I was browsing through a group I follow on Facebook last night and came across a post that looked fun. It was a simple “vote for your favorite author” type thing. The trouble though, was that it started out with something like 25 options, but by the time other readers had finished adding their favorites, the list had grown to around 100. More readers wanted to add more authors, but they’d met the poll limit and were no longer able to add any more names. So they were listing names in the comments.
It was fun to see which authors other readers liked, but also a little sad too (let’s forget the part where I didn’t make anyone’s list that I saw 😭). Sad because most options were all traditionally published authors. Some indies made the list, but not many (that I saw).
Side note here: all those big name authors who made the list earned their spot, I’m not saying they didn’t and I am glad for them, but to me, it’s sad that the little guys don’t. This is a case of being happy for one group, and sad for the other. I’m here to talk about the second group though, so…
I’ve seen that happen before. When recommendations for new reading material are made, most are for traditionally published books. Very few indie authors get the same recognition as their “big name” counterparts. Most of us are small time authors, struggling to make sales, struggling to build an audience.
Being an indie author myself has given me an all too-real understanding of the challenges of “going it alone”. Without the backing of a big name company to give our books “authenticity” we are required to reach out ourselves, trying to build trust with an audience who are a little bit hesitant to trust someone that doesn’t have that guaranteed backing. Someone they don’t know.
Sadly, it’s with good reason.
You see, I’ve been burned myself more than once by an indie book. A lot more than once.
From the outside the book looks good, but once you open it up, among others, you might find…
-the book is littered with grammatical errors
-repetition until you’re about to scream (I once found the overuse of she/her in the first two pages to be so bad I stopped reading to start counting, hit a number that was way outside necessity, and didn’t progress beyond those pages)
Those are the top three that came to mind, but I’m sure there are more. And I’m not talking about the few mistakes that will slip through the cracks because we might be authors, but we’re far from perfect and we don’t catch them all, no matter how hard we try. These are major issues that should have been fixed, but weren’t, so readers learn to be wary of buying something they don’t know they can trust.
And THAT is why I’m here.
Because there are indie authors who try as hard as they can to produce the best product within their power to produce.
I know that’s what I try to do. I have beta readers who get everything I write, chapter by chapter, hot off the press. They critique. They offer suggestions. And I trust their judgement. If they don’t like anything about what I’ve written, I go back to the drawing board and do it over. I research anything I don’t know, sometimes spending days following link after link online until I have all the information I can find. Then there’s my editor. She fixes all my mistakes and makes her own suggestions on how to make improvements. And then she goes over whatever I’ve rewritten, and we keep working on it until it’s as good as we can get it. Basically, we work hard to get you the best book we can. Yes, we are going to make mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes.
Even traditionally published books have some mistakes in them. I’m still laughing about the .22 caliber rifle that turned into a shotgun within a handful of paragraphs. I just asked Josh if that’s even possible and he started talking about TC-this and centerfire and—and…my eyes glazed over and I wish I’d been recording because there was way too much info for me to process all at once. Basically, the firing pin for a shotgun and a .22 are in different positions, so without a whole lotta gun smithing know-how, it’s not gonna happen instantly. The book didn’t make out that it did, but the gun changed from a .22 to a shotgun without leaving the guy’s hands, which is not possible, and no one in the editing and proofreading process caught that.
My guess is that the author was changing the rifle to something bigger and more likely to do what she wanted it to do—be able to go right through a large man, killing him and the woman standing behind him—which a .22 is unlikely to do unless it doesn’t hit any bone on the way through and the woman is standing close enough and… the possibility of it doing everything just right to make it through and kill both of them is pretty slim. So it seems likely that the author was changing the gun to something more powerful and missed changing the first reference. Which can happen. But no one picked it up, and as a trad published author, once the book goes to print she can’t go back and change anything, so I feel for her and I also feel like I’m going down a rabbit trail here so back to the topic…
I work hard to make my books as good as I can get them, and as mistake free as possible. But I’m not the only indie author who works hard to produce good quality books. I know a lot of other indie authors who do the same.
Over the next however-long-I-remember-to-do-this I’m going to introduce you to lesser-known authors I think you’ll enjoy. Authors who have free books. Free books that will give you the opportunity to try them out first so you can see for yourselves whether they’re the right fit for you (or not) before you buy. They may not all be indie authors, but most will fall into that category.
Please note: I have no control over when or how long their books are free, but I will check to make sure they have a book or books that are free before I post. Always check the price before you buy though, because prices can and do change without warning.
Well, without warning for us. The author is likely to know how long the sale/promo is going to run. The casual book buyer doesn’t have that inside knowledge though, so it can feel like it happens without warning. So check first, and then buy. And if you find an author that you like, don’t stop at buying their books. Follow them on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, or Bookbub, sign up for their newsletter, join their reader group on FB if they have one.
Why? Because your support is the encouragement they need to keep writing, to keep working hard to give you books that you know are going to be good.
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll introduce you to my favorite contemporary hybrid author (she’s both indie and traditionally published) and I’ll talk about some of her books that I particularly enjoy. This author introduced me to contemporary romance, but she also writes in other genres—historical, suspense, sci-fi, to name a few—and they’re all good.
And if you come across any words in this post that should have had an apostrophe, please forgive me. I cant help it. The apostrophe part of that key is broken. I tried to catch them all and use autocorrect to fix them, but some might have slipped through the cracks. The backward slash key stopped working too, as well as the ampersand. Quotation marks still work, as does the number 7, so I have no idea why the other parts of those keys don’t work. Thankfully, Josh had just ordered a replacement writing machine when the keys on my iPad keyboard started to malfunction. He’s getting that machine set up now, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to writing again very soon!