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Chapter 26 - Independence Day

I receive a lot of requests from people who would like me to read and review their books. While I would love to have the time to respond to all of them, because of time restraints I am very selective about what I read. Many times the requests are from new or independently published authors who are just looking for a break or even an affirmation, besides family and friends, to tell them that what they have written is good.

Why do people independently publish their books? Often it is because they can't get the attention of the literary world. Sometimes it is because traditional publishing takes so much out of the author's profits. Now, to be fair, the traditional publisher has also usually provided an advance, put out money to edit and print the book, and then there are the costs of marketing the book. So the author's take might be a 10% royalty of the publisher's price after the advance is paid back. Of course, if your book is optioned for a movie, then your proceeds will change. It is estimated that 90% of authors need a second job to make ends meet.

There are many famous authors in the past and currently who choose to self publish - Rudyard Kipling, DH Lawrence, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf (who developed her own publishing house, Bloomsbury Press), E L James, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey. It is rumored that John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was self published until after his second, The Firm, became a best seller. Barbara Freethy, a well know Romance writer, as well as playwright David Mamet have both moved to self publishing.

So in the spirit of "Independents Day" here are some of my favorite self published books.

French Crossing by Elizabeth Smith - This is the latest by Elizabeth Smith and it is truly a winner. Elizabeth has entered into the Romantic Suspense category with this and her previous book, Slow Dancing and I am so glad she did. Both are wonderfully written and engaging stories. French Crossing takes place on a movie set in French Crossing, Mississippi, where the leading lady goes missing and the director/leading man is the primary suspect. This is a terrific beach read.

Fred's Funeral by Sandy Day - I read this over Memorial Day weekend which seemed appropriate as the book is about a World War I vet. This novella by Sandy Day packs a lot of story in a small amount of pages! Fred Sadler has just died and his sister-in-law Viola is handling the funeral with her son John. The story goes back and forth between Viola's recollections of Fred and his own as he listens to the after funeral discussion.An extremely well written book that poses questions of war, mental illness, legacy, and memory to the reader. This book would be a great book club read.

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan - This was the first self-published book I ever read and was originally only an e-book. The response to the book was so enthusiastic that the book was picked up by Penguin Random House and published traditionally. It seems that everyone is Mill River, Vermont has a story. Some are good, some not so good. The most intriguing is the story of Mary McAllister, the Mill River recluse. Once her story comes out, there is no going back for the town.

Losing London by Joey Jones - After Mitch loses his soulmate, London to cancer, he has a hard time getting back to his life. Knowing that London would have wanted him to move on, he makes some major decisions. One evening he meets a beautiful stranger and, oddly enough, finds himself falling in love with her. Harper, comes to town to research a news story and ends up meeting her sister London's boyfriend. A cross between Richard Paul Evans and Nicholas Sparks, Joey Jones captures romance, suspense, and heartbreak well.

Humans In My House by Amanda Marsico - There are terrific self-published books for children as well as adults and this one by Amanda Marsico is very enjoyable. A cat having been dumped by a human, is living his life in an abandoned house. He has a lovely time living a life of freedom until he meets some special children who teach him what friends, loyalty, love, and home are all about. The sequel - Humans In My House and the stars above it continues the adventure. These are perfect middle school reads.

Fractured by Thomas Kelso - This is a late entry as it was brought to me just as I was finishing up this blog so I moved some books off my pile and read this. Boy am I glad I did. This book has something for everyone - suspense, medical technology, military presence, and even a little romance. The story is around Mark Thurman, an orthopedic surgeon, and Claire Hodgson, a scientist, who have developed technology to aid in the repair and healing of bone fractures. A former SEAL colleague of Mark's is brought into the ER one night with multiple injuries including a large portion of leg bone damage. As Thurman works on getting him fixed many things happen to lead Thurman to believe that his friend is not quite as he appears. This was an intense, engaging, suspenseful and very satisfying read.

Have you read any good self-published books lately? Let me know.

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