Apparently, readers’ reviews of the fascinating new book, “Tongariro Skulduggery”. are most important commercially – according to online research for selling self-published books. It is so obvious but I only belatedly realised that after printing had commenced. Perhaps if I had used a publisher they would have included reviews, but that is the risk with self-publishing. For a first-time novice author (?) it has been an interesting learning curve.
Reviews of the manuscript should have been collected before printing the book, so today’s blog is a sort of late replacement review to encourage prospective buyers. The book is now finally being printed and should be available for sale from Tongariro River Motel before the end of September.
The price is $39, with any profits (after publishing costs are recovered) being directed into a trust set up to care for the trout river environment. Evidence of their work to date can be seen in the upper Hinemaiaia River, so most regular readers know who is involved with it. So it is all for a good cause.
Fortunately the preliminary draft was sent to a couple of regular West Island inmates. They had expressed interest earlier but as they were unable to enjoy their planned trip, we emailed them a draft. So below are their opinions which might be almost equivalent to a review, without giving away the plot?
The first one replied: As an angler for over 65 years and one of Ross and Pip’s BOF’s, this was a pleasure to read and to stir the memory. During stays at the Tongariro River Motel many hours were spent discussing fishing, personalities, history and sometimes politics over many cups of tea as well as many glasses of single malt whisky. Those memories have been brought to light in a humorous way with just the right touch of seriousness in this book. The mixture of truth, deception and lies (all essential components of trout fishing) is brought to life with the added touch of a mystery skull. Believe all that is written in this book at your peril, but read it.
And the other: I have just finished your fishy tale and loved every page. It’s a great vehicle for not only pushing your agenda re Turangi (which I thoroughly endorse) but also a great way of carrying interesting fishy stories about inmates. As you know many a book has been written about fishy tales but this is a superb way of blending them into an intriguing page turner – in fact, you could easily add more fishy tales if you so desire as it wouldn’t detract from the central theme of the muse. Well done Sir, I look forward to having the odd malt or two sometime soon (I hope!).
Once the original plot had been printed I needed help in the form of reassurance so sent the draft to a local author who replied:
Hi Ross, Well, what a hoot that is. It made me laugh out loud several times, specially everything about SWMBO, a character so affectionately drawn. Sonny Jim, Juicy Lucy, Mrs Wadestown and Mrs Takapuna, ladies left behind by anglers indeed are great characters, not to mention the old man and SWMBO of course. You’ve got a lovely writing style.
Other helpful encouraging comments also mentioned…
1. TRM is like a glorious tapestry and you’ve captured it. 2. It’s a delightful collection of essays, with the skulduggery theme / original occupant theme running through it. 3. Mixing fact and fiction, done well like this, has a big following. 4. It would be wonderful read aloud by you. Belongs on RNZ in that 10:45-11:00 slot.
Thank you to the commentators. I hope they will get a pass mark as comprehensive reviews…