Review: The Black Lake
I got pinged an email alert by Google the other day. I’d been mentioned on The Guardian website. My scalp contracted and I clicked on the link, feeling a mixture of delight, excitement and utter terror. The Guardian is a big deal. Then I read the journo’s strapline: “Better editing could have upped the shock voltage of this tale of horror on an isolated Scottish island.” And I thought, eek, I’m in for a bruising here.
But actually, I found the article enlightening and rewarding.
But those quibbles aside, The Black Lake was good fun: short, atmospheric and creepy. Having read tons of zombie novels, and horror novels, I’m surprised a publisher hasn’t snapped this one up, as it could definitely hold its own alongside more traditionally published genre material. If I had the time, I wouldn’t mind returning to check out some of Rodger’s other novels, set in the Yellow Dawn world.
– Alison Flood, The Guardian
Alison Flood’s critique highlights the fundamental issue at the heart of my LULU / Amazon publishing model; and the same issues for the majority of other authors who have a direct route to market.
Lack of editorial resource.
I don’t have a big publishing house carousing on my behalf; I don’t have professional editorial expertise behind me, knocking off the rough edges of my work into a glossy market-focussed product. Some people would argue that’s a good thing, and I can understand that point of view, but in my case I’m now swinging around to the idea of buying-in a layer of industry experience: hiring a professional editor on a freelance basis.
What’s the point of me spending 7 weeks of my life writing a novel to then not maximise its potential?
Regardless of a mainstream publisher being interested in snapping me up – if I can improve the product for the slice of the market already prepared to buy my work as it stands, then I’m improving my chances of referrals and punters coming back for more helpings.
Mind you. Freelance editors are not cheap and I now have 7 novels in the stable.
So I’m going to have to think very hard about next steps – choices and timescales, and budget.
I do strive for quality in my work. At the end of the day I’m crafting a product that has a lot of people paying money to enjoy. This article has flashed up a like mirror, reflecting back a view that shows where I can improve.
So yeah, rewarding and positive.
You can read the full article by Alison Flood here (or click on the image above)
PREVIEW / BUY “THE BLACK LAKE”
THE BLACK LAKE: The Earth has been ravaged by an event known as Yellow Dawn. Ten years later, survivors are putting lives back together and probing the frontiers of a new Wilderness; whilst overhead the orbital colonies slide across the sky, removed and unaffected. Five men leave the fortress island of Malta on an expedition to the sub-Arctic waters above Scotland. They intend to undertake scientific observations of an alien meteorological phenomenon that has followed the apocalyptic event. What they find is a cosmic horror that seethes amongst the shadows of a shattered Earth. It is a story of escape and wonder, of madness and terror. David J Rodger’s trademark unforgiving rendering of harsh reality, and relentless narrative pace, are here in palm-sweating abundance, delivered in a novel that tears open a rent in the boundary of reality, providing a nerve-jarring glimpse of the Outer Chaos and the horrors that lurk just beyond the threshold of our fragile, human existence.
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