Last year I discovered the world of independent publishing. Not only did I publish my fantasy trilogy, but I also started reading books by indie authors. And since I am an avid reader, last week I celebrated a kind of anniversary: I’ve read 50 indie (or published by small press) books!
Among the indie books I’ve read, there are books in different genres by authors from different countries. Not every book I loved in equal measure, but some of them are now on my all-time favourite list. I’m waiting impatiently for new books from some of the indie authors whose work I loved, and – I’m not embarrassed to admit it – some book series I binge-read in a very short time.
So, here is my – purely subjective – opinion on why every book lover should at least give independently published books a try.
1. Indie books offer unique stories and voices
As I already mentioned, I am an avid reader. Always have been. Well, at least since I was about six and demanded that my parents stop torturing themselves and just give me that book they were reading to me before bedtime, so I could read it myself.
Since that time, I’ve read tons of books. I’ve read the classics, romance novels (Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, and many more are on my list; most of the books came from my friend’s mom’s enormous book-case), poetry, memoirs, non-fiction, Stephen King’s books… You name it, the chances are high that I’ve read it.
So, by the time I opened my first indie book, I had a vague feeling that “I’ve read it all” and nothing could surprise me or take my breath away.
I couldn’t be more wrong!
That book – it was “Dawnbreak” by Rebecca Mickley – absolutely took my breath away and the surprise it threw at me bordered with a complete shock. Needless to say, after finishing it I grabbed two next books in the series, “Exile’s Return” and “The Rise of the Forgotten”.
“Dawnbreak” is a science fiction story, and I was always intrigued by stories set in space. Yes, I’ve watched “Farscape” twice and “Battlestar Galactica” is one of my favourite tv series ever. Before that, in the pre-digital era, I watched and re-watched “Star Wars” (episodes 4, 5 & 6) on TV and video player. For some reason, it didn’t work so well for me with sci-fi books. “Dawnbreak” and the Farthest Star series have changed it. It was so not like anything I read before and so much closer to what I love in literature in general that I can say with confidence that an indie author – Rebecca Mickley – was the one who re-ignited my interest in science fiction books.
2. Indie books tell you the stories, rather than offer opinions
Maybe it’s just me, but recently, reading modern bestsellers I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that my opinion is being played with. Since I consider myself perfectly capable of forming an opinion independently, I don’t appreciate it at all.
Indie books don’t preach. You might sympathise with the main characters or not understand their motives, but most likely you won’t see what’s coming next for them.
3. Indie books are cheap
Yes, I know, we don’t talk about money in a decent society. Besides, art is priceless. Still, we all know that money does matter irrespective of what we think about its being fair or otherwise.
If you publish your books independently, you are always looking for new readers who might appreciate them. So, readers can benefit from indie authors’ willingness to offer their books for free or really cheap. It’s a win-win situation.
4. There are a lot of indie books to choose from
Another not exactly encouraging point for indie authors – don’t think about competition! don’t think about competition! – while excellent news for readers. Thousands of indie books are published every week. Any genre, any level of steam, set in any era and in the most fantastical worlds. Happy endings, drama, heartbreak, cosy, unsettling, main characters of any age and background, unexpected twists and turns – you won’t find such diversity among traditionally published titles!
5. You can make someone very happy
The last but in no way not the least thing in favour of choosing a book by an indie author. While a bestselling author might not even register your review on Amazon/Goodreads among the dozens or even hundreds they receive every day, every positive review will make an indie author’s day. Without any effort, after experiencing something as satisfying and fulfilling as reading a great story, you get a chance to put a smile on an author’s face. Isn’t it an amazing incentive? For me, it definitely is.
If you don’t know where to start looking for your next great read from an indie author, check my reviews.