I don’t usually do press releases, but I couldn’t resist this one when the opportunity came up. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Why I Wrote” post where all seven women share their stories. And now [imagine a drum roll here, please]:
Unforgettable Books by Exceptional Writers
Eimear McBride used her Baileys Prize acceptance speech to voice the opinion that mainstream publishers were underestimating readers. And according to statistics recently released by the eBook distributor Kobo, almost 57% of British readers gave up halfway through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, while over 71% failed to finish 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. The message is clear: many publishers are not delivering on their promise to publish novels that both challenge and entertain.
So where should readers who are looking for thought-provoking but accessible literary fiction look? The answer may well be self-publishing.
“This past year has brought an astonishing increase in the quality of work by indies that can’t be ignored.” Publishing commentator and Bookseller columnist Porter Anderson, speaking at the London Author Fair
Meet your new favourite authors
Outside the Box: Women Writing Women is a box-set which brings together the work of authors who are at the forefront of a strong cohort of ground-breaking women who are writing and self-publishing literary fiction.
Released in eBook format on February 20 (pre-orders from January 12) and available for just 90 days, this treasure house of novels introduces an unforgettable cast of characters: A woman accused of killing her tyrannical father who is determined to reveal the truth. A bookish and freshly orphaned young woman seeks to escape the shadow of her infamous mother—a radical lesbian poet—by fleeing her hometown. A bereaved biographer who travels to war-ravaged Croatia to research the life of a celebrity artist. A gifted musician who is forced by injury to stop playing the piano and fears her life may be over. An undercover journalist after a by-line, not a boyfriend, who unexpectedly has to choose between her comfortable life and a bumpy road that could lead to happiness. A former ballerina who turns to prostitution to support her daughter, and the wife of a drug lord who attempts to relinquish her lust for sharp objects and blood to raise a respectable son.
These novels showcase the full spectrum from light (although never frothy) to darker, more haunting reads that delve into deeper psychological territory. Beautiful, poetic, imaginative, passionate, witty, sensual and intelligent, together, they offer dry humour and raw heartbreak.
But regardless of setting, regardless of whether the women are mothers, daughters, friends or lovers, the themes are universal: euthanasia, prostitution, gender anomalies, regression therapy, obesity, drug abuse, revenge, betrayal, sex, lust, suicide and murder. Their authors are not shy of big issues.
Orna Ross (founder-director of The Alliance of Independent Authors, named by The Bookseller as one of the 100 most influential people in publishing) selected Blue Mercy, a complex tale of betrayal, revenge, suspense, murder mystery—and surprise.
Joni Rodgers (NYT bestselling author) returned to her debut Crazy for Trying, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Discover Award finalist.
Roz Morris (ghost writer and teacher of creative writing master classes for The Guardian newspaper in London) presented My Memories of a Future Life, the haunting story of how one lost soul searches for where she now belongs.
Kathleen Jones (best-selling award winning author, whose work has been broadcast by the BBC, Royal Literary Fund Fellow) contributed The Centauress, a compelling tale of family conflict over a disputed inheritance.
Jane Davis (a British writer whose debut won the Daily Mail First Novel Award) nominated An Unchoreographed Life, an unflinching and painfully honest portrayal of flawed humanity.
Carol Cooper (author, doctor, British journalist and president of the Guild of Health Writers) provided One Night at the Jacaranda, a gripping story about a group of people searching for love, sex and everything in between.
For Jessica Bell (Australian novelist, singer/songwriter, Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and whose award-winning poetry has been broadcast on ABC National Radio), her latest novel White Lady was the obvious choice, an intense, suspenseful ride rife with mystery.
They’re storytellers dedicated to their craft, brimming with passion and courage to push the boundaries, who have all proved their worth with awards, fellowships and, of course, commercial success.
‘The Magnificent Seven! This is a showcase of truly inspiring authors brimming with passion, talent and the courage to push the boundaries.’ JJ Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs series and founder member of Triskele Books.
‘The optimism and confidence in this new collection is palpable.’ Alison Baverstock, lecturer in publishing and self-publishing at Kingston University.
‘I cannot recommend this collection highly enough.’ Dan Holloway, columnist for the Guardian books pages and publisher.