Calling on all self-published/indie speculative fiction writers

Indie authors. . .

It does have a nicer ring to it, I agree. . . But it doesn't change the fact that it's synonymous with "self-published writers." You can sugarcoat it any way you like, it means that you published something through a vanity press or something similar. You can call a woman an administrative assistant, but she's still a secretary. One might prefer to be called an adult entertainment performer, yet he or she remains a pornstar. Ask anyone working at The Home Depot or Walmart if they're proud to be an associate instead of an employee and they'll give you the finger.

So indie author or self-published writer amounts to the exact same thing. Like many SFF online reviewers, I refuse to read any self-published work. There is enough crap out there that nevertheless went through the normal publishing process that I have no time to waste on something that wasn't good enough to attract the attention of an agent and then go through the usual editing process.

For the last year or two, these so-called indie authors have become more and more vocal on various SFF message boards and other online communities, bemoaning the fact that it's very difficult for them to get the word out about their novels/series. They often point the finger at reviewers like me, people who refuse to give self-published books a shot. They are quick to point out the very few exceptions that "made it," refusing to agree with the fact that most of the stuff that ever came out of vanity presses has always been worthless crap.

Hence, even though I'm one of those readers who believe that 99% of indie works are literary turds, I'm willing to give those authors a chance to put their money where their mouths are. So here's the deal:

In the comment section of this post, I'll give indie authors the opportunity to make their sale's pitch. Provide the title of your novel and a blurb that will give us an idea of what the book is all about. In addition, I want you to tell me why you believe I'd enjoy it. I'll let this run its course for a while, and then I'll select the five works whose premise intrigued me enough to give them a shot.

That done, I will ask my readers to vote on which work they would like me to read and perhaps review. Once the votes are tallied, I will officially commit to read the first 100 pages of the book the Hotlist readers will have voted for. If it's decent, I will read the whole thing and review it on the Hotlist. If it's good, I will humbly admit that I was wrong and that perhaps reviewers should give more self-published works a shot.

The catch: If it sucks, I will show NO MERCY. So before making your sale's pitch, make sure you understand this. I have books from quality authors such as Neil Gaiman, Richard Morgan, Neal Stephenson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Iain M. Banks, China Miéville, Alastair Reynolds, yada yada yada, waiting to be read. If you make me waste my time on total crap, I will make you feel as though I've been going easy on Robert Stanek and Terry Goodkind these last few years. I kid you not. I won't hold anything back.

Please don't make me regret this. . . :/

163 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Funny how well-renowned authors have said that there are a LOT of good unpublished works and quite a few good self-published authors. What makes a well-respected and published author less capable of knowing what is worth reading than a blogger?

Brett said...

Don't do it, Pat!

Seriously, if you do this, the floodgates will open. You'll get a bunch of e-mails from desperate self-published authors outside of what happens in the comment forms, long after this contest is over.

icowdave said...

You're just another Gate Keeper trying to keep new authors down aren't you? I'm interested to see who takes up the gauntlet - it's gonna be a train wreck.

Doug M. said...

I've been meaning to delete the feed for this blog from my News Reader, anyway. Thanks for the excellent d-baggish incentive to do so.

Diorj said...

It really sounds like you would give someone a fair shake. What a douche move. Hey unpublished authors, let me insult you, and then give you an opportunity to kiss my ass. I hope you hear from no one.

Anonymous said...

To assume all self-published books are sub-par is the same as assuming all traditionally published books are of literary excellence. Publishers are market-driven and very often a book will be repeatedly rejected simply because traditional publishers feel it would not meet their sales targets. I don't deny that there are a lot of self-published books which are substandard and poorly edited, but equally there are many that are of the same quality of traditionally published books.

There are numerous reasons an author might choose to 'go indie' - for instance, they might not want to wait 18 months for their book to be published, or they might want to release several books a year. Self-publishing allows complete control over the publishing process and ultimately this is what suits some writers.

I'm genuinely surprised that this kind of narrow-mindedness is still around, because the days where 'self-publishing' and 'vanity publishing' were synonymous are long dead.

Chris Kaufman Author/Composer said...

(pardon if this went through twice)
Hi Pat,
Thanks for your time in reviewing the following and I hope you are sufficiently intrigued to review my work. I have spent most of my life working as a composer. As such I have a huge catalogue of works and my music has been performed all over the world... I work with world-class musicians who rate my work highly.... I have won awards and written for the concert stage and film. My works are often story driven. I started writing fantasy stories when a child and have come back to it... but not as a traditional writer... I have fused my story writing with my music and voice and have additionally created an original illustration style. The text is influenced by this process and I use the term "...As Recorded Script..." borrowed from film and tv... All together my work... 'Tales Of The Ocean City'is unique and creates a powerful experience. As a multi-media Ebook, an original form I call 'Sonic Stories'... the traditional process of acquiring an agent is less applicable. Composers like myself often create their own publishing entities with ASCAP and I have extended this process into my books. I will soon be publishing works by various other authors... folding their work into the multi-media context and thus 'Three Dashes Publications' will be something more than merely a vehicle for my own works. I think of the text of TALES OF THE OCEAN CITY as accompanying the music... rather than the other way around. The story is engaging... The connection between the characters is profound... at this point however, I believe it is more useful to interest you in the process and form of my work... the story will communicate freely the moment you press the button to the itunes page where the work is to be found! All best, and thanks for your time in reviewing this message... Chris Kaufman

Russ said...

E-Readers are the way forward for indie writers. I picked up the first 3 books of a self-published series on Kindle over Christmas and enjoyed the hell out of them.

Sofie Bird said...

Props for actually trying this - and if my novel were ready I'd be game to try for your crosshairs.

That said, this feels like "I don't want to do this, so I'll do it in a way that make it obvious that I'm antagonistic towards them. Then no one will really be interested and I can both say that I tried, and that it wasn't successful or popular, so I never have to do it again."

If that's what you wanted, top marks, but it was a bit transparent.

With so many previously-trad-pubbed mid-listers heading to self-publishing, though, it may be time to double-check that prejudice that a self-pub novel must be "[not] good enough to attract the attention of an agent and then go through the usual editing process". Not that there isn't a lot of garbage in the self-pub-pile, but people self-pub for all kinds of reasons, now.

No reason that you have to pay self-pubbers any kind of attention at all, but the above snipe does sound a bit out of touch.

Chris Kaufman Author/Composer said...

If your work is strong but you are just beginning the getting-the-word-out process... there should be no worries. It's possible Pat, who I do not know, has indeed worked through many 'unfinished' pieces and feels some exasperation at the deluge... But the process also includes the various participants of this blog and it looks to me like the right works will be chosen for review and reach a fair result. As a composer I have undergone many review situations for grants and the like. The best attitude is to put out your best shot and then let it go... plenty of things will go your way... I wish everyone the best and hope many are following the results!... All Best, Chris Kaufman... author/composer/artist... 'Tales Of The Ocean City' -

Morrigan said...

Sofie, of course it's transparent: he's not hiding that he's antagonistic towards self-publishers, and he has already explained his reasons why he is. I don't blame him; there's so much crap out there even in the published world, and one's time is limited. Why risk investing time in stuff literally anyone can publish? It might be unfair to the truly unnoticed talents out there, but I'd assume those would still manage to get their reputation out there eventually.

I say, if your (general "your" here, not Sofie in particular) self-published work is good enough and you have genuine confidence in it, you should put your money where your mouth is and take Pat's challenge. He's giving you a golden opportunity to prove him wrong and show that he put his foot in his mouth. Go! :)

megazver said...

Anthony Ryan's Blood Song is probably the best book that'll be posted here. He did get picked up by a publisher recently, so he's no longer self-pubbed.

Bob/Sally said...

I hope you do keep an open mind, Pat, and give whatever title makes it through a fair shot.

My review queue tend to be pretty evenly balanced between the big publishing houses, the small presses, and self/indie published authors. I've had winners and losers from each, I'm proud to say I've read several self-published authors who went on to big-press contracts.

BigZ7337 said...

I really don't like the tone in your post. I'm not sure if it's offensive or just riddled with douche-baggery, but it doesn't make me want to follow this blog. If you don't like self-published books, that's fine, but to make such an antagonistic post about asking indie authors to pitch their book to you is just really weird. :/

Anonymous said...

Self-published writers are the ones bitching about not getting much love from bloggers everywhere on Westeros, Reddit, etc.

He gives them an opportunity to showcase their creations and maybe get a review out of it.

Yeah, Pat is a real douchebag...

The Grand Leaf said...

There is an untapped market out there for self-published quality certification. I'm not sure how it would work exactly, but if some respected and well-known source could vouch for quality indie work and provide some promotion for, say, 10% of the royalties - it would be a win/win for everyone.

Readers would know what work could be trusted. Authors would get cheap promotion and a bump in sales. It would be like an Oprah's Book Club for the self-published ;)

I am more likely to enjoy a book that has been published through the normal channels and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads CAN NOT be trusted for self-published books (have you ever noticed that they are all 5-star books? amazing), so I almost always avoid books that don't have a publisher.

But who knows what cheap, fantastic fiction I am missing as a result.

Neth said...

dude, kicking the beehive...bad idea.

Hopefully you find a gem, but I've watched other bloggers do similar and ultimately regret it.

djinn24 said...

As a reviewer for The Founding Fields, your attitude is whats wrong with the reviewers out there. Yes, this entire post is filled with douchbaggery. We are known for being self publish friendly and still only receive a few queries in any given week. And of those that have asked for a review a majority are on par or surpass the quality of 'properly' published books.

If your an indie/self publish let us know at The Founding Fields While we don't review all books that are sent in we will give you a fair look and not dismiss you simply because you are self published.

Keep in mind JK Rowling was turned down by 6 publishers before landing a contract. Imagine if you helped her when she was still an indie.

Blodeuedd said...

I agree, ratings can't be trusted wen it comes to selfpubbed, they all tend to be 5 stars. Ok I do not even give books I loved 5 stars, I am harsh.

I will give them the time of day when they stop making friends rate their books. If a book is good, it will have 1s, 2s and all that too.

Of course all are not like that. Some get it

Good luck! ;)

Anonymous said...

What are the chances of the next Erikson to not be able to find a publisher?

This is mostly the reason I would advise against doing this Pat, 'cause this is what I'm looking for. I have a pile of unread books from brilliant writers and nothing sort of a new Erikson or Kay will make me further postpone my reading of them.


I agree with Brett, don't do it!

Aspel said...

Isn't a Blogger just a better word for "self-published journalist"? You're kind of calling the kettle black there, Pot. I mean Pat. I mean, what makes you any better than the indie authors you so loathe for completely shithead reasons?

And on that note, what do you think of the bits of short fiction that people like Neil Gaiman post on their own blogs? Isn't that just self published garbage?

You're basically just equating success with quality. One look at Twilight, or even Naked Came the Stranger should tell you that getting published by a traditional house means jack shit. But, then again, you're basically just being vitriolic and crass in the hopes that angry indie authors or fans of them, or even just people who want to tell you that you're a cunt will all just flock to the page and provide you with hits. It's basically just Gawker nerdbaiting tactics, so while I followed the breadcrumbs, I really can't care, though I'm hoping the people on Reddit are smart enough to not bother.

I notice you've also got comment moderation on. Is that to keep anyone from ruining the fun?

Cecrow said...

The self-publishing route is similar to tryouts for American Idol. There's some undiscovered, hardworking talent out there that hasn't had its break yet. There's also a lot of self-deceiving people who will never take "you don't have it" for an answer. Unfortunately its the latter that will most likely flock to your offer, the former being too savvy. I don't think your result will prove anything about self-publishing in general; only what quality an offer such as this can attract.

Anonymous said...

If you are this bored with blogging that you want to turn your site into the American Idol of book reviews, then maybe it is time for you to close the site down like you were planning on doing a few years back.

It seems obvious that your only intention is to mock, and make fun of the work of self-published authors. I don't read indie books because I agree that most probably are not very good; however, I do not feel the need to mock them, and I definitely do not despise someone who is simply chasing a dream.

Adam Whitehead said...

"What are the chances of the next Erikson to not be able to find a publisher?"

...nothing sort of a new Erikson or Kay will make me further postpone my reading of them."

The indie/self-pubbed market is a very different proposition in 2013 to just a few years ago. Today authors aren't even bothering to go down the professional publication route and are self-publishing simply because they get more of a slice of the pie. On that basis, yes, the next Erikson/GRRM/Kay/Hobb or whatever could very well come out of self-publishing, not because they can't get a deal but out of simple choice.

Nobodys Nothings said...

I'm just jumping in to say that I am enjoying the comments immensely. I won't give an opinion in either direction on the tone of this post. What I love about blogging is that we can say whatever the hell we want to. :) I respect that. Also, I have read some truly HORRIFIC works of self-published literature, and can completely understand this point of view. I have also read some really good ones, although they are admittedly few and far between. Good luck to the authors brave enough to face Pat's wrath, and to the rest of you, um... thanks for giving me something to read. ;)

TrackerNeil said...

Thank you for thinking of indie authors. I'm going to respectfully decline to enter this contest, but out of consideration for your time I'll give you my reasons.

On you've made your feelings about the value of indie authors abundantly clear, so it's difficult for me to imagine exactly what this exercise will accomplish. If you read an indie book that knocks your socks off, I can't imagine you'll then change your "no self-publishers" rule. It seems more likely that you will you say (as you said when "The Duchess of Shallows" earned a starred Kirkus Review) that the novel is merely "a drop in a sea of mediocrity." If you read an indie book that disappoints you, I imagine you'll then conclude that you were right all along and most indie authors are worthless. When confronted with a game in which there is no apparent route to victory, I decline to play.

Pat, you are welcome to review "The Duchess of the Shallows" any time you like. It's a good book that wound up on Kirkus' Best of 2012 list, and has earned the praise of reviewers whose blogs you likely read, like Beauty in Ruins, CS Fantasy Review, and Melody and Words. Let me state for the record that I stand ready to send you a DRM-free version of the book for Kindle or Nook, or in paperback if you like, my treat. However, I'm going to decline to get involved in this particular competition; as Joshua advised, there are some games in which the only way to win is not to play.


Neil McGarry
Author of "The Duchess of the Shallows"

MathewR said...

I'll bite. I won't even make you suffer for long. 7500 words. You can read me over lunch and still have time to write something scathing about how right you were all along.


Noon High

A brooding cop with a tough partner, constant calls to gruesome crime scenes, and a city of millions to protect.

Think you’ve heard this one before?

Think again.

We’re not talking about some hackneyed Chi-town cop, and this sprawling metropolis isn’t the kind of melting pot you’re used to. Step out onto these mean streets and you’ve got bigger problems to deal with than Catholic dogma, Latin Kings machismo, or Teamster muscle.

Detective Griffon Dire works the Hammersmith watchtower in the City-State of New Dagonia. Officers on the Job for the NDPD don’t wave a gun and a badge; they’re strapped with a fully-charged wand and flash a sigil when they kick in a door. You want to talk about a rough day at the office? Dire is up against the likes of the fanatical Spearsworn, the cutthroat Goblin Court, and the intractable Lorry League. That's just Tuesday.

So, no, this isn’t your grandmother’s crime novel.

Dire Calls shorts are fast, smart, and modern. It’s fantasy for thriller buffs; mystery for magic lovers.

The Dire Crimes series will change the way you look at police procedurals forever.

J. R. Tomlin said...

"it means you published something through a vanity press or something similar"

No. It doesn't mean that. That's why it is not called vanity publishing. Vanity publishing is when you PAY SOMEONE to publish your work.

I don't write science fiction, but wouldn't ask someone with that kind of bias to review my work. I do not believe there is a chance in hell that you will read the works with an open mind.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Pat. I get if you only have time for published authors. But you are acting like a d-bag about the indy authors. If I was an indy author, I wouldn't *want* you to read my work.

Class it up a bit, friend. You do no one any favors with an elitist attitude.

Casey said...

Well shoot, if someone wants to rip my book to pieces -- and do it for free! -- I'd actually welcome it. More criticism the better. And sometimes a public beatin' can be a good thing. I do think self-publishing is a horrid wasteland, but there are a lot of good books to be found, too (not saying that mine would be one of them).

Anyway, I haven't seen many others doing it, so I'll drop my name in the hat. I'm horrible at promoting anything, so I'll just replicate my product page (which, right now, is on it last free day):

Kingdom of Nothing

"When the Inquisition takes his daughter hostage, a retired bounty hunter returns for one final job: to kill the world's last female orc.

The only problem? His best friend is an eight-foot tall, warrior greenskin.

Kingdom of Nothing is a dark fantasy thriller about the lives we lead -- and the lives we leave."

Why would someone want to read it? I dunno. I write my books because they're things I can't find anywhere else. Perhaps the unique mix of characters and setting will draw you in.

Appreciate the opportunity.

David Adams said...

Hi Pat,

You're very brave.

I'll enter your contest.

The traditionally published authors you mentioned in your post are better writers than me, I'll tell you that straight up. That's okay. I don't see myself on their level and, being honest, never will. Even in the indie scene there are better writers than me: Hugh Howey, Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, Anya Allyn... just to name a few who've put me in my place. There are more.

But I write the stories I'd like to read and I have fun doing it, and I make enough coin to make this "job" my living.

So bring on your worst, most scathing criticisms; spare me no lashing, and make me regret even daring to put my name in here. I want you to tell me what you really think. I doubt I can meet your lofty expectations, but I have a thick skin. I can take it.

To make things easy for you, I'll submit some shorter works. You can usually tell someone's writing skill within the first chapter of a book, after all, and I won't waste your time with anything longer.

I submit the following:

Magnet: Special Mission. Aliens, fighter-jock egos, space combat and arranged marriages.


Pro tip: Never volunteer for anything. That's the first thing they told me in flight school.

It's 2037. I'm Mike Williams, but you can call me 'Magnet', and I'm a fighter pilot on the TFR Sydney. Our flight leader, Iron, has a mission: Volunteer only. It's the usual gig. High risk, lots of unknowns, an opportunity to make history or die trying. Hopefully the former, but sometimes it's a little of column A, a little of column B, you know?

The mission's going a to place no Human's been, hoping to earn ourselves some desperately needed allies. Pretty simple on paper. Fly out to a rendezvous at a distant world, pick up an alien and take him to his blushing bride.

Although, come to think of it, I don't know if psychotic waist-high reptilians can blush.

A 13,700-word story in the Lacuna universe, set after the events of Magnet but suitable for reading as a stand-alone story.

Optional prequel:

I'll also throw Rakshasa in the ring as well. This is the first part of a serialised novel written under a pen name. It's Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. Australian-Indians who turn into were-tigers. First of a five part book, which is available now. Book two starts next month.


Libby the Loser. That's what everyone used to call me behind my back. I wasn't popular, I wasn't strong, I wasn't brave.

All that changed after a chance encounter in a Canberra nightclub. Afterward, I began to dream; dream I was something else. A powerful creature of muscles and claws, something powerful and confident and everything I wasn't.

I dreamed I was in love with a man I'd barely met.

The dream world is a beautiful, wondrous place, but there's a shadow in my dreams. An eclipse, broken with a gunshot. Then I wake up.

Now my dreams are coming true. My body is changing for real. I'm shedding Libby the Loser like an old skin. I'm growing into something else.

But there are others. Others like me, and they don't get along. People are disappearing. People are dying.

The shadow is falling over the real world, too, and everything has changed.


Link to the full book:


David Adams, self published writer and author of the Lacuna series.

MarkS said...

Great post, man. Fun idea too. There's a reality TV feel to this. Maybe you'll find something good, likely you'll find lots of garbage.

J. R. Tomlin said...

After giving it some thought, coming from a reviewer who isn't a REAL reviewer (if you were you'd be published by the NYT or a REAL publisher) instead of vanity publishing your reviews on Blogger, I'd say your prejudice is fairly amusing. There are probably 2 or 3 self-published blogger reviewers who are worth taking the time with. The rest are the dreck of reviewing.

Anonymous said...

This. Calling out self-published authors on a self-published review blog is the pinnacle of hubris.

Noldorimbor said...

Love the blog Pat but this post really sounds like you are indeed a douchebag.

If you don't want to spend your time with self published authors (which I agree %100, now that I'm 30 and have so little time left to read, I would NEVER waste anytime with any book that is not recommended to me by my choice of friends/ bloggers/ reviewers / writers) just dont read them. This post has a tone : "oh you poor poor little indies, stop begging me..okaaaay okayy i will give you a chance..May the odds be ever in your favour..let the hunger games begin!"

XJ Selman said...

Hi. Naked and freezing, I will step before your firing squad and present to you my book, whilst I look you in the eyes and hope for the best. My genitals may be cold and shriveled but so is the ice in my veins.

Why will you like this? Besides the usual fictional drivel (as I'm sure any premise pitched here will be met with snark), I think you'll like this because you and I are the same. Because it's coming from a writer who agrees with you, though I may have been less crass. A lot of self-published writers should never have self-published, and I myself am wary about investing my time in self-published books. Just a few months ago I held the same stance, but over time I've realized that there are some diamonds out there, and self-publishing is making more sense than traditional publishing every single day. So I hope I can prove you wrong -- and that's why you'll like this, because I've said that and because if you don't like my work, you can rub it in my naive self-publishing face.

It's short too, at 22k words, as it's meant as an opening (though a satisfying one) into the universe and series I've created.

Buried Hope

The world is dead. The world is dead. The world is dead… and for a thousand years, they’ve hidden. The bulb in the sky burns too hot and the winds of the surface world cut like knives. But it is the air that will kill you—when the cold wind seeps in, you die.

In the underground city of Spes, one bloodline has been granted the living gift by the timeless Eye. Only the Numbers and their blessed blood can survive the toxins of the world-with-no-walls. Through the Home Gate, the Number teleports to distant Gates—where the speeds of time have ripped, and years in one are days in another—to see if time has cured the land from the sins of men long gone and dead.

Thirty-one Numbers have come and gone, the gilded cloak passed from kin to kin, and when young Victor takes his right as Number Thirty-Two, his callow heart leads him wrong. He breaks the code. He risks his life. He travels to the surface world without planting the seed in his chosen bride, the seed to continue the blood solely his.

The Chancellor and the Eye’s Guard must hope the young Number returns from the voyage to the dead world, or the ancient line will end. And if they end, how will Spes know if the world is habitable? If they end, how will Spes survive the Eye?

Darren Pillsbury said...

All right, I'll play.

The book is PETER AND THE VAMPIRES (Volume One).

You can get it free at

It's the story of what happens when a ten-year-old boy moves into his grandfather's creepy old mansion and bad, baaaaaad things start to happen.

Like dead men in the garden...a classmate who comes back from the dead...and a child-snatching creature in the town lake.

The protagonists are children, but I wrote it more for adults who wish they'd had a kickass childhood. Probably 90% of my fans are 20 and older.

Volume One is comprised of four stories. The entire series is structured more like a TV show, with a different 'monster of the week' in every 'episode.' It's THE X-FILES by way of THE SIMPSONS.

It's creepy, it's fun, and it's got a lot of humor. If you liked Gaiman's CORALINE and STARDUST, you might like this. And Stephen King is a major influence.

Steve MC said...

I can see why Pat's getting so much flak for this, but the thing is, he knows he's prejudiced and yet he's willing to be proven wrong. He's saying, "Show me."

Like Simon Cowell may be a snob, but he'll be the first to admit when he's wrong if someone steps up and delivers.

Anonymous said...

If you like suspense novels, you might like to review Reprobate - A Katla Novel (Amsterdam Assassin Series).
My Pitch:

Assassin Katla breaks her own rules when confronted with an unusual witness...

Blessed with an almost non-existent conscience, Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, views assassination as an intricate and rewarding occupation. Hidden behind her male alter ego Loki, Katla receives anonymous assignments, negotiates the terms with clients through electronic means, all to protect her identity. Her solitary existence satisfies her until she meets a blind musician whose failure to notice a ‘closed’ sign causes him to wander in on Katla’s crime scene. And Katla breaks one of her most important rules - never leave a living witness.

Reprobate is the first novel in the Amsterdam Assassin Series. With authentic details and fast-paced action, featuring an uncompromising heroine and a supporting cast of unusual characters, Reprobate gives a rare glimpse in the local Dutch culture, information on the famous Dutch capital, the narcotics trade, computer hacking, motorcycle gangs, mehndi bridal tattoos, martial arts, and the brutal effectiveness of disciplined violence.

Tear it apart, please.

Just let me know where to send the .mobi or .epub file.

Kind regards,

Martyn V. Halm

Anonymous said...

Self-published author's complain that no one will give them a chance. Here's the chance, but the complaint is they'll be held to a high standard. If you're not confident in your book, fine, don't present it. Otherwise, what's the problem? If you're confident, go for it. At the very least some of the readers will check it out on Amazon or something to take a look, like I already have for the books mentioned above. Free advertising if nothing else.

Dave said...

Well you certainly do manage to stir the pot more than any other fantasy blogger I know :)

I've read several self-plublished books which were terrible but there have been a few really good ones out there such as Michael J. Sullivan's Riryia Revelations and Blood Song by Anthony Ryan before they got picked up by publishers.

Anonymous said...

Is this a self-published blog? What astounding vanity. I can't sugarcoat it. It's a turd. Just look at the design. It sucks. Come on. If you are not good enough to be hired by someone who matters, why try to foist this drivel on the world. What a self-important ass.

Anonymous said...

I was about to call him on this too. But you said it way better than I could, JR.

Anonymous said...

This self-published blogger doesn't know the business very well.

Anonymous said...

And Pat, you are.... who? Other than an attention seeker.

I've been a science fiction and fantasy reader for something like four or five decades... subscribed to the Locus newsletter at least half of that time... and haven't a clue as to who you are or why I should care.

Aidan Moher said...

J. R. Tomlin said...

After giving it some thought, coming from a reviewer who isn't a REAL reviewer (if you were you'd be published by the NYT or a REAL publisher) instead of vanity publishing your reviews on Blogger, I'd say your prejudice is fairly amusing. There are probably 2 or 3 self-published blogger reviewers who are worth taking the time with. The rest are the dreck of reviewing.



Anonymous said...

OK, I'll put my feet to the fire. I am both self-published and semi-traditionally published. The book I'd like to have reviewed is my SFF novel 'Water Harvest' , published by Double Dragon (an ebook publisher). My novels are not 'hard' scifi, but more what I'd characterize as science fiction with a goodly dose of fantasy stirred in. I believe that Water Harvest would be appropriate for either adult or YA audiences.

If you think you might be interested but want a little more background before committing, the link below will take you to my website, where there are review excerpts, samples from the novels, etc.

If you are interested I would be more than happy to send you a copy, in whatever ebook format you request.

Thanks for considering,
Eric Diehl

The Great Houses of Kast'ar have grown complacent. Technological adaptation bolsters a fragile biosphere, but one quandary remains unattended. Lunar-based harvest vessels orbit continuously, extracting their toll of moisture from the upper atmosphere.

Over time, the planet dries.

Now the Rules are caught unawares when a lunar enclave launches an invasion intended to seize control of the Harvest. House Alar, the greatest of the bloodline Keeps, falls before the predatory warlord. The invader's technology is strong and they are aided by the Guild; wizard-like practitioners whose hallucinogen-induced evocations bend fate to their will.

It falls to Cairn, Legion pilot and displaced heir to Alar, to persuade the House Alliance to intercede. His father and his love Neilai are held hostage, and a battered Cairn is dispatched to carry the vile interloper's edict. With few resources at hand, Cairn and boisterous comrade Dirc Cutter are thrust into a changed world. The Alliance falters and Cairn, son of House Alar, learns how little he knows of his home world.

machinery said...

neil gaiman and terry goodkind in the same line ... hmmm ...
well i read american gods, worst book ever compared to the raves it got.
terry goodkind is just better than that, and i know pat loves his books more than anything.

Unknown said...

I'll throw my hat in the ring.

"Blood of the King (Khirro's Journey Book 1"

A kingdom torn by war. A curse whispered by dying lips. A hero born against his will.

Khirro never wanted to be anything more than the farmer he was born to be, but a Shaman's curse binds him to the fallen king and his life changes forever.

Driven by the Shaman's dying words, Khirro's journey pits him against an army of the dead, sends him through haunted lands, and thrusts him into the jaws of beasts he wouldn't have believed existed. In one hand he carries the Shaman's enchanted sword, a weapon he can barely use; in the other he holds a vial of the king's blood, the hope of the kingdom. His destination: the Necromancer's keep in the cursed land of Lakesh. Only the mysterious outlaw magician can raise the king from the dead to save them all from the undead invasion, but can Khirro live long enough to deliver the vial?

Can a coward save a kingdom?

"The reason why I love independent authors is because of gems like this."

"The author's voice is no-nonsense, strong and experienced and the end result is therefore a strong novel, tight and full of action, no fluff, no padding, no wasted words."

I don't pretend to be China Mieville of George RR Martin, nor do I want to be. My epic fantasy series is written with an adventure/thriller sesibility that focuses more on character and story than what everyone had for dinner. Despite what other commenters here have expressed, I choose to believe that if you are truly a lover of SFF, then you will put any prejudices aside for a great story. When you want a copy of "Blood of the King", I can be reached at bruceblake(at)hotmail(dot)ca.
Thanks for taking the time.

Ed Robertson said...

Here you go, man. Tear it to confetti if you want. You wouldn't be the first. But even if you hate it, I don't think it fits your ideas about what self-publishing means in 2013.


In New York, Walt Lawson is about to lose his girlfriend Vanessa. In Los Angeles, Raymond and Mia James are about to lose their house. Within days, none of it will matter.

When Vanessa dies of the flu, Walt is devastated. But she isn't the last. The virus quickly kills billions, reducing New York to an open grave and LA to a chaotic wilderness of violence and fires. As Raymond and Mia hole up in an abandoned mansion, where they learn to function without electricity, running water, or neighbors, Walt begins an existential walk to LA, where Vanessa had planned to move when she left him. He expects to die along the way.

Months later, a massive vessel appears above Santa Monica Bay. Walt is attacked by a crablike monstrosity in a mountain stream. The virus that ended humanity wasn't created by humans. It was inflicted from outside. The colonists who sent it are ready to finish the job--and Earth's survivors may be too few and too weak to resist.

Amazon: If Amazon's not your thing, it's at the other stores too.

Why do I think you'll like it? Honestly, I doubt you will. But I spent fifteen years wishing there were more books like The Stand. Then I stopped wishing and did my best to write one.

Unknown said...

Pat, thank you for this opportunity. I started down the indie path last year and no matter what you write, I appreciate your feedback. My goal is to sell bokks, not write art, so knowing what's like or not is very useful to me.

The first novel ine my series is titled "Mythical: Heart of Stone".

It's about a super soldier who sets out to stop the monster that killed him. It's got action, magic, hi tech and teenagers.

You should read it as I tried to write something that might appeal to a broad audience but s contain pulp elements.

You, or any one else, can download a free copy at using coupon HN37C (expires 3-21-13)

Thanks for your time and consideration. This post has just made me a regular reader at this blog.


Steven Saus said...

Hi, Pat. I'm not quite your target with this - I'm a micro-publisher, and I do anthologies. That said, I'm close enough that I'd like to pitch at least two books for you all to review.

_See No Evil, Say No Evil_, by Matt Betts. Collection of poetry and flash fiction.

Killer Shark? Check.
Godzilla? Check.
Robots? Check.
Bigfoot? Check.
Elvis? Check.

What more could you want in your poetry? Rhymes?

_Dangers Untold_, edited by Jennifer Brozek.

Dangers Untold isn’t your normal horror anthology; not a vampire, zombie or werewolf to be found. Filled with unusual monsters and unexpected terror, Dangers Untold is a series of seventeen short stories from horror industry professionals who have a different take on what makes for good horror.

"Jim Theis" said...

Hi, I'd like to submit my sword-and-sorcery epic "The Eye of Argon". It follows the adventures of Gringr and the trouble caused by a fauceted scarlet emerald. I had a little trouble with the ending, but I'm sure you'll never forget my prose!


Anyway. Self-fulfilling prophecy here. If you wanted to read self-published work, you'd do what most readers do and wait till someone whose taste you respect recommends one to you. You want to make a point and I'm sure you'll make exactly that point. Have fun with that!

MeiLin Miranda said...

I've been a professional writer for 30 years; I gots my big girl pants on. :)

Title: "The Machine God"
Author: MeiLin Miranda
Word count: approximately 60,000

This book is currently an ARC; it will be released in early February. It is professionally edited and designed, and is part of a four-book shared universe series of stand-alone novels by four independent (or self-published if you will) fantasy writers.

tl;dr description: A professor who's lost everything discovers a being who can do anything--except save itself.


Professor Oladel Adewole has lost tenure, and the beloved, much-younger sister he's raised has died. With no reason to stay, he leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt.

One thing makes life there bearable: the island floating a mile above the city. Adewole is an expert in the myths told all over the world about the island, but no one's ever been there, nor knows how it got there.

When a brilliant engineer makes it to the island in her new invention, the government sends Adewole up with its first survey team. The expedition finds civilization, and Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God.

The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the mechanical creature is--and what it can do--he risks his heart and his life to protect the Machine God from the world, and the world from the Machine God.


Have at me! :D

Kevis Hendrickson said...

Since I’ve always loved the smell of napalm, thought I’d submit one of my pieces to this wonderful book burning party. Who doesn’t like a good ol’ fashioned BBQ?

Rogue Hunter: Inquest (Space Opera)
Official Blurb:


Fearing retribution from ruthless gangsters over an unsettled debt, intergalactic bounty hunter Zyra Zanr ventures to a distant world to collect the reward for Boris Skringler, a notorious terrorist, who has been sentenced to death by political rivals of the InterGalactic Alliance. When she fails to secure his release, she decides to break him out of prison. Zyra soon finds herself an unwilling participant in events that lead to a climactic showdown between the most powerful worlds in the galaxy.

Torn between her desperation to rid herself of the threats to her life and her guilt in agitating the conflict between two galactic superpowers, Zyra is horrified to learn that the lives of an entire world of people hinge on her ability to return Skringler to his captors. However, her distrust of Skringler gives way to lust, unraveling her plans. Will Zyra give into her passion and allow Skringler to go free? Or will she surrender him to her enemies to stop an impending war? The fate of billions depend on whether she chooses life for a killer or the death of her lover.

Hope you’ll have a “go” at my book, Pat. Just say the word and I’ll let you take the butcher’s knife to my little darling. If all goes well, I'll have the distinguished honor of being added to your list of drivel-producing, wanna be, couldn't-get-published-for-real authors out there. I've always wanted the title. Now I get to make it official!

Richard Raley said...

...why has a mini Admiral Ackbar popped up on my shoulder?

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read something written by a self-published author, but the way you phrased your case is horrendous, Pat.

Either be magnanimous or scathing. You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

"You can call a woman an administrative assistant, but she's still a secretary. One might prefer to be called an adult entertainment performer, yet he or she remains a pornstar."

Apparently pornstars can be of either gender but only women can be secretaries...?

Anonymous said...

If you have a couple of minutes to spare and you want to laugh, you gotta check this out:,140616.0.html

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

You are absolutely right! Most self-published stuff is absolutely wretched. Then again, so is most commercially published stuff. It's a strange, strange thing.

But you're lucky! I'm offering you a chance to read NIGHTLIGHTS, by me! It's in the 1% of fiction that doesn't suck. You'll like it because you'll be so relieved to find something you can feel good about. Also, it has excellent characters, action, drama, fantasy and more excellent characters. Plus, I almost never do self-promotion (you caught me on an odd day) so you'll have the pleasure of promoting an unknown treasure!

NIGHTLIGHTS is about a secret society defending humanity from invisible monsters. Oh yes. They use weapons created from their psyches, their best warriors are usually teenagers, and they live in a tower in a pocket universe that they inherited from a long-dead alien race. You know it's awesome. Battles! Betrayal! Drama! Also, neglect, abuse, despair, love, sacrifice, isolation and redemption.

Here's the blurb from Amazon: "Ajax Holdren didn't think his life could get much worse, until a pretty girl with a sword decided to fight a monster right outside his house. But it turns out the monster is after him, and she's what passes for a guardian angel, a Nightlight-- and Ajax is potentially the most powerful Nightlight ever. Once Ajax meets Natalie, he can't go back, can't pretend the monsters aren't there. But going forward takes him into a world beyond imagining, where the walls talk and the sun never shines, and the mankind's worst enemy isn't the monsters who stalk the street but the people who make them."

Anonymous said...

To each their own, and I've never been either a sci-fi or a fantasy writer. Those genres bore me to tears no matter who writes it. However, I doubt anyone can get a fair shake when you're desperate to tear people to shreds. I think the gauntlet was thrown laced with acid and I feel bad for people who take it up.

Anonymous said...

"If you have a couple of minutes to spare and you want to laugh, you gotta check this out:,140616.0.html"


Laugh at what? The truth?

Drew said...

There is so much to love in the comments section. My favorites are the people bitching about Patrick's tone in his post and that his true motivations are just to troll and bash Indie authors. If you don't like it leave and never visit again, no one is sitting over your shoulder forcing you to visit his website.

Authors need to have the stones to put themselves, and their work, out there. If they are scared someone is going to be critical of their work they need to stick to their day job and off of the message boards where they whine about how Indie authors get no respect. Why should I give a shit about your book if you don't have faith in it?

Lastly whoever does have their work chosen, regardless of what Pat says, is going to have more publicity than they have ever had before. A Google of "fantasy blogs" puts Pat at #2. If Pat tears into the work people will get it just to see if its true, if he praises it they will get it because they respect his opinion. Honestly it is a win win. So everyone quit your bitching and let Pat get down to the business of selecting what he is going to read.

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

Oh, don't feel bad for us! He did spell out the acid very clearly. Besides, the acid is all virtual. Where's your sense of adventure?

(Look, my last name. Technically you can find my books by searching on Amazon by my first name but that doesn't seem to occur to people.)

Patrick said...

Hey guys,

Yes, the tone of the post is harsh. That was on purpose. I'm sick and tired of reading posts by disgruntled self-published writers crying about the fact that they get no love anywhere and how nearly impossible it is for them to get any kind of exposure on different message boards. I'm tired of getting my inbox filled with review requests from them, tired of having them spam my Facebook page inbox with the same messages.

My position regarding indie/self-published writers is quite clear. Anyone hanging out around the same message boards I frequent is aware of this. I've always been transparent. But in the back of my mind, there is always this small doubt making me wonder if there are indeed a few diamonds in the rough.

So I elected to challenge them. Yes, I knew I would get pissed on for choosing such an antagonistic approach and I didn't mind if I ruffled a few feathers. I want those indie/self-published writers be irked; I want them to take up the challenge and prove me wrong. Because that's what it's all about.

Those clowns on the Kindle boards are saying that it's just a ploy to mock someone's work. If they had done a little background check, they would know I have no time for this. Anyone who gets selected will get a fair shot -- same as any author whose work I read and review. And yet, because I still live under the assumption that most self-published novels are not very good, I felt the need to point out that I would show absolutely no mercy if crap was sent my way. Believe you me: I will commit to read the first 100 pages of the book that my readers will vote for. And if it is decent, I will finish it and review it on the Hotlist. To go through all this simply to massacre a work would be pointless...

What do I offer in return? That dearly sought after exposure those indie authors all crave. Pat's Fantasy Hotlist remains on the most popular SFF book-reviewing blogs on the internet. We're talking about thousands of unique visitors from 105 countries every week. I'm giving you a chance to showcase your work and perhaps get it reviewed on the Hotlist.

I don't remember exactly if it was indeed Mark Lawrence who said that (I think it was), but a positive review of mine of a fantasy author's debut saw his Amazon sales go up 1300% the day following the posting of said review. So yes, the exposure you might get could have positive repercussions on a commercial level.

Patrick said...

Part 2:

You will be held to a high standard, however. The same standard as debut authors such as Peter V. Brett, Myke Cole, Saladin Ahmed, Mark Lawrence, Ian Tregillis, etc.

TrackerNeil: I understand and respect your decision. But this could be a good opportunity to give some exposure to THE DUCHESS OF THE SHALLOWS. What have you got to lose?? Yes, even if I enjoy your book, it might just be a drop in a sea of mediocrity (I stand by those words until proven otherwise). But we need those drops to help change the minds of people like me. If I read your book and ultimately give it a glowing review, then perhaps other popular bloggers will be intrigued and want to give it a shot. To a certain extent, I guess it's about getting the ball rolling all around the SFF blogosphere. Other than Justin a while back, no one has taken the time to give indie/self-published writers a shot. In 2012, I received about 700 books from a panoply of publishers. Most years, I'll read 40-something titles. So that's just a little over 5% of the review copies sent my way. All the SFF bloggers I know are in the same situation. So it up to you guys to prove to us that your books deserve our attention.

So that's about it, folks. You can act like a "vierge offensée" and keep on throwing shit my way. Or, if you are confident in your work and you want to prove me wrong and shut me up, you can take me up on this challenge. =)

You want exposure on a relatively vast scale, this is a golden opportunity for you. It's your decision...

Most bloggers have been telling me that I'm going to regret this, and I'm doing this against my better judgment. So please, prove me/them wrong!

Anonymous said...

If you don't want shit thrown your way, then stay out of the toilet. You're like the bully who instigates a fight and then feigns bafflement when your victims push back.

I don't think you're using this as a ploy or anything like that, but that's not what the KB thread is actually saying. They're saying you've shown an antagonistic bias already, and that's going to color any review of an indy title that you put out. And that means people won't be able to trust your opinion.

If you praise it, you'll be seen as pandering and if you bash it, well, you were never going to like it no matter what. No one wins in either case. They also point out the irony of bashing self-publishers when that's exactly what you are. The ones you call "clowns" actually have you pegged.

polishgenius said...

'Clowns'? Come on Pat, if you can't see why people are getting the impression that you're looking for something to trash or, at best, will have your review unintentionally coloured by your views on self-publishing, then maybe you need to do a mini-review of your own writing before you go looking at someone else's. It was not an elegant challenge.

Markham said...

Blogger = self published. Which one are you, Pat, the kettle or the pot?

nwrann said...

EUROPA is a fast-paced hard sci-fi told from alternating perspectives of the diverse six member crew aboard the ill-fated Galileo Mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Galileo Team 10, tasked with harvesting a microorganism to save Earth's oceans, has been in isolation on the frozen moon for six and a half years. Now with their expiration date fast approaching, the mission teeters on the razor's edge. Millions of lives hang in the balance as the crew battles inner demons, mysterious afflictions and each other in the all-consuming quest for success.

The gauntlet is thrown as EUROPA opens with the first chapter from the perspective of the tweaking, mathematical genius Ganesh. From there the narrative throttles forward with chapters alternating between the giant-sized, hard-assed militant Sergeant Gus Johnson; rich, joyrider: "Ace"; levelheaded "Doc"; religious fanatic Captain David Monroe and the rest of the crew. Once you get inside their heads, you can't get out.

EUROPA was written by Nicholas Faraday and Heidi Fuqua.

You can find it at Amazon here:

If you would like to read/review it I can either send you a download code for e-book via Smashwords or a paperback via snail mail.

Anonymous said...

"You can act like a "vierge offensée" and keep on throwing shit my way."

Nobody is throwing shit your way. They are laughing at you.

Unknown said...

I'll bite. What the hell.

I'm nominating my second book - FLEDGE: Book Two of the I Am Just Junco series.

My main character is a female version of Takeshi Kovacs and if you liked the Altered Carbon series by RKM - you might like mine, however, this is a female POV, and I've noticed that the boys in the SFF world don't care for that, so if you're one of them, disregard.

If you're up for a female Kovacs, then I'll take your knocks and be happy. Here's the blurb:

Junco Coot can’t even remember her trip off Earth; she was too busy being morphed into her new avian body. But reality hits her hard when she wakes up to find her new life is not what she expected. Not even close.

Tier is on trial for treason, the avian president wants her dead, her new military team is hostile, her body is being taken over by an illicit AI, and her only friend is a ten-year old throwaway boy.

In most places the avian Fledge ritual would be nothing more than mass murder, but here in the capital city of Amelia, it’s called growing up. Junco has two choices: fight to the death to prove her worth, or get sent back to Earth in the hands of her enemies.

In a foreign culture and surrounded by people she can’t trust or count on, Junco must find a way to save herself and Tier without losing her immortal soul in the process.

I'd nominate the first book in the series, but honestly, this book is so much better, why pretend?

"Jim" said...

"To a certain extent, I guess it's about getting the ball rolling all around the SFF blogosphere. Other than Justin a while back, no one has taken the time to give indie/self-published writers a shot."

Okay, the ritual evisceration of a couple of submissions is one thing. You're open about not liking them and all.

But this...this is spectacular. Shall we rephrase this to "in the tiny part of the SFF blogosphere which I read and consider important"? [I'm also willing to bet all (or all but one) will be blogs run by men.]

Seriously, there's _tons_ of reviews of self-published books out there. Some of it well-done, some of it basic. You have a relatively big following,, what a statement.

Richard Raley said...

"Authors need to have the stones to put themselves, and their work, out there. If they are scared someone is going to be critical of their work they need to stick to their day job and off of the message boards where they whine about how Indie authors get no respect. Why should I give a shit about your book if you don't have faith in it?"

Pretty sure we put ourselves out there when we digitally publish it in the first place. That's kind of the point.

Besides the tone of Pat's post, the big problem with it is that it's recalling a dark time for "Indies" and hitting a nerve Pat probably doesn't realize exists. It used to be, back in 2011, the first thing you did as an "Indie" was to get a list of bloggers and fill out the mind-numbing, soul-crushing queries to "please review this book". Only to get nasty messages in return when we couldn't decipher their purple curl font submission rules. Or to get accepted but to never get a review back. Ever...

"Indies" know a good, professional, and on time blogger is just as rare as Pat's claiming good digitally published novels are. We know we used to have to rely on them to get the word out and we know how much it sucked. And here's a blogger putting salt in the wound and basically telling us to bow before him. LOOK AT MY PAGE VIEWS IN WONDER!

Luckily, that's not the way it works any longer. KDP Select really changed the game. It's 2013, not 2011. My THE FOUL MOUTH AND THE FANGED LADY is free on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo for anyone to read and review, not just Pat. He's more than welcome to download it if he wants and review it. Any one is.

But I'm not going to jump through hoops and try to read his purple curlz font...

Kip Manley said...

Oh, what the hell: City of Roses. It is epic, but it is urban; it's also a serial, though that makes it as much a novel as any decent TV show these days. Shall I grab some jacket copy? —City of Roses is a serialized epic firmly set in Portland, Oregon—an urban fantasy mixing magical realism with gonzo noirish prose, where ancient sea-gods retire to close-in apartments with lovely views, and the Duke of Southeast throws wild parties in the Masonic Temple on Hawthorne Avenue. —It’s the story of Jo Maguire, a highly strung, underemployed telemarketer, and what happens when she meets Ysabel, a princess of unspecified pedigree. Jo rather unexpectedly becomes Ysabel’s guardian and caretaker, and now must make a place for herself among Ysabel’s decidedly unusual family and friends—which involves rather more sword-play than most of us are used to.

The Web Fiction Guide says it’s “utterly captivating” and “brilliant”; the Guardian says “City of Roses is an absorbing read that many fantasy fans will enjoy immensely.”

Portlandia meets Folk of the Air, if I had to pitch it in an elevator.

But I hate elevators. —Start here.

Anonymous said...

And I repeat my queston, Pat...... who are you and why should I care? How do I "background check" you? I did a quick search and yeah, there this blog is, one of thousands on indistinguishable grains of sand on this particular beach. With a high opinion of itself. Never heard of it or you in my decades of reading and following the genres. Never heard mention of it or you on any traditional or self-publishing related sites, articles, recommendations, etc.

Best I can tell, nothing to see here folks, you may just want to move along unless you particularly enjoy feeding trolls.

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

Okay, I'm a little bewildered at the idea that Kindle Select 'changed it all'. I'm pretty sure I did the 'ping blogs who accept self-published work' about six months ago to almost zero response. It was so like looking for an agent that I had flashbacks. Most of them were crap blogs anyhow, and most of them had gone silent under the absolute onslaught of desperate self-publishers.

And without serious blogs and without hanging out on forums and a large social network and other things to encourage word of mouth independent of the book itself, why, there's no real difference between 2013 and 2011. And I've even been published by a small press! Kindle Select certainly doesn't contribute to being _paid_ for your work. I have to wonder if the people who think that It's Different For Indies now are all quite active on forums and noisy with the self-promotion. Because if that's not your standard MO, you still pretty much have to rely on getting lucky to sell books, just like you do with agents and bloggers.

It seems to me that people who think "It's different now" are people with the money and time and skills to pour into making sure their book is read, which is an entirely different skillset than 'writing a book'. Personally, I've chosen to focus on the writing skills. (Vote for NIGHTLIGHTS!)

The Grand Leaf said...

Most of these synopses don't pique my interest at all, but MeiLin Miranda's got my attention. 60,000 words is a bit short for a novel, though.

Paul Clayton said...

I’ll put up my self-published short story collection -- Strange Worlds (by Paul Clayton) for review.

I never sent Strange Worlds to agencies because I knew New York would never publish it. Not because it’s not every bit as good as what they put out, but because they would recoil at the world views, and because I take readers to forbidden places and show them the brazen pocked faces of heresy. When you finish reading my stories you may declare one or two of them (there are fourteen) clinkers, but isn’t that the way it is with collections and anthologies? Not every story is going to resonate with you.

On Amazon my collection has sold one (1) copy in paperback and one (1) in Kindle, and is sitting at Amazon Best Sellers Rank #4,495,806 and #614,485 respectively. So a slam from you is not going to dry up sales ;)

Written in homage to the scifi masters, my stories are not classics, but they’re good; I say this unequivocally, despite the drive by, one-star shit reviews that are sure to come… because ‘reviewing’ has become a virtual blood sport, and Amazon and the web has become an unpoliced playground for poseurs, jerks and vandals. And I really don’t give a damn what such people have to say.

I has spoken!

Anonymous said...

@Anon: I don't know about numbers and stuff like that. But quotes from Pat's reviews have appeared on many books on this side of the Atlantic. Books by authors like Steven Erikson, Scott Lynch, R. Scott Bakker, etc.

He's been around since 2005, I think, and he has helped many, many readers like me discover sff writers like Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik, Joe Abercrombie, etc.

You may hate the tone he used in this post but trying to belittle him for speaking out against self-published writer is kind of stupid. Check out his index of reviews and interviews and you'll see that the content of this blog speaks for itself!


Anonymous said...


Dude, stop touting around like you know what you're talking about. There's a giant typo right on the first page of your book ("thought" should be "though"). If I see sloppiness like that on the first page why should I give the rest of your work a chance? Just stop.

MeiLin Miranda said...

My other two are twice as long. :) It is a bit short these days! But McCarthy's "The Road" clocks in at about the same length. (Any other comparison ends there.) You can read an excerpt from the first chapter at

MeiLin Miranda said...

Oh, also: thank you! I appreciate the compliment.

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

OMG! You looked at my book? What exactly is my incentive to 'just stop' here?

Besides, I'm relating my personal experience and observations. I'm quite confident that I know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the correction! I'll give my copy editor a stern talking-to. (Gotta say, one perk of the self-pub is that I can fix that right away rather than hoping my publisher gets it in a re-release.)

Chris said...

Now I wish I had actually finished that novel I'd started working on many moons ago...

And really people, Pat's right--there's a reason people self publish, and it's not ALWAYS because they're just getting jobbed by the system. Yes, publishers have bias', but to be fair, they generally know what sells and what doesn't.

And seriously--there's only so many LotR knockoffs we can handle (I know previous works I tried somehow always snaked back to that...)

Good Luck to those that are earnestly trying, however!

Anonymous said...

What a complete and total twat you are. Although, that said, look at these authors flocking for your approval like're clearly also a twat magnet. Ughh. Time to ditch your little blogspot feed.

lokistavia said...

Mr pat:

Aren't you a self published critic?

Anonymous said...

I've bitten my tongue on this for a minute ... but, I think I a point in dire need of being made needs to, well, be made ...

You, Patrick, are a "writer" or so you claim ... five years ago you posted on your blog you had "agented up" and were in the submission process ... and then ... crickets? You are what I call a wanderlust-writer, you have a strong ebbing desire to be published, yet you aren't (and no, sorry, I don't count your adventure in "Indie Journalism" or "Self-Published Journalism" aka Blogging as being a writer). Yet, you sit in judgement of other's who have done what you've only just *talked* about doing. I suppose all this self-published angst you feel is left over resentment from your time on the query-pitch-go-round, and I understand, it's exhausting and boring and outdated -- almost as archaic your views and blog itself, ironically enough.

So, while you're busy typing away at your diatribe on how "self-published author are so terrible" and a "waste of your precious time", I'm busy writing my next novel because I have that luxury, my 70% royalties on my *published* novels afford me that. So tell me Patrick, who wins?

Anonymous said...

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan seems a good pick

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the "Don't Feed the Trolls" attitude when it is they themselves who are the trolls here. Pat, it always amazes me how divisive your blog is.

Anyway, I'd have to agree with The Grand Leaf so far and say that the synopsis that has me most intrigued at this point is by MeiLin Miranda, though it does remind me somewhat of Laputa.
Also, I like Paul Clayton's weary worldview so I'd also place a bet on him.


Sombra said...

I have to agree with The Grand Leaf about the synopsis for MeiLin Miranda's book "The Machine God". The book itself could be utter dross, but I have to admit that's one of the best short blurbs I have ever seen. It passes the "I'm intrigued - tell me more ..." test.

Anonymous said...

OK, eventhough I find this post's tone way too pricky I also find Slef Publishing Writers reactions hillarious.,140616.0.html

I checked the above link and it seems ALL of these indies think they are some rare gems and everyone else who doesn't get their value are just outdated people unaware of the ways of internet..yeah right.

Anonymous said...

Please pick my book!

It's about a Science Fiction and Fantasy blogger who believes his blog is way more important than it actually is.

Anonymous said...

Then your reading comprehesion is in pretty bad shape.^^

Whirlochre said...

Call me a fool, but I'm a self-pubbed writer here on a bona fide suction ticket.

I agree that a great deal of self-pubbed stuff is bad, bad, bad — but some of it isn't, and that can only be good for us all when the Trad vs Self-pub shenanigans have ironed themselves out like a pair of self-flattening trousers.

My book, Broken Vacuum Cleaner & MacKillop Series 2 Episode IV: Yuckahula, is here, in deliberate media res, waiting to be devoured by the SFF fraternity

I figured there are too many talking animals and quipsy droids out there in SFF land - maybe what every doomed cosmos needs right now is defunct cleaning appliance eureka.

It's only 5000 words long, so you won't be hoovered away from your Gaiman for any great length of time.

Give me a try. The worst you can possibly say is THIS BABY SUCKS BIGGER THAN ANYTHING THAT'S EVER SUCKED BEFORE.

Indeed it does — that's the point.

MeiLin Miranda said...

Can I quote you? I write blurbs for other indies on the side. ;) Thank you for the compliment. It will be out in February in ebook and paperback in March. My website has samples of my work, though I haven't put up the Machine God excerpt yet.

MeiLin Miranda said...

I've never read Laputa. I will have to go check it out now! :)

Greg Curtis said...

Hi Pat,

I obviously don't read the same boards as you, so I'm not completely sure where you're coming from. However, I'm happy to have my work reviewed.

And just to be completely clear, I am self published, so I am my own editor and cover designer and marketer and all those other roles that trade published authors get given to them.

My book is Days of Light and Shadow; By Greg Curtis.

Its a traditional fantasy with humans and elves and magic, but with a few twists on the theme. For a start the bad guys are the elves and the hero is no boy wizard.

Here's the blurb:

Not all elves are nice!

High Lord Finell of the elves sits on the Heartwood Throne, lost in grief and rage. His sister has been brutally murdered and he dreams of revenge against those who murdered her, the savage humans. And he doesn’t care who has to suffer to make his dream a reality. Not his people. Not his own house.

Unknown to him his trusted adviser Y'aris was actually the one behind the crime. As he plays the high lord like a puppet, he secretly plots to destroy Finell and take the throne for himself, and then to launch a war of purification. He dreams of a day when the only people left in the world will be elves of the most noble blood, and he will sit as their king.

Unfortunately to make his dream come true Y’aris had to make a deal with a demon, and the demon has his own plans for the world.

Standing against them is Lord Iros of Greenlands, envoy for the human realm of Irothia, and a few other brave souls. But their dreams have become nightmares.

It's on the kindle at:

Whether you'll like it or not I don't know. I don't know your tastes. And I suspect that given you're only reading a hundred pages and the book is 250 k long you'll barely get a flavour of the story's theme of redemption.

Cheers, Greg.

Unknown said...

Ever seen the movie Not Another Teen Movie? Well, this is basically the same but set in fantasy. I'll poke fun at all the heavy hitters and Goodkind. Erikson, Martin, Abraham, Morgan,and on and on. It's fucking gold, I tell you.


Wind was blowing. Because she needed the money. But Wind was done for the day and her coin purse hung heavy on her side, the night's festivities promising judging from the purse's weight. As Wind wound her way through the village she heard a familiar voice.
"Holy fucking spirits, Wind. Where are your pants?"
Wind looked down aghast. In her slightly altered state, she'd forgotten to dress fully. She turned with an ominous downward eye and ran back to Treal's.

Ragina stood, immobile, laughing so hard she thought she would vomit. Seeing Wind walking in all her hairy glory through the middle of the village had been too much. Fuck'n Spirits, I need a drink, she thought in italics, but alas, Ragina was only eighteen summers old and the drinking age was thirty-seven.
Ragina, eye's finally clearing from laughing's tears, decided to head up to Basa's house. Her parents were gone for a month to Noweto's annual fair where they hoped to sell their ware's to prepare for winter's....scare. Basa had been partying since the morning they'd left a week and a half ago so it was doubtful any spirits remained.
The walk was over three leagues which would take the better part of the morning. Ragina walked, eyes focused on nothing but the previous night, oblivious to the world playing in her wake and walk; squirrels and birds hopped and twisted through the lush wood, Breeze was blowing....
"Breeze, fuck's sake, girl. At least walk off the path a little. The fuck?"
Ragina walked on shaking her head at the younger girls lack of decorum. Wind and Breeze, sisters that'd had their chins worn smooth by the entire village's male, and sometimes female, residency.

Dr. Gangrene said...

You can call "a woman an administrative assistant, but she's still a secretary"... Seriously?
Did you mean to come off as a sexist in addition to an asshole, if so then good job. What a prick. You're everything people hate about reviewers.

And it's a sales pitch you dumb fuck. Not a Sale's pitch.
Typos in a blog about how untalented indy writers are. LOVE it!

Anonymous said...

Have at it Pat! Don't let these punks bring you down!

FRChris said...

Salut Pat,

Désolé d'écrire en français mais si je lis parfaitement l'anglais, à l'écrit je suis pas assez précis pour expliquer mon propos.

Bref, en tant qu'amoureux de SF & Fantasy j'ai découvert quelques perles en 'indie publishing' sur Amazon.

Je te félicite d'essayer de dépasser tes préjugés pour cet essai ... mais je pense que c'est voué à l'échec :

Vu la nature de ton chalenge, je pense que tu n'aura que des auteurs 'indie' désespérés qui vont te répondre.

En conséquence, il y a pas mal de chance qu'on te propose des daubes, ce qui te confortera dans ton idée.

A mon (très) humble avis, tu ferais mieux de demander a ton audience des recommandations.

Je pense que par recoupement certains titres devraient émerger. Ils auraient au moins l'avantage d'avoir plu à d'autres personnes que leurs auteurs.

Après l'échec que sera certainement cette expérience et si tu veux encore laisser une chance à l'auto publication, je te suggère juste 2 titres géniaux :

En SF : Wool


En Fantasy : The Hungering Saga


Voilà, merci pour ton temps si tu as lu mon message et merci pour le blog dont je suis fan depuis pas mal d'années.

Anonymous said...

Can we vote Pat off the island?

Anonymous said...

"OK, eventhough I find this post's tone way too pricky I also find Slef Publishing Writers reactions hillarious.,140616.0.html

I checked the above link and it seems ALL of these indies think they are some rare gems and everyone else who doesn't get their value are just outdated people unaware of the ways of internet..yeah right."

Wow, some people only see what they want to see. I didn't see one person mentioning their own work in that thread. Even if they did, isn't that displaying the CONFIDENCE in their writing Pat is talking about? Confidence doesn't mean acquiring validation from some self-important failed writer who thinks all indy writers suck to begin with.

He's been outed now anyway. Pat is(was?) a fantasy author represented by Matthew Bialer, who represents bestselling clients such as Stephen Lawhead, Tracy Hickman, Tad Williams and others. Clearly not a man incompetent at his job. Yet after 5+ years since the post on his other blog he is still unpublished.

No wonder he is so bitter toward self-publishers. They're making money and gaining readerships and living their dreams while his own work rots inside his desk or on his hard drive.

Brandon said...

The reactions here and on the kindle boards are a bit shocking. I'm not surprised by the vitriolic responses from self-published writers, as the tone of the original post could be construed as offensive by some.

But to be so thoroughly clueless as to how popular Pat's Fantasy Hotlist has become since its creation shows that these writers, even though the write in the sff genres, know basically nothing about the market they are trying to crack. Come on...

The guy is friends with bestselling authors like GRRM, Rothfuss, etc. He has connections with virtually every genre publisher on both sides of the ocean. You may not like or respect the guy, but Pat has made quite a name for himself.

Seeing all those self-important self-publisher writers trying to belittle him and this blog is quite funny, because it shows that they know nothing about the online sff market.

You have to admire the guy for posting all the abuse thrown against him without censoring anything.

Keep up the good work, Pat!

Anonymous said...

"The guy is friends with bestselling authors like GRRM, Rothfuss, etc. He has connections with virtually every genre publisher on both sides of the ocean. You may not like or respect the guy, but Pat has made quite a name for himself."

So this excuses the way he conducted himself in public? Does who he is friends with make his opinion valid, somehow? And you would think all these "friends" could have helped him out a bit with his own fiction endeavors. Were his books really that bad? I guess they must be, since no "real" publisher picked them up.

"Seeing all those self-important self-publisher writers trying to belittle him and this blog is quite funny, because it shows that they know nothing about the online sff market."

So defending yourself and your profession when someone trashes it is "self-important?" Oh well, you can't please everyone. The floodgates are open now for self-publishing, and once you open Pandora's Box you can't shut it again. Like it or not, self-publishing is here to stay and that's a reality Pat and his ilk will have to get used to. Many self-published writers are doing just fine without having to know the almighty "online sff market."

Personally, I could care less if Pat wants to review self-published work or not. His blog, his prerogative. I also could give a hoot if everyone or no one reads his blog. It's his attitude I take issue with, especially since as those who have done their "background research" have shown, he has NO room to talk. He's a self-published writer trashing other self-published writers.

I do have to agree with one thing and give kudos for allowing all comments through. I would love nothing more than to accuse him of being one who can dish it out and not take it, but I can't. Here's to hoping for fair reviews of whoever he decides to accept.

J Aaron Flynn said...

Here's the blurb for a novella I've written, called "The Fivefold Prophecy" (Available on Kindle here: or just email me, as I'm always happy to give away free copies):

The magocracy of Shal'Tashar has known unbroken peace for nearly five hundred years thanks to its seemingly benevolent rulers, the Quintarchs of the Four Temples.With the power to manipulate minds, bend space and alter the flow of time itself, the Quintarchs have little to fear except the machinations of their fellow mages, and secrets they had thought long buried.

Now, at the zenith of their power, the rule of the Quintarchs and all of Shal'Tashar is threatened by the discovery of an ancient treaty signed in blood and magic, and a conspiracy led by men wielding strange powers not seen in almost half a millennium.

Old debts demand payment, a betrayal demands retribution, and a forgotten prophecy demands to be fulfilled.

- J. Aaron Flynn

Jon R said...

I keep checking this to look for new submissions for the contest, and coming away dissapointed. So before anybody else makes the same comment about how Pat is an unpublished writer, etc. check this out:

Pat is a published editor. Which means in the literary playground, he is better than all of you.

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

I find myself wondering if maybe all the Very Angry Indies are, ah, intercepting messages not meant for them.

Pat's offer is aimed at people who want to be reviewed by the likes of him, who possibly even want to be trashed by the likes of him. If you're a happy indie writer, and you don't feel like his blog serves any purpose for you, and you're taking offense at his offer, why?

Somebody said (paraphrased), "It's like offering floggings to people who don't want floggings," and it's not, it's offering floggings to people who think there will be some benefit to being flogged on the equivalent of national TV.

Personally, I'm one of the scores of people attracted by a shared link rather than a regular reader. And not knowing Pat, I don't care much about his opinion, so I can finally engage in what I've always wanted to do: daring somebody to, er, flog me, although it seems like MeiLin is winning that (congratulations!)

But I would really like the Kindleboards indie writers who are slamming Pat to be aware that they don't actually represent all people who have self-published a book. Some of us can't afford the time or money to cultivate the kind of social media/forum presence that seems to produce, if not sales, at least high Amazon Free numbers.

You don't need to be offended. Go roll in your piles of cash or something. Or if you lack piles of cash but have piles of self-righteousness instead, roll in those. Or maybe let your horizons broaden a bit past your bitterness. Your call.

(Yes, Pat's offer was phrased obnoxiously. The best English teacher at my college was an asshole, too. It kept down his class size and made sure people who cared about the work were the only ones who bothered. Egos bigger than brains need not apply.)

Anonymous said...

I haven't read too many self-published books, but one that was really good was Blood Song by Anthony Ryan.

J. Dean said...

I'll do this. If you criticize harshly, then I will endeavor to learn from what you lay out there and use it to better myself. If you like it, then I humbly give you my thanks. If you make your selections and choose not to look at mine, then I thank you in advance for this opportunity and wish the other authors here who are chosen the best.

This is the first book of a fantasy series. But this is not your typical fantasy series. There are no dragons, no elves, no knights, orcs or Wizards. This is a different world, a completely original story with original characters, original wonders and terrors, unlike anything else you have ever seen or will see.

I will tell you this: you will read nothing else like this book, whether you like it or not.


The Summoning of Clade Josso: The First Descent Into the Vein

"Seven will come for it... Seven will fight for it... Only one can possess it."

Seven Universes, bound together in their foundation. Seven Worlds severed from each other by war.
Seven Races, once unified, now know each other only as myths
Seven Bearers, motivated by Seven Reasons, summoned to unite in force, to free the Single Being who can set all things right again.

One Claim to Power, a reward that only one Bearer may possess...

Follow the first Bearer, Clade Josso, as he travels to the para-world of the Meridian, the World between worlds, as he discovers the wonders and terrors of this cursed realm. Aided by a mysterious group known only as the Sect, Clade must risk life and limb to traverse the Meridian, seeking to enter the mysterious place known as the Vein and claim the ageless Power within for the sake of those he loves.

You can find this book at the following places:


Barnes and Noble

Anonymous said...

"Pat is a published editor. Which means in the literary playground, he is better than all of you.

The book you cited is an anthology containing the work of five different authors. He didn't write it. How does that make him better than all of us?

Joe Vasicek said...

Hello Pat, my name is Joe Vasicek and I am one of the self-published writers you are so keen to deride. However, I'm not here to submit one of my own books (though if you'd like to read one, I'd be happy to send you a review copy), but to submit WOOL by Hugh Howey. I'm sure you've heard of his phenomenal self-publishing success story--if you haven't, a quick google search should be enough to educate you.

WOOL is a collection of interconnected stories about a society of people who have lived in a Silo for several generations, and details some of the key things they struggle with. I've only read the first one so far, but I can attest that it is on par with anything in the post-apocalyptic/dystopian subgenre.

Regarding self-publishing in general, I think your views are at least two years out of date. Back in 2010, I also was an aspiring writer who snubbed my nose at everything self-publishing. Then I read a little Joe Konrath, discovered Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch's blogs, read up on some of the things that Michael A. Stackpole has been saying for years, and realized that I was wrong.

For new writers, the traditional publishing system has been broken for decades, much the way that the music industry was broken before mp3s. The disruption of digital technology has been a great boon to artists and their fans across all kinds of media--indeed, the only people who are seriously hurt by the digital disruption are the middlemen, whose value as curators you yourself have called into question.

Yes, there is a lot of drek getting published nowadays. But does that really hurt anyone? Thousands of new blogs are started every day, many of them by SEO companies whose primary goal is not to create valuable content. Yet does that fact prevent you from finding all sorts of wonderful and interesting blogs that would not exist if syndicated print columns were still the only way to get your views out to a wide audience?

Two years ago, there was somewhat of a kerfluffle between traditional and self-published authors about which path is best. Now, that tempest in a teapot is pretty much over, and many of the big names (including Brandon Sanderson, whose self-published novella LEGION appears in a banner ad at the top of your blog) have embraced the new paradigm--a paradigm in which labels like "traditional" and "self-published" describe two equally valid means to the same end: getting stories out to the readers who will love them.

Annie Bellet said...

I'll bite, though technically I'm in that grey area of being both traditionally and self-published.

Avarice: Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division Book One

In the Free City of Pyrrh, murders and other serious crimes are investigated by the Cordonates of the Considerable Crimes Division.

Struggling with his grief over losing his last partner, the last thing Cordonate Parshan Koury wants is someone else. Zhivana Nedrogovna, his new partner, is fresh out of the City Watch and not even human, and unsure she wants to work with the broody, angry Par.

As Parshan and Zhivana rush to solve a case of mugging gone wrong that soon proves far more complex, they must learn to trust each other or this first case together might be their last.

Why you might like it:
Law and Order with sword fights. What is not to like? Also, you can check out the review of this novel on, which might give you a few more reasons to be interested:

Unknown said...

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

I find myself wondering if maybe all the Very Angry Indies are, ah, intercepting messages not meant for them.

Pat's offer is aimed at people who want to be reviewed by the likes of him, who possibly even want to be trashed by the likes of him. If you're a happy indie writer, and you don't feel like his blog serves any purpose for you, and you're taking offense at his offer, why?


I agree. I admit I've never heard of Pat before I saw this over at Kindle Boards, and I read all the same authors he does. But I don't hang out on any SF forums.

However, if we read the same books (and we do, from what I can tell), chances are we like the same things in those books. I'd take his advice. Maybe my book isn't his thing, but I'd listen and then take or leave whatever I wanted.

I've read a LOT of great indie authors - but I'll be honest - none of them have been SF. I review mostly new adult contemporaries at my blog and I'll say with conviction - the Indies I have read in that genre are pretty damn good and they are making dollars. And there have been several Indies on the NYT bestsellers list recently. Quite a few, actually.

But this is SF - the expectations are vastly different. I get that - I have two science degrees, I have high expectations when I read SF, and I don't finish most of the SF books I start. I've never, in fact, finished a Neil Gaiman book. Ever. That's not to say he's not a great author - he's just not my thing. And I could NEVER review Indie SF books. Never. I’m way too analytical and I think it takes something very unique to write this genre and to be blunt, not everyone has it.

So, whatever. I think Pat was pretty over the top with the secretary and porn star remarks - but honestly - SF is a guy's genre - it's almost expected that he be oblivious to that crap.

And I'm not a feminist anyway, so I could care less what he thinks of women. I don't want to marry the guy, just get his freaking opinion on a story.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon R said...

"Pat is a published editor. Which means in the literary playground, he is better than all of you.

The book you cited is an anthology containing the work of five different authors. He didn't write it. How does that make him better than all of us?

Because Subterranean Press asked him to edit an anthology of short stories written by some of the best, and they put his name on the cover.

Also, but unrelated, Pat is a Westerosi knight.

Anonymous said...

First, you, because you have to decide whether or not it's good enough to be sent to the agent. Second, the agent, because he's the one who has to decide whether or not it's good enough to go to an editor. Third, the editor, because she has to decide whether or not it's good enough to see print.

Which off the three decided your book was crap?

Anonymous said...


Please don't lump all of us self-publishers together. Not the bad ones and the good, and not the angry ones and the people who understand your view. While you may think less of us because we chose to (and really, it's a real decision for some instead of the only path) self-publish, try to be open to the idea that there might be some real talent out there self-publishing.

Anonymous said...

"I keep checking this to look for new submissions for the contest, and coming away dissapointed. So before anybody else makes the same comment about how Pat is an unpublished writer, etc. check this out:",

He is an unpublished writer.

Joe Vasicek said...

When I was at Conduit 2011 in Salt Lake City, Tracy Hickman introduced himself at one of the first panels by mentioning how many books he's written, how many are still in print (55), a few of his many other accolades...and then added "and I am doing my best to leave traditional publishing behind."

On the Writing Excuses podcast, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor have all put out self-published works. In fact, you are currently running a banner advertisement for Brandon's self-published novella. Howard Taylor was never traditionally published, and yet his self-published webcomic has been nominated for a Hugo twice.

Michael A. Stackpole, Dean Wesley Smith, and Kristine Katherine Rusch have been self-publishing for years. Other big names like Nathan Lowell, Michael J. Sullian, and Hugh Howey are entering the field after starting out self-publishing.

Yes, there are many big name authors whom I respect who are ambivalent at best when it comes to self-publishing. That is to be expected when a disruptive, revolutionary technology pushes an industry through a period of rapid change. At the same time, many others (especially the old midlisters, who were hit hard after the distributor collapse of the 90s) are doing everything they can to embrace the new paradigm.

For every bestselling author you find who still advises people against self-publishing, you will find another who says exactly the opposite. Hiding behind an appeal to authority only reveals your unwillingness to approach the issue rationally and with intellectual honesty.

This manufactured dichotomy of "traditionally published" versus "self-published" is no longer interesting or relevant. Perpetuating it not only harms new writers, it harms readers, established authors, and the speculative fiction genre as a whole. Instead of harboring bitterness and making out enemies where there are none, why can't we embrace the new paradigm and recognize that we are on the verge of a new golden age of books and reading?

Ed Robertson said...

"'As you've mentioned, self-publishing takes away two of these people. With whom does one replace them? One's mother? Best friend? Husband? Mmm...not so much. There's a reason for professionals in any business. It's why I don't do my own car repair, plumbing, or hematology.'

I'm just a lowly blogger, so my opinion doesn't mean crap. But that person has been a bestselling author for about three decades and has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. And yet, I doubt that the angry self-published writers will think much of this. After all, as a critically acclaimed and bestselling author, that person is probably part of the problem, right???"

I'm a self-publisher, but I'm not angry, so maybe I'm disqualified from responding to this.

But the answer is that you replace those two people with readers.

And if you're a professional self-publisher--which may sound oxymoronic, but that's where we're at now--then before you even get to the readers, you replace those two people with a team. Different authors do it different ways, but many successful self-publishers employ some combination of a cover artist, a developmental editor, a content and/or line editor, a proofreader (or several), and beta readers. These people may range from amateurs to professionals freelancing on the side. But good authors tend to find good teams.

And then you put it in front of readers.

I respect professionals--authors, editors, agents, even bloggers!--quite a lot. That's why I hope you're genuine about this offer, Pat. Self-publishers can be professionals, too. Ignore the medium and look at the work.

J. Dean said...

Addendum: the links didn't show up for mine. Sorry about that:

Clade Josso



Anonymous said...

Re: "what every pro has been saying thus far"

It should be fun to pick apart this message:

"I wanted to comment privately because I don't know that most of the people who are stomping their little feet would...umm...appreciate honesty?"

Already we've got an antagonistic tone. Way to add to the "foot stomping." How about addressing some of the points that are being made instead of adding to the noise?

"When I'm doing seminars with the dear ones who want to become Authors"

Condescending, much? Is that how we're going to play, Mister Author?

"(as opposed to writers, although they don't yet understand the difference), I usually tell them that before the book hits the shelves there are three people and three people only whose opinions matter, and none of them is your mother."

Uh oh, your mother. Someone got their feelings hurt.

"First, you, because you have to decide whether or not it's good enough to be sent to the agent."

I agree that you should be fully confident in your own work before putting out there, whether you're submitting to an agent or self-publishing. I've been writing since I was a child, but I was in my late twenties before I felt my writing was up to a publishable standard. There ARE many self-publishers who need edited first, or simply aren't ready. Thus their stories sink like stones and the ones who do buy a copy leave a bad review. Stuff that could be avoided with a little more time/seasoning.

"Second, the agent, because he's the one who has to decide whether or not it's good enough to go to an editor."

Problem is, agents get a lot of submissions. They've developed a shield of sorts against new authors, requiring cover letters, pitches, synopses, this that and the other thing. A lot of hoops to jump through and if they don't like any one of them they reject you without even reading a word of your story. You can have the best story in the world, but if you don't kiss the agent's ass and tell them how much you like their blog in the cover letter, in the rejected pile you go.

And since agents and publishers, up until now, have had total control of the industry, the authors who didn't want to play their reindeer games didn't have a place to go. Self-publishing results in a lot of bad stories on the market, but in my opinion a good one that couldn't get a break in NY immediately outweighs a thousand bad ones.

Anonymous said...

"Third, the editor, because she has to decide whether or not it's good enough to see print."

The editor is after money. He bases decisions on what he thinks is going to sell. Publishers are only after bestsellers these days, so you're damn sure that's what the editors will base their judgments on if they want to keep their jobs.

But if you could predict a bestseller, the publishing companies would be in a lot better shape right now. Bestselling indies like David Dalglish and Hugh Howey would have had contracts long ago and Harry Potter wouldn't have been rejected 17 times if they could. It's no coincidence that publishers have been going after bestselling indie authors like Amanda Hocking and John Locke.

"As you've mentioned, self-publishing takes away two of these people."

An editor is necessary for a self-published book in 99% of cases, I agree. The serious authors usually hire their own. As with any profession there are varying degrees of effectiveness. Agents are irrelevant to self-publishers unless they're looking to broker a traditional deal.

"With whom does one replace them? One's mother? Best friend? Husband? Mmm...not so much."

Beta readers, writing groups, freelance editors and proofreaders? People with such skills exist outside of high rise NY offices, believe it or not.

"There's a reason for professionals in any business. It's why I don't do my own car repair, plumbing, or hematology."

Your car repairman doesn't say "sorry, I don't take unsolicited customers." Your plumber doesn't say, "Well, these pipes aren't quite a good fit for me or my company. I'll pass." They service anyone who can pay their fee. There are also not just a handful of them who control the industry and pretend to be arbiters of quality. You would think a pro writer could come up something other than a false analogy.

The comparison is much more valid when applied to the freelance editors that exist now. Customers pay their fee, get their manuscript serviced. Quality can vary, but it's up to the individual author to be savvy enough to weed through the bad ones.

Anonymous said...

"I'm just a lowly blogger, so my opinion doesn't mean crap."

I'm glad we finally agree.

"But that person has been a bestselling author for about three decades and has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award."

Good for him.

"And yet, I doubt that the angry self-published writers will think much of this."

And rightfully so. As far as making a compelling argument, he sucks.

"After all, as a critically acclaimed and bestselling author, that person is probably part of the problem, right???"

No one has said that. You're now trying to put words into people's mouths. It's the close-minded attitude people take contention with, in addition to the broken industry that has so much say in their hopes and dreams. There is not one person here or elsewhere begrudging a trad author any success he obtains. Your statement is a fallacy known as a red herring: an irrelevant distraction, attempting to mislead an audience by bringing up an unrelated, but emotionally loaded issue. Actually, your original blog post which started this whole thing and the side of the fence you represent suffers from another fatal fallacy: overgeneralization.

Obviously the author knows a thing or two about writing and traditional publishing. Were I looking for advice on those subjects, he may indeed be a good source. It's clear he fails to see the value of the industry past his own world, however. Either he's out of touch with current indie trends, he's speaking on issues he's been told about rather than researched himself, or bitter that there are others taking a bite out of his piece of the pie that haven't gone through his channels. Possibly all three.

The fact is self-publishing has allowed talented writers to get their stories on the market without having to waste years of their lives waiting on agents and publishers to reject them. There is a lot of crap still, sure. There's a lot of crap that gets traditionally published too.

And readers don't care. It's become more accepted with every passing day. In the end, it's what the customer thinks, and they're speaking with their wallets. It used to be worth a beating to be friends with a gay person or someone of another race. Nowadays it's commonplace because society grew to accept it. This esoteric attitude toward self-publishing as a whole displayed by the ever-shrinking group of traditional loyalists is doing no one any favors and is as big a black eye on the industry as any bad self-published book.

Anonymous said...

"Because Subterranean Press asked him to edit an anthology of short stories written by some of the best, and they put his name on the cover."

Drive on through, nothing to see here. When you actually have an argument that makes sense, come back to us. Right now, the adults are talking.

polishgenius said...

There goes Pat, with all the self-awareness of Terry Goodkind, ignoring the ins-and-outs of the discussion and pretending the people with a more moderate position than the one he's opposing don't exist, so that he can namedrop (but without the name) and declare, with much chest-beating, that the more vitriolic outbursts against him prove that he's entirely in the right.

I understand that you don't really give a shit if you offend people, but surely the point isn't to come off as the opposite equivalent of the worst types of self-published authors?

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I didn't realized Patrick was a "Published Editor" ... I'm amazed and stand beholden by his literary contributions. Somebody quick, get this guy a gold star sticker!!

(Please read the above with sarcasm and insert eye-roll).

A Published Editor is just an Editor ... similar to how a Self Published Writer is a Writer ... or akin to how an Independent Journalist is a Blogger.

If you're going to stand on semantics, which was the whole point of this blog post, stand on them. Don't be a cherry-picker. It's wonderful Patrick edited an anthology ... but until someone can point me in the direction of his *published* works -- as in, worlds he created with the assistance and benefit of nothing more then his own astute imagination and creativity -- spare me.

Glynn James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Ann Dawson said...

I was not going to feed this troll of a thread, but as a small press owner and editor myself, this bothers me to no end:

"When I'm doing seminars with the dear ones who want to become Authors (as opposed to writers, although they don't yet understand the difference), I usually tell them that before the book hits the shelves there are three people and three people only whose opinions matter, and none of them is your mother. First, you, because you have to decide whether or not it's good enough to be sent to the agent. Second, the agent, because he's the one who has to decide whether or not it's good enough to go to an editor. Third, the editor, because she has to decide whether or not it's good enough to see print."

First, the sheer hubris of referring to other authors as "dear ones" as if you are imbued by the gods to determine what is and is not great literature. Second, the total BS of only three people's opinions that matter. Really? And what happens, Oh Great and Powerful Oz (er...I mean...Pat) when the agent or editor gets it wrong? Because it's true that many published authors have had the same book rejected countless times by this Enlightened Trinity.

Hell, even half the publishing industry disagrees with you. You are aware that Penguin bought and is now running a self-publishing unit, right? I'm pretty sure they didn't drop a reported $116,000,000 on AuthorSolutions because they agree with you.

Yes, there IS a lot of crap produced in self-publishing. There is also a lot of crap produced by trade publishers. Hell, there is a lot of crap that started out self published that the trade publishers decide to publish themselves! (50 Shades, anyone?)

Let's not pretend that publishing is about determining what is "good enough." Most publishers publish what they think will make money...quality be damned.

I just don't understand the animosity toward self-publishing. It is merely another method of bringing books to the marketplace. There are self publishers making a living wage publishing on their own just through Amazon, yet you don't consider them real authors because they refuse to worship your Holy Trinity of publishing. They are just as real as any author that draws a check for their writing, whether that check comes from Simon & Schuster or directly from Amazon doesn't matter.

Both trade publishing and self-publishing serve a place in the marketplace and meet the needs of their target demographics. I just can't understand why an otherwise intelligent person would make such obviously misinformed and ignorant comments.

Before you dismiss my comments with a snide swipe, I serve as a judge for the IPBA Ben Franklin awards. I've published the works of Nebula winners and Pulitzer nominees in by literary spec fic journal. Like you, I can name drop friends in the industry (though I respect them too much to use their names to prove a point).

I don't expect you to change your mind over my post. I just wanted you to know that the actual publishing industry itself disagrees with your outdated "religious" beliefs.

Glynn James said...

Okay I'll bite.

Diary of the Displaced

Reason for reading:
It's very different. That's the most common comment in reviews. It's fantasy, horror, scifi, mystery, thriller, humour, speculative, and more.
Honestly, I think you're dislike of indie authors is apparent enough that this review will bite whoever agrees to go under the hammer, but I also have faith in the people that do like my books and maybe the niche that they (my books, not the readers) fall into will work for you. Maybe.

There is a place where nightmares are real. It is a dark and terrifying place, hidden from the world we know by borders that only the most unfortunate of souls will ever cross.

James Halldon woke up in the dark, alone, without any food or water, without a clue where he was, and with no memory of where he came from.

It only got stranger.

James has somehow found his way to The Corridor, a midnight place that no human should ever see and the prison of a creature that has destroyed entire worlds. Somehow James has to learn to survive.

But he is not alone. The lost souls of others who have drifted into The Corridor, and died, also haunt this world, and they have been waiting a long time for someone to come along.

The Journal of James Halldon is a dark sci-fi novel that follows Halldon's struggle to survive whilst trying to understand the terrifying world in which he is trapped.

If it's dark when you wake up, and you can hear growling, then close your eyes and maybe it will go away.

But maybe it won't...

Anonymous said...

Speculative Horizons was published in 2010 ... nearly 2.5 years ago. If we're going to liken the literary field to a playground of sorts then Patrick must be the last kid picked for dodge ball.

He can call himself an author -- but author's publish books where their name appears on the cover because it is written by them.

He can call himself an editor -- but editors who are PROFESSIONAL couldn't afford to eat if they only involved themselves in a project once every two years.

Everything I've seen, thus far, leads me to believe only one truth about Patrick, which is: he's grasping for relevancy, and falling short of center.

Jon R said...

my point in posting the subterranean anthology was to show that a respected press sought Pat out. Doesn't make him a published author, but it does make put him on a higher rung than self-published in the literary world. Sort of like the Dallas Cowboys special teams coach is higher in the football world than the city league flag football quarterback.

No challenges on being a Westerosi knight? Arent you guys supposed to be fantasy fans?

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

Look. In order to be successful with a book-- financially successful--, you need to either have a mind-blowing first few pages, be in the right place at the right time or be associated with (or actually own) a name that the people giving you money respect. If you don't own the name, the more respected associates you can get, the better.

A lot of visible people get lucky. They get lucky because thousands more don't. They might make their own luck by turning out a dozen books in quick succession and buying advertising, or they may hit that one-in-million-spot with somebody with a respected name.

This is true for both self-publishing and real publishing. Of course I don't have to be weeded out based on a blurb by agents now! But I'm still passing my books past people who are doing the exact same task as an agent. The tools for finding something good are exactly the same as an agent's, too. Blurb, premise, first few pages, recommendation from a name the agent/reader/acquiring editor respects.

People who think it's enough to be 'out there' are wrong. The different between that and being out on query is the occasional cup of coffee and the ability to correct typoes on the fly. You're still hoping your worthy book will shine in a sea of shit, one way or another.

(Because it isn't enough. As so many authors like to say, you need to be or hire a publicist, hire an editor, hire an artist, hire hire hire and they none of them work for a share of the royalties, they want up-front paying, which makes self-publishing a rich person's game, a game for the privileged, while poor scrubs scrabble below for the scraps. Meanwhile, you try to attract the attention of a respected name, any respected name, because without money, favor is all you have. Favor and a good book with maybe a blurb that isn't as grabby as an expert queryist would make it because you've got to write another book and spread those dice rolls around?)

Professional authors going indie, by the way? They own the respected name. They already have an audience. It's a sensible decision. It's also irrelevant when discussing how people reject it of hand from unknown self-publishers.

I'm also amused by people recommending well-know runaway hits they didn't write, btw. Is that really going to change minds that admit that only 99% of self-published fiction sucks? Or will it just validate their opinion that they shouldn't bother with self-publishing until its been market tested so well that entertainment industry professionals are already endorsing it just like trad. books are endorsed?

Anonymous said...

Not to defend Pat too much, because I do think he comes off like a jerk in this blog post, but a of people are starting to get a little over the top here.

1. Everyone that's blasting him for not being a "pro" is a bit off base. I don't I've seen him say anything other than what is basically true about himself. He is a blogger that runs one of the more popular fantasy blogs on the net (although content wise, I don't know why) and he really doesn't like self-publishing. Blast him for being confrontational, blast him for being a snob towards self-published authors, but don't blast him for things he's never claimed.

2. I think, in his own dickish way, this really is his way of giving self-published books a chance. I can't imagine that he's developed the relationships he has in the traditionally published Sci-fi/fantasy community by being a complete asshat. He's given pretty terrible reviews to books where he personally likes the author, and I imagine that goes the other way around. I don't think he would blast a book he really liked just to stick it to the self-published community.

Noldorimbor said...

Julie Ann Dawson, you post made me think twice about my stance.

Aside from Pat's done being a bit douch-ey, everything he said in his post is kind of how I feel about self published books more or less. Mind you, I'm not a writer, self publihed or not, I'm not even a wannabe writer, I'm just a plain READER.

And from a reader pov who doesn't have all the time in the world, I'm just not willing and ready to dive into the world of self published e books looking for gems.Yes I am guilty, I am mostly bieng controlled by media, making my choices for me. But hell it is muchmore viable, to trust the awards, revievs on respectable newspapers blogs/ magazines..and yes even advertisements have the effect"if someone is spending this much money on this book out there, there MIGHT be something worth checking out".

This world of youtube, millions of crappy, stupid videos everyone "self publishing" made me conservative I'm afraid. "Self publishing" sounds a lot like posting a crappy student movie on youtube, an amateur gig.

And your sentence about 50 Shades made me stop and think for a minute. It's not like "publishers" care about good work, is it? And suddenly I wished if people I trust with my chocies of books, -people like Pat, and Wert and Aidan Moher- review more good self published books so I could try them without wasting time on crap out there. So maybe, all this discussion will give everyone some new POV's and we all get out of this gaining something.

I for one, gained "WOOL". Learned it on these replies and going to give it a try this month.

Anonymous said...

"my point in posting the subterranean anthology was to show that a respected press sought Pat out. Doesn't make him a published author, but it does make put him on a higher rung than self-published in the literary world. Sort of like the Dallas Cowboys special teams coach is higher in the football world than the city league flag football quarterback."

Higher than what? The book he edited has an Amazon rank of 1.2 million. Thousands of self-publishers regularly beat that.

If this was football, Pat and the book he edited would be sitting on the bench on a Pop Warner squad.

Anonymous said...

Might I just point out the irony here? The more vitriolic defenders of self publishing balk at Pat for having been an EDITOR and how that doesn't mean jack shit. However, self-published writers are often encouraged to hire editors.

Um, hypocrisy much?

Joe Vasicek said...


Kevis Hendrickson said...

Anonymous said...
"Pat is a published editor. Which means in the literary playground, he is better than all of you.

LOL. This has got to be one of the best posts in this thread. I’ll see your favorite SP author and raise you an editor! I’m willing to bet money you didn’t post that with a straight face.

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

I'm also amused by people recommending well-know runaway hits they didn't write, btw.

Agreed. A very silly response to an equally silly blog post.

Anonymous said...
What a complete and total twat you are. Although, that said, look at these authors flocking for your approval like're clearly also a twat magnet

There isn’t a book written in the history of the world that couldn’t be ripped to shreds if a reader/reviewer wants to tear it apart. Moby Dick? I love Melville and even I can shoot bazooka rounds through his plot. Lemmings? Get serious. Personally, I could care less if Pat reviews my book or not. But I’ll be darned if someone’s throwing a book burning party and I don’t get to join in on the fun. Besides, if Pat really wants to take a machete to some books, I’m more than willing to send him a list of some “real” golden nuggets of self-published literature. I can assure you none of the books posted in these comments thread will be on my list. Only the books that Pat so rightfully deserves…

Anonymous said...

Just read the review for Ian McDonald's Be my Enemy pat posted earlier today. After speaking against YA lit so often, the guy gives this one a glowing review.

And those self-published writers posting here and the punks on the kindle board would say no to a review like this???

Fuck me...


Joe Vasicek said...

(Thank goodness this comment is still on my clipboard! Finger must have slipped of off ctrl when I copied before posting...)

You make some good points, Chrysoula, and I actually agree with much of what you've said. I think we differ mostly on the conclusions we draw and our outlook for the future.

Yes, there is a difference between established authors and newer writers sef-publishing. I only bring up the names to show that the stigma self-publishing had five years ago no longer exists, and that many big names in the industry now see self-publishing as a viable career path.

As to their opinions on whether it's the best path for new writers...well, established authors are always experts on the way to break in ten years ago. ;) Ultimately, there is no one true way to break into publishing--we all have to weigh our options for ourselves and make our own path.

I assume you've already read up on all the pros and cons of self-publishing. They've been hashed and rehashed up and down the internet by now. Given all the arguments for and against it, I have just one question:

Why not?

Seriously, what do you have to lose? There's nothing that says you can't submit a self-published book to a traditional publisher. The worst thing they can do is say is no. And even if your book languishes in relative obscurity, are you any worse off than you would be if you hadn't put it out there? It's out where readers can find it--and by finding it, can find you. Luck is a lot more likely to strike a book that's out in the world than it is to strike an unpublished manuscript that's sitting on your hard drive. Even if you do land an agent and get a traditional publishing deal, that won't make the challenges go away.

The publishing paths are many and varied, but the obstacles are the same. The only way to build a respected name is to do something worthy of respect, which is impossible in this context unless you have a book out in the world. Even the big names were all obscure when they first started out--and many of them languished in obscurity for years before experiencing their first real breakout. It's a long game, but the biggest things that help new writers find success (word of mouth, friend recommendations, frequent new releases) work just as well for self-publishers as they do for traditionally published authors. So again, why not?

Ultimately, writing is an act of courage. With all the recent changes in publishing, that's more true now than it ever has been. Where you look at the downsides and urge caution, I look at the upsides and ask what we have to lose. Which of us is right? Both of us, probably. Everyone's circumstances are different, and we all have to make our own path. Whatever our opinions, let's both keep moving forward and not let our fears stand in the way.

Best of luck!

Chrysoula Tzavelas said...

Thank you for your kindness, Joe. I'm fully in favor of self-publishing, actually-- I have the abovementioned NIGHTLIGHTS as well as a small anthology. I've also got a book with a small press called MATCHBOX GIRLS. And I'd love to have something with a major press, top. Not _everything_-- I'd like a bit more money than midlist seems to pay-- but their total reach still can't be beat.

So when I speak of the challenges of self-publishing, I really am speaking based on my own observations. I'm on an extremely tight budget, raising two small children. I'm aiming for the kind of luck you make by sticking your neck out, because between the writing and the kids I don't yet have time for the other kinds of luck.

Jon R said...

Anonymous said...
"Pat is a published editor. Which means in the literary playground, he is better than all of you.

LOL. This has got to be one of the best posts in this thread. I’ll see your favorite SP author and raise you an editor! I’m willing to bet money you didn’t post that with a straight face.

With a straight face. But my other favorite form of entertainment is pro wrestling. Some good feuds here going between Pat and the Indies. Who cares if Pat plays the heel? They're usually right and the truth usually hurts.

Rowen Sivertsen said...

Thank you, Pat. It was precisely the tone of your offer that attracted :)

I spent an hour reading all the comments and thought "This I HAVE to do!". My small publishing company (6 months, 3 books and a vision) is (I hope) only temporarily self- publishing because at present I'm trying to learn the ropes with my own and some brilliant colleagues' books as guinea pigs. There CAN be other reasons for not going straight for agents/publishers.

I'd like you to look at "The Perfect Creation", part of a multi-media project.
No magic. No humanoids, except in the prologue. No romance. No horror. No intergalactic wars. So why on Earth (or rather on Shianshenka) would anybody want to read it?

Full title, "Shianshenka, the Rise and Fall of the Perfect Creation” takes its readers on a trip to the gorgeous planet of Shianshenka, drawing them into strange situations, new sets of rules and a colourful kaleidoscope of strange creatures. Humans have seeded the wild planet, poisonous to humans but breathtakingly beautiful, with an intelligent life form: the seed-like Zhongzi. This tale tells how the Zhongzi overcome the limitations placed on them by their physiology; how they learn to ride the geysers and harness the winds; how they interact with the weird and delightful endemic life forms of the planet; how they create a culture and communities radically different from anything known by their human creators. But not all is perfect. A deep ideological cleft divides the Zhongzi society. When humans return decades later, they find a messenger with a warning sent up into the sky to bring the story of the Zhongzi to whoever might find him.

On one level the book, music, videos and gallery of illustrations enchant. At a deeper level they parody very human questions such as how to develop healthy communities, how to cater for a questing intelligence and how to deal with diverging ideologies.

The songs from the book are published as short animated videos on youtube and there is a continuously expanding gallery of illustrations. The electronic versions have links to both at appropriate places in the text.

Gallery of illustrations:
To see the videos (about 2 minutes each) : write “Songs of the Zhongzi” in the search field of youtube.

Book website:

Hereby submitted for slaughter or success ...

Rowen Sivertsen (author of the book, and owner of Birch Tree Road Publishing, Norway).

Anonymous said...

I suspect Pat thinks he's more respected than this. He's wrong. People do respect his friends, but it doesn't rub off?

Chris Kaufman Author/Composer said...

For Rowan Sivertsen...!

Hello fellow traveler. I visited your site... you are definitely on to something and we are kindred spirits. Let's talk. I am also creating a multimedia work... mine is called 'Tales Of The Ocean City'... and my talents as a composer, narrator and the like are equal partners to the story... I will continue to investigate and listen (I heard a couple videos... nice stuff!) - I hope others will check out your work from this blog post... if you have time to visit my itunes site here: -- I'd appreciate your feedback (you can download a free sample) - all best, Chris Kaufman

Kai said...

There are a lot of sad and angry people commenting here. If you have faith in your craft, what does Pat's tone matter? If you think that self publishing is a valid part of the industry why would you allow Pat's opinion to matter?

Unknown said...

Pat, I think you are very brave and the Lions' den does not scare me.

On my side, it’s not the self-publishing which attracted me towards putting it out there… on Kindle. It’s the “what do you do with a Novella from an unpublished author ?” The conclusion I came too following the few rejection letters I got back was: It’s too long for a magazine and too risky, nor of interest, for a publisher to take into an anthology – or maybe, it’s just crap! And sometimes, well work must still come first…

I know you requested Novels, but maybe you could also do a Novella category ?

Here goes :

The Essence of Babylon

Reason for reading:

It's the story of a city and an aging ghost. It’s fantasy mixed with History… Does it fit any populour genre ? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have been reading your blog for a long time now, have discovered books I would never have read without your reviews – and for that I thank you.

If you do read it ? Well, I hope you enjoy it, and if you don’t, at least your honesty can only help me get better and work even harder to get the courage to enrole in the Clarion Writing program.

Oh, and I like the cover !


Rim-Sin, the mage of time, the oracle of decay, is distraught.
His city, his beloved Babylon, the greatest nation on earth, is going to die, be destroyed and forgotten. Desperate, he comes up with a plan - a gambit that will allow him to escape the ravages of time and influence an unknown future. Will he save his fabulous city from a doom foretold in the stars ?

All the best to you,
Michael Wintsch

Anonymous said...

The book I am presenting I am not connected with in any way, and you may have even heard of the book I am about to refer to as it is self published to assist in paying medical bills -- I am talking about Shawn Speakman's The Dark Thorn self-published by Grim Oak Press.

To give exposure to the book. If you can't get a copy from Shawn, I am willing to send my copy I paid for, as we are both in Canada and postage won't be too bad on a couple of conditions:

1) if you hate it, please send the book back to me.


2) send it forward to an agent or publishing house you get your books from that you know might fit their niche.

Pasted direct from
Beneath the streets of Seattle, a long-forgotten war is about to be renewed…

Richard McAllister, a spiritually destitute homeless man and Knight of the Yn Saith, protects one of seven portals linking his world to that of Annwn, where the fey Tuatha de Dannan of antiquity have been relegated by a long-running religious war.

Unknown to Richard though, powerful forces are aligning against him and all he stands to keep safe. In the wilds of a discarded world, Philip Plantagenet, son of Henry II, moves to claim a birthright nine centuries in the making, one that drives him to eliminate the Tuatha de Dannan—at any cost to both worlds.

In the halls of Vatican City, Cardinal Vicar Cormac Pell O’Connor schemes to control the Heliwr—the Unfettered Knight—one who possesses the great power known as the Dark Thorn.

The three men are on a collision course with history—and their futures.

For in the wilds of Annwn, death comes as easily as magic.

Haunted by a past he can’t forget and a knightly responsibility he can’t shun, Richard is drawn into levels of machinations—and two worlds—far darker than any he has prepared for.

EFritz said...

This is pretty cool. Actually skimming some of the self pubs putting their names and blurbs out here has made me want to try a few. Yes I have something like 20 books on my nightstand, but if I can toss it on my kindle and read it in free time at work I will give a few of these a shot myself. I only have word of mouth (no blog) but Pat has basically given you some free advertising. Also, god love him, Pat is often a bit harsh, and I don't always agree with his higher rated books or his lower rated ones, but luckily I am not required by law to like everything he likes. I am not involved in all the blogs and politics peopel are hollaring about but I like hearing about new books and authors. It is an interesting idea and obviously it pulled even MORE traffic his way, score Pat!

MeiLin Miranda said...

Since some of you had expressed interest, here's the cover of "The Machine God," hot off the artist's tablet. The book will be out in a week or two.

Anonymous said...

I'm all in!

This is J. Rock, auhtor of the scifi, alternate history series Dinosauria.

Dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. But what if they weren't? What if we travelled back in time and changed history, allowing them to survive and evolve alongside us? What would become of our world? What would become of us?

Dinosauria is a character-centric, post-apocalyptic, scifi time travel adventure series.

I think you'll like Dinosauria because it's a clever blend of a fantasy and scifi world, seen through the eyes of modern people. And...there is NOTHING else out there like it. I couldn't even begin to compare it to anything else, but fans have compared it to Dune, and the Reality Dysfunction series.

Try Dinosauria for Free at:

Scott Marlowe said...

Thanks for the offer, Pat, but no thanks. I can take criticism, but I'd prefer it at least be objective. It's pretty obvious you're just looking for blood.

A handful of amateur (dare I say indie?) reviewers such as yourself have given my work a fair-shake and their honest opinions, which is all any author can ask. It doesn't sound like you're willing to do either.

Anonymous said...

SPACE JUNK: A short story

Reason for reading?
You have 20 minutes to kill.

After attending his high school reunion, a conversation with former classmate and bestselling author, Jack Sorenson, has left self-published indie author Chuck Callahan unsettled. Jack had achieved so much in the past four years while Chuck had been treading water, or to be more accurate, treading custard. Chuck is determined to write a science fiction bestseller, even if he has to plagiarise a fellow science fiction author and legend-in-the-making to do so!

SPACE JUNK is a revealing insight into the mind and family life of a science fiction author - and it ain't pretty.

Is it sci-fi?
Yeah, but not as you know it.


Thank you.

Flávio Medeiros Jr said...

And you are... who?...

Anonymous said...

Ryan Thomas, author of SPACE JUNK.

Unknown said...

I publish with traditional publishers. I have a NY Literary agent. I also self publish and it works well for me. I can hire an artist and a pro editor just as easily as a publisher can. The difference is that I make 70% royalties on my two self published books vs. 25 ~ 35% (ebook, 8% on PB) with my publisher.

Another reason I self publish? No publisher would touch my book The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole. Hell, few will read it but I love the book and that's why I wrote it.

Timothy W. Long -- author of Among the Living, Among the Dead, Beyond the Barriers. Self published author of The Zombie Wilson Diaries AND The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole.
Represented by Foundry Media
Member of the HWA and ITW
Dirty self-Publisher said...

Comment on earlier input (a little unbridled bragging, but if that's what it takes!):

Shianshenka got a 5 star review from Trollking reviews: I quote: "It is criminal that this work hasn’t received the attention it deserves because it does what all literature aspires to do, to tell the human story in a way that inspires and urges us to reflect upon our own mortality and our ambitions to achieve beyond our limitations.
This book is a postmodern classic and should be canonized amongst essential literary works to read. Therefore, this book has earned the highest accolade of 5 stars."

see review here

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity, Pat.

If you are looking for a short, dark fantasy novella (ebook), a la Song of Ice and Fire, but darker, something you can read in a few hours - and if the synopsis below intrigues you - then I will be happy to give you a copy of my ebook to review.


Title: The Pact
Category: dark epic fantasy
Author: Graeme Brown
Publisher: Burst Books (division of Champagne Books)



Enter the world of Will Lesterall, a boy who's grown up in the safety of his father's castle. Tales of the outside world ruled by warring kings and creatures of nightmare have never seemed a threat, yet on the night celebrating two hundred years of the sacred Pact that has kept Fort Lesterall safe, intrigues ripens, and in the course of a few hours Will is confronted with a choice greater than he can comprehend.

Join an unlikely hero as destiny pulls him into the middle of an ancient conflict between fallen gods and ambitious women, one that demands blood, both holy and wicked, and the power of an ancient fire bound in steel. As swords clash below a watching wood, hope and betrayal war as fiercely as fear and valor.

Whether he lives of dies, Will Lesterall will never be the same.

Elizabeth Beckett said...

I am not sure if this invitation is still open. But if it is, I am a self-published author of (broadly) speculative fiction that snuggles most comfortably in metaphysical/visionary literature but can also be considered mainstream.

I think you need to review my book I Am Celtic because my work is unique and I am a good writer. My books are quality, although admittedly unusual. My work conveys truth, and will transform readers as the process of writing transformed my life.

My author page on Amazon is

I Am Celtic: The Story of Abathscantia and the Dragon Isles
This is a story set in about 10,000 BCE and takes the reader from the destruction of Atlantis, to Egypt, across Northern Africa and the Mediterranean, and finally to the British Isles, specifically England. The story spans the lifetime of the beautiful but sensitive Solveigh, and follows her challenging journey of love, loss, adventure, and awakening.

I Am Celtic is both a narrative and an inspirational guide that takes the reader deep into the truth of that time in Earth's history as well as exploring universal mystical and spiritual concepts about life. The story sets out to transform widely-held, but limiting, opinions of recorded history and aims to provide answers to certain unsolved human myths such as the global flood and destruction of Atlantis; the beginnings of the Egyptian empire and the pyramids; the inland sea of Northern Africa and Abathscantian settlements; the Dragon Isles (British Isles) and the Faerie People who lived in subterranean caves; the Colcotec tribe of Atlantis and the Celtic tribe of Britain.

Indie Author: Push said...

I find that comment "you can call a Woman a adminstrative assistant but she's still a secretary" biased and sexist. Next time use "person." I know way more secretaries who are male than female. Secondly, your opinion is just one of many. Get off of your high-horse!