Do I have any regrets?
Not one, really. At 56, without the right credentials and with no 'label' or fanbase I could bring along from my previous career as an ankle sock model, traditional publishing was and is, I fervently believed (and still do!), a completely closed door. My earlier brush with the world of publishing was a pretty negative and deeply frustrating experience. I'm not enamoured of the way they sometimes operate and treat people.
Do I still believe that a book published traditionally guarantees a certain quality to its potential reader-base?
Yes, of course. When buying a mainstream book I wouldn't expect to find too many typos, grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. However, I personally wouldn't tolerate any indie/self-published book that was littered with this kind of shoddiness either. As for content, the traditional publishers' catalogues are definitely not cr*p free zones, they comprehensively cover the whole gamut - ranging from jewels to blatant stinkers! But it's an undeniable fact of life that the good stuff is largely easier to discover via the mainstream. Nevertheless, we've all read a glowing review by a top newspaper reviewer for a book, which we subsequently read and discovered to be quite dreadful.
So, do I think my own stuff compares favourably with trad. published books?
The print quality of all Odd Dog Press books is fairly high. Not one reader has so far criticised either of my own novels for basic writing skills (spelling, grammar etc). I certainly don't take all the credit for that - I have a great team of people willing to help me to edit, proof-read etc. As for writing style/content that's entirely down to personal taste. If you belong to my books' target audience, then you'll likely enjoy them; if not, the reverse is always possible. I've found myself actively dissuading people in the past (particularly friends and acquaintances with a lofty literary bent) from buying copies. If story-led stuff isn't what you like to read, then I'd personally prefer you didn't bother, because chances are you won't enjoy it and consequently won't be recommending it to your chums - and I suppose that is the ultimate aim! Unexpectedly, some people, who I anticipated would dislike one or both of my books, absolutely loved them. Some readers loved one book but were less attracted to the other. I guess this is inevitable because Niedermayer & Hart and Roadrage don't belong to the same genres.
It's not very pleasant when people say negative things about your work, but I'd uphold anyone's right to do so. However, I admit to feeling a bit fed-up reading a (quite badly written) negative review about Niedermayer & Hart (the only really stinky one it's had so far!). I felt particularly aggrieved when the reviewer admitted to only having read about a third before going on to skim the remainder as fast as possible. But he admits this, and fortunately people seem able to ' read between the lines' of internet reviews. We have to - I've sometimes come across the most dire warnings for hotels with some incredulity, as we enjoyed a faultless holiday at the very same venue. Let's face it, nothing works for everyone. Just take a look at the 1 star reviews posted on Amazon for what is in my view (and a good many other people's!) one of the finest novels of the Twentieth Century - Catch 22. I mean to say, even if they didn't love it, it's still hard to credit how anyone could give it just one measly star! Surely anyone reading it must see the merits of this fine piece of writing? Don't you agree? Don't you? Huh?
(Horror/thriller Niedermayer & Hart and psychological thriller Roadrage are available in printed versions and as ebooks - click here for details )