Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mainstream vs. Indie Authors by @mrneil98

A quick intro before I start my first official blog. My name is Rob Neil and I am a father, husband, math teacher. I am also a musician who has played publicly in bands and solo, a wanna-be writer and, most importantly for this blog, a reader. I will be contributing twice a month to Thrillers Rock (2nd and 4th  Sundays) and adding some tweets about books I’m reading during the week. Most of the posts will be reviews but some will be observations of 40+ years of reading, first sci-fi (Vonnegut, Heinlein) then horror (Saul, King) then mystery (Hillerman) and finally thrillers (Rollins, Berry, et. al.)

In noting the changes to the publishing world over the last six years, I cannot help but see the parallel to the music industry of the 90’s. With drastic advances in the availability of recording equipment and ability to burn CD’s any band could create, record and produce their own songs. There was no longer as great a need for a “label” to get your music to fans; you simply record your songs using a program like garage band, burn a CD and distribute it at your gig.

Today, the e-book explosion has turned the publishing world upside down and has allowed many struggling writers the opportunity to get their work to a potential audience. It is no longer necessary to submit your manuscript and receive numerous rejection letters (I won’t say countless because you always keep count). With self-publishing programs available and support from social network groups like IBC, this method is cost effective and allows the writer to “sell” their work for a fraction of what a publisher would charge (we are talking anywhere from $3.99 to FREE). For less than the cost of a drink at Starbucks you can receive hours of thrilling entertainment.

My first e-book was Cristyn West’s Plain Jane which I purchased for $1.49 after a discount. This is an exhilarating serial killer/detective story better than two of the last three Alex Cross books by Patterson. I was hooked (or should I say nooked since I now own one). This was followed by Pentecost by Johanna Penn, non-thriller A Walk in the Snark by Rachel Thompson and 30 Pieces of Silver by Carolyn McCray, a religious thriller on par with Rollins, Berry and Brown.

Has the torch of thriller writing been passed to a new generation of indie writers? I don’t believe so. Berry has Jefferson Key being released May 17th, Rollins has The Devil Colony out June 21 and Dan Brown will have a new book out sometime this decade. I think of these great authors as a box of matches passing out sparks of inspiration to ignite the flame of desire to write and entertain (hokey but true). When I played Cat Stevens covers in a coffee house I wasn’t trying to replace him, just  entertaining those around me with a different spin on a classic song. These authors should be honored, they inspire us to read, they inspire us to write.
In the future there will be far more book reviews and less ramblings. If you have any title suggestions, let me know. I will “write back at  you” in two weeks but in the meantime, I’ll tweet ya later.

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