Thursday, October 6, 2011


I was reading an article in a recent Poets and Writers Magazine where they interviewed several new authors and asked each one how they found their literary agent. One said they had met their agent through a friend of a friend.  Another was introduced to their agent through a mutual friend.  After the third one said their neighbor was an agent, I immediately threw the magazine in the recycle bin.  It reminded me why I'd become and Indie writer in the first place.  I'm not suggesting any of these fine writers aren't talented, but unless your neighbor works at Harper Collins, I'm thinking you found your path to getting published a bit more arduous than some of these authors.

There are many writers who still look down at the whole Indie thing as rather unseemly and I get that.  I was one of those people just last year.  I was able to acquire an agent (who's not a neighbor) by winning the S.W. Writers Award, but with so few publishers willing to risk taking on a new author, there weren't a lot of opportunities out there.  Which brings me to my question: Do you read books from Indie authors?  It seems that writers are much more aware of the Indie label than readers are.  For example, did you know the current NY Times bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse, Darcy Chan, is an Indie author?  How about NY Times bestseller of The Abbey, Chris Culver?  Do you even care?

I pay attention to such things because it's important to me.  Although I've interviewed some of the biggest names in the industry, I want to keep track of the market and even go out of my way to support the Indie movement.  Now that pretty much anyone can publish an E-Book whenever they wish, there's a lot of mediocre stuff out there.  So I try to sift through the pile and shine a light on the authors which I believe have written some good work.  John Locke, Rick Murcer and Robert Bidinotto are just a few which have been highlighted here and have gone on to tremendous success.  As a reader, has the lower prices compelled you to try new authors?  And if they have, what is your experience?


  1. Great post, Gary, and to answer your question, I have read new, unknown indie authors and not simply due to lower prices. As an indie author myself, I've come to know a great many others and have read their work. I must admit that some books were disappointing but this is true with some traditional publications I've read over the years. On the flip-side, many of the indie works I've read were excellent and very professionally put together. We are gaining ground and starting to get noticed. :)

  2. Good post. Since I became an indie author, I have focused on reading other indies. The great thing is that you can download the first few chapters before deciding to buy. For each book I read, I probably download sample chapters of three others.
    The cost of the books is not as important as the value of my time, however with most indie book under three bucks, over the course of a year I save a lot of money.
    My experience had been that there are a lot of good indie authors out there.

  3. The covers, titles, and story summaries along with sample chapters are more important to acquire new readers than just price. $1-$3 price is the "I'll take a risk" category for most people, but they still do some research.

    Every book regardless of source, publisher or indie, can be good or bad. Reader's tastes and preferences are as varied as the authors out there, and thus many potential customers for all.

    What is becoming more important, and Amazon has an advantage here, are the reader reviews. Fewer consumers trust big companies (publishers) or big reviewers (professional reviewers from big media) and they rely more on indicators in other reader's reviews whether good or bad.


  4. I definitely read indie authors as long as their books are in print as I don't like reading digitally. I have found some real gems, and I don't mind paying "full price" for their works. Steve Piacente's BELLA, a political thriller, comes to mind.

    As a writer who just signed a contract with a major house after 11 years of trying to break in, I am well aware of how capricious and limited the traditional path can be. For me it was the one I felt compelled to stay on, and I'm glad in the end there was that dose of luck and magic that opened the door. But I'm equally glad new opportunities have made it possible for authors to flourish elsehow.

  5. Jenny, there are many paths to publication and I root for all methods. Congrats for your endurance and your success. There's plenty of room in the ocean for all of us.

  6. Thanks for a super post. As an indie-author I very much appreciate it and yes... I am a reader and supporter of my fellow indies. In fact, I have a meet up group called Meet the Authors that begins this week for this very purpose - to support each other creatively but also regarding the business of books.

    I am an indie-author and PROUD of it!

  7. I have never read an Indie author. I am still, lamentably, underwhelmed by bad cover art and terrible book descriptions, and regardless of price, I steer clear. My daughter, however, who reads a lot and inherited my Kindle reads self published stuff all the time. She's not a book snob--she just reads what seems interesting to her. When I've asked her if she notices a difference between the self published books and those by traditional publishers, she literally has no idea what I'm talking about. THAT'S the future. It's us old dinosaurs--or I should say, old dinosaurs like me--who continue to make assumptions about poor quality when there are no longer any gatekeepers.

  8. For me it was the one I felt compelled to stay on, and I'm glad in the end there was that dose of luck and magic that opened the door