Unknown writers deserve a break today.



I WILL BE THE FIRST to say that, given the constraints of working a day job or two, one of the first casualties of a busy life is reading.

That’s a crying shame.

It’s a shame because reading is one of the fundamental pleasures that got me into this mess.

What mess, you ask?

The mess of wanting to put words on paper, to try my hand at creation.

I suspect those authors out there who read our blogs on Caleb and Linda Pirtle are all too familiar with the syndrome.

They love books, but have little time to read them.

This scarcity of free time is a vicious cycle for authors.

Without a steady diet of books a writer can lose her bearings.

The proliferation of Indie authors only makes this situation worse.  Daily I see books by authors new to me and wish I had time to add their work to my to-be-read list. Only a tiny fraction of them make it on that list.

I tire of those who complain about the quality of Indie books, those who consign books by little known authors to the bargain bins of their  minds, who dismiss them before they give them a chance.

The problem is not a glut of bad books.

The problem is a glut of good books.

The way we usually resolve this conundrum is by developing personal anthologies.

Those anthologies consist not of titles, but of authors.

In my case if I decide to take the time to read a new book and don’t have a specific title in front of me, I default to a book by one of the handful of writers I know I will enjoy.

James Lee Burke comes to mind.

That’s great for James Lee, but it is not so great for the hundreds of others fine writers who labor in obscurity.

I really want to break my pattern.

So here’s the path I propose.

At least once a month I intend to read a book by an author whose work is new to me.

That would  amount to a dozen books a year by authors who need someone to give them a chance.

Now the only question is where do I start.

Any suggestions?

Stephen Woodfin is the author of The Revelation Trilogy.


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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Stephen, some of the best writing in the country goes undiscovered and unread. That’s the shame of the literary world.

  • This was an inspiring post, thanks. I’ve been so busy of late I neglected my reading time. As for new writers, there are plenty of excellent writers out there telling original stories that go unnoticed. Authors like Pavarti K. Tyler, Jessica West, Chris Godsoe and many more.

    • Woelf,
      Thanks for the comment. I am not familiar with the writers you mentioned, but I will check them out. SW

      • Anytime. I see it in the same light as someone asking me about my favorite writer. It’s impossible to give only one because there are many. That is what I love about reading and writing. We never compete.

  • I have a very bad track record in finding new books I like. It makes me reluctant to try.

    And this includes books by big name NYT bestsellers – that was a revelation. BookBub wandered along and offered me some famous names at very inexpensive prices. I grabbed a couple – hated them.

    Of course, I have far less energy than most people, so it isn’t too surprising that I reach for an old favorite, and a reading experience I can count on, rather than try something new.

    Or maybe it’s that, having solved so many writing problems to learn how to write better, I see the flaws more clearly?

    • Yeah, I’m afraid seeing flaws in others’ writings is an occupational hazard for authors. It’s hard to take the critic hat off long enough to just enjoy the words on the page.

      • But I’ve found that many of my OLD favorites – Sherlock Holmes (original, not the modern garbage not written by Conan Doyle), Jane Eyre, Dorothy Sayers, John D. MacDonald – these are just fine, even if I can see some of the strings.

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