The Cloud Seeders is a dystopian novel, but with a bit of a twist. James Zerndt’s novel doesn’t focus on war, brutal violence, or bleak endings. The Cloud Seeders is just as riveting as any of its more famous sister novels.


Self-published authors are becoming more common as technology, the Internet and websites make it easier for authors to get their work out there. One of the simplest ways authors can publish their own books is by formatting their books as ebooks and then selling them on Amazon. We’re certainly not living in the 18th century, when authors were passing around their leaflets, hot off the printing press.

But whether these works of fiction are worth reading, let alone your fistful of dollars they usually cost, is another story. Because publishing your own book is so easy, anyone can do it, even hacks. (Much like those hacks who start up their own websites, writing about, say, Entertainment. [wink]) Separating the chaff from the wheat can be tricky. Reading reviews of the books on Amazon or (owned by Amazon) is a good place to start when you’re deciding whether to spend hours reading that free book from a self-published author.


The first self-published author who became a huge success, literally making millions, was Amanda Hocking. She had been trying to get published for years and met only disappointment when her work was turned down. So she did a little research, and discovered that paranormal romance was selling like crazy (seems kinda obvious now with Twilight and the Southern Vampire series), so she jumped on the trend with her own trilogy (three is always better than one). She edited and edited her own books until she was ready to share them with buyers on Amazon. Her Trylle trilogy took off, with sales skyrocketing her to the top of Amazon’s Kindle bestsellers. I, myself, tore through her page-turning story about a girl who discovers she belongs to a completely different world, complete with two young men who vie for her love. Is her story about vampires, werewolves or fairies, the three most popular fantasy creatures in paranormal romance? Nope. Trolls. Believe it or not, that troll world was as sexy as any Cullen household you could come across. Publishing houses took notice, and now she’s a bona fide published author.


The Cloud Seeders

After Amanda Hocking’s success, you can imagine frustrated authors all over now turned a thoughtful eye on self-publishing. One of those authors is James Zerndt, who published The Cloud Seeders in 2012. I came across his book after reading The 5th Wave. The Cloud Seeders showed up on my BookBub newsletter. I looked up reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and decided to give it a shot. Wow, am I glad I did.

I’ve downloaded other Kindle books from the BookBub list. (BookBub is a website that tells you about cheap or free books on Amazon.) None of those books really grabbed me, but they certainly passed the time for little or no money. The Cloud Seeders, however, is the first book that made me wonder why the book hadn’t been bought by a publisher. The book has a unique, dystopian plot, which is terribly popular right now, what with books like The 5th Wave and Hunger Games. The book has great characters that are well-written, varied, and really draw you in. The Cloud Seeders is a fast read, not getting bogged down in exposition or fancy descriptions of the scenery and whatnot. And the premise will really make you think.

To sum up, I got way more than I bargained for with The Cloud Seeders. His newest book is The Korean Word for Butterfly, and from the reviews people are posting, you should get to know James Zerndt.

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