support for indie writers

Guest in the Hut – Chris Graham – The Story Reading Ape

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I have a very special guest in my hut today. None other than friend to readers around the globe, and tireless supporter and mentor to indie authors. Chris Graham is The Story Reading Ape we know and love. For those of you who know Discworld, you might be surprised to hear that his first cousin is the Librarian at the Unseen University – no need run though – our Ape got all the friendly genes.


Mostly for me Chris is a wonderful friend, and not because he has the klout to make my books visible to real readers, but because for the duration of the time that I’ve known him, he’s often blown me away with his acts of generosity to so many of our tribe of often much maligned indie writers. He promotes our work, shares really useful tips on the nuts and bolts of our profession, and often pops up with hilarious bits of fun just to brighten our days. Mostly he hunts down good reads for his furry following of readers and has regular bookworm goodies to share. For those of you who don’t know him yet – what y’all waiting for then? Thank you so much for joining me in my hut dear Ape – it’s much more spacious on the inside as you can see, and don’t worry about the little feathered guys. I’m sure they realise you’re a bit too big to eat…. I think….. I hope….. Over to you that Ape!


Before we start, I’d like to thank my very good friend Jo for inviting me to her lovely home and also to request her to please turn off the spotlights and loosen my restraining straps, I promise not to rampage or frighten the little Birds, they are perfectly safe perched on my ears (providing the one on my left ear stops trying to pull the fur out of it) 🙂

You are very supportive of self published authors, giving so many the opportunity to be seen on your Story Reading Ape website. What inspired you to do this?

When I got my first eReader (a Nook HD) in December 2012, it had an app already on it for Goodreads. Being a curious (oh, all right – NOSY) ape, I clicked on it and signed up. As I was dragging books I had read out of my ancient (extremely dusty and cobweb packed) furry brain cell (I’ve only got the one very hard working brain cell LOL), I joined a few groups and started receiving notifications from them.

Among these were Indie Authors looking for reviewers, telling about their new book releases, discount and free days, etc, but most were pleas for help in advertising the books.

As I got more familiar with Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and the like, I started looking at the authors profiles and was amazed at how sparse the information was, with a few exceptions.

Most authors were so intent in selling their books, they had missed out on, in my opinion, the opportunity to actually CONNECT with the readers and becoming a familiar, friendly household name, the way more famous authors are.

What do I mean by this? Well, look how much information is available about the authors themselves – the books are only part of what interests readers, they like to learn more about the PEOPLE who WRITE them!
That is why I started my blog, to give Indie authors the same opportunities that the famous authors had.

Tell us – who is Chris Graham, the person? What do you love, not like at all, do for fun?

Reading a Magazine

I, me, myself? I’m no-one special, just an ordinary old ape who loves reading and being transported to other times and worlds.

I don’t like flying – not afraid of it, just fed up doing it for so many years, so I avoid it as much as possible now. For fun, apart from reading, I like to get out for long walks in nature, visit historical places, take photographs, many a poor unsuspecting animal, bird, fish, tree and bush have been snapped unawares (but not in embarrassing situations) 🙂

I also enjoy playing on my computer with my 3D and Image Editing programmes.

Take us on a little tour of your The Story Reading Ape site, and show us around your world.

Well, the main blog is all about authors (as people) and their books, plus helpful editing tips from a Professional Editor every Tuesday, plus, any helpful, informative articles for writers from other blogs.
There are, of course, announcements about new / debut books, bargain or free days.

It also spotlights special people I’ve met online and is a talent showcase for published and unpublished writers.


Associated with the main blog, are eleven (11) bookcases, sorted by genre, where visitors can browse and even get to the relevant online store to buy them. Visitors can even follow these bookcase blogs, so when books are added, they will get an email about them 🙂

Yours is the only site that I personally know of that showcases such a wide variety of genres. What are your favourite genres to read?

Oh, I like most genres from informative to fantasy, historical fiction to science fiction and even books for kids (being just a big overgrown kid at heart myself LOL

What is your opinion of ebooks for children?

I think they’re great!

Nowadays, some kids would be embarrassed to be seen with a real book, but an eReader is acceptable.

I have a special fondness for informative books for kids and read as many as I can, I’ve learned a LOT about animals and things that way 🙂

Who are your top three favourite authors, and why do you love them?

Sir Terry Pratchett is at the top of the list, it was he who gave inspiration for, and life to, my online persona!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his Sherlock Holmes and non SH books.

Charles Dickens with his entertaining and insightful stories.

I also have favourite Indie Authors, but I’m not going to name them, most have appeared on my blog though and some have yet to visit when they get the time.

Apart from your three top favourites, what books have most influenced you?


Animal Farm and Roots both resonated with me and made me vow not to deliberately oppress anyone or anything, to make amends if I had inadvertently done so and to help those who were being oppressed by others.

I strongly oppose cruelty, bullying, intolerance and terrorism, in ANY form, to ANY creature!
Sorry Jo, I didn’t mean to snap the restraints like that, I’ll just climb back down from your roof and nibble a nice calming banana or three 🙂

Share your best banana recipe. Add a copyright if you’re concerned about any other recipe stealing apes out there.

All apes (and anyone else) are welcome to any banana recipes, but I think it might be better to skip past this question Jo, my furry chin is already dripping wet from the delicious pictures flashing through my braincell LOL

Ha haaa – eeeek! Have you ever written anything yourself, and do you see yourself publishing anything in the future.

Only the odd article on my blog, or other people’s blogs. I can’t say I will never publish, because stranger things have happened 🙂

You are a talented cover art designer, and created the fantastic cover for my Shadow People (I LOVE it!). Tell us about your book art and cover design business.

(Blushes madly – in the furry face you naughty reader!)

It’s still early days Jo, you were kind enough to publish one of my efforts and the late Steve Smy published three covers with my work on them, so my ‘portfolio’ is small, but growing.

At present, the images I show on my Book Covers for Sale blog are just to demonstrate some of the capabilities I have with my software, however, I will be posting an article in January showing much more ‘Book Cover’ like examples, complete with text 🙂

What was the nicest, funniest, or most stand out moment in your online life?

The most stand out moment to date was when the Fourth Grade pupils from Honduras, plus their parents and teachers, visited my blog articles about their interview (by Skype) with two young authors based in the USA.

I was left some lovely comments and they were telling everyone they met that they were famous because they appeared on my blog.


I wish all kids were so enthusiastic and so lucky to have such an inspiring teacher and that all authors, Indie and Established, would take the time that Josh and Jared did to connect with their fans, kids and adults alike.

What is your opinion on self-publishing today, and what do you think readers want from indie writers?

Apart from good entertaining stories, I think better editing and for European authors, better translations from their languages into other languages, not just English.

I know that sometimes books from ‘Established’ authors also contain errors, but not, I have to be frank, to the same extent.

If you suddenly became grand overlord of the planet, and held all the bananas, what would be the first thing you would change about it?

THAT is a TOUGH question Jo and I have to say, there is no easy or simple answer for it.

You can ban and legislate all you want but there will always be someone, somewhere, who will flout it and cause misery, pain or suffering to others.

However, I would make it MANDATORY for ALL politicians to learn a hands on trade and live off its proceeds for a minimum of 15 years before they are allowed to take office, instead of concentrating on Law, Accountancy and Advertising. That way, they may get some insight into the NEEDS of the ‘ordinary person in the street’.

It would be even better if they worked in healthcare for at least 10 years as well, in various parts of the world (poor countries), so they get a grasp of the issues that affect the majority of the world today.

Thank you for taking the time to answer all my questions Chris, you’ve been very patient and resisted diving into the food on the table, so now that we’re finished you can go eat – Where did he go? – Where did all the food go AND my tablecloth – Come back with my tablecloth you big ape!!!!


So, for all you lovers of the written word, find the wonderful Chris Graham below, and make a grand new banana loving Ape friend for life.

The Story Reading Ape Blog
FB My Timeline
Indie Writers Support (IWS)
LinkedIn (LI)

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