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Monday, August 10, 2009

Backwords Books + Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome author Kristen Tsetsi to my blog today. Kristen is here to tell you about Backword Books - I think you'll find what they are doing very interesting. She's also giving away a copy of her novel, HOMEFRONT, to one lucky winner - and she'll ship internationally! Details on the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.

It’s because the readers of this exceptional book-review and book-club blog have such passion for books and all things reading that I’m excited to be given this space to introduce you to Backword Books (

Backword Books is a collective of authors publishing under their own imprints, and whose novels have received critical acclaim and attracted media attention. From our website:

There has never been a time like this. There’s a perfect storm brewing: publishers less willing to take chances on new fiction writers and emerging media making it easier for writers to reach readers…

People read good books. The BACKWORD authors write good books. There are no longer any valid barriers keeping the two groups from finding each other.

Popular perception is that independently released novels are substandard. We don’t completely disagree—many of them are. Just as many traditionally released books are substandard. Our purpose, our goal, is to introduce the good independent work to readers and break down the belief that if it’s self-published—no matter what it is (and if it’s not by someone famous)—it should be discounted. Publishers don’t make good writers. Good writers make good writers.

A little about the Backword Books’ authors and their books:

Kristen Tsetsi's 'Homefront' has a cab-driving former English professor, an unpredictable alcoholic Vietnam Veteran, an anti-war soldier, and a morbid mother in-law coming together in this realistic, sensual, and darkly humorous semi-autobiographical tale of waiting through a war deployment. [Heather J.'s note: I reviewed her book here - it was quite good!]

* 'One of the most powerful and brilliant books I have read in a long time. Make this the next book you read.' –PopCultureZoo

* ‘Love and pain is the plot of Homefront, but in the hands of this talented artist they are a mighty force.' --James Moore, co-author of the bestselling, 'Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential'

Bonnie Kozek's 'Threshold' is a take-no-prisoners noir thriller whose protagonist, Honey McGuinness descends into a dark, seedy, and dangerously seductive underworld in the fearless pursuit of her best friend's killer.

* 'This book kicked me in the teeth. Every few scenes your get you jaw rocked and your gut punched. It hurts like hell, but once the literary adrenalin starts juicing, there's no way you are going to stop.' -Ron Fortier, Pulp Fiction Reviews

* 'Let's face it, living life can be pretty graphic. And, ignoring it doesn't solve problems. Ms. Kozek takes the reader into such a seedy world brilliantly.' --Susan Haley, Fascinating Authors

Andrew Kent's 'Spam and Eggs: A Johnny Denovo Mystery' has the world-renowned detective finding a message hidden in a spam email, which sets in motion a case filled with metaphors and double-meaning.

* 'This book is different from any other that I have read. 'Spam & Eggs' is a clever, intellectual mystery that will leave you wanting more of Johnny Denovo in the future. I look forward to many more intriguing cases!'

* 'This is a book that in fact puts the writing of a lot of very seasoned and famous mystery writers to shame. . . . If true talent rises to the top then this is not the last we have heard from Johnny Denovo and his creator Andrew Kent.' --The Book Friar

Eddie Wright's 'Broken Bulbs' tells the story of Frank Fisher who finds himself involved in a twisting mystery full of addiction, desperation, toothaches, hamsters, a vindictive postal worker, and self-discovery.

* 'A brilliant and stunningly original work, by far the best novel I read in 2008.' --Alternative Reel

* 'This slim volume is the bastard child of Memento and William S. Burroughs, absolutely not for the faint of heart nor for anyone seeking a nice, simple beach read.' --Jason Pettus, The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

R.J. Keller's 'Waiting for Spring' takes readers beyond the Maine tourists know, beyond lighthouses and lobster and rocky beaches, and drops them instead into a rural town whose citizens struggle with poverty and loss, yet push onward with stubbornness and humor.

* 'A strong debut. Her voice is strong, her talent is evident. [... This is the spring of Keller's work, the beginning and now we can anticipate the full bloom of summer in her next work.' --Barb Radmore, Front Street Reviews

* ''Waiting for Spring' is a very well-written, consistent story with a skillful eye for characterization. It's not a showy fantasy or clever comedy or groundbreaking genre-maker -- but it accomplishes something even better. It shows you a main character, and unfolding group of secondary characters, that live and breathe and...touch the reader's heart and mind.' --Sarah Suleski, Web Fiction Guide

Christopher Meeks's 'The Brightest Moon of the Century' brings Minnesotan Edward Meopian across thirty-six years, and such situations as an all-boys high school, a drive-in in mid-winter, and a mini-mart in an Alabama trailer park to find his place in the universe.

* 'Meeks manages to put together a thoughtful, fresh-feeling portrait of how we become who we are.' --Cherie Parker, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

* 'This focus on introspection is what pins the story together into more than a series of vignettes. No matter where Edward is, or what age he may be, his talent for both engineering frustrating, socially awkward situations and learning from them make him supremely sympathetic.' --Jennie Blake, Book Geeks

'American Book of the Dead' by Henry Baum will release soon. In the meantime, to read Baum’s work, pick up The Golden Calf or the self-published North of Sunset, listed in Entertainment Weekly as the #1 Self-Published Novel. North of Sunset also won the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize.

Meeks' and Baum's work both made the EW list of best self-published novels, and critically-acclaimed Homefront--whose true-to-life characters and unique relationships continue to make it an increasingly popular book club selection--has been featured on NPR’s “Faith Middleton Show,” “Front Page,” and a number of other radio programs.

The novels at Backword Books are literary fiction. All this means is that they can’t easily be categorized on a shelf under “Romance,” “Mystery,” or “Sci-Fi.” As a new collective, we’re understandably still relatively small, but we’re open to working with others and are looking at branching out. Because genre books have generally had an easier time of self-publishing, Backword is—for the moment, anyway—sticking to books that aren’t too genre-specific. But we’re thinking of connecting with a number of different niche publishers – a sort of Gawker-esque network of publishing collectives that all cross-promote. Thinking big: the idea is to have a romance self-publishing group, horror, science fiction, non-fiction, etc. But that’s something that will take a little time and planning.

Until then, you’re invited to stop by, take a look at our books, and read our blog. We have a lot of fun at Backword Books, and we even have the occasional heated discussion. Feel free to join in!

Coming soon: contests and giveaways. Subscribe to our blog to make sure you don’t miss anything. Also, look for a Backword Books feature in an upcoming issue of Publishers Weekly.

- Kristen


Thanks Kristen! And thank you also for the copy of HOMEFRONT that you are going to ship to one lucky reader.

*** How To Enter ***
  • Leave a comment with your thoughts on Backword Books' authors collective - what do you think of their approach to self-publishing? Did any of their books catch your eye? A simple "enter me!" won't get you in.

  • If your email address is not available through your profile or your blog, please include it in your comment.

  • Everyone is eligible to win no matter where you live. Kristen has graciously offered to ship anywhere in the world - yeah!

  • I'll choose the winner on Friday morning (8/14) so be sure to get your comment posted before then.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

I think they all sound good, especially Homefront. I love gritty, realistic novels and it definitely seems like you get that with this imprint. thanks for the chance to win.

lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me. I am jumping up and down with joy over the idea of Backwords Books (and am not surprised to see Henry there!). If we at Win a Book (or myself, personally, since I'm also self-pubbed) can be of service to you guys, please holler.

In the meantime, I've posted a link to this post over at Win a Book.

kalea_kane said...

I love the idea of Backword Books! I know that there is a lot of talent out there, and thank God that some of these authors are finally getting their work out there. I am consistently being wowed by independent presses lately. The books here look amazing. I am feeling it! :) I am definitely intrigued by Threshold by Bonnie Kozek. Who can resist a dark and seedy underworld!

Thanks for the giveaway!


Ant said...

I think this is a great idea and the featured novels look promising. A great opportunity for authors and a great opportunity for readers.


Amy said...

I like the idea of Backward Books because I like to see new faces break onto the literary scene. At the same time, I'm always leery of self-published authors, as I've read some less-than-stellar-self-published tomes. But then again, I've read some less-than-stellar books published by major houses.

Waiting for Spring sounds like my kind of book - looking past the kitschy tourism to the heart of what a place IS.

Lisa said...

I think Backword Books is a brilliant idea. You're absolutely right that there are a lot of bad books published by traditional methods. When I look at the bargain tables in book stores I'm appalled by some of the schlock that's published! And there it sits--mercifully unsold.

Pam said...

I love that good writers are self-publishing. Some of my favourite music is by independent artists and I can't imagine why I wouldn't feel the same about authors.

I also love that their books aren't easy to categorize. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is probably missing out on some great reads because they fall into a genre I don't typically read/choose/enjoy.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that the Christopher Meeks book was self published. I'm not at all opposed to the idea of independent publishing, in fact it's a great oppurtunity for authors to project their work. BACKWORD is doing a great job.

All books look good including Homefront. I also found Threshold by Bonnie Kozek very interesting, I'm not too fond of the cover though.

Please enter me.

Amanda S. said...

I think Backword Books sounds like a genius concept! My mom self published a book recently, and I am so happy to hear about a group helping authors like her. I can't wait to check them out and see what other great books are out there that the big publishers are missing, lol!

cstironkat said...

I like the idea of backwords books. This is a great way for unknown authors to become known. The books that I find interesting are Bonnie Kozek's 'Threshold', Andrew Kent's 'Spam and Eggs: A Johnny Denovo Mystery', and Eddie Wright's 'Broken Bulbs'. Thank you for the giveaway.

catss99 said...

A publishing company like this is definitely needed. I wrote about half of a book, looked into the publishing process of the big companies, and never finished it;-)


Anonymous said...

zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Backwords Books is one of the most exciting, promising ideas for writers I've yet to come across! I'm like a couple of other posters, I love to write and have at least one 'novel' half finished, but given the commercialism,and difficulties of actually seeing my work in print, leaves me with the notion that I am merely wasting my time. Sad. If not for myself, there are far too many truly talented would-be authors out there whose work deserves to be read and enjoyed by many. So, I love the idea of self publishing !!!
Anyway, the first book to catch my eye was HOMEFRONT!I loved the snynopsis and I bet this is one heck of a great read :)

Mia J. said...

I think that Homefront sounds especially good.

GypsiesThread said...

I think Threshold sounds like a great read!!! I will be adding it to my TBR list ASAP!!!

Mozi Esme said...

An idea whose time has come, for sure! I agree that publishers don't make good writers. I think it leaves things to the reader to determine what is good or not, rather than the publisher - more democratic, if you will. Though the big publishers still have more marketing dollars, you don't need tons of dollars to publicize electronically!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

sharon54220 said...

Homefront sounds great, but I also like Broken Bulbs,Waiting for Spring, and The Brightest Moon of the Century. I also like the idea of Backward Books.
Thanks for the chance.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes self-published books are wonderful and I think they shouldn't be overlooked by anyone. I'm glad to see that the Backword authors self-published. The fact that their work has received critical acclaim and attracted media attention speaks volumes!!!
I would love to be entered in your draw.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

patrick m said...

whatever it takes to get their books out to the public is fine. I love the way Homefront sounds and would love to read it.

wendy wallach said...

The Brightest Moon of the Century caught my eye because I also live in a trailer park and I think that any way an artist has to get his work noticed is a good thing!

madamerkf at aol dot com

Nickolay said...

Broken Bulbs really kinda sticks out to me. I like when a book takes a little bit of a darker look at real life situations and breaks down the problems. It sounds like a very intriguing book.


Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I'm glad you posted this, Heather. I got a press release about Backwords Books, but haven't yet spread the word (hanging head in shame now)

I enjoyed Christopher Meeks' THE BRIGHTEST MOON OF THE CENTURY and my book club read it based on my recommendation. If his work is an indication of the quality of the authors in the collaborative, this will be a success!

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