Adventures in Publishing: Irene Watson & Reader Views

The Legend of the Great Horse is a historical fiction account of a young horsewoman’s adventure through history … publishing the story has been an interesting journey of its own.

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW | 'The Legend of the Great Horse' trilogy book cover (90x135px)In 2008 the trilogy opened with a close. Its small press publisher went out of business as the (ongoing) financial crisis was initiated–since that time we’ve seen endpoint consolidation of publishing, the advent of both ebooks and social media, Amazon’s rise as the newest industry monopoly, and the closure of 1/3rd of all US bookstores. It’s been an interesting ride.

Along the way I encountered obstacles and many “good guys” too … often these were honest book reviewers, perhaps because this section of traditional publishing was among the first to be taken down by corporate consolidation and its all-excusing bottom line.

One of these good guys was a woman, Irene Watson, who had the idea to build an organization (Reader Views) to provide free reviews to small and self publishers … while offering promotion assistance as an optional paid service.

Only Library Journal and Reader Views offered an all-important prepublication review of Eclipsed by Shadow. Irene and the support staff of Reader Views were unfailingly positive and supportive. The story went on to win several national awards: only Reader Views and the traditional, highly-respected Library Journal noted it beforehand.

Amazon did later crush her business, removing many thousands of ReaderViews reviews (and those of the Midwest Book Review, another ugly incident).

targa-smallIrene died of pancreatic cancer the following year. Today the site is being carried on by Irene’s supporters, preserving the path that her vision, energy and solution-oriented approach brought to independent publishing.

As traditional publishing completes its folding up and vanishing act, it will be ideas and energy from people like Irene Watson who can show new paths … may her memory be honored. The future contains challenges, and I wish Reader Views success in blazing even brighter.