About the Slush Pile and the Indie Author

Finish Line

Finish Line (Photo credit: jayneandd)

The amount of review requests that come in on a weekly basis is actually staggering. I had never realized the amount of indie/small press authors out there trying to get some recognition. But one thing I noticed is that a lot of requests simply read “Here’s my book. Please review.”

That’s it. No pride. No drive. No initiative. Just a poorly worded email that probably took more time for me to read it than for them to write it and send it. I’ll be honest. It could be the greatest story ever told and it wouldn’t make it out of my slush pile. If the author isn’t excited about the book, then why should I be?

Then there are books that at first glance, I have no interest in. Maybe the synopsis just isn’t grabbing my attention. Maybe I’m burned out on that particular genre at the time. It could be one of a million reasons. But whatever the reason, I’m just not interested.

But what happens when these books come from a passionate author willing to bleed to sell you on the idea of their book? Well you might just get me interested. Take Automaton for example.

Automaton is the debut novel of Cheryl (C.L.) Davies. At my first glance of the review request for this book, I was initially going to put it in the “I’ll Get to it When I Get to it” pile. The initial idea didn’t really intrigue me because this idea had been done before in a variety of ways.

One of my favorite movies is The Truman Show and the premise was somewhat similar. Notice I say, somewhat. I admit that I didn’t really do my due diligence when first presented with this book.

Cheryl Davies was different from those authors. She is one of authors who fights tooth and nail for every review. Instead of the usual boring, generic request for a review, Cheryl gave a wonderful pitch in which she said it was something akin to “the Sims on crack” (I don’t remember the exact words and am too lazy to go recheck it).

That sold me on the book immediately because let’s face it: Who doesn’t like the Sims?! Oh, you don’t like the Sims? Well you must be a completely soulless demon of some kind. Seriously.

Beside the fact that it convinced me to read the book, my conversations with Cheryl illustrated one of my issues with some indie authors. I noticed that a good portion of them think that their job is done once the book is written. It is almost as if they believe the book will sell itself.

They see the whole process as a 40 yard dash and once they cross that finish line, they can sit back and enjoy the roar of the crowd. What they fail to realize is that independent publishing isn’t a 40 yard dash. It is a marathon that starts with the concept of your book and you cross the finish line only after you have decided that you have sold enough books.
And if one is passionate about writing, you can never sell enough books.

While some of these authors are sitting back wondering why their book is not selling, the passionate ones are marketing their books, listening to feedback, and most importantly writing the next one.

I guess the whole point of this rant is to say that if you aren’t passionate about writing, if you aren’t willing to pour your heart and soul into your novels, if you aren’t willing to bleed to make your book successful, maybe just maybe you are in the wrong business.

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