There’s a whole new world out there, in case you didn’t know. Beyond the confines of Waterstones and W.H. Smith lies a wealth of brilliant writing, on any genre you can possibly think of, and probably a few that you would never have imagined.
I’m referring to the world of Independent publishing. Free from the constraints of the traditional industry, thousands of people are producing work that’s as good if not better than anything you’ll find in a “proper” publishers catalogue. You just have to know where to look for it.
Now I must admit to a bias, I’m an Indie myself, totally self-published. I’ve gone through the rejection of the agents, the months of wondering if I will get as much as an acknowledgement of receipt. I tried submitting to agents for the first couple of books and decided not to bother anymore. I did everything right, I researched agents, got my work edited, wrote query letters and synopses and had those critiqued. And received little in the way of positive response.
A certain literary agent once told me that one of my submissions was “devoid of any merit.” Largely because I believed in the worth of the story, I had it edited, proofread and checked. I got a cover designer, who did a marvellous job. Then I self-published it anyway. And now I don’t bother with the angst, I just publish the stories myself. And I trust the opinion of the readers, after all, they’re the ones that really matter.
And I tend to read the work of other Indies like me. People who you might never have heard of. Crime, Thrillers, Fantasy, Sci-fi. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for there are some real gems out there.
In another part of my life, I review and blog for Rachels Random Resources, an organiser of blog tours for Indie Authors. This has led me to some amazing work, things that I would never have considered.
At this point, you might be expecting me to start screaming “buy my book” at you, but I won’t, this post isn’t just about me. It’s about all the talented authors out there who are bucking the system, doing their own thing and enjoying every minute of it.
Because I ‘m heavily into the Indie scene, I read a lot of Indie books. I could name drop all day about those that I’ve read and the people that I now tell everyone to try. Briefly, here’s a selection of the last few self-published titles that I’ve enjoyed. It’s by no means exhaustive, there are so many others that it would be impossible to list them all, these are just the latest ones from my device library.
The Torcian Chronicles by P.J. Reed
Storm Log 0505 by James D Mortain
Same Face Different Place by Helen J Christmas
The Redcroft Journals by K.Y. Eden
Flashbacks by J.E. Hall
Desert Magnolia by Dedra L Stevenson
I would recommend any of them, and I do. Very often, the authors of these and many other Indie books are struggling to get their voices heard, selling a few copies a month and battling the perception that self-published work isn’t very good. Either because it hasn’t got the validation of “experts,” or because self-published authors are somehow not proper authors. Or even, that they are not talented.
Now I’m with Stephen King on talent, here’s his view, it works for me,
“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”
I’m shortly starting to promote more self-published work on this website, I want to help give underrated authors a voice. When I started out, there were lots of people who helped me, now, it’s time to return the favour. I’m starting what I call the Indie Showcase, a weekly feature for anyone who’s new to self-publishing to advertise themselves and tell me what they think about…, well whatever they like (within reason).
The showcase will kick off on May 31st. If you’re interested in appearing, let me know.
And finally; while I said at the start that my work has mostly been met with silence from the literary world, I have had a couple of responses to my queries. As well as the devoid of any merit comment, I have also been asked by one literary agent (who will remain nameless), not to submit anything more unless I can prove that I have successfully completed a course in creative writing. Which I found annoying, to say the least.
It would have been easy to complain, to rail against the ‘unfairness’ of the system. Or to get all stroppy and defensive. Rather than do that, I chose to self-publish and let the market decide the worth of my efforts. In short, let my reviews do the talking.
I would argue that if the same novel of mine that was “devoid of any merit” gets a review like this one.
“Self-published, but just as well-written and interesting as some of the best novels you can get from established authors.”
That I would seem to be doing things right. Which opinion is more valid, the “experts” or the readers? I know which I prefer.
If you would like to decide for yourself who was right, you can try the novel in question. And it’s FREE, just click the cover picture to get your copy, available for all e-readers. Indies can do things like that. Try getting a free book in Waterstones!
And please tell me what you think after you’ve read it. I’d love to know your opinion.