Financial success in the world of independently published science fiction and fantasy is an illusive beast. In order to even approach a supplemental income from being a writer without the help of one of the bigger publishers you need a lot more than pure talent. Aside from being a really special writer, it also requires a writer to be quite prolific, even more so than a traditionally published author, and it almost definitely requires high social media intelligence. You essentially have to be the writer, agent, marketer, and social media manager all at once, while still finding time to actually sit down and churn out that novel or two a year.
Lindsay Buroker is one of the writers on the scene that anyone who has an interest in indie sci-fi has heard of and probably read. She is the writer behind such glowingly reviewed works as the steampunk adventure Flash Gold (reviewed on Android Dreamer earlier this month) and The Emperor’s Edge (review coming here in July), both of which are the first entries in similarly named series that have really high ratings on websites like Goodreads and Amazon, and have managed to sell really well for being self-published. Although, according to her website, she isn’t making as much as when she was doing a day job, she is making a livable wage by being a writer completely on her own terms.
Publishing two or more novels a year is a really amazing clip that most novelists would be terrified to even attempt; so much goes into outlining and developing a novel, followed by probably many rewrites, that unless you’re already doing it for a living it is just about impossible to find time to do it. Buroker has managed to pull it off and established that independent publishing can be a way to fulfilling ones own literary dreams without having to jump through anyone else’s hoops. A lot more can be read about Lindsay’s trip to literary self-sufficiency at her website, www.lindsayburoker.com.
Since independent publishing became so easy thanks to websites like Smashwords and Amazon, the ebook community has been inundated with an endless pile of novels. There aren’t any hard statistics to back up this claim, but I believe that it is fair to say that more than 95% of what is published through this medium is garbage that would never have seen the light of day through traditional publishing means. There are definitely a fair few writers who have either published independently or started their own small press publishers however that are extraordinarily talented and worth taking a look at. One of them is Jeff Pearce.
Pearce started his own book publishing company, Gallivant Books, and has published books in a handful of genres. What is perhaps most remarkable about Jeff Pearce, aside from his pure writing ability that includes quality prose, dialogue, and plotting, is the diversity of stories he tackles. In The Karma Booth, which has been reviewed by Frida over at Adarna SF, Pearce tackles horror in an effort that, if the opinions of those I’ve seen can be taken as gospel, is as strong as anything published by any of the big speculative fiction houses. Reich TV, which follows George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, and the Marx Brothers in the middle of World War II, is one of the strongest alternate history novels ever written, second perhaps only to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. Pearce has also published the first of a series in what is best described as literary superhero fiction with Bianca: The Silver Age.
There are a handful of writers in independent speculative fiction who are in the same ballpark as Jeff Pearce in terms of quality of writing, but none who manage to dabble so perfectly in such a diverse array of genres. He is an extraordinary writer of science fiction, thriller, horror, and super hero action, and it is kind of a head scratcher as to why he isn’t writing for Tor or something as big. Pearce is definitely a name to know. Read about his various works at Gallivant Books, and read some reviews of his novels at Adarna SF.