Saturday, May 7, 2011


When I speak about writers who have taken the Indie path by choice, author Blake Crouch is "Exhibit A."  He had books published with St. Martin's Press and was gaining a foothold in the traditional publishing world when his new thriller, "Run," seemed to linger on editor's desks without any enthusiasm for the work.  Blake felt this was his best novel and became disenchanted with entire process.  That's when he decided to publish it himself.  It's turned out to be a game-changing decision for him.  The novel is consistently one of the top selling eBooks on Amazon and deservedly so.  I read the book in one sitting.  I've honestly never done that before or since.  It's that good. What's even better, though, is the pitch:

5 d a y s a g o

A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…

Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.

A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.

A mass of school shootings.

Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.

Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.

4 d a y s a g o

The murders increased ten-fold…

3 d a y s a g o

The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…

2 d a y s a g o

The killers began to mobilize…

Y e s t e r d a y

All the power went out…

T o n i g h t

They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.

Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that any more.

You only have time to….


Good, huh?  Anyway, Blake's obviously a rock star in the Indie world, but he was kind enough to spend some time to play 5 questions with me.  Thanks, Blake.

1- How nerve-racking was your decision to go from the comforts of St. Martin’s Press to the complete uncertainty of Indie publishing?

SMP was never comforting. It was an exercise in frustration and people making stupid decisions beyond my control. Still, pulling RUN from submission was a little scary, but the payoff has been amazing, and I'm so glad I took the leap of faith.

2- Now that you have complete freedom to create whatever story you want, is there a tiny part of you that secretly pines for an experienced editor to give you boundaries?

No. My writing friends with whom I swap manuscripts and brainstorm ideas are the best editors I've ever had.

3- Certainly a good cover and a low price helps an eBook’s sales, but ultimately doesn’t it have to be a really good book to succeed in today’s market?

Of course. The same as with traditionally-published books, it takes great word-of-mouth for a book to go supernova, and that just can't be faked or bought. It takes a book that connects with a lot of people to generate the word-of-mouth necessary to create a bestseller.

4- If a first-time novelist bumped into you at Starbucks tomorrow morning and asked if he should pursue an agent and try the traditional route or go immediately to Amazon with his work—what would you say?

That's a tough one. Releasing a novel on your own in the current climate is probably ideal, but only if you have the skillset and knowledge to do it right. I would probably just tell them to read Konrath's blog.

5- Is there anything along this digital road which concerns you about the future of the publishing?

The massive amount of instant-gratification god-awful writing being uploaded on a daily basis. Just take a look at the Smashwords homepage and you'll get a taste of what's being uploaded every hour. It's horribly depressing, and I just hope the market doesn't become so inundated with this sewage as to make it impossible for people to find the good stuff.

Below is the Amazon link to "Run." 


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed, 5 questions with Blake Crouch, Gary.

    Going Indie was a brave move for Blake. However, a well justified move to get his book into the hands of readers promptly. It is a crime for great work to be languishing on editor desks, where some will never see the light of day----congratulations on your success.

  2. I'm one of those new authors who decided to try wading through the "sewage." It's a scary landscape. I love to support my fellow indie authors, but oh, man... I think some people need to get themselves into meaner critique groups! I've felt like pulling arrows out of my back after some particularly harsh criticism from critique partners, but better to get it then than after putting out a crappy book and having to hear it from readers and the marketplace!

    RUN looks fantastic. Congrats on the decision to go forward, Mr. Crouch. Clearly a brilliant choice.

  3. Yeah, it is a little demoralizing to see your short story competing against really bad "erotica." This is an instance in which pure democracy has a steep downside.

  4. After 3 books by Blake Crouch (2 shorts co-authored with Jack Kilborn, and this full length novel), it’s easy to see why Crouch has been called a cross between Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy. You have the action and violence of a King novel, combined with the beauty and prose of something McCarthy would pen. And “Run” is no different. Like the title says, this one is the equivalent of an olympic athlete sprinting a 4 minute mile, or a fully loaded gas tanker, lacking brakes, and rushing headlong down a mountain pass towards a fiery and disastrous conclusion