Like our social world and the society in which it thrives (good and bad), the big, wide world of publishing has changed. Drastically. Where once an author’s only option (and often their success) to voice their story was publication by traditional publishing (a publishing house) or else go home, bigger doors are now open to authors.
These doors are that of Indie publishing.
There’s a kind of stigma attached to Indie publishing or that’s been my experience. While there are good and bad apples in the genre (as there are in traditional publishing), speaking from personal experience, I’ve discovered some of my favorite reads in this sphere. Since honesty (albeit in a kind way) is always the aim here, I’ll be honest.
I often skip past Indie novels. Or that’s been the truth until recently.
While browsing Amazon, the genre seems to earn a “passing glance” simply because I’m distracted by other novels and often feel as if I have far too many books in need of attention. Below, I talk about a few of my experiences with Indie novels – and why I often pass over them.
Indie Novels: The Introduction
Though Indie books were first introduced to my reading (primarily) palette thanks to the publications of a friend (Amber Stokes), this wasn’t the primary shift to my intro. I think the real turning point (of Indies being common reading material) arrived in the form of Amy Matayo’s The End of the World. The story is a harsh albeit heartbreakingly beautiful look at a pair of teens trying to survive the foster care system.
Now let’s be real for a minute. Honestly, I don’t think I’d have picked up The End of the World. Or at least not with the same urgency as I otherwise do with so many other books. That’s not to say I might not have read it at some point, it’s more that I gravitate towards the happier contemporary novels. Fortunately, I did read ‘World’ thanks to an author launch team opportunity and the endorsement of a trusted blogger and friend.
Indie Novels: A Reader’s Evolution
In the aftermath of reading The End of the World, I was… a myriad of emotions. There was heartbreak, smiles, joy and the all-around winning feeling of being impressed. This story is unlike anything I’d read up until this point. In many ways, it still is.
This novel sparked an interest in this reader. I began to wonder about other hidden gems in the world of Indie publishing and after that, anytime I ran across a trust endorsement of such a book, I sat up to take notice.
Part of the reason I was skittish about independent publishing is because, along with being loyal to favorite authors, I’m also trusting of publishing houses. The equation that figures into my picking out new books (when seasonal line ups are announced) is as follows:
50% Cover Art (I know, I’m 100% a cover snob – but this IS what first catches my eye)
20% Publishing House
Odd as it may sound, if the book is published by a publishing house I “know” (and have trusted/enjoyed in the past), I’m more likely to pick it up or preorder the book.
Fortunately, The End of the World expanded these horizons, which leads us to the place we’re at today.
Indie Novels: One Reader’s Conclusion
No matter the publishing venue (whether Indie or traditional), there can be some “bad apples.” It’s true those who publish traditionally have more options at their disposal (perhaps more editors), but that doesn’t guarantee the best story. Like so many things today, books and styles are subjective. What may touch one reader won’t another. Or something that makes me laugh may seem silly or crude or wholly improper to another reader. This is ok. This is why there are so many voices, stories and avenues of storytelling in our great big world.
No matter how much I’ve enjoyed indie reads, they’ve been a select few that have disappointed. Because of this, I’m still wary, but far more open-minded and excited and interested in the genre than I was once.
Thanks for this goes to a little story that takes us to the ends of two character’s world, and the author who tells their story so heartbreakingly beautifully.
Discussion: What are your thoughts on Indie novels? Have you read any good ones? What Indie novels do you recommend? Comment down below with your thoughts on the subject.