Bookish Musings: Indie & Self Published Author Appreciation Post


To be honest I’m kind of struggling with how to write this post. Should I make some lists? Should I just talk out? I’m not even sure exactly what I want to or plan to say as I’m writing this intro.

But what I do know is that I LOVE self-published and indie books. I know I probably sound like some sort of bookish hipster every time I say that, but it’s the truth. I didn’t even know these books existed until a few years ago when I got a kindle, but I couldn’t be more happy that I discovered them. And while I do also love traditionally published authors and recognize that writing and getting a book published is hard no matter how you do it, indie and self pub books still seem to have a stigma against them, and that makes me sad because so many of them are so amazing.

I had been wanting to write this post for a while and when I saw that Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales and Hazel @ Stay Bookish were hosting a book blog community Thanksgiving bloghop celebration called The Thanks U Give, it was just the motivation I needed šŸ™‚ So let’s show indie authors some love, and then be sure to check out all the other posts!

Why Indie & Self Published Books and Authors are Awesome and Important

1) They give us readers SO MUCH more book selection than we would have otherwise—more options, more topics, more diversity, more types of characters, more genre mashups, more everything!

2) Everyone has different taste when it comes to books, and not everyone’s taste fits with what is published by standard, big name, traditional publishers. And everyone deserves to be able to read the kind of books they like, whether it’s darker, funnier, more intense, quirkier, kinkier, more absurd, grittier, sexier, gorier, more emotional, deeper, fluffier, or in any way different from the current popular type of book.

3) Many self published books are absolutely AMAZING but for whatever reason they just might not have ever been picked up by a publisher. And it would be such a shame if those books never got published because not only are they amazing, as I just mentioned, they too have the potential to change someone’s life or be just the thing someone needs.

Why Indie & Self Published Authors Deserve More Love

1) Self publishing is hard work. Of course writing the book is hard for every author, but self published authors also have to be editors, formatters, cover designers, and marketers in addition to being authors, or they have to hire people with their own money to do these things for them. And if they want to promote their book on sites like NetGalley, they have to do that with their own money too. Not to mention they probably spend more time than we know just trying to find blogs, read review policies, and send emails to reviewers in an attempt to get more reviews and spread the word about their books.

2) They do all that work for half the glory. Very few indie and self pub authors reach everyone-has-read-it, dinner-table-conversation, movie-deal level of fame, despite the fact that many of them have books that are just as good as traditionally published ones. (But that doesn’t mean there aren’t those of us out there who DO love their books like crazed fangirls and fanboys and think they deserve all those things and more!)

3) Their names get tarnished by the few bad apples out there, and that’s not fair. Yes, there are some self pub books that are riddled with typos, plot holes, etc., but that’s not what all of them are like. That’s not even what most of them are like. I know this firsthand because most of the books I read are indie/self pub, and most of are of great quality.

Why I Personally Love Indie & Self Published Books and Authors

Well, obviously for the reasons I mentioned above. But seriously, most of my absolute favorite books and series and authors fall into this category. Some of those books have been there for me in my lowest moments, and I don’t know what I’d have done without them. I can only imagine how incomplete and how much less enjoyable my reading life would be if not for these authors. So to every indie pub and self pub author out there, regardless of what genre you write or whether I’ve read any of your books or not, thank you, and keep doing what you’re doing because your books mean the world to some people!


Talk to me!

Do you read indie published and self published books?
If not, will you give them a try?
What/who is your favorite indie press or self published book or author?


Your Thoughts


25 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Indie & Self Published Author Appreciation Post

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  1. Greg

    To be honest I have not read that many indie or self published books, although I know there’s good ones out there. I have just stuck with traditionally published stuff I think because there’s so much of it to read that I’m never short for reading material, ya know? So I haven’t been super motivated to jump in the indie waters I guess. You’re right though- just since blogging I’ve seen a lot of diverse stuff and genre mashups that wouldn’t be happening in traditional. And of course most authors don’t get published so we’re getting stuff that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day. Any of us who write for a hobby or seriously can appreciate that.

    You’re actually one of the bloggers who reviews MOSTLY indie/ self pub stuff, and I’ve seen books here I wouldn’t have seen. Including a few I’ve added to my list, so… yeah. I think you’re right about the stigma too- I might have had a dimmer view of self pub stuff if I didn’t see your reviews and a few others. Obviously the self pub stuff is more professional by and large than I realized.

    I’ve read more small press than self pub. It’s funny, I’ve read some stuff from 47North thinking they were small press, but then realized they were an imprint of Amazon lol. so maybe not so small press. #fail.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, if you do find books you’re interested in in the traditionally published stuff, that’s cool too! I just am often genuinely not interested in those books, whereas I do find lots of self pub books I’m super interested in. But yeah, I think blogging is at least helping the stigma some by exposing people to self pub books they wouldn’t have otherwise seen or showing people that there are lots of great indie/self pub books out there. I’m glad my blog has given you a more open mind about self pub books šŸ˜€

      And hey, supporting small press is great too! Although yeah I don’t know if I’d call 47North small press lol.

  2. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    I LOVE the indie love! I’m actually doing a ReadIndie challenge in the beginning of December to explore more titles so I’m excited to jump into this world. Indie authors are fantastic and their stories are always so original!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you!!! I think I’ve seen mention of the indie challenge, but it wouldn’t be much of a challenge for me, haha. I’m glad you’re going to be exploring more indie titles šŸ™‚ They really are such original stories!

  3. AngelErin

    What a great appreciation post! I have to admit that I don’t read as many indie/self pub books as i would like. I agree about the stigma on them and that’s sad. I have found some I truly loved though so I think just with published books not all of them are for everyone, but you have to try it and see. šŸ˜›

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! You might not read as many as you’d like, but at least you still read some and don’t write them off just because they’re indie šŸ™‚ Exactly! It’s all just a matter of taste, and there will always be some books you love and some you don’t whether you’re reading traditional or indie!

  4. chucklesthescot

    I read more Indie than mainstream books these days, especially when it comes to apocalypse and prepper fiction, urban fantasy and zombies. I like mainstream like Kevin Hearne, Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong but I love my Indie and self published authors! If I hadn’t started meeting them on Goodreads groups in 2013 I would never have discovered people like Franklin Horton, Robert Boren, Darrell Maloney, JW Vohs, Eli Constant, David P Forsyth, Steven Jenkins, Melanie Karsak and so many more!

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s awesome that you read so much indie šŸ™‚ And it sounds like have some similar tastes since I also love urban fantasy and dystopian and zombie books! I haven’t heard of any of those authors, I’ll have to look them up when I get a chance!

  5. Lola

    As you know I mostly read indie and self published books as well and love them. From my work as an author assistant I’ve spent some time visiting blogs and reading their review policies and it really is a shame to see what a stigma is still against indie books and how many bloggers don’t accept indie books at all. Yes there are bad indie books, but there are also bad traditionally published books.

    Most of the indie books I’ve read have been great and like you said they provide us with more options. Some of those books or genres are ones that won’t be sold by traditional publishers as they don’t want to risk that or don’t know what to do with them, but now we still get to see those books and stories traditional publishers say no to as well. I love how indie publishing has given us much more variety and a broader selection of books to choose from.

    There’s so much work involved in indie publishing, I am impressed often at how authors manage to do it all. They don’t just write, but also have to market their book and be a business owner in a sense as well. There’s so much time and effort that goes into that and there are so many books out there they have to work even harder to get seen or get traction.

    If I compare what I read now to what I read before I started blogging I see how much my focus has shifted to indie published books. The only traditionally published books I read nowadays are books by some of my favorite authors and some I get through netgalley. But a big part of what I read now are indie books and many of my favorite authors nowadays are self published ones as well. I’ve found so many awesome self published books and am thankful for the authors who write them and glad they decided to publish those books. Great post Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love that you also read so much indie and self pub stuff! Even just from visiting blogs as a blogger I often see it mentioned that people don’t accept self pub requests. That’s why I make it very clear right at the top of my review policy that I DO accept self pub. I agree, yeah there are bad indie books, but there are also bad trad pub books.

      Seriously, they do give us so many more options. For example, the kind of dark books that I like aren’t the type of thing to be sold by traditional publishers since they’d probably be too big of a risk and wouldn’t sell as well. But I love them, so I am so glad that authors are publishing them anyway. And I read a lot of m/m, which also comes from self published authors or somewhat small publishers (compared to the big name ones, at least).

      There really is so much work, especially in the marketing. That’s one reason I always respond when I get requests, even if it’s just to say no, just to show some respect to the authors.

      I do occasionally read trad pub books too, usually when I’m able to borrow them from the library. I’m glad you understand me and my love for indie books! Thank you!

      Btw I’m sure I’ll email you again soon enough with more questions lol, but I still haven’t been feeling well, so I just haven’t been working on that stuff much.

  6. suzanna

    I’m sooooo glad you’ve found your fav authors among the Indies. So many people just dismiss books that are not from the Big Five.
    Am going to share your post so more self-published authors get to feel the Thanks You Give šŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really does make me sad that some people don’t even give indies a chance :-/ I would love if you shared my post! I want as many self pub authors to feel appreciated as possible šŸ™‚

  7. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    I don’t actually read many indie/self-published books, but the ones I have read are quite good – so I’m pretty thankful for them too! I feel like indie/self-published books sometimes don’t get the love they deserve. – which is sad, but it’s great you’re celebrating them with this event! šŸ™‚

  8. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    Indie authors are the bomb!! I can’t imagine how much time they need to spend to try to find bloggers to review their books. And the fact that there are SO many new authors publishing books every single day makes it quite hard to find the pearls that may be hiding among the non-pearls…
    I love the new look on the blog, Kristen! Beautiful! And very nice and easy to navigate, too šŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, I’m glad you agree! And seriously, I do feel bad about how much work it must be to find bloggers who take requests at all, contact them, and then actually find bloggers who are then interested. Having so many books out there does make it harder to find the good ones, but it’s also more opportunity for there to be good books in the first place šŸ˜‰

      Thank you!!! You read my mind, haha. I put something in my Sunday post that’s going up tomorrow about how I’m liking the new look more than I thought I would because it’s easier to navigate šŸ˜€

  9. La La in the Library

    I think you already know I love indies and self pubs, so I agree wholeheartedly with this entire lovely post! I think sometimes people get a little miffed with me when I start talking about stats on my blog, like I am complaining (if they are a bigger blogger than me), or I am bragging (if thery are a smaller blogger than me), but they are both wrong because my sole motivation is to have a ton of followers and blog hits, so when I talk about an indie or a self pub there are hundreds of readers wanting to buy the book. This is my dream. Ha ha. This is a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing. šŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love that you also love indies and self pubs! I totally get you. Like, I’m fairly content knowing I’ll never have 10,000 followers since I’m able to get most of the books I want since indies are not as strict about stats for review copies, but like you I’d love to have more followers just for the reason of being able to help all these indie authors more since they truly deserve more attention.

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  11. Roberta R.

    “more genre mashups”.

    You nailed it! I’m positively sure that the main reason why publishers are wary of certain books and choose not to publish them is that they break genre boundaries, and this is something that makes publishers nervous more often than not. Of course, it occasionaly happens that a genre-bending book is traditionally published (I’m thinking about More Than This by P. Ness, or The Dead House by D. Kurtagich, for instance), but it’s a rare occurrence. And I absolutely agree with you about the quality and the hard work that goes into a good number of indie (or small pub) titles. E.g., I saw from your Goodreads page that you’ve read the first two books of B.C. Johnson’s Deadgirl series – well, he self-pubbed The Bad Rescue of Devon Streeter (now renamed Riven) which is as good as Deadgirl, but hasn’t found the “regular” publishers’ route yet, and this is a darn shame!
    I wholeheartily support indie/small pub authors, and I’m glad you decided to wave the flag for them!

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s so true, a lot of publishers probably are leery of books that don’t fit into one genre perfectly. Regarding B.C. Johnson’s books, the Deadgirl books are with Curiosity Quills, and I consider them indie/small press. I mean, they’re not one of the big names, but their books are obviously great! But yes, I’ve read tons of books that were self-published but are just as great as traditionally published ones. Then again, self publishing has its advantages too, but it is still more work.

      Thank you, I’m always happy to know other people who support indie authors too!

  12. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    It makes me sad that I haven’t been reading nearly as many indie/self-pubbed books lately. I used to read LOTS of them—I even wrote a few TTT posts that talked about my favorites and encouraged people to try them out! I think my problem is threefold: First of all, I started going to events like BEA and getting tons of traditionally published books, so I have so many to read that I don’t manage to read much else. Secondly, I admit that I am one of those people who is swayed by hype and when I keep hearing about a book, I tend to pick it up more easily than a book I’ve never heard of. Thirdly, I unfortunately picked up enough low-quality self-pubbed books that I started to get a little scared off—especially because of my complete inability to DNF (I did manage it with some self-pubbed). And then I sort of felt like I was crushing the self-pubbed authors’ hopes and dreams when I didn’t like their book, which was a pretty uncomfortable feeling. I now mostly only read self-pubbed from authors that I already know I love, which is a shame. I should scour your Goodreads to get some recs from you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I can definitely see how those things have pushed you more toward trad pub books. I’m just unaffected by hype lol, and I’m usually not even interested in the popular books, and then when I do read them, I feel very meh. So the bad eggs in self pub are worth the good ones for me. I do feel bad giving negative reviews, but sometimes I’ll just choose not to write a review at all, or, if I think my review will still be helpful for finding the right readers, I just keep reminding myself that even negative reviews can be helpful whether authors realize that or not. But I totally approve of you scouring my GR for recs šŸ˜›