Sunday, March 11, 2012

Riptide by Debbie Mack

No, I don't usually do book reviews here, but sometimes something special comes along.
If you’re looking for the ultimate beach read, you should treat yourself to Debbi Mack’s newest crime novel. Riptide is so riveting you might forget to turn over, but the pace is so hot you’ll want to dive in to cool down!
The action takes place in Ocean City MD, where lawyer “Sam” McRae must defend a friend accused of murder.  The search for evidence to clear her friend’s name drives McRae to come up against a local businessman with more influence and power than morals.  Alone against a community apparently determined to convict her friend, McRae must prove herself both smarter and tougher than ever.

Taking nothing away from Mack’s well tuned plot, what really made this book for me was Mack’s top notch protagonist.  Despite being an attorney, Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae is more Sam Spade than Perry Mason.  This tough, feisty and relentless broad makes Riptide a great, fun ride. 

Join in on the big Facebook launch!!/groups/305994622792418/

Friday, March 9, 2012

To self-publish, or NOT to Self-publish – Part II

My blog last week focused on the pluses and minuses of self-publishing and several of you offered insightful comments.  The one thing I think we can all agree on is that it is a highly personal choice and may not be for everyone.

When you make the shift from independent author to independent publisher a lot of responsibility shifts to your shoulders.  Suddenly, you are responsible for cover art, proof reading, editing and the overall design of the book.  If it’s an ebook you also need to handle conversion of the manuscript into the right kind of file.  That all translates into a lot of time and a steep learning curve OR several thousand dollars out of your pocket.  These are things you simply can’t skimp on, and it’s very important to face the hard facts concerning what you can and can’t competently do yourself. 

The other side of that coin is the Henny Penny result.  Since you did all the work and baked the analogous bread all by yourself, you get to keep all the profits.  If we’re talking about a Kindle book, that means as much as 70% of your chosen sale price.  That kind of a profit margin might allow you to experiment a lot more than traditional paper publishers  dare to. 

And remember that independent publisher means just that.  You can still get your book printed on paper with a nice hard or soft cover, push it into book stores or gift shops, and do book signings or give talks with book sales at the back of the room.  Old school can still be made to work.  But if you’re more a cutting edge kinda guy or gal, ebooks are marching into the future.  Are you familiar with fiction streaming?  Wattpad?  How about enhanced books with pictures, web links and interactive software built right in?  Either way, you make the calls for marketing strategy without having to push someone else.  You set the cover price, and change it whenever you like.  You decide when to put your books on sale, or maybe give several hundreds away.  You can get blurbs from writers you know, and post them wherever YOU think they’ll have the best effect.  If you want to invest in yourself you can get a book trailer made or buy ad space in the magazines you think your readers read.  It’s all up to you.

But while a lot has changed, some things stay the same.  Only placement with a traditional publisher will get you an advance.  It makes it more likely that a major reviewer will read your book.  And it multiplies your chance of winning a significant writing award (for instance, traditional publishing is a requirement to be nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar award.)

These reasons make some of us continue to wish for a traditional publishing contract, even those of us who are successful do-it-yourselfers.  And there may not be a clear right answer.  Either way, we know that the publishing industry is going to change radically in the next few years.  Only you can know whether it’s better or worse for you.  Me, I intend to be prepared for whatever happens as far as I can be. 

So, as a writer who wants to be broadly read, what will influence YOUR choice?