— Do you dream of writing a book? A successful local novelist says there‘s no better time than now to pursue that goal through online self-publishing.

A.G. Riddle, a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and a current resident of Raleigh, published his first book, “Atlantis Gene,” in March 2013. Now, the book is in development for a movie.

Millions of copies of Riddle‘s science fiction and techno-thrillers have been sold in many languages.

“It‘s extraordinarily exciting,” said the novelist, who spent 10 years helping with an internet startup but knew his real passion was writing stories.

Publishing his books might sound like the difficult part, but Riddle uses Amazon‘s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, which provides writers like him with the tools and marketplace. Riddle said it‘s the reason he finally took the leap into self-publishing.

Kindle Direct Publishing is completely free, and authors get up to 70 percent royalties in their preferred currency. “With self-publishing, for better or worse, you have absolute creative control,” said Riddle, whose first book cover was his own creation — with his mom as his first editor.

Now, Riddle hires talented freelancers, but he says it‘s what inside that really counts. Writers can receive constant feedback from the marketplace, which can be helpful and sometimes intimidating.

“Fancy packaging will not save a disappointing story,” Riddle said. “We all sort of compete for the attention of readers and readers sort of sort out the winners and losers in the marketplace. I think in the book world, it‘s about as close as you can get to a meritocracy.”

The A.G. in Riddle‘s name stands for his wife, Anna, and the author himself, Gerry. Riddle and his wife are a team, he said, and they enjoy being part of what they think is a bright new world for storytellers.

A.G. Riddle‘s novels have been in the top 100 of all Kindle books sold for the past five years. Fans are counting down the days and hours until the release of his next thriller, “Winter World.”

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