I devoted some space around here to Kevin Brennan’s new book, Fascination, and his #guerrillapublishing efforts. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, Kevin is an excellent writer, committed to the craft of writing. Fascination is the fifth Brennan novel I’ve read and each one is an enjoyable read. These stories aren’t weighty and ponderous. For the most part, they aren’t necessarily gut-wrenching or emotionally draining. Instead, each one of his novels is a rather simple story, written well and with an eye towards pulling the reader in. The characters are typically slightly odd, but not so much that they strain the limits of credulity. And what they are experiencing — a search for love, a search for answers, a search for self-realization and vengeance — are really what a lot of people may be experiencing.
Kevin deserves more of an audience than he has been able to reach so far and anything I can do help, I want to do.
Second, Fascination is a captivating story. If you want to read Tolstoy or Tolkein, War and Peace or Harry Potter, don’t read Kevin. Don’t read Fascination. But if you want read a lighthearted romp (that’s both a physical romp and a mental romp), than find your way to Fascination. It’s just a good story that will leave you better off for having read it. In a very simple way. You’ll smile at the end.
Third, it’s about #guerrillapublishing. If you read Kevin’s blog or my conversation with him, you know what this is, but let me give you a little more about this.
We writers who blog seem to have settled into somewhat of an echo chamber. We all follow each other’s blogs, we buy each other’s books, we try to help each other where we can by posting reviews and shout-outs. But it seems that we are all speaking to each other instead of to any kind of reading audience that could expand the scope of our writing and publishing efforts.
I started my publishing effort with One Night in Bridgeport. A book that fits comfortably into a genre that sells well. Legal drama. I made a couple thousand bucks off it and I still sell about 10 e-versions of the thing every month. The problem is that nobody will buy it unless it is .99 per download. Or free. This is the problem for the vast, vast majority of indie publishers. We don’t have the inferred stamp of quality that a traditional publisher provides. For some reason, even if it is a publisher nobody has heard of, that identification with a publisher says to readers it’s okay to spend $8, $10, $12 on an e-book. But without the imprimatur of a publisher? Nope, not gonna do it. .99 or free.
There’s another problem for writers like Kevin and me.
We write literary fiction. After Bridgeport, I published Weed Therapy. I could not get it sold. Maybe it was the title — it suggests something contrary to the actual story. Maybe it was the cover. Maybe it was something else. I don’t know. All I know is that other than some readers of my blog and some friends and acquaintances, there wasn’t a whole lot there.
It seems that in the world of indie publishing, the successful writers who stay in a genre, and churning out story after story in that genre. And even better yet if there are bursting bodices and hulking men on the cover. But literary fiction seems to be an afterthought in the indie publishing world. There just doesn’t seem to be much there and it’s just difficult to find a way to find an audience with it.
After Weed Therapy failed and after Bridgeport settled into the .99 or nothing category — seriously, if I raise the price to $2.99 or $4.99, nobody will buy it — I began to consider whether there was a way to sale directly to readers. Format the story as a PDF and email it to readers to read on their laptops, tablets, e-readers, whatever. I haven’t followed through on it yet, but that’s what #guerrillapublishing is all about. The writer selling directly to the reader. No publisher, no Amazon, no middleman taking the biggest portion of the cost of the book. The writer gets it all and in the case of Fascination, the reader gets to set the price as long as it’s at or above the floor Kevin set.
This is really an idea that needs to catch on. I’m not sure how to make it a bigger phenomenon, but it sure seems like it’s time has come. I’ve decided to move forward with publishing Northville Five & Dime. Don’t be surprised if I’m next up on the #guerrillapublishing platform.
Be a part of this. Go here and purchase Fascination. If you enjoy it, tell your friends about it. Spread the word on social media.