I'm reading a book by a local author that she self-published and I'm discovering that this book is one of the reasons people shy away from self-published books. I won't name the author or the book; you probably wouldn't find it near you anyway.
This writer had a good idea for a mystery and I love the fact that it is set in this area. I can recognize not only local places but some of her characters are of a type I recognize. Two, in fact, are people I know, and the author has simply changed something about them. For instance, she made one woman heavier and older but she has the same job in the book that she has in real life.
The problem is in the telling of the story. Too much detail, as in having a character walk into an office where she has an appointment and we go through introductions, description of the office and the people, etc. before we finally get down to the business of the appointment. The woman is from New York City and at first is consistently negative about moving here, then she is frightened by the remoteness of the house they buy since she will be alone during the week, and finally she grows a spine and decides she has to solve the mystery of a murder that happened there. The realtor doesn't want to sell the house which has been empty for years and her personality is too obvious, too exaggerated.
Maybe the author heard the same thing I did when I moved here. Locals told me that if you wanted to commit a murder, you should do it here because you would certainly get away with it. One of the murders they told me about has since gone to trial and the murderer convicted, but the other one (if it really happened) is still a cold case and not being investigated. Never was, in fact. The murder in the story happened ten years ago and is still unsolved, but everyone suspects one man.
Anyway, I'm still reading the book because I feel like I need to give it more of a chance, but I resent the fact that this kind of book makes it more difficult for other self-publishers to sell good books. I self-published one of my own books because it had a limited audience and wouldn't sell enough copies for a publisher to take it on. It's a hard way to get your work out in the marketplace even though it is more common now than it has ever been. I was hoping that this was one I could help publicize but . . .