Over the past year, I have read many books written by Independent Authors. It’s my way of giving back to the writing community on Twitter that, on a daily basis, inspires me and cheers me on. This blog post is a recap of this journey of discovery.
What is an independent author, anyway?
- have self-published at least one book.
- recognize that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers. They are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for them, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
- expect their status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
- recognise that they are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
In a nutshell, an Indie Author is one that controls all aspects of their book: the words, the cover design, the title, the whole marketing process. They may outsource some aspects but the end decision is theirs. With traditional publishing, the author has far less control.
Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages
Get to the books already
I will, I will. I promise.
One of the main disadvantages of being an Indie Author is the reach you have for your books. It is nigh on impossible to get your book in Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, and on supermarket shelves. You rely on word of mouth, social media, and a lot of hard work. It is a tough world out there being an Indie Author. So, every little bit of help is treasured.
This is where this blog post comes in. Each of these books I have loved, as much, if not more than the traditional books I’ve read over the same period (Yes, I still buy, and read, traditional books too). Each book contains vivid characters, well-realised settings, compelling plots, and are simply a joy to read. They wouldn’t be out of place on a rack in Waterstones or on the bestseller lists.
I highly recommend each of these books, they cover a range of genres and styles so you’ll definitely find something you’ll cherish.
All links go to Amazon.co.uk, but they’ll be on your local Amazon too. The easy way is get to them is to click on the link to bring up the Amazon.co.uk page and then in the address bar change the .co.uk to the relevant one for you. .com for US, .de for Germany, .fr for France etc.
The books are in no order of preference. I genuinely loved each one, and believe you will do so too.
Fir Lodge (Book 1 in the Restarter Series) by Sean McMahon
The first novel in The Restarter Series.
If time shattered, taking away everything you loved, how far would you go to get it all back?
Arriving at a lodge in Norfolk for a long weekend retreat, a group of friends meet for a thirtieth birthday celebration. Before the weekend is over, five of them will die. Trapped in a thirty-three-hour time-loop, only Hal and Kara have the ability to alter fate, and prevent the deaths of their friends.
But in order to unravel the secrets hidden within their own past, they must first learn how to adapt to the new rules of their reality. Time, however, is a relentless force.
One which will stop at nothing to ensure that events unfold exactly as destiny dictates. With time no longer on their side, Hal and Kara will have to decide just how far they are willing to go to free themselves from their perpetual prison, and exactly what they are prepared to sacrifice to defeat an enemy that has already won. Only one thing is certain… Every action has a consequence.
The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks by William F. Aicher
Who is David S. Sparks? Where is David S. Sparks? When is David S. Sparks?
In the aftermath of The Chemical Wars, nature has reclaimed humanity’s infrastructure. This world, lush with life – yet dangerously uninhabitable for mankind – houses the remaining population who ekes out an existence in quarantined cities anchored off the mainland.
David S. Sparks awakens into the chaos of this future world, unsure of his place in a reality wildly different from his fragmented memories. As the desire to retake the planet swells, so too does the question of how. Will the same mistakes be repeated? Can technology beat nature, or is it time for another approach? And what is David Sparks’ role in it all?
Dive into a wild, mind-bending journey as one man chases the ultimate question of self, discovering the truly illusive nature of reality.
Demon’s Destiny (Book 1 in the After Dark series) by Sarah Bailey
Walking home at night in the back streets of London was never a good idea. When her life is threatened, Ella is saved in the nick of time, only to find Lukas is a bounty hunter from Hell. Trusting the enigmatic demon with her darkest secret, Ella Ward is inexplicably drawn to Lukas. Fighting a mutual attraction, she accepts his offer of protection, only to be dragged headlong into a world she barely knew existed. A world where demons tangle with vampires and shifters and Hell literally breaks loose.
Together they hunt down an artefact stolen from Hell. Close on their tail is the vampire Mistress of London, bent on tearing apart the mystery surrounding who Ella really is. Without warning, Ella’s unknown powers explode.
Can she survive the ensuing storm? Or will she lose her heart and soul in the process?
Bits and Pieces by Dawn Hosmer
A chance encounter with a stranger traps Tessa within the mind of a madman.
Tessa was born with a gift. Through a simple touch she picks up pieces of others. A “flash” of color devours her—the only indication that she’s gained something new from another person.
Red equals pain; purple, a talent; yellow, a premonition; orange, a painful memory; and blue, a pleasant one.
Each flash blurs the lines between her inherent traits and those she’s acquired from others. Whenever she gains bits of something new, she loses more pieces of herself.
While assisting in search efforts for a local missing college student, Tessa is paralyzed by a flash that rips through her like a lightning bolt, slicing apart her soul. A blinding light takes away her vision. A buzzing louder than any noise she’s ever heard overwhelms her, penetrates her mind. As the bolt works its way through her body, images and feelings from someone else take over. Women’s dead eyes stare at her as her hands encircle their throats. Their screams consume her mind. Memories of the brutal murders of five women invade her.
Will she be able to find the killer and help save the next victim? Can she do so without completely losing herself?
Flicker of Shadows by M. N. Seeley
In 1890, a remote mountain castle in eastern Europe is host to two conflicting realities. In one reality, a Police Inspector and a lunatic approach a crime scene from opposing ends. In the other, a bat has succumbed to delusions of grandeur and plans a life beyond the bounds of his supernatural world.
When the bat claims the abandoned mountain castle for himself, he sets the two realities onto a collision course.
Within that impact, a creature is forged and unleashed upon the mountain communities. Not only are lives at risk, but so too is the light of childhood innocence within the minds of the Inspector (Murnau), the Lunatic (Onno) and the Bat (Morton).
Their understanding of reality will be irrevocably corrupted among the flickering shadows cast by the castle creature.
Told in the epistolary format of letters, journal entries and interview transcripts, A Flicker Of Shadows is a psychological mystery with a slow burn. It is written to appeal to New Adult and Adult audiences by purposely mashing what appears to be a children’s story with an adult tale of folklore monsters and classic horror beats. But, do not let that fool you.
Fragments of Perception (Short Story Collection) by C. R. Dudley
Fragments of Perception will take you on a roller coaster ride through the depths of the psyche.
In these imagined versions of our world, future technology meets metaphysics, quantum theory blurs with spirituality, and insanity becomes a friend.
Here you will see through the eyes of personified thoughtforms, people who worship black holes, and individuals exploring planes of shared consciousness. You will encounter guardian angels who feel misunderstood, meditating robots, and mythical species sending advice to humanity in unconventional ways.
Whatever your perspective, this is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
The Awakening (Book 1 of The Awakening series) by K. L. Hagaman
As their territory is thrown into chaos, princess Lilja and her keeper, a unique guardian by the name of Kaden, must find a resolution and return peace to a people driven by fear.
But how does one exactly restore a fallen kingdom if they can’t even remember it?
After an incident of war, Lilja has found herself just there—lost inside her own mind and a stranger to her very existence.
Their destinies entwined, Lilja and Kaden’s only hope rests in the hands of a magic wielder whose price for salvation may just be more dangerous than the war itself.
Together they must forge a path to save their civilization, but first they will need to come to terms with who they both truly are, because the past is always just around the corner.
The Little Demons Inside (Book 1 of the Eudimonia series) by Micah Thomas
This is not a love story, but there is love.
This is not a horror story, but there are horrors.
This is not a true story, but there is truth.
In 2017, something went wrong with the world. Or, at least, in 2017, everyone finally saw it.
Henry needed to get off the streets to avoid the heat and volunteered for an experimental drug trial. The permanent side effects made his life dangerous and unpredictable. Henry doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t know his place. He’s a broken version of a wandering superhero. Then he meets Cassie. Their connection is brief and intense.
These two lost souls are propelled together, apart, and together again in a mind-bending adventure that challenges them to face their demons.
Margot by Lisa De Castro
Margot has gifted herself with a vacation to Corsica—the fulfillment of a promise made to herself long ago. And she must admit she’s enjoying the solitude that traveling alone brings, even if the indulgence prompts a guilty twinge or two.
Exploring Corsica’s shoreline, museums, and churches, Margot finds herself reflecting on her life and her mortality. Her daughters are grown, and her marriage at this point is best described as comfortable. As she looks back on her past through a series of revealing flashbacks, Margot realizes she’s come to a pivotal moment in time.
A chance meeting with an old boyfriend complicates matters further, igniting half-forgotten passions and memories of her own father’s infidelity—and pleasure, temptation, and guilt combine for her in equal measure. Will these stirrings change the course of Margot’s life, or will they simply ruin the stability she already has?
A delicate unfolding of one woman’s life, Margot is like the sea surrounding Corsica: beautiful, seductive, and capable of dragging the reader into unexpected depths. Author Lisa De Castro brings both Margot and Corsica to vibrant life, seamlessly blending evocative descriptions of Corsica’s weathered, ancient landscapes with Margot’s bittersweet memories—and her possible future.
Trumpland (Short Story Collection) by M. D. Parker, Richard L. Pastore, Leland Lydecker, Jason J. Nugent, Dave Callan, Scott J. Couturier, Branden Frankel, and Shayne K. Keen
November 8th, 2016. A new President was elected, and the United States was forever changed.
Now 8 authors have come together to share the alternative facts of the dystopian futures we have yet to witness.
From the schoolboy romanticizing delusions of grandeur to nuclear Armageddon; from civil wars to the diseased undead; from walls isolating nations, to trade agreements, to environmental disasters – will any of the signs be bright enough to be seen?
Will we heed the warnings before Lady Liberty’s torch is extinguished? Can we write a new future for a nation, for the entire world, before it is too late?
Trumpland’s stories present a speculative inquiry into the fallout from the most consequential election of our age. All artists donated their contributions with proceeds from the sales being donated to charity.
Time, For a Change by Adam Eccles
Terry’s dead-end IT job is about as much fun as an internal cavity search. Chances of promotion? None. Chances of a raise? Not happening. Chances of romance? Nada.
It’s time for a change, but that’s easier said than done when your prospects are as dismal as the Irish weather in January. Enter stage left a gorgeous young girl who inexplicably finds him interesting. Toss in a mysterious wooden box hidden in his late father’s workshop and the dull monotony of Terry’s life is broken.
But will it stay that way? What is in the wooden box? Can love conquer all – even the terrible tedium of a dead end job?
This is for all the office workers, all the cynics, all the souls who look into their future with nothing but dread.
Map of the World (Short Story Collection) by Zev Good
In this debut collection of stories, Zev Good takes the reader into a world he knows and illuminates so well: the middle-class American South.
In the opening story, “The Sweet By-and-By,” an inexplicable tragedy brings to light the cracks in a family’s foundation.
In “Had,” a man recalls his youth and must, at last, come to terms with the one love he could never have.
The title story alternates between the present and the past, and tells us a truth we all know but find hard to admit: that to rescue ourselves, we sometimes have to leave others behind.
These stories, populated with mothers and children, friends and lovers, the living and the dying, reveal the intricate and tenuous bonds that unite us all.
Preservation Protocol by John Prescott
Currently not for sale, but there is a new edition coming on August 23rd 2019, published by Kyanite Publishing (https://kyanitepublishing.com/). I was lucky to get this book before it was removed from sale. Definitely, one to look out for, an excellent sci-fi thriller. A cross between I, Robot, Bladerunner and the TV show Almost Human.
Max Kincaid, a police detective from the 29th precinct of New Wave City was working another case against the mob when Daryl Marston walked into his life.
Both soon find themselves entangled in a far-reaching conspiracy involving the mob, the government and Synthetics: artificial humans designed to be nearly indistinguishable from the genuine article.
Max must fight his prejudices against Synthetics while helping Daryl, an innocent victim of a secret organization’s darkest machinations.
The lines between right and wrong, human and machine, friend and foe soon become blurred. Will Max unravel the conspiracies whirling around him in time?
Inn Spirits: Tales of the Folsom by C. M. Harris
Like Preservation Protocol above, this is being re-released under the Kyanite Publishing family. This comes out on 19th April 2019.
I read the original version and loved it. You can pre-order this edition with the Amazon link.
They said the supernatural wasn’t real, that it couldn’t hurt you. They’ve never been to the Folsom Inn, a place where the dead do more than talk. They touch, they scream, they kill. Come stay for the night, won’t you?
From my review: ‘A very creepy book along similar lines as the Puppetmaster and Annabelle movies. Creepy little dolls, blood, and violence. Very Richard Laymon, but with creepily awesome dolls.’ I think I need another synonym for creepy but man, what a creepy book.
Colour Me Confounded by Poulomi Sanyal
In the first of two stories, teenagers Rupa and Minerva think they will be friends forever. The two high school girls are virtually inseparable, despite their many differences. Years later, Rupa looks back on that relationship and the dramatic incident that ended their friendship. While she writes her memoir and travels the world, she comes to a realization about her connection with Minerva and the experiences they shared.
The second story centers on Ariana, a Canadian Iranian engineer. She is happy with her work in Toronto, but a friend’s surprise career move brings back old memories of a previous job in Montreal. She hated that job and felt isolated and unappreciated. There was one person, however, who made it worthwhile.
As both Ariana and Rupa look back on their pasts, they come to startling discoveries about their current lives. Will these insights lead the two to choose different paths—or just fill them with more regret?
Machine Gun Jesus by Dean Tongue
In this hilarious off the wall comedy, Jesus is sent by God to modern day Earth to try and make a difference in the world.
Not fancying being nailed to a damn cross again, Jesus agrees to do it with one condition – That he can do things a little bit differently this time!
So join Jesus (or Jay Cee as he likes to be called these days) as he embarks on a rap career with his D-Cyplez – Honkey Killa and Suicide Bob.
Join him as he tells amazing stories about how his mother got pregnant and Adam and Steve (Eve was a printing error apparently). Join him as he swills beer, smokes drugs and gets into fist fights on live television. Join him as the world slowly starts to turn against him – again! Join the second coming! Will Jesus die for our sins again? Or will he make us die for his?
Dancing at Midnight (Book 1) by Rebecca Yelland
After a fifteen-year absence, Carolyn Graves has returned to her childhood home following the death of her mother.
With the purpose of settling her mother’s estate, Carolyn attempts to push past the emotions of their strained relationship – and her own anxiety issues – to quickly complete the process and be on her way.
But as Carolyn begins to sort through her mother’s private documents, she discovers a disturbing history behind her mother’s early life.
As a result, Carolyn learns the truth about her parent’s relationship and the secret they have kept hidden for decades.
Ferryman by Michael Blaylock
Some people can fly. Some can see impossible distances. Some can change their appearance, control the elements, or run at incredible speed. Charlie Ferris can kill with a touch.
Contrary to what the superhuman government believes, Charlie has no dreams of world domination or mass murder. Neither does he wish to pretend his powers don’t exist. He wants to use his abilities for good, but how?
As the immortal years pass, Charlie fears that villainy is the only option for the master of death. But when an undying army appears at their doorstep, the superhuman authorities have no choice but to call on a professional killer.
Charlie wants to believe that this is his chance to prove he’s a good guy, but sparks fly at every encounter. When harassment mounts and prejudice backs him into a wall, The Ferryman must decide what is more important: a good reputation…or goodness?
Kiss Me When I’m Dead by Dominic Piper
The stunning debut thriller by bestselling author Dominic Piper, Kiss Me When I’m Dead introduces the enigmatic, London-based private investigator Daniel Beckett.
When Beckett is offered double his usual fee to track down Viola Raleigh, the missing daughter of a billionaire arms dealer, he has no reason to believe the assignment is not as it seems.
But his investigation is hindered as he discovers he’s being stalked by a professional surveillance team.
As he learns more about Viola’s life as a drug addict and high-class call girl, he starts to realise that his wealthy client has been economical with the truth.
It isn’t long before Beckett himself is in danger, but his adversaries quickly discover that they are dealing with a formidable opponent with a far more sinister background than they might ever have imagined.
Crisis Point by James Kemp
Why is rolling news showing footage of US Marines holding off an armed assault on the White House? Where have the Secret Service taken the President and why has the Vice President invoked the 25th Amendment? Why has US Space Command mobilised its strategic reserve and put it into orbit?
Crisis point is a stand alone novella set in the same near future world as Perfects (published late 2016).
It tells the story of a military conspiracy reaching to the top of the US Military to subvert the democratically elected US President.
This is a future where some Americans have realized that spending their blood and treasure as the world’s policemen hasn’t been effective and have decided that someone else should take a turn.
In the middle of the 21st Century Mike Duff is a career officer of US Space Force. The military are getting cut, and the defense contractors aren’t happy about it.
Mike is a patriotic American, loyal to the Constitution and proud of his country, but he doesn’t like what he sees the politicians doing.
The End Part
Well done for getting this far. It’s almost over.
These authors have written amazing stories and their work deserves greater exposure. So, if you bought one, two, or all of the ones above, can I please ask you to review the book on Amazon or Goodreads when you’ve finished it.
Reviews are the main way Indie Authors can get exposure. each review adds to Amazon’s bizarre algorithm lifting each book further up the search results page. As well as gaining exposure there isn’t an author in the world who doesn’t love getting a brilliant review. It seriously makes their day.
Thank you for reading this mega post and I hope you enjoy my recommendations as much as I did.
I have written a follow-up post which includes the latest Indie books I have loved: Indie Books – They’re Still Awesome.