Friday, 22 December 2017

Finding That Perfect Read

by CP Lesley

One advantage of the current publishing climate is that a reader has no shortage of books from which to choose. Free and low-cost books are everywhere, including through subscription services like’s Kindle Unlimited.

But finding a good book is not so easy. Reviews offer some insight, but many good books fail to attract reviews for various reasons. Book bloggers soon acquire more titles than they can ever have time to read, never mind write about.

Readers too soon become overwhelmed by demands on their time. And not all reviews are what they seem: ethical writers, including myself, refuse to pay for book reviews, but some desperate souls give way to temptation.

So what’s a reader to do?

One approach, adopted by more than a few GoodReads friends I know, is to limit oneself to commercially published books. There readers can trust that books have gone through editing, typesetting, and proofreading, received professional covers—and, yes, that any reviews they receive reflect the honest opinion of the reviewer. But trade books are expensive, at $9.99–$12.99 or more even for an e-book. For the average voracious reader, they represent at best a partial solution, although public libraries can help.

But that approach also ignores the many good books published outside the commercial houses. And commercial publishing is just that: books have to sell millions of copies in today’s market to make a trade publisher’s investment worthwhile. If your taste runs to more unconventional fare, you’re out of luck.

That’s where small presses and coop publishers (a variant on small presses) come in. A coop like Triskele Books or my own Five Directions Press exerts the quality control of a traditional publishing house but can charge less, especially for e-books, because the coop authors can break even at a much lower number of copies sold. No one guarantees that if you love one author’s gritty historical fantasy, you will love another’s sparkling contemporary romance, but you can count on each book having received extensive critique and suggestions for improvement followed by professional editing, typesetting, proofreading, e-book production, and cover design. We guarantee one another’s work.

We also cooperate to get the word out, which means that we publish quarterly newsletters featuring other authors and news about our forthcoming titles, regular lists of book recommendations—Triskele’s BookMuse,  Five Directions Press’s Books We Loved posts—and blog posts, many of which feature writers and/or their books. I host an interview channel, New Books in Historical Fiction,  where I interview other authors and read excerpts from their books. Another Five Directions Press author, Gabrielle Mathieu, does the same for fantasy and adventure novels.

So you see, there are tools out there to help you navigate the independent publishing ocean. Take a chance! You never know what magical island may be hiding right over that cloudy horizon.

C. P. Lesley is the author of seven novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess, and The Vermilion Bird), a historical fiction series set in 1530s Russia, during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible.


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Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Big 5 Competition 2018!

Win a year's mentoring from Triskele Books!

It's back!

Our first mentorship competition launched in 2016.
It's proved such a success, we're doing it again.

Five experienced author-publishers from Triskele Books are ready and willing to support you from manuscript to publication, sharing our skills and expertise to give your book the best possible start.

Here's what last year's winner had to say about her prize:

The mentoring from the Triskele team has been exceptional on every level: friendly, enthusiastic, professional, and above all, so brilliantly skilful that after working on Catriona’s editorial advice, I started pitching to literary agents. Within three days of sending the novel out I received (and accepted) an offer of representation. Forever grateful. - Sophie Wellstood
If you want to get your book to its ideal readers in its best possible shape, this is an opportunity to work with a successful team, beside you every step of the way.  

Our range of skills and services are at the winner's disposal to pick and choose according to what suits them best.

We want to help you achieve your publishing goals and we have the tools to take you from first draft to publication ready in twelve months.

And meet our amazing judge!  

Roz Morris, author, book doctor and best-selling ghostwriter will read the shortlisted entries and make a final decision on the winner.

How to enter and what's on offer? CLICK HERE

Good luck!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Triskele's Best of the Year!

The Triskele team look back at 2017 and select some of our highlights ...

Gillian Hamer

Best book of the year?

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon - wonderful unique voice and clever storytelling.

Best literary discovery?

Bit late to the party but revisiting Daphne Du Maurier this year has been a real joy.

Top personal achievement?

Publishing Sacred Lake - third book in The Gold Detective series.

Catriona Troth

Best book of the year?

An almost impossible choice in a year of so many great books – from Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien to Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo Lodge. But I am going to plump for something that won’t be on many people’s radar on this side of the Atlantic: The Break by Canadian Metis author Katherena Vermette. This is a tender exploration of the impact of sexual assault on an extended family, and of the resilience of indigenous women. The women have a strength forged by a lifetime of tough experience, and the bonds of love between them are warm and tangible. They have made their lives and homes in the city, supporting their families while their men, for the most part, have retreated to the bush. Between them, their voices draw us, not just into this one tragic event but into a family history that encapsulates the experience of Métis women. A story that will stay with you long after you have closed the final page.

Best literary discovery?

2017 saw the inaugural award of the Jhalak Prize, and I was lucky enough to be able to read all the books on the shortlist before attending the prize giving in March. It introduced me to so many incredible books and authors that I probably wouldn’t have discovered otherwise, and I can’t wait to see what is on the shortlist for 2018.

Top personal achievement?

In August this year, I placed a bid in the Authors for Grenfell auction and won a workshop with the amazing Sunny Singh. Singh is a Creative Writing tutor at London Metropolitan University. A lot of the work she does with her diverse student body is to make them aware of the way they inhabit the world and to allow that to inform their character building. I came away from the workshop feeling my mind had been stretched in at least five dimensions – and I had a huge amount of work ahead of me, but that I’d been energised to tackle it.

Liza Perrat

Best book of the year?

Zoli by Colum McCann

Best literary discovery?

Psychological thrillers, eg Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant, Why Did you Lie by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, The Stranger in My Home by Adele Parks.

Top personal achievement?

My top achievement would be struggling through the breast cancer treatment. And getting the idea for Book 2 in the Aussie 70s trilogy. Working title: Swimming with Seagulls.

Jane Dixon Smith

Best book of the year?

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Best lit discovery? 

Erm ... 24 Hovrs in Ancient Rome - really worth reading for anyone remotely interested in every day life of the Romans.

Top personal achievement? 

Starting book 5 in the Overlord series

JJ Marsh

Best book of the year?

I'm currently preoccupied by politics and the patterns of history. So I'd pick Adults in the Room by Yanis Varoufakis or Munich by Robert Harris.

Best literary discovery?

Our wonderful mentee, Sophie Wellstood. Having won our Big 5 Mentorship competition, Sophie responded with intelligence and hard work to feedback from super-editor Catriona. She rewrote and improved her novel as a result. Then when she was ready, she snagged an agent in a matter of hours! We are all absolutely delighted for her.

Top personal achievement?

Getting my head around advertising and finding a huge and friendly readership in the US. So much so, I've caved to demand. Beatrice Stubbs Book Seven is on its way.

Here's to many more successes in 2018!