I happened on this the other day and I must say that it seems to me the most arrogant piece of nonsense I have ever come across. It is Sue Grafton speaking:
To me, it seems disrespectful… that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research. … Self-publishing is a short cut and I don’t believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts. I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall.
You can find the article I read HERE – do read it, it’s great stuff.
Sue Grafton is the author of the “A is for Alibi”, “B is for Burglar” series of murder mysteries featuring Kinsey Millhone. I read a couple of them years ago but was not moved to seek out any of the other twenty-four. (Are there twenty-four yet?)
By contrast, Russell Blake’s series featuring the ex-Mossad agent known as Jet is self-published, and downloadable from Amazon as an ebook. Exactly the kind of thing Grafton is sneering at. It is faultlessly edited (anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that I can be hypercritical!) and so gripping that I read all five stories straight off within a week.
How did that happen? It’s quite simple, and in itself proof that the Amazon Kindle sytem of Free Book Days works.
I saw that Jet was on offer free that day and, curious, I downloaded and read it. And immediately ordered Jet II and Jet III, and read them during the next three nights. Each book stops with unanswered questions – you want to read on. You need to read on. I downloaded Jet IV and Jet V. And would have ordered Jet VI had there been one. (I’m waiting, Russell!)
And that’s how I come to be writing a review of (or at least an introduction to) not just one but five books here today.
Jet is, as I say, ex-Mossad. Well, not exactly ex-Mossad, because the group she was once a key member of are ultra-secret super-specialists whose very existence is apparently unknown to the Mossad.
When the first book, Jet, opens, Jet is living a quiet life in Trinidad, running a small internet-café. Only tonight is not quiet because it is Carnival Night. And because as she is shutting up shop, a little early as that evening with all the excitement there will be no more customers, a garotte is looped over her head. In less time than it takes to tell, her attacker is dead, and within minutes so is the back-up. Jet, we see, is deadly – and virtually indestructible. And a woman with whom I for one, and I am sure thousands of others, identify immediately.
But who had sent the hit team? No one knew about her new identity. No one?
She cannot stay on the island – too many dead bodies around for a start, and anyway her cover is blown – so she sets off on a journey of revenge, a quest which inevitably leads straight on to another, and then another, in Russia, Miramar (Burma), Thailand, Argentina, and various parts of Europe and the US.
What can I say? Don’t read the first book of this series – or even the first couple of chapters of the first book – unless you want to be up all night for a week.
And please don’t, anybody, generalise about self-published books. Many of them are as good as or better than anything the big publishers are bringing out these days. And don’t generalise about “published” novels either: some of them are so carelessly written and edited that one simply does not know who to blame. (You want an example? I don’t review crappily produced books here, but have a look at my previous post, The Begotten, and – this one is far worse and only here because it is by one of my very favourite authors – Paul Doherty’s Bloodstone . What happened, Paul?)