Up until December last year I had been in a bit of a lull in regards to reading fiction. The war against terror and the view from the soldiers on the ground had been fascinating me. I needed a change though, and I thought I’d look and see if I could see anything by the wonderful Mr Forbeck (can you tell I cam a fan). One Google search later and I was looking at Mr Forbeck’s website. Oooh he has a Twitter account I can stalk, er follow. I’d just started to use Twitter and was following about eight people at this point so I was quite excited to start following an author that had written books I really enjoyed. I then started seeing tweets from J. Robert King who doesn’t say much, but when he does they are gems. I’d also read some of his D&D tie-in novels, and even created a whole adventure based around one of his Ravenloft novels.
It was about this time that I saw both of the esteemed gentlemen above talking about Angry Robot Books. I’d just read Amortals and really enjoyed it. I know it isn’t William Gibson but I really enjoyed it, so when there was competition to get an Advance Reader Copy of Vegas Knights I was slitting by earlobes and making blood sacrifices to the Gods, er I think I’ve been reading Aliette de Bodard too much recently. I won that competition, read the book and loved it. I now have a ytear subscription to Angry Robot and have bought a few other titles they have released. I should also say that Matt Forbeck was directly responsible for be reading books by Lauren Beukes and Mike Shevdon.
From here things have snowballed and I have listened to recommendations from authors, publishers, and editors that have led me to new books and people to follow. These have then led me to other people and yet more books. I have recently discovered John Hornor Jacob and Frank Bill who have opened my eyes to yet more good stuff I want to read. I can’t list everyone I follow and have read books by this year, but every single recommendation I’ve had through Twitter and a couple of Blogs I follow has led to an enjoyable read.
It is at this point I have to mention Chuck Wendig. If you don’t follow Mr Wendig or read his Blog you are missing out on some hilarious and useful advice. I should warn you about the profanity you may encounter there, but we are all adults here right? I’ve bought and enjoyed three books and pre-ordered a fourth based on his Tweets and Blog posts. Oh hang on a sec, I also get Mr Wendig’s fifth book as part of my Angry Robot subscription. If that doesn’t show the power of talking to your audience I don’t know what does.
There is one example that does, and will likely be a case study in many future publications on the power of social networking. Adam Christopher, cue music. I recently met Adam at the British Library and he seems to be pretty much the same person he comes across as on-line. That is a polite, intelligent, and talented young man. If you haven’t heard the story about how he came to pitch and get his first novel published by Angry Robot it is well worth reading. In short he talked to people in the publishing industry and genuinely got on with a lot of people, and eventually got asked to pitch for somebody. I don’t believe it was a sucking up strategy, he seems too nice for that. Of course he still had to deliver and I for one can’t wait to read Empire State, you can pre-order it from Amazon you know.
My favourite book of the year so far is Serial Killers Incorporated by Andy Remic. I love this book. No, I really love this book. It resonates. I would not have read this book if I had not heard so many people reviewing the Kell books and decided to give them a go.
Book reviewers are an excellent source of opinions. The trick is to find ones with similar views to you. There are some wonderful reviewers with amazing writing talent in their own right, but I tend to really only read a few regularly now. The two which have led me to buy multiple books are The Eloquent Page and I will Read Books. I should add one of those Bloggers is my evil twin and the other is a Viking God sent to destroy me if I stop reading.
I also joined the BSFA and BFS this year and have enjoyed their publications and discovered even more good stuff.
All-in-all I have read a lot of really good books and have enough lined up to last me for a year.