For every great author you see heavily promoted through a publisher, there are countless other wonderful writers who never land a publishing deal. For some that’s entirely by choice — it’s a business decision. Others give up on trying to land an agent or publisher and decide to go solo as a result.
If you’re looking for something new to read in your favorite genre, indie authors might have just what you’re looking for — from simple pleasure reading to highly specific research materials. But some people are hesitant to give indie authors a try due to a negative image they have of self-published writers. Let’s look at one of the biggest misconceptions people have about indie authors, why you might be interested in them, and how you can find good indie authors when you’re looking for a new book to read.
Myths About Independent Authors
There are plenty of myths and misconceptions about indie authors and those who self-publish their work. But the biggest has to do with perceived quality issues before readers even look at the work in question. Let’s look at the reality.
Myth: Self-published authors aren’t any good or they would have publishing contracts with a publishing house.
Fact: Yes, there are plenty of self-published books that probably should never have been published. At the same time, if you read enough reviews you’ll see that readers can feel the same way about traditionally published books. The fact is, publishing is changing. These days more than ever many authors make the choice to publish their books and e-books independently of publishers for business reasons. For some, they target a market that’s very narrow so there aren’t enough readers to interest a publishing house even if the book is great. For others, independent publishing can actually bring in much more money than traditionally publishing their books.
I’m an example of the latter. I have experience running a business and a strong background in marketing and PR (specifically promoting independent and creative professionals). I also have a large audience already built in my target market. I can also afford to finance the publication by hand-picking the best editors, designers, and others for the job rather than relying on a group assembled by a third party publisher. Therefore a publishing company can’t offer me anything I can’t already do for myself, and I can earn a much larger profit in the process. For a writer who only wants to write and who wants to leave the design, typesetting, marketing, and such to someone else it would make more sense to go with a publisher. Working independently is no reflection on a book’s quality. That comes down to each author’s process, and you can usually determine quality based on reviews — especially given how easy it is to share reviews these days via social media.
Why You Might be Interested in Independent Authors
There are a few reasons you might want to check out independently published books. For example:
- You might be interested in very specific subject matter that doesn’t have a large audience. For instance, I study my family’s history. I was able to find independently published books about specific members of my family who were of historical significance, including old wills and other documents a traditional publisher would have no interest in.
- You want to support the independent arts, such as if you’re an artist yourself.
- You want more variety. If you can’t find new books that interest you in your favorite niche from traditional publishers, indie authors can help you fill in the gaps until the next book in your favorite series is released.
- Many indie published books are nonfiction books written by industry experts who are entrepreneurial in spirit (why they choose indie publishing). You probably wouldn’t even know these books were self-published if the author doesn’t tell you.
- You’re interested in very timely material. It can take a year or two for a traditionally published book to hit the market. If you want a book about a timely issue, you might find more options available from indie authors.
- You don’t like waiting. That delay in the publishing process can also lead to big gaps in between books in a series. Indie authors can often publish books in their series much faster, allowing you to continue with your story sooner.
- You’re interested in shorter works — like short stories or novellas. With the growth in e-publishing, indie authors are finding a new home for shorter works of fiction that are less frequently published by traditional publishing companies.
How to Find Interesting Indie Published Books
Now that you know indie published books can be just as good as traditionally published books, where can you go to find them? It shouldn’t be difficult. The best indie books are usually found in the same places you might look for books online anyway.
Amazon is one of the biggest sellers of indie published books right now, especially e-books. You can also check online sellers like CreateSpace and SmashWords if you’re specifically interested in e-books. And of course you can search for authors in your favorite search engine by looking for books in the genres that interest you. Many sell their books on their own websites. If you’re looking for hyper-local information, you can often find those indie published books in a local bookstore.
Do you have a favorite book or e-book that was published by an indie author? Is there an independent author you think other readers should know about? Leave a comment and tell us about them.