It takes a pretty amazing author to make me remember his or her name. There are only a few, biggies like Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Mr. King himself. Then there are the ones who snuck up on me, like Hugh Howey, David Simpson, and Blake Crouch. I only learned their names long after I grew to love their work.
Recently I started reading Abandon by Blake Crouch. I must admit that I don't normally follow author names. I read what looks interesting, and THEN if I love it I'll read the whole series. That's how I found the wildly popular Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
Last night, as I continued to read, I fell even more in love with the writing - the book in general. I decided to check him out, in my usual fashion.
First I see who published the book (as I'm always interested in who publishes the kinds of books I read and write). I was utterly amazed to see that it was self-published! Even as an author who has struggled with the decision of traditional vs self-publishing, I'm still guilty of sometimes thinking self-published books are less polished.
That is not the case with Blake Crouch. And that's what drew me in immediately when I started reading Abandon. I never read with any preconceived notions. A cover catches my eye and that's it. I usually don't even read a blurb. I just dive in. If Abandon were an ocean I never would have attempted to come back up for air. Even now, I'm sitting here thinking I should be reading it instead of talking about it.
Second, after I check out the publishing, I look for the author's writing advice, or interviews, things that give a peek into their success. And that's when my jaw literally dropped.
I fell in love with the Wayward Pines TV show! Love! It was one of those Family Fun Time shows that we all gathered around to watch. I knew there were books out there, but since Matt Dillon was on the cover, I wrongly ASSumed that it was one of those 'books about a show' instead of the other way around.
This opened up a ton of emotions in me (when I should have been sleeping) and kept me up even later. How did he get his start? What's his writing advice? Would he be as successful self-publishing if he hadn't already started the traditional route? In interviews he said himself that he basically got tired of 'waiting for the Big Book Deal' and decided to just do it himself. But he already had a following. (I followed him without even knowing it.)
I still haven't figured out any of the answers but I do have to wonder how much of his self publishing success was because he'd already had success traditionally publishing. As someone who's finally done with her first rough (read: shit) draft, I'm deep in the editing and rewriting phase myself. So I always obsess about my favorite authors and how they do what they do. They all tell you the first draft is shit (so I'm good there). Blake was no different.
He also gave a little insight to Indie Authors on how not to make the same mistake he did. When he first listed his new horror novel RUN, he had it categorized wrong and it made all the difference in the world. Check it out here.