Reasons to Read Indie Authors.

12 August 2012

5 Reasons Why I Read Indie Authors, by Wodke Hawkinson at the Find a Good Book to Read Blog:

“I still have my favorite traditionally published authors, the ones with famous names and recognized publishers. But lately, I have been devoting my reading time mainly to indie authors, those of the self-published or small press variety. And here’s why:

“1. Accessibility. Indie authors are usually very friendly and happy to exchange messages online with readers and fans. If you are an author as well as a fan, they are some of the most generous and supportive people you will ever meet, often helping you get the word out about your own books and stories.

“2. Quality. Indie authors get a bad rap about quality. I’m the first to admit there are some poorly edited books out there, but overall I have been very pleased with my purchases of indie books. (Besides, I’ve spotted quite a few typos in traditionally published books. Mistakes are not exclusive to indies.)”

Read the rest here:  Blog – Find a Good Book to Read.

Julia Barrett

Big Publishing, Books in General, Ebooks, Editing, Indie Bookstores, Self-Publishing, Social Media, The Business of Writing

14 Comments to “Reasons to Read Indie Authors.”

  1. I agree with this whole article. I’ve found great authors like RE McDermott (Deadly Straits), Joanna Penn (ARKANE series), and Amy Rogers (Petroplague) among many others. Most of them have a charming enthusiasm and break out of the tired formulas with refreshing characters. They’ve encouraged me to Kickstart A Heroine for Our Time as an independent. Why Kickstart? To make sure it has the production quality of a Big 6 published book. Want to join us?

    Peace, Seeley

  2. Why is it that every single time someone mentions poor quality in self pubbed novels that the next sentence always mentions typos in trad pubbed works? I’ve been reading a LOT of self pubbed work lately. It’s not a few typos that are the problem. I’m going to be honest and say it’s the overall content/development. I can say that as a person who does content editing, so maybe that’s why I notice it.

    I’m talking about a suspense novel that has three murderers/plotlines, which is two too many, and commits the cardinal sin of not actually resolving ANY of them.

    I’m talking about the thriller that reached a reasonable conclusion but apparently the author didn’t recognize “the end” in her own work and went on for another 50 pages of junk that completely diluted the ending AND made me hate her heroine.

    I’m talking about writers who need to learn what the term “overwriting” means. Instead of saying “He dialed the phone”, they’ll write “He pressed the numbers on the phone with his fingers” (because unless you tell us the numbers were on the phone, and that he used his fingers, your stupid reader is going to make the mistake that he was trying to use an ATM to make a call and was pressing the numbers with his toes).

    I’m talking about “flying body part syndrome” (he flung his hands in the air; his eyes followed her out the door).

    It isn’t just typos. Yes, there ARE some good ones (and Seely, I do like Joanna Penn), but, though I may be stoned for it, I’m going to stand with those who are willing to say that too often, the emporor needs to put on some clothes.

    • Kat, I know what you mean about many indie authors. It is a free country and anyone can publish a book, whether they ought to or not. I believe the intent of the article was to point to the many indies who’ve engaged professional editors and produced good work. The serious authors are fairly easy to spot after a quick review: professional cover, first thousand words, etc.

      You might want to forward my post 5 Free Tips on Book Promotion, the first of which is “Stop Tweeting your dang book” 🙂


      • I’ve seen any number of books fall apart after those first thousand words, which have been polished to a diamond shine, while the rest are neglected. One might also point out those annoying authors who use every single comment as form of self promotion…They’re as bad as those who over tweet…

    • That bothered me too, but it’s been a long time problem among indie and indie groupies: Protesting too much.

      Dismissing the issue of bad writing (or worse, claiming that bad writing found in traditional publishing is equivalent) doesn’t help anyone.

      You know what? There’s bad writing out there. It really does out-number the good stuff. There is no reason to hide that fact, or downplay it. You don’t have to say “Sure there’s a little dreck, but most of it’s good!” You don’t have to imply there is the same ratio of good to bad as in traditional publishing.

      Saying that does two things: it undermines your own credibility with the people you are trying to convince, AND it is totally unnecessary. It’s like a restaurant with a sign in the window that says “No more than average number of food poisonings! And we seldom over-salt the soup!”

      Otherwise, it was a nice essay, but it spent too much time protesting.

    • “He dialed the phone”, they’ll write “He pressed the numbers on the phone with his fingers” (because unless you tell us the numbers were on the phone, and that he used his fingers, your stupid reader is going to make the mistake that he was trying to use an ATM to make a call and was pressing the numbers with his toes).”

      Hysterical – I laughed out loud like a barking fool! Which, of course, what I mean to say is: I opened my mouth and a loud noise erupted in the form of a pleasing, albeit, loud laugh.

      • I dig “He shrugged his shoulders.”

        That’s so much better than shrugging something other than shoulders.

        • Arguably, it’s not the worst redundancy — one can shrug clothing on or off, after all. If you shrug your purse onto your shoulder, it’s a different meaning.

          (That said… In a fit of eliminating all redundant words from my poor doorstop, I realized that “sit/sat down” and “stand/stood up” were two words (each) that could taste fine with a bit of trimming.)

        • Speak for yourself. I am of French extraction, and I can tell you shrugs happen all over the anatomy!

    • I said something like this on the blog of a Very Big Indie Author who believes that “quality doesn’t matter, just keep writing,” and was cast as a snob. Yes, I am glad that self-publishing is an option for me, but I have spent a lot of time honing my craft and my work. I think that at least should count for something. And as a reader, I have been burned many times by amateurish (and sometimes popular) e-books filled with no plots, clumsy exposition, confusing dialogue, and “she opened the car door with her left hand casually and then sat in her car seat gently and felt its fabric, and then she put the key in the ignition whimsically and stridently while capriciously closing the heavy blue Buick door and thinking about the time her grandma baked cookies, which was a welcome respite from being chased by a killer, and then she turned on the radio…” AAAAAHHHHHH! PLEASE SAVE MY EYES!

  3. Hmm…. Indie vs. Trad pub. books. I have zero interest in the vast majority of either. I am just back from vacation, which means I just read 10-12 different authors. Had I not been hanging out here, I probably wouldn’t have any idea which of the authors I read were indies. Here’s my summer vacation reading list:

    Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands – Michael Chabon

    A Storm Hits Valparaiso – David Gaughran

    Timepiece – Heather Albano

    The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage and Dandy Detects: A Victorian San Francisco Story – M. Louisa Locke

    Aladdin and His Wonderfully Infernal Device – Tee Morris

    The Hermetica of Elysium – Annmarie Banks

    The Alchemist of Souls – Anne Lyle

    The Emperor’s Edge Collection – Lindsay Buroker

    Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus – P.C. Martin

    The Dark Monk – Oliver Potzsch (tran. by Lee Chadeayne)

    (plus a couple of other books that I haven’t finished)

    I look at that list and I conclude that my summer reading would have been greatly impoverished without indie publishing. Chabon is probably the best writer on that list, but Gaughran isn’t that far behind. I really need to do an Amazon review for his book. If I avoided either trad pub or indie books, I would have missed out on some very good books. On the other hand, it does look like I can do without the Big 6 (even Chabon’s ebooks are published by Open Road, not a Big 6 imprint).

  4. BTW, I want to disagree with what the term “overwriting” means — it’s really a thin hair to split, because “too many words” does overlap with overwriting, but I think it’s a distinction worth making, because the causes are different.

    “Too Many Words Syndrome” is a matter of editing, and is common in rough drafts. You could even call it lazy writing. Writers often use too many words or describe something in too much detail because they’re just trying to capture what’s going on in their heads. They do things like “walking to the story” where they describe in painful detail the mundane steps they should skip:

    “He hung up the phone, then he went down the steps and found his hat and keys, and put his hat on and went out the door, locking it as he went. He unlocked the car and got in and started the car with a twist of the keys….”

    That happens because the writer is not trying to produce perfect prose, they’re just keeping the words flowing while they think.

    Overwriting imho is the opposite. It’s when a writer fusses too much, tries to be too clever. They try to make every word, every moment, every detail stand out with uniqueness.

    Unfortunately, they do that in response to criticism, and when you tell them to stop doing it… many writers do it all the more.

    (Hmmmm, I feel a blog post coming on. Unfortunately, it will be a long time before it gets posted….)

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