Diverse Books & Myths of Success

People will tell you that all it takes to be a successful (as in lots of people have read your book and paid you decent amounts of money to do it) author is to tell a great story. They will say to you, “Authors cannot claim readers won’t support diverse books. Readers will support any well-written story.”

Why do people tell us that all we need to do is write a “great story” when in reality that’s absolute bullshit?

  1. Willful ignorance. They’re afraid to see it any other way. They might screw up their worldview about how all people (readers especially) are not bias. “Bias isn’t a thing. Anyone telling you bias is a thing are just making excuses for their crappy work.”
  2. Profit. They are self-promoting and optimism sells better than the truth. Telling authors that everything is going to be fine gets more RT’s and less vitriol in response.
  3. Manipulation. They want authors to write diverse books, so they’ll say whatever makes that sound like a good idea.

Just a reminder: I write diverse books. I have written and published books with many different characters: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, Black, White, rich, poor, autistic, and with mental illness. I do not like to write expected, cookie-cutter stories. I prefer to write about interesting people with lives not usually represented in fiction. This is a choice I make because I *want* to write these stories and am privileged not to need book sales to feed my kids. I do not write these stories because I believe every reader will welcome them.

I have been booed whenever I’ve said, “If you want more diverse books, you have to be willing to read books that are not about you. Authors can not afford to write books if only people like their main character will read them.” I get told “That’s a cop out.” Well, I’m not copping out of anything, am I? I am actually still writing diverse books. I am actually doing the thing people beg authors to do. And I promise, my own experience shows that some people refuse to even read my books because “two girls together doesn’t do anything for me.” Well, uhm… I guess if the only reason you read a book is to get turned on, then… I mean, what is there to say to that?

So, I know first hand what happens when you write diverse books. People who identify with the main character read them. My friends read them, friends who usually never read LGBT fiction. They loved my stories and it didn’t matter that the characters were gay (or whatever). So, it is actually true that a great story will be great regardless of what label is attached to the character. I do not dispute this part of the argument. But in order for someone to know a book is great, they have to be willing to read it in the first place.

Getting mainstream readers to buy diverse books is a challenge when bookseller categories already ostracize such books into their own little group. LGBT fiction gets put into a category all its own, often with subcategories separating gay from lesbian as if books can’t have both. These are categories most straight people seldom wade into. There is an idea that LGBT characters are written for LGBT readers, each letter for itself (L for L, G for G, etc). Sorry, but my books aren’t written that way. They are diverse in their entirety. So, where do I place them? Can I convince gay men to read my story with lesbian characters? (On rare occasions, yes I have). Can I convince lesbians to read my story about bisexuals? Do Whites think of books with Black main characters as “Black books” for “Black people”? There are many questions just like these, just interchange the labels. We are a society of separations and booksellers make it easier to keep the walls up than to tear them down.

When people say, “I need diverse books so that my Asian son can see himself as the superhero.” I understand this need. I agree that such a book, (actually many books), should exist for him. But the math is fairly simple here. If you write a book with a minority main character and the only people who buy the book are people within that minority, then the profits are going to be very small. To be a “successful” book, readers of all races must want to read it. Regardless of our wishful thinking, it isn’t going to matter if the story is good or bad if a large portion of readers will not even pick it up to give it a shot.

People in minority groups have been reading characters unlike themselves all of their lives. I don’t need to tell that Asian mom that she should be willing to read characters unlike her son in order to support the diversity movement. She already does. And so do members of the LGBT community. They read the books that big publishers publish, which are mostly centered on white, straight, cisgender characters.

Of course not every reader does this. There are readers who read a variety of characters and appreciate the diversity. Of course this is not meant as a scolding of “all you people”. I’m only pointing out that there are things society needs to do better. Honestly, if you have found your way to my blog and are even reading this, you probably aren’t the problem.

So what *is* the problem? The problem is that expectations are too high, both writers’ and readers’, and frustration ensues. Writers think that because “Diverse Books” is such a big movement that they are going to find a huge readership waiting for them if they just write a great story about a minority character.

Readers, for their part, want books with characters like themselves to be more than simply written. They want those books to be bestsellers, to win awards, and be in the hands of their peers. They don’t want to have to sift through an ocean of books to find the indie-author writing what they’ve asked for. They want the book they want, but they want it to be popular, easy to find, and mainstream. Authors alone cannot make that happen, not even with a kick-ass story.

There is a lot of work involved in changing our world into one with diverse books. Authors begin that work by creating the stories. But that is only a tiny part of what happens next. The people holding the most power are the readers begging for diversity. Our success depends on whether or not they are willing to seek out, support (as in pay money for), and promote the stories they want. Are they willing to suggest a book with a minority character to someone not in that same minority? I hope so.

I hope we all grow as readers. I hope, as an author and a reader, I push a few hesitant folks into enjoying stories about characters not like themselves. I hope more authors will create diverse worlds in their books, worlds which reflect our own reality. I hope this movement grows until there is no longer under-representation of any group.

But I will not lie to you and say good stories will sell no matter what. I will not tell you, readers, that you have no role to play here. Slowly, we authors will gravitate toward diversity as the mainstream audience slowly comes to meet us halfway. It takes both of us and it won’t be easy for either. But we’ll get there.



Come on now, with your broken heart;
Dance for me, I’m bored.
It mustn’t be lovely,
How could it be?
Bleed if you need to,
but move.
Come on now.

Published – Year One

My debut novel, Winter Seedlings, went live on Amazon one year ago today. Today is my 1st Author Birthday!

I look back at the past year and I am overwhelmed with what looks like amazing accomplishments. I published two novels and two novellas (one as only e-book format).

The amount of hours spent on getting those books to publication well exceeds what I would have worked at a “regular” job, not to mention that I invested my own money at every turn. Did I make enough money to warrant all that? Hell no.

Want to be an indie author? You better have another source of income.

But let’s not dwell on the negatives. It’s a celebration! My title of Author is now officially one year old! Winter Seedlings is also one year old! (And if you haven’t read it yet, you can get it at a discounted price until Friday because it’s a celebration!)

I reflect back on how far I have come (or not), and think it might be useful to make a list of what I have learned and the changes which have occurred. I’m curious to see how this list grows and changes next year.

  1. I no longer believe that writing a good book will = having a lot of sales.
  2. Diversity in books is a great movement, but not necessarily a financially profitable one for authors (<— not saying it isn’t worth it for other reasons.)
  3. Stories set in Appalachia very much appeal to readers in Appalachia, not so much everywhere else.
  4. It’s important to have a high quality book cover that reflects the tone of the story, but you’ll be lucky to earn back the money you spent to pay for it.
  5. Being honest and vulnerable when telling a story may mean the story becomes something other than mainstream. Do it anyway. Accessing painful truths is what takes one’s writing from tinkering to art.
  6. Straight people can read and enjoy, with empathy, stories about LGBTQIA characters. Even in Appalachia.
  7. When someone takes the time to tell you they loved your words, whether on a blog post, a poem, or a published work; value them endlessly. Don’t be creepy; but seriously, do not take them for granted.
  8. Know why you write. Type your reason. Print it out. Tape it to the wall so you see it every single day. Without keeping focus on *your* reason, you risk being swept up in other people’s reasons. You’ll start to compare yourself with Stephen King when you don’t even like horror. Stop.
  9. Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, seriously edit. Edit in every single room of the house, on every different device you own, even hang upside down to try to see it differently and then edit the damn thing one more time.
  10. This journey is not about what you get out of it. This journey is about what you give the world. If it’s not saying something new, pushing a little harder than is usually pushed, or offering a better understanding of something often misunderstood… why do it at all?

And with that, I’m going to end this blog post and get back to writing my *next* novel. Look for it in early 2016. Until then, consider buying my other books:

Books by Julie Roberts Towe

Note to Self, On Being an Author

Note to self:

You have always been a writer, from the moment you asked your mother how to spell “I love you”. From the moment you read that poem in fourth grade which made everything make sense in a way nothing else ever had, you wanted to recreate that feeling. Metaphors were magic. You wrote for you, always. You wrote to make sense of the strangeness around you, to find God, to make peace with whatever truth revealed itself.

Eventually, you wanted to write to be published. You wanted to write about truth, but not in a journalistic way. You wanted to create fiction with purpose, to expose truths, to touch people deeply. You knew you wanted this, but not how to get there. You were nobody. You were from a small southern town. You had no education beyond high school. You had won no writing awards. You knew no other authors. You doubted yourself, not your writing.

But, a couple years ago you saw the possibility present itself. You knew you would have time to devote to writing your first novel. You began with shaking hands and a vague idea about how to get started. You were afraid to type the first words. You spent days searching for images to depict your characters, explored maps to decide on setting, and created an outline. When you finally put your fingers to the keys, your story flew onto your screen like music from a flute. It was happening. You couldn’t believe it, but it was finally happening.

Two chapters in, you knew you wouldn’t quit. You knew you wouldn’t walk away halfway through like so many other projects you had started in the past. Writing was different. It felt exhilarating. This was going to happen. One way or another, you were going to be a published author.

You asked yourself, “What do you want?”

You answered yourself, “I just want to write a book, to know I can. I want to publish it, to put it out there in the universe. I want a few readers to read it, just a few. And of those few, I want at least one to love it.”

When you read that now, what do you think? All of those things you wanted have come true. You have published two novels and two novellas. They have been read by many and at least a handful of people have loved them enough to tell you so. Everything you set out to achieve has been accomplished.

You should be so freaking proud of yourself.

So why aren’t you? Why do you now stare at your sales chart, your statistics, your feedback and desperately want something more? Do you even know what more you want? What is it? To be a bestseller? Do you want to be famous?

No. You don’t. You don’t care anything about that. Everything you wanted in the beginning is what you want now, what you already have. Please, recognize this.

I know how excited you get when someone says how much your stories move them. I also know how soon the feeling dies when you take your eyes off your own goals and begin to compare yourself with others. For every person who says they love you, there’s an author with a million readers reminding you, by their existence alone, what success “should” look like, reminding you that you did not set your goals high enough, reminding you that you are still nobody.

But for a nobody you have done so much. And for a nobody, you have created and put things out in the world which others have valued. To them, you are not nobody.

No one else is going to be able to tell you what is enough. If you don’t set that bar, there never will be one. You will always be chasing other people’s dreams and kicking yourself for failing to reach them. You are the only person who can follow your bliss, create your heaven, find peace with what comes of your creations.

Remind yourself of this. Daily.


Self-Promotion: What Successful Authors Would Do

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said something similar to: “Stephen King doesn’t tweet about his books. Look at how successful authors use social media and do likewise.”

Uhm… really? So, Stephen King has sold a freakafillion books because he tweeted about his cat instead? (Disclaimer: I don’t even know if Stephen has a cat.) Is that how we’re expected to sell books around here?

Obviously, promoting other people’s books is socially acceptable, just not our own. So, is that how Stephen King became so successful? He made an agreement with a friend to tweet about each other’s books? And then BOOM! Bestseller list. That’s how it works, right? Rule for authors: Whatever you do, don’t tweet about your own book because that’s just so tacky.

“OMG! It’s soooo tacky,” she says and flips her long cinnamon waves over her shoulder. “Like, oh. my. god!”

Do you know who says you shouldn’t promote your own business? (Can we please compare this to a business, because our books are where we sink all our money in hopes of eventually earning a profit?) Okay, so, do yo know who says things like this? I’ll tell you:

  • Authors who are signed with publishers who pay for some level of advertising.
  • Authors who have a clique who routinely gushes praise at each other on social media.
  • Authors who have an established readership.
  • Authors who are wealthy enough to pay for an adequate number of ads on their own.
  • Authors who would like it if all other authors would drop off the face of the Earth. “The bestseller list will be ALL MINE! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!”

Do you know who self-promotes?

  • Brand new authors.
  • Authors who don’t want to endorse work of others without reading it first.
  • Authors with little to no funds to pay for advertising.
  • Awesome authors (and sucky-authors) who are confident about their work.

It is generally understood that spamming people with ads is not helpful. Most authors know that if all they do is tweet about their books, they will be unfollowed or blocked, or will end up only being followed by authors doing the exact same thing. Over-advertising will push people away. The simple fact that it is not productive to spam people will cause most of us to avoid doing it, even if no one flips their hair back and wobbles their head around about it.

Is it possible to sell your books to twitter followers? I have sold my books to people on twitter and bought books sold to me there. I don’t auto-tweet, but I do talk about my books. Sometimes people find the plot interesting and they follow the link to buy a copy. Because it works, I continue to self-promote in a very personal (non-spammy) way.

It is no different than a business which makes organic peanut butter tweeting about recipes listing peanut butter as an ingredient and plugging their flavors of peanut butter. We would find it ridiculous if that peanut butter company only tweeted about their love of amphibians and lyrics to Janis Joplin songs while completely neglecting to share information about the peanut butter they sell. If the peanut butter company never tweets about their actual products, they would almost certainly go out of business.

Self-promotion has to be balanced and it should be personal. It should happen in a way that reveals as much about you as an author as it does about the book you have written. And because you are a person, not a group of people, you are expected to resemble a human when you post things to social media. You are expected to interact with the people you follow. No spamming.

Now let’s talk about using hashtags for self-promotion. Some hashtags originate to help facilitate a conversation. If your book is REALLY relevant, no one should expect you not to bring it up with that hashtag. If it’s not relevant, the Twitter police will plead with their gods to smite you. But there are some cases where it’s really not okay. I’ll use #1lineWed as an example. Every Wednesday on Twitter, authors will post a single line from their works in progress based on the theme chosen for that week. Kiss of Death sets the theme. The rules state that authors should not post buy links, but can link to personal websites. There technically are no rules, as in Twitter won’t ban you. But it’s kind of like a fun game, so you should try to play fair and within the guidelines. With something like this, you shouldn’t self-promote. Granted, some authors see people using the #1lineWed hashtag and aren’t aware there are rules, or that the “event” actually has a theme. But someone will likely inform you of the rules, at which point you will understand it is designed to help you as an author, and it is best to stick to the guidelines. Just getting to share snippets of your work should be enough.

But, what about when someone asks for book recommendations and you think your book would be a good fit? I’ve been in this situation before. Very soon after publishing my first book there was a question posted about why there weren’t any books with a certain element about them (I forget what). My book actually fit what they were claiming didn’t exist. So I tweeted about it, said I had just written a book like that, and shared the link. A few minutes later, the same person made a joke about how annoying self-promoting authors could be.

Was it really annoying?

I would think if someone asks why there aren’t any books about gay ostriches on the moon and I have written a book about gay ostriches on the moon, it would not be annoying for me to point that out.

If I was looking for fluorescent yellow tube socks and someone said, “I make fluorescent yellow tube socks.” I would not find that annoying. And I would not suddenly have a dislike of fluorescent yellow tube socks just because the maker herself informed me of their existence (as opposed to if her friend told me about them, which would hypothetically make me buy a dozen pairs or so.)

Seriously, new authors, you can not be shamed into never talking about your work, or never being proud of what you have created. It’s important to understand the effects of your marketing tactics. And it is important to not forget that you are talking to real people who value their time. But you’ve worked hard on your book and you should talk about it. If you see a place where it fits into the conversation to mention it, then mention it. Maybe the elite will think you are tacky for doing so, but this is your baby so show it off anyway. Don’t be silenced.

I think that’s what Stephen King would do if he were you.
(Disclaimer: I do not know if this is what Stephen King would do.)

Books by Julie Roberts Towe

Click here to buy my books because your heart needs the rush.

Book Reviews: Abuse in Fiction

I promised I’d weed through the gigillion books at Amazon and find a few gems of self-published work. I’m a slow and meticulous reader, so in no way will this blog turn into a book review site. But, I do hope to highlight some books worth mentioning as I find them.

My book series, Winter Seedlings, deals with the effects of childhood sexual abuse. So, for the first chunk of reviews, I decided to read books touching on similar themes.

I’ll start with The Goldfish Diaries by Winona Teague.

goldfishdiariesThe Goldfish Diaries is an unusual book in that it deals with the very heavy subject of domestic violence in a way that is accessible to teens. Combined with the fact that the narrator is a goldfish, perhaps you’ll assume this book is too childish for adults to enjoy. But, you would be mistaken. The goldfish is like a fly on the wall, seeing everything that happens in the house and trying to make sense of it. As explained by this description of this book on Amazon: “Through the eyes of their long-forgotten goldfish we come to know the Havens family. Tom: the boy with the broken heart. Millicent: the little girl with the broken teacup. Mrs. Havens: the woman with the broken bones. And Mr. Havens: the man who gave them to her. ”
The Havens family goes through so much, but Tom is the one being pulled in all directions. I empathized with every character Winona Teague created, maybe not so much with Mr. Havens, but I understood why he thought the way he did. Though self-published, The Goldfish Diaries is very well written, believable, unforgettable.

The next book on the list is It’s Not Always About Freud by Adele Scott.


Adele Scott has a Masters degree in psychology and trained as a child psychotherapist. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. This is her first novel, self-published, and impressive. It is not, however, about a cat.
The story centers around the life of a therapist as well as a situation with one of her clients. I’ll post the Amazon description here:

Thirty-seven year-old psychotherapist Laura Flight works in a mental health clinic and appears to be better at solving other people’s problems rather than her own. She drinks too much, is not woman enough to dump feckless ex-partner, Brad, and is finding it harder to drown out the sound of her ticking biological clock.
Then an attractive new client, with connections to the clinic’s manager, walks into her therapy room. The unfolding events reach a crisis, which unexpectedly jeopardizes Laura’s position in the clinic and inevitably forces her to take charge of her life.
Laura learns the biggest battle she has to face, is the battle with herself.

There is no mention of abuse in the description; and though it is not the central theme of the book, it does happen. Because the author, Adele Scott, is a therapist in real life, this book is full of clinical-speak. I actually enjoyed that and appreciated that she didn’t dumb it down for those of us not in the field. A plus for me was that by the end of the book, I had learned some things about psychotherapy and Auckland.
I hope Adele Scott will write more books. But in the meantime, if this sounds like something you would enjoy, here is the link to It’s Not Always About Freud.

This list is in order from most tame to most graphic. So I am going to put my Winter Seedlings books right here. Most of you have already heard my plugs for them. I’ll just quickly say that they both deal with childhood sexual abuse, mostly the aftermath and recovery. They are both intensely emotional stories focusing more on the psychological effects than the assaults themselves. Both have diverse LGBTQ characters. Each is a complete story within itself, no cliffhanger at the end, just solid unforgettable endings.


And last on the list, yet first in terms of emotional impact is Crush by Laura Susan Johnson.


This book is not a light read. Be warned: you will not just cry, you will sob. Laura Susan Johnson does not shy away from describing atrocious acts of abuse, nor does she shy away from the details of the physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual effects of that abuse. She is a nurse in real life, and in many regards, the author has seen a lot and is not squeamish. I would almost categorize Crush as horror, but I don’t think the author wrote any of this to sensationalize abuse. She is not trying to glorify the pain. The book is intense and there’s no way to read it and not feel changed by it.

The Amazon description is: “Raw, graphic, candid portrait of two young gay men whose love affair is deeply affected by the scars they sustained from childhood sexual abuse. Tammy and Jamie are soul mates, but their love is thwarted for years by bad timing, fear of ridicule, and the damage that lingers long after childhood.”

Again, here is a link to Crush by Laura Susan Johnson.

I hope this is helpful to those wanting to support indie-authors. I’ll continue to post recommendations as I find gems worth mentioning. I am currently reading a few sci-fi novels. I’ll get back to you on those, possibly in March.

(Follow my blog for updates!)

Problems in the Book Selling World

There are problems in the book selling world, but they might not be the problems you think. I will address some complaints here and critique some common “easy fix” solutions.

1. Lots of people become authors because they believe anyone can do it and get rich.

Yes, this seems to be the case at the moment. But reality will hit them and they’ll give up, leaving only serious writers to carry the torch. If you are a reader and would like to avoid books written as get-rich-quick-schemes, please take a moment and read the provided samples before buying a book. Tedious as that may seem, it’s something I always do, even in real brick and mortar stores. The time it takes to read the whole thing, especially if it sucks, will be spared by taking a quick peek inside.

2. Bestselling and “well-known author” books should be sold in separate categories from Self-Published and debut authors.

Definitions are the problem here. There isn’t an “us” and a “them”. Sometimes bestselling authors will self-publish work, perhaps under a different name. Sometimes self-published books end up on bestseller lists. My Winter Suns landed in the top 50 in Contemporary Women’s Christian books on Amazon despite the fact that it shouldn’t have even been in that category. Would that be enough to qualify me as a bestseller? I say no. Personally, it meant nothing because my book was  wrongfully categorized. But, not everyone is so honest and would market themselves as a bestselling author from that point forward. So, if you want this solution, you’ll have trouble drawing up the definitions for each group, as well as keeping people from gaming the system in both directions.

3. Fake reviews, paid endorsements, and lies exhaust book buyers and sellers alike.

It’s the “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” scenario all over the publishing world. Good books don’t sell themselves, nor do bad ones. Connections sell them. One author may promote books by tens or even a hundred other authors because that network will do the same for them. Most have not even read all the books they’re promoting. It’s like birds cackling from tree to tree and it begins to get annoying to everyone who isn’t a bird.

“I couldn’t stop turning the pages!” = “I skipped over a lot because I wanted it to be over!”
“It kept me guessing!” = “I didn’t have a freakin’ clue what was happening.”
“Bob E. Writer did it again!” = “His first book sucked and this one does, too!”
“Rape is here!” = “I wrote a book about rape and I’m going to sensationalize the rape part because your pain is my profit!”
“I laughed so hard.” = “… at the many ways this book fails.”

You get the idea. But what’s an author to do? They had 20 people promote their book and now they owe 20 people a book promotion and they have to say something, and they don’t want to ostracize themselves among friends. I think they should worry more about ostracizing themselves from readers whom no longer trust their word.

4. Authors who write erotica books about pedophilia as a kink (to arouse readers) categorize their “taboo erotica” in Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

Get the F$&@ out of my category. Seriously, Amazon, fix this. Erotica which labels itself erotica should be in the erotica category only.

After I painstakingly wrote a two novel series about the recovery of childhood sexual abuse and the horrors of the aftermath, and made a great effort to be mindful of triggers and thoughtful of victims who might read it… Amazon allows “erotica, taboo kiddy porn” novels to be listed in the same category. This frustrates me as an author. But it has to unnerve readers to the point of giving up on searching for books not already hyped on bestseller lists.

I’m not saying erotica shouldn’t exist. But it should be in it’s own category. My book ended up in a Christian category when it shouldn’t have. So did Fifty Shades of Grey because the character’s name is Christian. Categorizing problems are bad for everyone.

5. Bestselling books are the best books.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! No. All you need is an okay book, lots of money and/or connections. I’m not saying everyone who gets on that list does it by gaming the system. All I’m saying is that the system is gameable. If a reader is happy with those books on the list, read away. If you are an author on that list and you want to be proud of that, go ahead. But, do not assume that you are somehow superior by default to those with less resources or connections.

If you are a self-published author with nothing going for you except your skill at crafting stories, don’t be disheartened if you don’t make it to the top of those lists. Don’t let well-connected and wealthy writers minimize your value. Screw ’em. Keep writing and put out the best book you can make.

6. Self-published books are the bane of the book world’s existence.

These times, they are a’changin’.

Sometimes I look inside a book and think, “OMG, I can not read that drivel.” And at least half the time it’s published with a publisher who tweaked it for mass appeal. How do people get published by a publisher? Do they need to write extremely well? Not really, because the publisher can pay exceptional editors to fix many, many problems.

There are cliques in the publishing world and those inside them get published and promoted. I’m not a clique person. I opt out of all that by choice and I am not the only author to do so. Even well-known authors are taking the leap into self-publishing in order to gain control of their work.

Some people who once had all the power and prestige in the book world are losing a little bit of it. They’ll never lose it all. We’ll never be on an equal playing field. But at least I now can play without their invitation.

When a book is good, readers will not care how it came to exist. They’ll just be glad it does.

7. How do I find quality self-published books if Amazon is a cluster-@#$* and reviewers are scratching backs with fake praise?

This will be an easier task if you have a favorite genre. There are blogs set up to find exceptional books within niche markets. They often review self-published work. Search Google (or whatever search engine you prefer) for blogs on the genre you enjoy and bookmark the ones that seem to seek out books instead of reviewing what is fed to them. For most readers, this will give you a good idea of what to read and what not to read. But keep in mind that some book bloggers get paid to review books. They should make those instances known when they review the book. They will be more likely to be honest about a book if they are reviewing for the love of the genre and not for financial gain.

And you can also keep an eye on the new releases within a category (30 days or 90 days), opting to have them listed by release date instead of “new and popular”. Beware that this is how you’ll stumble onto all kinds of wrongly categorized drivel. But, you might find some gems if you like to dig.

I plan to do some digging and review a few self-published books here on my blog in the coming year. I don’t anticipate this will help you much unless you like the same kinds of books I do. Some of you will. Some of you won’t. That is life.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

But if you’d like to join this discussion and add your own ideas about the state we find ourselves in (as readers and writers), please comment. I’m excited to see the changes in the publishing world over the next five years or so. I hope great success is in store for those with the passion and skill to hang in there and keep writing.

Readers, we love you! Hang in there with us, please.