I admit it. Before I became an author, I had never read an indie-published book. I can list a few different reasons for this:
– There’s less risk with a traditionally published book…a publisher thought it was good, so it must be good (uh, right).
– Traditionally published books are more recognizable, thanks to deep marketing pockets.
– I know what to expect in a traditionally published book.
The truth is, most traditionally published books ARE good. Most of my favorite books are traditionally published1. However, I’ve become increasingly aware of how good some indie-published books can be, mostly for the things traditionally published books CAN’T be. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. Indie books are cheap. This is good news for someone who reads a lot, like me. I am able to feed my habit and not go broke. For less than a cup of coffee, I can grab a new book for my Kindle and devour it in days. And then I can go back for more. This is because an indie-published author has cut out the middle man to get their book out there, thus cutting out all the people who share a cut of their pay. Traditionally published authors have to charge $7 or more by contract, and their cut is a sad, tiny portion of that.
2. Indie books possess wild, carefree plots. I mean, seriously. The craziest things can happen in an indie book because there isn’t some bigwig telling the author “no one would be interested in reading that.” The truth is, much of what traditional publishers turn away is exactly what readers would want to read. And indie authors know this. Why? Because they are in tune with what their readers want to read because they hear what their readers want to read FROM THEIR READERS. Which brings me to #3….
3. It’s easier to interact with indie authors. Can you email J.K. Rowling and receive a thoughtful reply in return? Of course not. But can you email, say, Colleen Hoover (who is kinda huge in the indie author world, but personable nonetheless?). Likely, yes.
4. Indie authors aren’t so invisible anymore. They are the underdogs of the publishing world, and all of a sudden, they’re winning! It’s becoming commonplace for indie authors to find their way onto the New York Times bestsellers lists. On Amazon, the top 100 books holds many indie titles. And according to this article on Smashwords, indie books may make up 50% of all published books by 2020. What once seemed like such an elite profession now feels much more attainable. There are indie authors out there who have quit their day jobs and are actually making a living off of what they write. No longer does publishing book need to be on a bucket list of things you may never do.
5. Indie authors give us hope. It’s a big feat to write a book. But know what’s even more difficult than that? Getting a traditional publisher to agree to publish it. It’s hard enough to even get them to read the dang thing. However, indie publishers are sidestepping these gatekeepers, opening the door to their dreams on their own and saying YES, I can accomplish my lifelong goal, and YOU CAN’T TELL ME NO. Seriously, that’s inspiring regardless of what your dream is.
Here are some of my most recent indie reads that I highly recommend. If you have a favorite indie book you’ve read and loved, please enlighten us all and leave it in the comments.
Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover
Forever & Always, by Jasinda WilderA Place In The World, by Cinda Crabbe MacKinnon
Writer Dad, by Sean Platt
Kissing Midnight, by Laura Bradley Rede
Forged In Grace, by Jordan E. Rosenfeld