I have a confession to make. Until about three months ago, when I made the decision to actually pursue a possible career as an author, made the choice to go the indie route and started connecting with other indie authors on Instagram, I had only partially read one independently published novel.
In truth, I started reading solely because it was written and published by a high school friend. Unfortunately, at the time, I still had not rediscovered my love for reading, so I didn’t finish it. Not because the novel wasn’t any good. Up until the point I stopped reading, I loved it. At the time though, my life was in kind of an upheaval and I was in the midst of figuring out which road I needed to take. Reading hadn’t been my escape in so long, the call to continue reading the book was drowned out by the noise of all the other things going on in my life.
Over the past three months, that has changed. While my time to read is still limited, the call to read when I do have the time is much stronger. Fairly new to Instagram, it took me some time to figure out how the platform works but once I set my sights on indie publishing, I also consciously made the decision to connect with other indie authors.
I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that choice, at first, was a pure business decision. Why? Because I recognized, from my own reading habits, the people most likely to read an indie novel will be indie authors. I also figured I could learn a few things from them about independently publishing, using social media as a promotional tool and, hopefully, even connect with a few to get honest feedback about my writing.
What I did not expect was the overwhelmingly supportive atmosphere that indie author community projects. From the shared hatred of the “follow to unfollow” phenomenon that occurs on Instagram, to celebrating release days, to delivering honest feedback, to giving useful advice, to sharing funny posts only someone trudging through the completion of a novel would understand, this community absolutely blew me away. They aren’t just on social media to sell their books and to gain as many followers as they can, though that would be awesome. They are there to connect and support. They freakin’ rock.
But can they write, you might ask? You’re damn straight they can write. Coming into this, I probably still believed, on some level, what the traditional publishing world still likes to project. The notion that self-published or indie published authors only publish themselves because their writing isn’t good enough to land a publishing contract. That, in some way, overcoming rejection after rejection is a badge of honor and refusing to subject yourself to that process somehow makes you less of an author. That landing that publishing contract now means you are a legit published author.
I am here to say, as I stayed up this morning until 12:30 a.m. because I couldn’t put down the latest indie book I’ve read, that’s all complete garbage. Are there less than stellar indie books out there? Sure, there are. Are there less than stellar traditionally published books out there? Yup. Have I started a few indie books I didn’t finish reading? Yes. Have I started traditionally published books I didn’t finish reading? Yes. I have neither the time nor the energy to slog through a poorly written novel, at least from my very subjective standpoint, regardless of how they’re published. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right novel for me to read. Or maybe I wasn’t in the right mood to read that novel at that particular time. There are a thousand reasons someone may not like a novel because it’s ALL subjective. (Unless it’s full of grammatical errors and mistakes, then, well, that’s a legitimate complaint.) I have found I’ve started and stopped reading, as well as finished reading, indie novels at about the same rate I have traditionally published novels in the past.
And those novels I have finished (which I will link below) I LOVED! Not just liked. LOVED. Through all of my life, I have been a multi-genre reader. I have a tendency to be attracted to an author’s writing style, more so than the genre, or even the story itself. If I love a book by an author, chances are I will continue to read that author’s works. Sometimes without even looking at the synopsis. And that has been the case with each of the books below. (One of which I can’t talk about yet, as it hasn’t been released, but will come back and update this post when it is.)
In each of the books below, something about their writing style and the way they told their story, kept me reading. I enjoyed their characters, the way they delivered dialogue and the story enough to finish reading. (Sometimes at the expense of everything else I needed to get done.) I want to read more of their works in the future. If I had picked those books up at the local library, knowing nothing about the author, I wouldn’t have been able to tell whether they were independently published or not.
Which brings me back to the title of this post. The truth about indie authors is they are simply authors. Just like everyone else. The truth about the indie books is, there are both well-spun and not so well-spun tales out there, just like you find in traditionally published books. The truth about indie published books is, you may not enjoy it. You may completely disagree with me on every single book I’ve listed below. That’s completely cool because I GUARANTEE there is a traditionally published book out there you love, that I wouldn’t.
Yes, it’s true many indie authors probably tried the traditional publishing route before releasing their book independently. It’s also true, many made the choice of indie from the get-go. Because, in the end, it really just comes down to the business end of things and what you are willing to do to build that business. The work you’re willing to put into that business. Whether you want to just primarily write or you want to take the upfront risk of hiring editors, cover designers and the marketing of your book. This whole world is no different from your independently owned mom and pop store vs. your corporate owned big box store.
So, if you’re a shop local type of person, then let that mantra roll over into your reading habits and give a few indie authors a try. Chances are, you’ll find some you enjoy. Just like I did and continue to do.
Check out some of these indie books I’ve read recently