Hi people. Today I’m here to tell those of you that only read the big releases from publishers – you keep on doing only that if you want to. But I’m also here to tell you that there are a world of books by self published authors that are just as good.
Ok, Alex – I’m listening. But why?
Good, well, here are a few reasons why you wanna come over to the rebel alliance.
1. Many self published books are really high quality, and perhaps your no. 1 read is out there, as a self published book.
Self published books can be shit. There, I said it. I’ve lost track of the amount of times some idiot has dropped me a link to the US Amazon store (as a UK blogger) for their book and it just looks awful. I’ve read a few on Kindle unlimited I couldn’t get past a page. If an author doesn’t care about etiquette they’re unlikely to care about writing a good book.
But you know what? If you use a bit of common sense and check out samples, other reviews if an older book, and the general vibe about a self published book before you dive in, so many of them are bloody brilliant. They’re just as enjoyable as the so called big releases.
This is often a matter of perception. Stick a shiny new cover on a self published book that had a cheaper looking cover and suddenly it sells more copies. Try to look past the lack of marketing or cheaper cover (although many of my favourite covers are actually for self published books) and you might be pleasantly surprised.
There are a number of books that started off down the self published route and were then taken on by one of the big publishers – The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter being one example. We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson being another.
My point is, just because something is self published, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good enough to be published. There are a billion reasons why something could be self published – number one being that some authors prefer to be self published and don’t want to be traditionally published. There are advantages to being self published and some people choose to go this route.
2. You have a better chance of finding that weird little book that speaks to your soul.
Trad pub books generally need to appeal to a wide audience to be published. With self publishing, anything goes. Authors have more freedom to write about whatever they like; and if they’re good that means more weird and unique books to enjoy.
In short, you’re more likely to find that one of a kind book that you feel like was written just for you, a chance for something strange or different that appeals to you like nothing else could.
3. Most self published sci-fi and fantasy is really good value
Even the most successful self published authors often have their books available to pre-order for under £1/$1/€1 on ebook. Some even stick them up for free! Will Wight’s popular Cradle series, which is 9 books in was only this week put up completely free of charge. This isn’t a series that is so bad it can’t sell. It’s a marketing technique and if you check out reviews, there are so many people who absolutely love this series. You’d never get A Song of Ice and Fire going up for free, yet you might enjoy Cradle more, who knows.
Yes, paperbacks tend to be a little more expensive with self published authors because of the increased costs, but ebooks are generally an absolute steal. Kindle unlimited and various deals throughout the year mean you can pick up self published books for the price of a third of a cup of coffee!
4. You’re helping authors continue writing their series
The point of this post absolutely isn’t to get you to stop reading traditionally published books. I’m massively grateful to publishers for some of the arcs I’ve received and the authors and people who work for them deserve to make a living too.
Publishers only release a relatively small number of books in a year though; less than many avid readers can get through. And not all of those will appeal. Even so, many authors who are traditionally published will sign up for a 3 book deal, for example. The trilogy will be finished.
If a self published author writes an amazing book but it doesn’t get enough traction, it can mean they don’t write again – because they don’t want to or simply because they cannot afford the risk. They don’t have access to a big marketing machine to keep the sales rolling and they need bloggers and reviews to get that snowball effect of people hearing about and then reading their book.
Self publishing a book can literally cost thousands if done properly. It really is a huge gamble, so if you like the look of something and you decide to read it and enjoy it, reviewing it and spreading the word is a huge help to someone trying to live their dream, and helps them continue.
5. The self published community is really fun
Self published authors are often very active on social media (it would be pretty difficult to sell a book if they weren’t!) and there are some real genuine, funny and interesting authors you can chat to. Try getting a conversation going with Stephen King!
A huge event that many readers love to follow is the #SPFBO which stands for Self Published Fantasy Blog Off – 300 self published authors enter their fantasy books to be judged by bloggers each year, with one eventual winner.
This event was organised by Prince of Thorns author Mark Lawrence a few years ago and picks up more traction each year. If you’re concerned about finding quality, look no further than this event where other bloggers narrow down the list for you. There is also a sci-fi version coming this year!
Are you eager to read more self published? You could genuinely find your next favourite read – and if you’re one of those anti-popular people, you can get in there ahead of the curve and tell everyone you loved a book before it got popular 😉
Any thoughts let me know, hope you enjoyed the post!
4 thoughts on “Why I think you should check out self published SFF!”
I’ve been checking out more self-published – and definitely more self-published or small-time published books – than traditional books represented by large big-name publishers, and I can say, I haven’t absolutely loved everyone, but I’ve done no worse than I do with the traditionally published ones.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love this post! I’ve been trying to select the better self-published books and this post gave me some real motivation! You’ve made some excellent points here and I hope self-published authors get all the love they deserve!
It’s similar with fanfiction. But there’s so much crap out there that I just love the filtering by publishers. They do so much work reading through countless miserable works , and I haven’t time enough, that I honor their work.
Sorry to be the party pooper here, but what I’ve read so far from self published works was always in desperate need of an editor.
I always thought that the community could solve that „finding the needle in the haystack“ for me. Sword of Kaigen was highly praised by the community but was a particularly bad experience for me.
So, I‘ll stay with editors.
I appreciate post like this. I am an indie sci-fi author and it is difficult to recruit readers – especially as a first time author. As you said, there can be a lot of bad indie books out there, but there can be bad “trads”. When you find that hidden gem – spread the word!
LikeLiked by 1 person