Tag Archives: indie publishers

With Vouched, Christopher Newgent Levels the Reading Field

By Shane Solar-Doherty

Recently I was waiting underground for a train with a friend when we started a discussion about reading. First I told her about the books I was reading, a couple she’d never heard of, indeed that many of my friends have likely never heard of. Then she told me that she wasn’t much of a fiction reader. She said she wanted to read more, but she didn’t know where to look when it came to finding books. She said she usually turned to those first few tables we all come to in every bookstore, the ones that act as serving platters for the books that anyone and everyone could potentially be interested in reading. That’s a good place to start, I said. I said, read one of those books, and if you like it, read more by that author, or read other books from the same publisher.

But she wanted to know where else she could look when she wasn’t in the bookstore. She asked me where I find my books. And I started to tell her about the sites and the blogs and the podcasts I like, and I named off the places I turn to and the people and entities I follow on Twitter. The train came while I was talking and cut me off in the middle of a sentence, and when we got inside the car, I stopped talking about it. I felt like the information I was imparting was getting overwhelming and wouldn’t be of any use. Maybe she’d check out those sites I’d recommended, but then what would she do once she got there? Going to a site loaded with content for the first time is like being pulled into a conversation that you know nothing about and to which you have nothing to add.

In retrospect, that day on the train was pretty close to as good a starting place for my friend’s new exploration of fiction as any. She had shown great interest in what I had said at the station, and we certainly had the time during the train ride to converse further about what I was reading and what compelled me to read those books. Perhaps I could have told her more about the characters and plots. Perhaps I could have lent her the books right there, despite that I was in the middle of both. She could have read my copies, and I could have taken copies out from the library, and we could have discussed our reading experiences. But instead of any of that, we changed the subject there on the train.

Christopher Newgent is someone who isn’t changing the subject. In fact, when it comes to Christopher’s new book-promoting endeavor, Vouched Books, talking about books is the only subject.

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Improving Indie Author Events

By Shane Solar-Doherty

On Monday night I went to a reading at Lorem Ipsum Books, a local used shop, a business I get great pleasure out of supporting. They were hosting Lindsay Hunter and Christian TeBordo, two authors with debut story collections with Featherproof Books, an indie publisher out of Chicago. Featherproof sent Hunter and TeBordo out on a five-stop tour that they dubbed the Road Read tour. Their fourth stop was Lorem Ipsum.

Hunter and TeBordo picked funny and daring stories to read and delivered them well. Their stories were very short, and they were read quickly, which the pace of the stories called for. But the reading only lasted about ten minutes, or to measure it another way, approximately one minute for each audience member in attendance. The audience and the authors were crammed into chairs and stools in a corner of the store. And there was no discussion to wrap things up, the part of a reading that I look forward to the most. In the end, I felt lead on, like I was supposed to anticipate what was to come next. And that’s a quality I admire at the end of a well-written story. It’s not what I expect at the end of a reading.

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One Tab, Two Discoveries: Three Guys One Book & Dark Coast Press

And thus, the literary gods make their presence known once more.

After discovering that indie publisher Two Dollar Radio has a blog and subsequently subscribing to their feed, I read a post by $2R’s Editor-in-Chief about how and why they started their publishing business. (“The age of microwaveable dinners has passed. The future is bright, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”)

Then I clicked on the title of the post and some real serious stuff went down. In one incredibly loaded tab on Google Chrome, I learned that Three Guys One Book is a very awesome thing, and that they’re always highlighting unique writers and energetic publishers, like Seattle’s Dark Coast Press. Writes Aaron Talwar, publisher of Dark Coast, in 3G1B’s Why We Love What We Do series, “We’re addicted to good books, we utterly love them, to a creepy, swooning degree.” Yep. We know that feeling.

From Dark Coast’s website:

Today’s literary landscape provides an enormous precedent for invention and growth. For example, corporate publishers and major reviews maintain, on average, a 90% rejection rate. While this upholds both their means and the quality of their publications it also says to us that an overwhelming number of new writers have yet to be discovered. The work is there, the good books are being written, so why, for the most part, are readers not seeing them? Corporate book sales are down because the right writers aren’t being published. We will publish them.

Dark Coast Press published An Dantomine Eerly by Jarret Middleton in March of this year, and is set to release two more books in 2011. Keep your eyes peeled — I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

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