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I was the kid who spent hours in the library, headed straight for B. Dalton bookstores in the mall, and lugged around a book wherever I went. Then adulthood happened, and I had a job and a family and somewhere in my twenties and thirties I stopped reading books for fun. I devoured business books and computer engineering books. I wrote specs and reports for my job. And frankly, the price of new hardcover books approached the level of textbooks and even $9.99 seemed steep for an e-book. Instead, I bought the first generation Kindle to download out of copyright classics such as Great Expectations, Sherlock Holmes, Armadale, Pride and Prejudice Imageand The Woman in White.

The day I found 99c books and Kindle Direct Publishing was like letting a chocoholic loose in a chocolate factory. Suddenly, my kindle became useful again. Along the way I discovered authors who told fresh new stories in new and unexpected ways. Stories were no longer hampered by tired genre guidelines or conventional wisdom. Want to kill off your heroine? Go ahead, if it makes sense. Want us to weep for your bad guy? Do it credibly and my throat will get lumpy. Have us so confused we suspected every single person of murder including the pastor? Then pull out obscure character from page 146 paragraph 3 who was mentioned once. Okay… if it was entertaining, sure. I’ll hand it to you.

About a year ago, I answered a poll at the World Literary Café.

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INDIE BOOKS (self-pubbed & small press): 

Approximately how many do you read per month? 4

Do you see a need for stronger editing? yes! I know it’s not been edited when it’s full of Introductory Present Participial Phrases and misplaced modifiers. The book becomes humorous. POV shifts are another source of either minor annoyance or jaw shattering head shaking. Oh, and purple prose. I’m really good at that! And I actually enjoy writing that grabs Jesus handles, LOL

Will you pay a higher price than $.99 for books that are edited well? up to $2.99, but it’s not the editing that’s the deal breaker. The story has to be fresh and different. that’s what I enjoy about self-pubbed stories. Small press, not really. They are trying too hard to fit into genre expectations. Break a rule or two, that’s the joy of indie-pubbing.

If you answered YES, would you pay an equivalent price to traditionally published prices? No, because I think traditionally published books are too expensive.

TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED BOOKS:

Approximately how many do you read per month? not that many anymore. I used to read maybe one a month.

Do you see a need for stronger editing? not really. but the stories are boring and cliched, trite and unimaginative. I like the self-pubbed books for mish-mashing genre’s and delivering stories that break rules, e.g. protag dies? a pastor is implicated in kidnapping? a woman falls in love with two different men in a romance?

Do you feel prices are set too high? Definitely! Forget buying Steve Job’s Bio, or the next installment of Outlander when I can find so many fresh reads indie pubbed.

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And that’s just about how I feel about indie books. They’re a river of fresh, original content at the price of a bag of chips or a cup of joe. I can browse books online into the wee hours of the morning and stay up to read until my husband wakes up to in the morning. You’ll no longer find me sitting at Barnes and Noble trying to decide between two $25 hardcovers when I can snap up 8 to 25 indie published books, or hit the thousands of free books daily.

ImageIndie books have taken me on walkabouts through Australia with Snake-woman-child and into the murky world of a shapeshifting. I’ve witnessed a second trimester abortion through the eyes of a teen, soared high atop a castle wall with King David and dropped down to a knife fight in pre-Aztec Mexico. I have been trapped in Iran, imprisoned in a white supremacist facility, witnessed an inter-species inter-galactic love story, coveted a jar with evil sprites, jumped into the Mississippi with a demigod, and read minds with the best of empaths.(*)

What an exciting journey! Indie publishing has freed literature from the shackles of traditionalism and enable the masses to both read and write. I firmly believe that the right person to tell a story is the one writing it. And it could be YOU!

The only thing I want to add is that in the year since I answered that survey, both editing and formatting of indie books has improved to the point where most are indistinguishable from trad published books. With fresh and exhilarating content available daily, indie publishing is the reader’s best bonanza.

What about you? What do you like about indie published books? Are you more willing to experiment with unknown authors if their books are priced at 99c? $2.99? Above? What book has surprised you lately by presenting a controversial topic not seen in traditionally published books?

(*)Books reference: Secrets From the Dust, Prodigy, Twenty Weeks, Michal’s Window, At Road’s End, A Bitter Veil, Allegiance, Defying Gravity, Beautiful Evil, The Calling, Vision.

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Author Bio:

Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

Visit her at: Website: http://rachelleayala.me Blog: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.

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Buy links for Hidden Under Her Heart 

Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Under-Abortion-Courage-ebook/dp/B00B0YBI92/

Paperback:   http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Under-Heart-Rachelle-Ayala/dp/1481993410/

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hidden-under-her-heart-rachelle-ayala/1114140504?ean=2940015981582

Book Blurb:

Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.

Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He’s smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher’s son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.

Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby’s DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.

The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne’s life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.

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Fantastic Literature is UK's largest online supplier of out of print, rare and used books in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thrillers, ghost stories, weird tales and the macabre. Currently, their store has over 19,000 titles for sale in paperback, hardcover, and magazine formats. Through their Ebay shop, signed limited editions of hard-to-find books are available, perfect for gifts or the collector. The bookstore is run by husband-wife team Simon & Laraine Gosden. Visit their website for the latest news on the horror literature scene and consider signing up for their newsletter. In this interview, Simon talks about their store, the horror market, and some of his favorite books and authors.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Simon. Tell us a bit about your online bookstore, Fantastic Literature. How did it get started?

We started when I began reading horror, sf and fantasy as a schoolboy, used to go the library and pick out the latest yellow jacketed Gollancz titles and devoured them, as well as mythological books and adventure stories. I was one of those kids who took a book and a torch to bed to read through the night when I could. When I graduated and started work I began to see that there were some titles that you couldn't get hold of and put an advert in Exchange and Mart, a weekly paper, and started printing booklists. Eventually we were sending booklists out 5 or 6 times a year to 700-800 clients, very expensive! Then along came the internet and we had a boom but now things have levelled off. We produce lists every month but the numbers who receive them by mail has dropped to less than 100, and the others can see them posted at our website. It's different but still great fun.

Do you think the horror book market is declining, thriving, or at a plateau?

There is always a market for quality horror, at the moment we seem to be going through a lull, if you simply look at our sales on e-bay for example then Fantasy and SF come above Horror. I have to say though I am looking forward to the Harry Potter generation discovering adult fantasy and horror – I think the market will pick up again

What type of horror seems to be most popular with your customers?

Vampire horror is always good, and there are some strong writers around, the classic authors like King never lose their appeal. New horror writes like Simon Clark and Joe Donnely impacted on the scene strongly and have now faded a tad.

What genre sells better at your store–Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Horror?

Put simply it's Fantasy, SF and then Horror but there's an awful lot of crime fiction which is really horror and sells extremely well.

You also sell rare and out of print books. What does your site offer the book collector?

We offer the book collector real choice, we will scan any title that isn't imaged and of course we have our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, if the customer isn't happy we refund.

When it comes to rare horror books, what titles are your customers often after?

It's the classics really, Stephen King is always in demand, but also the rarer early editions are often asked for like Dracula, etc.

Do you stock books published by small presses, or mostly by the large publishing houses?

We like to stock a selection of titles from across the board, we like small press stuff and will stock it fi we can. At the moment we have books from PS publishing, tartarus Press, GreyFriar Press, TTA Press, Humdrumming books, Necessary Evil Press, Elastic Press and of course Whiskey Creek Press in the very near future.

How would you compare horror books produced by the large publishers as opposed to those by the small presses?

Some of them are exceptional in quality, the care in production is of major import. The quality of the binding is superb and the selection of authors is excellent.

What would you say is the most important element of a great horror novel?

Atmosphere and characterisation I think are crucial, forget the blood and gore descriptions it's getting under the skin of the character that counts. A great story is always useful as well.

Any tips for authors who are signing their horror books this Halloween?

Don't sign them in blood, well at least not your own.

You probably have read a ton of horror books… what is the scariest book you've ever read?

Scariest, mmm that's tricky. Firestarter was an emotional read for me, as I had a young child at the time, I've always enjoyed Dracula,The House on the Borderland, The Sheep Look Up (which I think transcends genres) The Wolfen, The Keep, The Wasp Factory, Song of Kali, Swan Song, The Shining, The Stand, Valley of Angels, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs – recenlty read Let the Right one In by Lundquist which I thought was really good. Joe Donnelly's books are good.

Who, in your opinion, are the horror fiction masters of the 20th century?

King, Straub, McCammon, Simmons, Campbell, Masterton, Simon Clark, Thomas Harris, Joe Donnelly, Basil Copper, Richard Lymon, Christopher Fowler, and the dark fantasy and horror of Geroge R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie. Also Dennis Wheatley, The Pan Books of Horror Stories, Roald Dahl and Lucius Shepard.

Thank you again for this interview, Simon!

Interview by Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author and reviewer. Her paranormal books include Embraced by the Shadows (romantic horror/vampire) and Dark Lullaby (atmospheric horror). She is also the co-author of the nonfiction work, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing.

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Hi all,

The special publishing issue of Voice in the Dark Ezine is out for your reading pleasure.

In this issue…

Editor’s Note
Fictional Character Interview
Special Publisher Interviews
–Meet Lida Quillen, Publisher, Twilight Times Books
–Meet Kathryn Struck, Publisher, Awe-Struck E-Books
Featured Interviews
–Meet Lida Quillen, Publisher, Twilight Times Books, Interview by Mayra Calvani
–Meet Lynda S. Burch, Publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, Interview by Mayra Calvani
–Meet Elizabeth Burton, Publisher, Zumaya Books, Interview by Mayra Calvani Book Excerpt — Tremolo by Aaron Paul Lazar
Gladiator’s Arena–by Mayra Calvani
Short Fiction
Articles
–It’s my Book! Right? by Ghost Writer
–Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing and Subsidy Publishing by Barbara Hudgins
–The Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing: Who Can an Author Trust by Dee Power and Brian Hill
–How Do Books Get on Book Store Shelves by Dee Power
Sanctuary — Columnist Mayra Calvani
Whodunit? — Columnist Billie A. Williams
Pam’s Pen — Columnist Pamela James
Seedlings — Aaron Paul Lazar
This & That — Columnist Dana Reed
Reviews
Notes
Events
Resources

Just go to www.MysteryFiction.net and click on Voice in the Dark on the left sidebar.

Enjoy!

Best,
Mayra

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