Tag Archives: Indie

For the love of all that’s holy, get an editor!

5 Dec

I like supporting indie authors, being one myself. I’ll buy books that aren’t in the mainstream. However, I’m rolling the dice when I read them, because indie authors don’t have the money to spend on covers, marketing, and most importantly, editing.

So I don’t want to give the name to my pain in this post, because I want to be good to my fellow authors, and give them the chance to flourish without some troll smacking down their few reviews. So we’ll just call this book “Japanese-Sounding Unpronounceable” or Unpronounceable for short. I should slam him for that, but heck, I wrote a book called Fatebane which is also the name of the main character, so who am I to complain?

So we start off the book with an info dump. Never good. The prologue starts out with a conversation between two teenage boys trying to figure out what they want to do with their life. That’s good. That’s where you should slowly feed in the info dump to your readers. He didn’t. Now you can throw out terms like half-Ugadoogu if you want to add spice, but there were WAY too many terms to keep track of.

Okay, we get past the intro and Unpronounceable is being taken off his job as a hot-shot pilot and being sent to run a resort. O-kay… you’ve established that corporations have armies, so that… kinda makes sense. Let’s see where he goes with this. Except he’s not running the resort, he’s a desk clerk. (I didn’t read that wrong, that’s what he’s told.) He’s sent there to help clean up the place, but his fellow workers / clones / slaves (it’s not really clear) are upset that this war hero is being treated bad by the actual employer. So they decide to plan a revolt and have Unpronounceable help them. Meanwhile, the emperor’s son drops by, tells the employer to give the employees the day off for the holiday, which allows the employees to plan their revolt better.

So they kill off the employer, restore order to the resort, and make Unpronounceable run it. Okay… this is a bizarre setup for the story, but let’s see where it goes from here. (We’re only a quarter of the way through the book.) Maybe he has to deal with blood feud, rival corporations, political factions…?

Nope! Unpronounceable gets selected as the deputy governor of Corruptville and told to clean it up. (The only redeemable part of this book is the governor’s letter to him about WHY he’s appointing him. I laughed.) Then comes another info dump, a train ride to Corruptville, which is full of people who hate his ever-living guts. He’s never MET any of these people. Why would they riding his ass so hard? If the new boss showed up on my train, and I’m one of the elite, I’d be kissing his ass so hard… not giving me excuses to fire/execute them.

The info dump continues, the governor suddenly appears (you’re on a @#*#$& train! What the hell?!) and tells them, “Hey, I’ve just filled your train full of all my political enemies. Kill them for me, would you?” And the bloodbath begins.

I’m halfway through this book and I lost all track of who was what and why I should care. The fight scenes were… okay, but am I supposed to remember what alien race the Nastyfarians are supposed to be, when you only mentioned them for a paragraph twenty pages ago? And there are clones that turn into monsters, but that’s okay, because apparently everyone can do that… AND that’s when I gave up reading. I gave them a one-star review, because frankly, it was THAT BAD.

Now I understand–editors are expensive. But surely you’ve got a friend who will read it for you before you publish? Someone who can ask, “Hey, bud–why does it matter if this guy is half-Ugadoogu?” And when the author explains that, the reader can say, “Great. Put that in the book. Because you don’t @#($*(# explain that!”

That’s only one problem… there were too many to count. The sheer complexity of Empire-Corporation-Army was bad enough, now throw in clone-human-slave and alien-human-planet and you get a word soup that even I couldn’t just glaze over.

Man, this post was long–I really hated this book. Have you ever had a book so bad it deserved this much ire? Let me know in the comments below!

You say you want a revolution?

28 Jun

When I was bored with my current library, I decided to turn to the authors in The Royal Manticoran Navy and found this interesting story from Leo Champion, an indie author from Australia.

Our hero is a kid named Jake Linder, who leaves an overly regulated, rich, and boring Earth to seek his fortune in the stars. Instead, he gets hijacked by pirates and sold into slavery on the backwater world of Verana. One day, as he’s on a suicidal work detail, he decides he’s had enough to blindly following orders, and fights to live as a free man.

The next thing he knows, he’s started the Veranian Revolution, an entire planet rising against an empire. Jake becomes not just a soldier but a hero. He gets caught up in a galaxy-spanning conspiracy. He finds the love of his life, and lose her! It’s a wild, interesting ride!

Champion does a great job of balancing two main plotlines and a couple minor ones, so that you get Jake’s perspective on the front lines (with some really good, gritty but not depressing war realism), Damien’s perspective as the leader of the independence movement (so you get the cool diplomacy and problems of political struggle), and you get the minor plotlines that cover conspiracies, backstabs, space combat, and all the things that you want in a space opera.

This book happens to hit me where I’m itching because of the other book I’m reading…

That’s right, I’m double-fisting my books reading two books at the same time. I’m a madman! 🙂 What happened is that my son is really into Hamilton: The Musical. (Which is like saying a fish is really into water.) So when I went over to a friend’s house and he had it on his bookshelf, I asked to borrow it. Really amazing detail about the American Revolution, our early government, and the political backstabbing and nasty press that reminds me that plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (That means I’m pretentious.)

So if you’re into Sci-fi, especially Military Sci-fi, check out Leo Champion and his other works! If you’re into American History, check out Ron Chernow… although he doesn’t need as much press, so go to Leo’s page first! 🙂

Now what do you think? What’s the biggest obstacle to revolutionary success? Write a comment below!

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