So, I have been very interested of late by people who self publish fiction ebooks, and the quality of these books. I also wonder if people have their books edited, how much they are sold for (or if they are available free), and how they become popular. I have done some reading about this, but not a tonne. In particular, I want to talk about two that caught my interest.
One I saw on a bookshelf in my local Chapters: it being about the characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I naturally wanted to read it so went to look it up at my library. They didn’t have it, and after poking around online I discovered that it had initially been self-published by the author and was only picked up by a publishing house after it was pretty successful and she had written more books. I am talking about Mr & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, or Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan. I was able to track down the ebook from my provincial ebook library, and couldn’t get past the first few pages. I am not really into harlequin-type romance novels, so I wasn’t too surprised. I did find Lathan’s story as an author pretty inspiring, though. She saw the 2005 P&P movie, loved it, and decided to continue their story. She self-published the first few, and their success caught the eye of a publisher who picked them up and has since published subsequent novels based on Austen’s characters. Obviously there is a market for this kind of thing – not too surprising that we want to read more about the characters Jane Austen created.
When I was poking around for free ebooks, I found Griffin’s Daughter by Leslie Ann Moore. I stuck with it, enjoyed it, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, plot, and characters in comparison to the last free ebook that I read. Then I started looking around for the next book in the trilogy and discovered that this book is only free for a limited amount of time. It’s not self-published – and I’m not sure why I assumed it would have been, just because it was available for free (I know what happens when I assume). It’s actually published by Ridan Publishing (who I had never heard of before) and the sequels cost money. They don’t have them at my library so I may actually pony up and by the ebooks. I’m not saying it was an amazing book, but I really enjoyed it for what it was.
The story is about a girl named Jelena, who is half-elf and lives in a human world where she is shunned because of her elven blood. When she discovers that her uncle has sold her as a concubine to a neighbouring lord, she flees into the territory of the elves to try and find her father (the source of her elven blood). But there is something else going on inside Jelena, something bigger, and she has to figure out what it is and what it means.
The first few chapters were rocky, I’ll tell ya. It wasn’t until the fourth one that I got into the story, and I read it over a pretty spread out amount of time, so by the time I got to the end I had forgotten that the first few chapters were about a different time period than the remainder of the book (this is when it would have been useful to be reading the hard copy instead). If I had read it over a shorter period of time, I would probably have been able to remember the first few chapters and figure out how they were relevant to the rest of the plot. As it was, when I went back to check something to write this post, I was surprised that I didn’t recognize any of the characters’ names in the first few chapters. Moore knows how to write a convincing romance between two people, though, and that kept me reading.
So, I am testing the waters of free (and not free) ebooks and finding some books I like.