In case you’ve somehow missed my bragging, seven of us indie authors have got together to create an ebook compilation called OUTSIDE THE BOX: Women Writing Women. Some literati types like Dan Holloway and JJ Marsh love it already, but what do they know? I think it’s only fair to slap on a great big warning and tell you it’s not for everyone.
Here are nine reasons why you might want to steer well clear of OUTSIDE THE BOX:
1 You don’t like reading.
Maybe, like Kanye West, you are not a fan of books. Kanye adds, ‘I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books.’ If this applies to you too, you’ve read too much already. Stop right now and go rinse your brain with the finest hip-hop until you’re out of danger.
2 You only read books written by men.
Well, that’s your prerogative. As far as I know, there’s no book police yet, though there are traps like the works of George Eliot, George Sand, Ellis Bell, AM Barnard, JD Robb, Isak Dinesen and JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith.
3 You like one-dimensional characters.
In that case you will probably hate the woman who’s accused of killing her father, the young woman fleeing from the shadow of her infamous mother, the prima ballerina who turns to prostitution to support her daughter, the wife of a drug lord who attempts to relinquish her lust for blood to raise a respectable son, or any of the other unforgettable people featured in OUTSIDE THE BOX. This, it should be noted, is fiction about independent-minded, unconventional women. (Though you will also find quite a lot about the lives of men, children and animals.)
4 Strong language offends you.
Or maybe you think ‘sex’ is what goes on a form when you’re asked whether you’re male or female. As there isn’t the equivalent of a British Board of Film Classification, there should be an alert here. These books include swearing and even scenes of an intimate nature. The authors did not write these books to please their parents or Mother Superior.
5 You only ever read books in one genre.
Oh, dear. Authors like Joanne Harris and Jane Davis have seriously over-estimated you because they believe readers like a diversity of writing.
6 You avoid books by independent authors.
Maybe that’s because you haven’t read any yet? More and more books are self-published. Literary agent Andrew Lownie believes that in five to ten years, 75% of books will be self-published. The revolution in publishing has brought a brand new crop of indie writers willing to take risks. We’re no more alike than are authors published by the Big Five. But, as Roz Morris says, we seven have all proved our worth already with awards, fellowships and, of course, commercial success. Now’s your chance to get a toe wet.
7 You fight shy of weighty issues, even when they’re lightly treated.
Caution: this box set covers the full spectrum from light (although never frothy) to darker, more haunting reads that delve into deeper psychological territory. Maybe best stick to books where the biggest crisis is a broken fingernail or a scuffed Manolo.
8 You have way too much to do as it is.
Perhaps you’re busy creosoting the fence, bathing the kids, or honing your Oscar acceptance speech. I hear you. Luckily a book is like a true friend, one who knows you sometimes need to be elsewhere, who doesn’t make demands but is there for you whenever you find the time. By the way, Eddie, your copy is on its way, and we’re rooting for you on Sunday.
9 You prefer comic books.
POW! Nuff said.
For those who haven’t been put off, Outside the Box: Women Writing Women is an e-book box set of seven full-length novels for £7.99 (or about $9.99). It’s available from February 20 for just 90 days.