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Five Novels that Will Change Your Mind About Indie Books

Five Novels that Will Change Your Mind About Indie Books

Indie books sometimes get a bad rap because they are not from the big five publishers. Some indie books are from regional, small presses and others are from self-published authors. Here are five novels that will change your mind about indie books.

  • delivering-virtue
  • missing-mr-wingfield
  • no-big-thing
  • sammie-and-budgie
  • the-el-paso-red-flame-gas-station

The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station - "A well-wrought panorama of small-town dramas and discontents." — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Missing Mr. Wingfield - "With his impressively honed craft, Clark has produced an equally compelling literary draw." — BlueInk Review (Starred Review)

Sammie & Budgie - "Semegran is a gifted writer, with a wry sense of humor. Poignant, yet never maudlin, this novel will appeal to literary-minded readers and fans of magical realism." — BlueInk Review (Starred Review)

No Big Thing - "A well-written story—one that includes Old South traditions and dirt-road romances, with a healthy dose of beer joint camaraderie thrown in for good measure." — BlueInk Review (Starred Review)

Delivering Virtue - "Threads of satire are skillfully woven into this tapestry of humor and pathos, magical realism, and historical fact." — Foreword Clarion Reviews. Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5. 2015 INDIES Finalist.

Originally posted on Rifflebooks.com on 2/1/2018

Sammie & Budgie

Sammie & Budgie

Release Date: Oct 1, 2017. Buy it today!

sammie and budgie front cover 93x140"Illustrated throughout by Semegran, this book is the author's best. In these pages, his steadfastly idiosyncratic style really begins to click. An unconventional, beguiling, and endearing family tale." — Kirkus Reviews

From Kindle bestselling writer and cartoonist Scott Semegran, Sammie & Budgie is a quirky, mystical tale of a self-doubting IT nerd and his young son, who possesses the gift of foresight. The boy's special ability propels his family on a road trip to visit his ailing grandfather, a prickly man who left an indelible stamp on the father and son. The three are connected through more than genetics, their lives intertwined through dreams, imagination, and longing.

Simon works as a network administrator for a state government agency, a consolation after a promising career as a novelist flounders. He finds himself a single parent of two small children following the mysterious death of his adulterous wife. From the ashes of his failed marriage emerges a tight-knit family of three: a creative, special needs son, a hyperactive, butt-kicking daughter, and the caring, sensitive father. But when his son's special ability reveals itself, Simon struggles to keep his little family together in the face of adversity and uncertainty.

Sammie is a creative third-grader that draws adventures in his sketchbook with his imaginary friend, Budgie, a parakeet that protects him from the monsters inhabiting his dreams. Sammie is also a special needs child but is special in more ways than one. He can see the future. Sammie seemingly can predict events both mundane and catastrophic in equal measure. But when he envisions the suffering of his grandfather, the family embarks on a road trip to San Antonio with the nanny to visit the ailing patriarch.

Sammie & Budgie is an illustrated novel brought to you from the quirky mind of writer and cartoonist Scott Semegran. The novel explores the bond between a caring father and his children, one affected by his own thorny relationship with his surly father, and the connection he has with his sweet son is thicker than blood, going to the place where dreams are conceived and realized.

"Though Simon's love for his children shines through as one of the novel's biggest strengths, its illustrations are perhaps the best part. Expressive, adorable, and adding a fun surprise, they are a welcome addition to the reading experience." — Indie Reader

"The novel's delights abound... Semegran is a gifted writer, with a wry sense of humor. Poignant, yet never maudlin, this novel will appeal to literary-minded readers and fans of magical realism." — BlueInk Review. Starred Review.

"More than a story of a gifted child learning to hone his talents, Sammie and Budgie is an exposé on the inner lives of children and their parents. The writing quality is excellent and the dialogue between Simon and Sammie is immersive." — Foreword Clarion Reviews. Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an excerpt here.

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Traditional Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing

Traditional Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing: Which Publishing Path is Best for You?

Originally posted on Lulu.com 02/05/2018

This past year while promoting my latest two books, Boys and Sammie & Budgie, I was asked quite a lot during interviews, "Would I go with a traditional publisher for my next book?" Having taken the indie route and self-published some of my fiction work, I initially thought this question to be intriguing. Could I relinquish all the control I have as a self-publisher and opt for a traditional publisher to take control of my new book's life? My initial response was, "Sure! Why not?" Then on further reflection, my thought was, "Well, I don't know." What a conundrum!

I decided to research this issue and I found that there were drastically different opinions on this: traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Many authors still tout the traditional publishing model as the best way to go, particularly if you want to be taken "seriously" as a writer. One author, Ros Barber, declared that she'd rather starve as a traditionally published author than risk appearing amateurish as a self-published author. Another author, Hugh Howey, favored self-publishing because he spent less time jumping through the hoops of the traditional system and instead published straight to the "real" gatekeepers: the readers. Both writers have a point. Ultimately, aren't they both trying to accomplish the same thing? They both have the desire to be published writers. Arguing about the method of publishing is like arguing about the best way to get from Texas to California: budget airplane ticket or expensive automobile. Would you rather fly cheaply or drive an expensive car? Who cares! I just want to get to California. Most writers just want to publish their work for the world to read.

I think the better approach to this dilemma is to figure out other factors that influence the writer in you. Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Or do you like to focus only on writing? Does marketing your books sound appealing to you or does it make your brain hurt? Does graphic design and typesetting sound fun or does it turn you off? How involved do you want to be with the life of your book? Do you want to give it to a publisher then walk away, trusting that they have editors and graphic designers and marketers? Or do you want to follow it down the long tail of its distribution, getting involved with the book cover design as well as marketing and promotion? Like discovering your love language for a successful romantic relationship, figuring out some of these personality traits in your writer-self will be important in deciding the publishing route you should pursue.

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Simon Adventures Boxed Set

Simon Adventures Boxed Set

Release Date: Oct 29, 2017. order today!

simon adventures front cover 93x140For the first time, all three novels in the hilarious literary series are together in one eBook bundle. This eBook collects the entire epic, mind-bending run in the most convenient format available including all three book covers and accompanying illustrations:


What Reviewers Are Saying About Simon Burchwood:

"Simon is such a character that I couldn't wait to find what he did next." — Great Books Under $5

"Simon's self-doubting verbosity becomes oddly endearing." — Kirkus Reviews

"Simon Burchwood is a genius. It's true!" — Bitsy Bling Books

"His ill-fated journey is strangely captivating." — Indie Reader

"Cracked me up!" — Ashton the Book Blogger


On his way to New York to celebrate his impending literary success, Simon Burchwood is the prototypical American careerist: arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic. But a quick detour to Montgomery, Alabama to visit a childhood friend sends Simon on a bizarre journey, challenging his hopes and dreams of becoming a famous writer. The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood is a character study that delves into the psyche of a man who desperately tries to redefine himself. Is Simon pompous? Yes. A jerk? Yes. Will you like him? Absolutely!

"The book is told entirely from Simon's viewpoint. Simon is not a very likable guy; as a matter of fact, he is a self-centered, pompous jerk. But for some reason, it's pretty fun to be inside his head, mainly because he is an inadvertent, oblivious jerk... A very good novel that was humorous throughout." — Red Adept Reviews

"Verdict: An ambitious, enjoyable read with a superb ending that changed my interpretation of the entire text." — Indie Reader

"The close-to-the-bone novel captures perfectly the intensely solipsistic nature of a certain type of author ... a clever and surprising twist." — Kirkus Reviews

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Boys by Scott Semegran

Scott Semegran’s Advice to Fellow Indies: “Don’t let anyone get in the way of your desire to be creative and write.”

IR approved stickerOriginally posted by IndieReader.com on January 30, 2018

BOYS received a 5 star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Scott Semegran.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

BOYS by Scott Semegran. It was published June 27, 2015.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“The little boy sat on the floor in his room surrounded by his toys–Micronauts action figures, Hot Wheels race cars, Star Wars action figures and vehicles, Evel Knievel doll and motor cycle, Shogun Warriors in various sizes, and a pile of Legos intermixed from various sets.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

BOYS is about three young, male characters growing up in central Texas during the 1980s and 1990s: a third-grader, a high-schooler, and a recent college graduate. All struggle with finding love and acceptance, either because their family life is unfulfilling or they are trying to navigate through life on their own for the first time. They long for friendship and companionship and ultimately find it in unlikely places. I put as much humor and raw emotion as I could into each story, allowing the love these characters have for their friends to shine through the darkness that life throws their way.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

BOYS is a compilation of a short story, a novelette, and a novella. It didn’t start as a single project. After completing all three at the beginning of 2015, I saw the thematic thread through all three stories, although it was not intentional. They were intended for different purposes i.e. literary journals, magazines, or a book of some kind. It seemed to me that they would make great companion pieces to each other in one book so I hired a graphic designer for the cover and a couple of editors for the manuscript. As for inspiration, all three stories were inspired by my nostalgia for growing up in Texas. Although BOYS is not autobiographical, it was written with a loving nod to the friendships and connections I made as a boy and a young man growing up in central Texas.

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Boys by Scott Semegran


boys-front-cover93x140"The writing is sharp and unpretentiously thoughtful, and since each of the main characters finds solace in companionship, this is an affecting literary depiction of the comforting power of friendship. Each of the stories can be read on its own, but taken together, they make a coherent, thematic whole, skillfully produced. An endearing collection that deftly captures the need for youthful fellowship." — Kirkus Reviews

These are the stories of three boys living in Texas: one growing up, one dreaming, and one fighting to stay alive in the face of destitution and adversity. There's second-grader William, a shy yet imaginative boy who schemes about how to get back at his school-yard bully, Randy. Then there's Sam, a 15-year-old boy who dreams of getting a 1980 Mazda RX-7 for his sixteenth birthday but has to work at a Greek restaurant to fund his dream. Finally, there's Seff, a 21-year-old on the brink of manhood, trying to survive along with his roommate, working as waiters and barely making ends meet. These three stories are told with heart, humor, and an uncompromising look at what it meant to grow up in Texas during the 1980s and 1990s.

"Verdict: With nary a dull moment, Scott Semegran's BOYS features short stories filled with unexpected nuances that draws readers right into the heart of his well-developed characters." — IndieReader. 5 Stars. IR Approved.

"Semegran's work is evocative and replete with relatable, recognizable characters... who find comfort in friendship. With its descriptive flair and flashes of humor, Boys offers an engaging read—one short fiction fans are sure to enjoy." — BlueInk Review

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If you found my blogs, stories, cartoons, or other articles on my website useful or entertaining, then please visit my Books page and check out my novels as well as my comic strip compilation and my collection of short stories and cartoons. They are all available in eBook, paperback, and hardcover formats. For a pittance, you can purchase something great to read while supporting a writer with a large family and lots of mouths to feed. Thanks for your support, Scott.

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