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The Latest Reads to Support Self-Publishers

By Alice Fusai and Francesca Harnett


The journey of a book is not an easy one. The publishing streamline is tortuous, and relationships with experts in the field often dictate whether a manuscript will turn into its final commercial form; even when contracts are signed, the destiny of a book can never be predicted with certainty. Will it be the ultimate TikTok trend, or will it collect dust for the following months on some shelves at Waterstones? Nobody really knows.


More often than not, really good manuscripts don’t get to the first round of the publishing process. Sometimes they don’t even get read. It is then not surprising that authors often turn their back to the established route and decide to step into their own: self-publishing.


In today’s market, self-published books are becoming more in trend, but being able to navigate into this massive quantity of publications can be daunting. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.


Here are some recent self-published books you definitely don’t want to miss.


Non-Fiction:


The Apapa Six: West Africa from a 60s Perspective by John Berryman


If you are interested in knowing about the history, culture and traditions of West Africa then this might be a good book for you. Berryman’s point of view on cultural and political history emphasises myths of origin, natural resources, historical slave trade, the division of lands and frontiers created by the Berlin Conference and the British policy of indirect rule. Berryman’s narrative here is unique, as he describes a brief period of peace during Nigeria’s modern history.


The book gathers the adventures of two students, Berryman and his friend Tony McWilliams, as they travel in Nigeria, on an exchange program granted by London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. As with most exchange students, the two travelled quite a lot. For each destination, Berryman offers an accurate description of the local cultural and political history, emphasising the enduring consequences of the slave trade, the fragmentation of territories and the demarcation of boundaries.


Solo Passage: 13 Quests, 13 Questions by Glenda Goodrich


This is a touching adventure into wilderness and healing. Into these thirteen stories, author Glenda Goodrich takes the reader with her to explore nature and answer some deep questions, covering topics including death, spirituality and forgiveness. The chronicles offer a poignant and rich description of the writer’s relationship with nature and the power it holds to awaken memories.


Each adventure has its very own peculiarities which make Goodrich question a different aspect of her life, offer a different perspective on some difficult past experiences and give her the chance to delve into deep contact with other forms of lives and elements: trees, animals, insects, earth.


Recommended for everyone who needs a book which feels like a warm hug but also a run into the deep and rich wilderness.


Fiction:


Bisentient by Patrick O’Connor


This summer has seen an explosion of self-published fiction titles across multiple genres. One of the most highly anticipated releases is Patrick O’Connor’s psychological thriller, Bisentient. The book follows cameraman Mason Plater when he begins having disturbing dreams about a beautiful woman who has become the subject of the British government’s intense interest, despite being in a coma. While investigating, he comes into conflict with a group of religious zealots who will stop at nothing to dominate American politics, and a dark conspiracy emerges. O’Connor expertly weaves together political and religious thriller with sci-fi elements, creating a mysterious and captivating read that will leave you thoroughly gripped. The book is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and ThriftBooks.


Aila’s Journal: A Tale of Southern Reconstruction by Charles M. Clemmons


Summer 2023 has also seen the emergence of a highly anticipated work of historical fiction, Aila’s Journal: A Tale of Southern Reconstruction. Charles M. Clemmons’s topical work is set in 1863 and explores the forbidden friendship of Aila, a young white indentured servant girl, with a black enslaved girl, Mary and their experience of the post-Civil War world. The novel explores the restructuring of the South into a racially charged Jim Crow society, portrayed through the eyes of the lower-class women, until the 1898 race riot. Not only is the gut-wrenching novel thought-provoking, lyrically written and applauded for its historical accuracy, but all the profits from the publication and sales will be going to charities The Better Angels Society and The Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The title is available on Amazon, Foyles, Bookshop.org and Barnes and Noble.


While we have only covered several outstanding examples, the outpouring of this summer’s releases has been impressive and is a testament to the drive of self-published authors. Other notable titles include Aaron Grahame’s heart-wrenching reflective fiction Memoirs of Forgotten Yesterday, Dyson Russell’s haunting anthology Marching with a Broken Shadow and Linda Armstrong-Miller’s mystery Blood & Water.


But the year’s not over yet and entries for the Self-Publishing Review (SPR) Book Award 2023 are open! If you have self-published or published with an indie publishing house this year, this competition is for you. The winner receives $2,000 worth of SPR book promotion or service for the winning book, including Amazon Review Promotions, SPR Book Reviews and an author interview. The competition runs from 11 April 2023 to 1 April 2024 midday and is open to any genre of book. For tickets and more information, click here.



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