Independence is a two way street

By Evangeline Jennings

When you publish independently you discover there are a lot of challenges and roadblocks to be dealt with – and we may discuss those on another occasion – but one of the reasons we felt so drawn to the idea was that independent publishing is an opportunity to push the envelope.  To do and say the things we want without being second guessed by a bunch of marketing graduates without a single original thought in their pointy little heads.

Books like CARS & GIRLS and HEATHERS – though infinitely better than 99% of mainstream Big Print publications – would never even be considered by the mainstream because they don’t fit their cozy little business plan models. And they’re all the better for that.

Most independent books, however, are deeply mired in the genre morass. They’re no kind of alternative to the mainstream. Just third and fourth rate mainstream wannabes. Over at our sister site The Pankhearst Review, we’ve looked at more than one hundred and fifty independent books and found sixteen that we felt able to recommend to readers.

I have the seventeenth sitting on my Kindle right now. It’s a very generic thriller – a kidnap gone wrong – and the editor in me can see that it still needs work but it is at or close to the standard set by mainstream formula factories like Patterson Inc and Brand Baldacci. I was excited to discover this book and will be happy to give it a glowing review. And yet, at the same time, I wondered if the world really needed another competent genre thriller.

There’s another thriller sitting on my Kindle that I stopped reading today. The truth is, it may be better in some respects than the first.

It’s ridiculously farfetched. For example, the main character is a lethal killing machine multi-millionaire SEAL with world class l33t skillz – Super Reacher meets Stephen Hawking.  The writing drips cliché. And the dialogue is weighed down with info dumps. As you know, Senator, this is what happened …

But it’s a real page turner, all the same.

So why did I stop reading? Because the author did exactly what we did with CARS & GIRLS. He’s saying what he wants to say without worrying about the pointy-heads. Unfortunately, this is what he chooses to say in his blatant novel-length plug for Mormonism.

When the Episcopalian Church started ordaining practicing sodomites as legitimate ministers, I decided that a church founded on sexual misconduct probably didn’t represent the God I worshiped.

Those are the words of his homo superior main character – so we know they’re also the opinion of the author, who also appears to argue that Islam is actually Devil Worship – though without reading on, I can’t swear to that.

Either way, this author, with the help of a good editor and a better psychiatrist, might be able to turn out something with true commercial potential. Like, say, Orson Scott Card. But while he writes and publishes independently and exercises his right to peddle smug religious hate and homophobia, he won’t get even zero stars from Pankhearst.

Because independence is a two way street.


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