With the experiences I’ve had so far as an independent author, I’ve come across quite a few like-minded individuals. The problem is that some of them aren’t that great at writing something that grabs me (sorry, but it’s true). Some of them, however, are. This is where Scott C. Rogers falls with his debut, Celluloid Cowboy.
To be honest, at first I really wasn’t very interested in reading his book. The cover art definitely screamed indie, and the premise seemed a bit cliche (man’s life sucks, is presented with chance to change), and I am also usually pretty wary of author’s soliciting their works to me to read. (I already have quite a few books on my to-read list.) But Rogers and I emailed back and forth a few times (full disclosure here) and I told him that if he put it up on Kindle I’d maybe read it. He did, he emailed me, and I went ahead and read it.
The thing is, this really isn’t my kind of book. From some of the reviews out there he supposedly has some similarities to Bukowski, who I’ve never really cared enough about to read (and therefore can’t comment as to if he really is like Bukowski). I will say this though: Celluloid Cowboy is really damn weird.
I hated the main character. I would absolutely never want to know someone like him (actually I have known people somewhat like him, and make it a point to avoid knowing them now). He has no purpose to life, he gets caught up in violence and murder and sex and disgustingness far too often – and yet somehow he’s supposed to have some resonance with the reader as someone who really does have a chance at redemption. He’s a bad person and pretty much everyone he comes into contact with in this book is a bad person… but I kept on reading. Something here pulled me in, and Rogers made me really want to see how everything would play out in the end.
The thing with Celluloid Cowboy is that I could really never see this being published by any respectable publisher. It’s just too plain whacked out to fall into anything I could see a publisher feeling safe distributing – which is why I give a lot of credit to Rogers for putting it out on his own imprint, Black Coffee Press. This is exactly what independent publishing is for: to take chances and write something daring and original – avoiding that attempt to appeal to a specific target demographic that some major publisher is trying to sell to.
Celluloid Cowboy is destined to find an audience, so long as those who read it share the word – and that’s what I’m doing. It’s not going to change your world, but if you’re down for a quick gritty read, I absolutely recommend it.
By the way, if you own a Kindle you can get your copy for just $1.59 (at least that’s the price right now). Go get it.