If you’ve considered buying my political novel The Lords of Harambee, today would be a good day to do it.
I received a huge boost yesterday when nationally-known blogger Instapundit recommended the book. In the past twenty-four hours I’ve sold enough copies to briefly make it onto Amazon.com’s list of bestselling political novels (currently #8) and science fiction adventure novels (#14). After a couple months of struggling to draw any attention to the novel, I’ll admit that it’s pretty satisfying seeing my name next to Tom Wolfe, Joe Haldeman, Orson Scott Card, and George R.R. Martin.
Self-publishing has been an interesting experiment. The publishing industry is rapidly changing and I believe that self-publishing will become an increasingly important part of the literary landscape. However, the market is saturated with lousy self-published novels and there are few gatekeeping mechanisms to help prospective readers separate the wheat from the chaff. To succeed, a self-published author must (1) write a good book and (2) help readers discover it. Either that, or write a lousy novel and be a marketing genius. Or write erotica. About vampires.
I’ll leave it to my readers to determine whether or not my book is any good (free samples are available at the Amazon page). I obviously believe in it. The main reason I opted to self-publish is because my book is so far from genre norms that I anticipated trouble getting it published through traditional channels. As the Instapundit plug noted, one reviewer disparagingly called the novel “Blackhawk Down in space”–which is exactly how I would describe it, except that I hoped it would be a selling point.
In any case, I’ve discovered that criteria #2–helping readers discover a book–is extremely difficult. Breaking out is a chicken-and-egg problem. A self-published book won’t be taken seriously without attention from gatekeepers, but the gatekeepers won’t pay attention to a self-published book unless it already stands out from the slush. I’ve been scratching my head for the past two months trying to figure that one out.
But suddenly, for at least a brief time, the book is highly placed on a couple Amazon bestseller lists. I would LOVE to keep that momentum going, so I encourage you to take a look at the product page on Amazon. The book is only available electronically, but Amazon has free Kindle apps for almost every device you can imagine. I am working on a print edition, which should be available within a few weeks. If you did read and enjoy the book, tell your friends and consider writing a review on Amazon.com. Thank you for all your support and encouragement!