The book that changed my mind about reviewing

A while ago, I decided not to do any more book reviews on this site, for two reasons:

  • There are already some great reviewers out there and I was not sure that I had anything to add to what they have to say;
  • I read mainly books by indie authors and only a few of them turn my crank. I do not want to write bad reviews or do anything to discourage other indie authors who are, in my humble opinion, the future of publishing.

Then I read Little Men – The E Book by Ronnie Yax and I knew I had to review it for three different reasons.

Firstly, Little Men is about the drug trade, a subject that is the backdrop to my own novel, Junkie. Through great story telling, Yax takes the reader through the genesis and rise of the Ecstasy trade in London in the 1990s. (Yes, the E in E Book stands for Ecstasy not Electronic). Starting with the death of a high-profile celeb in the club scene, the book takes us through the machinations that lead to his murder and has a great surprise twist in the ending. It also supports my belief that the prohibition of drugs is a stupid and futile waste of time, money and lives, that does nothing but keep the drug gangs rich. (See…)

The second reason I wanted to review Little Men is that it appeals to my contrarian nature: I have always questioned conventional wisdom. In many cases my contrarianism has proven beneficial and in some, disastrous. As I developed as a writer, I took classes, read books and listened carefully to the words of my editor and mentor Lisa Rector-Maass and I started to learn the rules of writing, rules like: do not switch character point of view within a scene; do not write backstory in the first fifty pages; ease up on the use of adverbs. These rules are the conventional wisdom of editors, agents and publishers and I fully subscribe to them. I believe that they have helped me enormously as a writer. So it appeals to my contrarian nature that Yax pretty much ignores the rules yet still has written a great page turner. In one scene, he changes point of view four times and, although this is a bit confusing for the reader, for some reason, it does not stop the flow of the book.

Thirdly, Yax’s sales model is something that I have not seen before. Little Men is quite a long book, my guess is over 120,000 words, so he sells it in two volumes. Volume 1 is $0.99 (£0.77 in the UK) and Volume 2 is $2.99 (£1.77). My experience was that I first downloaded the sample chapters of Volume 1, then the full Volume 1 which had me hooked so that downloading Volume 2 was a no-brainer. This is an interesting new twist in the indie publishing world.

Little Men – The E Book is a great read, with a fascinating caste of characters. As you get to know them, you find redeeming aspects to the villains and unsavoury aspects in the novel’s protagonist. You can buy Little Men here (or here if you are in the UK).

I look forward to Ronnie Yax’s next novel, his website is here.

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5 Responses to The book that changed my mind about reviewing

  1. Thanks for the review, Robert. I too was interested in the pricing model. Love to hear about innovating ideas. Perhaps that’s the contrarian in me too.
    Lise

  2. Robert P. French says:

    Hi Lise,

    Yeah! Contrarians rock!

  3. Ronnie Yax says:

    Thanks Rob. It’s great being a contrarian!

  4. Ronnie Yax says:

    Thanks Robert. It’s great being a contrarian!

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