it was a brilliant idea. People (including me) were desperate to get their hands on it. (I bought a Phryne Fisher book by Kerry Greenwood – didn’t like it but love the TV series that is based on the book series.) That was when I first read it.

The story is part of the Shane Schofield narrative, Reilly’s heroic US Marine who always seems a little smarter, a little stronger, a little more strategic than everyone else around him and one hell of a survivalist. In the Schofield chronology, it takes place after Scarecrow and before Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves but is easily removed from it. And enough is regurgitated to make this a stand-alone book. Continue reading

Book Review: Ninety East Ridge by Stephen Reilly

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I first read this book in 2002 when it was originally released. It’s probably every sibling’s worst nightmare to be continually mentioned only in reference to your more famous brother or sister but that’s how I found out about this book. Matthew Reilly had published several immensely successful books, which I had read, and when I heard his brother, Stephen, had published a novel of his own, I was interested to read it.

I have now read it again thirteen years later as part of several I am rereading in order to post reviews on Goodreads for books that I have only rated. It’s much as I remembered, which is a positive. Continue reading

When Your Favourite Authors Jump the Shark

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If you’re not familiar with the reference, “jumping the shark” is what Fonzie did in a latter episode of Happy Days – and it was the point at which people started thinking the show had gone on a few episodes too long. After all, he is water skiing in the scene in which he jumps the shark. Yes, that’s almost unbelievably right. He literally jumps a shark while water skiing!

Now I would never suggest that anyone should ever stop writing – how would we ever get better if we stopped? – but there seem to be a number of uber successful writers who have reached a point where their writing, which was once “must read” to me, is now a bit ho hum. In fact, I have stopped reading some of my once favourite writers altogether. Continue reading