Liam Rudden: Publish and be damned

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EVERYONE has a book in them. So the old saying goes. Most, thankfully, are unlikely to ever see the light of day, but with the advent of ebooks, more and more are making it into ‘print’. And not just online.

As well as the latest releases from all the mainstream publishers, these days my post bag is just as likely to include self-published tomes, a process once known as vanity publishing. The clue is in the name.

Consequently, there’s now a never ending stream of poorly plotted paperbacks - easily spotted by their equally poor cover designs - tackling everything from crime to romance, and travel to history, that really should never have seen the light of day.

Edinburgh seems to be, if not at the heart of this revolution, certainly up there.

New research by Amazon recently revealed the city has one of the highest number of independent authors per capita in the UK.

Ranked an indie publishing hot spot, the Capital just makes it into the chart at No 10 and is the only place in Scotland on the list.

And now, Amazon is encouraging even more would be authors to get their stories out there, by publishing them in time for The Kindle Storyteller Award, a new literary prize recognising newly published work.

The award is open to all authors who publish their book through Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon.co.uk until 19 May.

The winning author gets £20,000, marketing support the book, and the opportunity to have their book translated.

Hopefully, however, if you do manage to rattle out your story in time to enter the awards, you’ll make a better job of it than was made of many of the independently published efforts that have dropped on my desk recently.

Thrillers set in and around the Capital seem to be en vogue right now. Never have there been more quirky detectives plodding city streets.

Sadly, few of these crime capers are all that readable and while it’s always great to see the city feature in novels, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve binned one of these epics before the end of the first chapter. Life’s too short.

Truth is, were any of these books likely to be best sellers, a publisher would have snapped them up, which brings me to the book I’m reading just now, a crime thriller set in Victorian Edinburgh, it’s gripping stuff.

Mask of Shadows, by Oscar de Muriel, is set in the Edinburgh of 1889.

The Scottish Play is coming home, but before the darling couple of London theatre, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, take their acclaimed Macbeth to the Royal Lyceum, terror treads the boards.

A grisly message found smeared across the cobbles in blood, foretelling someone’s demise.

As the bloody prophecies continue Edinburgh’s finest Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Inspector Ian Frey enter the scene.

Well researched, Victorian Edinburgh is brought vividly to life in de Muriel’s gripping and darkly humorous page-turner.

Looking for a good local read? Look no further.