I used to be a hypocrite. I mean, I probably still am in a few ways that aren’t coming to mind right now, but I mean about books and self-publishing. I’ve planned to self-publish for years. I liked the freedom, the lack of time restrictions, even the idea of having a fair amount of input on the cover. But during all those years I hadn’t ever bought or read a self-published book.
I did read fanfiction. I still do. Some of my favourite stories are fanfics. So I was aware that there were and are independent writers who are good at what they do (even if you have to search a bit harder to find them)… And still I hadn’t gotten a self-published book because a part of me worried it wouldn’t be good enough.
After I finally made an Amazon account (because I needed one to self-publish my own story) I started looking into other indie writers. There were the more professional ones (Hugh Howey, Johnny B Truant, Sean Platt, David Wright) and those not so much, and also a few friends had published before me. I bought books from each type, picking up the occasional random book just because it looked pretty. I now have about 40 self published books on my kindle.
I wish I had realized indie books were this good sooner. They have this honesty to them (something I’ve found in good fanfic as well). There’s no general public that you have to appease, and so certain stories have more depth and truth to them, if only because they can. The restrictions are gone. You want to write a 58 part space opera? By all means, go right damn ahead. Your ideas are a little off, avant garde meets forgotten-your-meds? Someone’ll like it. I’ll probably like it. Even if I don’t, I have to admire that you wrote it and put it out there.
Indie books are the garage band music of today. They may not all be perfect and polished, but they have heart and passion in them. If you don’t read indie books, or self-published stuff, and you’re worried about quality– give it a go anyway. Check the Look Inside feature, decide whether the person’s grammar is up to standards, and give their book a try. You might be surprised.
(I’m not saying bad grammar is ok. But typos happen, and just because you didn’t have a team of editors to catch it doesn’t mean the book is bad [and if you do have a team, they might still not catch it]. Another great thing with indie books- the author can update the file. I changed my file out about 12 times since I first published Larkspur. A typo here, an extra sentence there.. and now it’s all good.)