Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm on the Island of Misfit Books...

Like most self-published authors, I have found that writing the book is the easy part--it's reaching the reader is so difficult. Sometimes I imagine that I’m on the Island of Misfit Books waiting for Santa to come and find a home for my novels, but instead of landing, the jolly old elf thumbs his nose at me as he flies on by. 

Good thing there are sites like ENT, POI, and Michael Gallagher's blog, Free Kindle Books and Tips, plus ton more to help a struggling author find homes for his/her books. Blogs like those are a bridge from the Island to the Kindles of readers who are looking for something just a little bit different from what they can get from trade publishers. Not that trade published books aren’t deserving of homes too, but they get loaded onto Santa’s sleigh every year, all polished and shiny.They already have plenty of elves working on getting them under the tree. With the above mentioned blogs, I have had the opportunity to fling freebies from my iceberg as I floated close to the mainland. Many readers even picked them up, read them, reviewed and emailed me. I have been humbled, overwhelmed and immensely grateful for the positive response. The recurring comments are that they feel they are right there with Mark Taylor, the main character of my series.

My books are shiny and polished like the mainstream books, but they don’t follow genre rules. While they are thrillers, the focus is on Mark Taylor, and putting readers in his shoes as much as possible. There is action, danger and bad guys, like many other thrillers, but there is also a little magical realism and lots of angst.  In other words, trade publishers categorize my books as misfits.

When I started writing my first Mark Taylor book, No Good Deed, I had a story I wanted to tell of an ordinary man who becomes a hero. Through a twist of magical realism, he acquires the ability to see tragedies before they happen and can attempt to change the outcome. Unfortunately, his attempts to warn authorities about 9/11 lands him in the brig as an American enemy combatant.

I came up with the idea after reading a few articles in the news about real American enemy combatants and after doing some research, wondered what it would be like for an innocent man to be locked up—especially if he had no way to prove his innocence. I added the magical realism because I wanted readers to know for certain Mark was innocent, and also just because I love that kind of thing. I was a huge Quantum Leap fan, and recently, I’ve been enjoying Person of Interest and both shows have similar concepts.

As I wrote that first book, I had no clue it would be the first in a series. I mean, I already had a lot of fantastic company on the island of misfit books. Was there room for more? Daring readers who had taken a chance on my first book let me know they wanted a sequel, and then another and another. Being the industrious elf that I am, I hammered away in my little workshop and produced three more books. I am thrilled readers want more, and I intend to put down roots on this island of Misfit Books —maybe even build a cute bungalow complete with a garden. (I’ll just have to push Hugh Howey over to the mainland to make room.)

 I’m thinking the books aren’t really the misfits, perhaps instead they just needed to find special people to read them. Maybe I’ll start calling it the Island of Books That Stretch the Imagination.  Catchy, don’t ya think? Or maybe Island of Books Too Awesome for Words? If you have any suggestions, please share!

A few weeks ago, I got an idea. What if I combined all four books and bundled them into one ginormous e-book called Mark Taylor Omnibus? Genius, right? I’m just like that dentist elf with the way novel ideas pour out of me. Okay. I realize I’m not the only one to have this idea. There was this one guy who did something similar with a book called Wool. Anyway,  Mark Taylor Omnibus is packed with all four novels currently in the series: Mark Taylor: Genesis, No Good Deed, March Into Hell and Deeds of Mercy as well as some bonus content currently only available in Mark Taylor: Genesis. The word count is over 320,000, and if printed out, would consist of more than 1200 pages. That's a lot of entertainment for $9.99. Where else can you find a gift for a book-loving friend for under $10? Of course, you could also try an individual book—they make great stocking stuffers.

(A version of this post originally appeared as a guest post on EreaderNewsToday. I'd like to thank Greg for that opportunity!0 


  1. It's a lot of work being a writer! But I have to agree with your readers. I felt like I was right there in the action with Mark in the first book. That's what hooked me. It's a special talent to have when you can put your reader in your MC's shoes and they feel what he's going through. :D

  2. So where is Mark Taylor's adventure taking him next. And how about Jessie and Jim? Of course there's Mark's Photo Shop and his partner there and her love interest. Nope, no spoiler from me, I will never say who that might be. Loving the series and Omnibus is a grrrreat idea! Waiting is not really my strong suit, keep those stories coming please.

  3. I am feeling the love for ENT today, big time! They featured my Christmas novella yesterday and it jumped from around 2000 to under 200. A huge shout-out to sites like theirs that help books get noticed!

    And I think the Omnibus is a great idea.

  4. Thanks, Katie. You also reminded me about Lily from March Into Hell, and her brief mention in DOM. I have to figure out what to do with her. I see her as a Cyndi Lauper kind of character, a total opposite of Jim, so course that makes them a perfect match. Now, what to do with them? Hmmm...

  5. ENT is awesome, Talli. Congrats on your big bump from them! :-)