Just received a very nice tip from Ben Fox, the founder of Shepherd.com.
Not familiar with the name...? Ah, well now...
Frustrated by the Amazon and Goodreads format, Ben has set about reinventing online book discovery (while helping authors sell more books, which, speaking personally, is no bad thing) and he set up the site last year. It now receives well over 400,000 visitors each month. The goal is 'to help readers bump into books they would otherwise not find and give them ways to follow their curiosity between topics and concepts'.
In other words, the plan is for authors to generate more readers, and to introduce readers to writers they may not be familiar with (er, or even writers with whom they are not familiar..!). What's that rule: never end a sentence on a preposition....or something?
As part of the site's strategy, authors - in all genres, fiction and non-fiction - are invited to share with readers 5 books they love. The books are grouped around a particular topic, theme, or mood, allied to one of the author's own books which pairs with the chosen heading. It's a way of highlighting authors who write in a similar vein and, by sharing these personal recommendations, it's hoped that a rapport will develop between writer and reader.
The chosen themes are many and varied and can be anything from 'The best books for realistic near future science fiction' to 'The best books to tackle money laundering risk'.
The likelihood is there's no topic that isn't covered.
Any road, Ben dropped me a note to tell me that one very kind author - Wolfric Styler - has included one of my offerings in his list, which, in this case, happens to be Hawkwood 's Paris-set adventure Rebellion.
Wolfric's relatively new to the writing game. His first novel, Troubled Zen, came out last year and features former EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) operator Zenobia Martinez. To have a female lead makes a refreshing change from the usual ex-special forces male protagonist (yeah, I know, I stand guilty as charged - mea culpa). Wolfric's reason for choosing a female lead was because he believes there are many aspects to investigate that show how a woman can be just as tough, stubborn, ingenious, brave, and determined as any male hero.
Wolfric's 5 recommended books come under the heading 'The best action book series with characters who have served in the military'.
As well as Rebellion, Wolfric's chosen Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Assassin, Stephen Leather's Short Range, Lee Child's One Shot, and Robert White's Made to be Broken, so I'm in very special company indeed.
Spookily, I guess my latest offering The Salma Option, also comes under that category. Ah. well, maybe next time.
If you'd like to take a look at the site and the relevant pages, feel free to click on the following links: