Independent Fiction

I was looking at the books I’ve downloaded on my Kindle and they are probably 95% by indie authors.  That’s pretty amazing, really, considering that a few years ago I didn’t know anything about the field.

I remember how I started downloading books by indie authors.  The first one I did was a book called BONE SHOP by Tim “TA” Pratt.  It is an urban fantasy, the fifth book in a series that had previously been published by a BPH imprint but was dropped after the fourth book.  Why, I don’t exactly know.  Was it not selling?  I bought the first four at Barnes and Noble bookstores, where they had exactly one copy on the shelf.  I always looked when I’d go back in to see if they had anything else by Pratt, and once I bought the single copy of whichever they had, well, that was it.

I was following a blog of editor Annetta Ribken on Journalscape back in the day, before she was an editor.  She had a very entertaining blog, and she was working on a novel, which was released as ATHENA’S PROMISE.  She decided to release it indie via Kindle and Createspace, and I bought the ebook of that one as well.  Both of those ebooks costed $4.99, which, at the time, I considered a bargain.  Now I consider it a premium that I’m willing to pay for authors I like.  Even then, I think twice about it.  “Just how much do I want to read this book right now?”

I started thinking that if Annetta could do it that way, so could I.  Another author-friend who I met at Chicago’s Printer’s Row Festival, Sean Hayden, was working with a small press, editing and writing his own fiction.  He and his significant other, Jen Wylie, opened their own small press called Untold Press, and began publishing their own fiction as well as a few other authors.  Yeah, it’s technically a small press, but it started as a way of indie publishing their own works.

Connecting the dots, I found the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith and J.A. Konrath, and then I found Hugh Howey.  WOOL was, for me, a revelation.  It was engrossing — I couldn’t hardly put it down when I purchased it as an ebook.  Howey’s story was almost as engrossing.  He put the book out in shorter installments, five of them, at $0.99 each, then compiled them into the single edition at $4.99.  And Hugh was making a killing financially, or so it seems.

I found “The Passive Voice” and answered a submissions call for a SF anthology called QUANTUM ZOO, and lo and behold, mine was one of the twelve stories accepted for publication in the volume.  If nothing else, it validated me in my own eyes as a writer.

From Konrath’s blog, I read a comment by author Steven M. Moore, and somehow realized that he wrote SF and thrillers, and I followed the link to his blog, and now I’ve read everything he’s written save (I think) two books.  (I’ll correct that oversight this year.)  I also found horror novels by Bryan Smith and by William Malmborg, which led me again to other horror novelists.

Now I’m reading one indie work after another, generally.  (I am trying to get a good run into Robert Crais’ third Joe Pike novel, called THE SENTRY, but haven’t found the time to get into it much.)  I am in the midst of a series (starting with E) by Kate Wrath.  I’m reading Mit Sandru’s novels.  I read Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, John Ellsworth, Bobby Adair, and Edward W. Robertson.

I’ve found tons of the fiction I want to read, and I haven’t broken the bank buying all these books.

Not to mention, I’ve become an indie author myself, with a bunch of short stories and collections out as well as two novellas.

Buy indie.  Cut out that middle man!



4 thoughts on “Independent Fiction

  1. Steven M. Moore

    Hi Scott,
    Thanks for the plug. In some sense, you were lucky–you managed to avoid the angst and anger associated with trying to go the traditional route. I’m happy to have played a small part in softening your transition to authorhood.
    Howey, Konrath, Weir and others, including the other authors you mentioned, are all examples of finding the mother lode of indie writers. Most of us have to be content with panning for a few nuggets. After my experience with the traditional publishing paradigm, though, I wouldn’t have it otherwise.
    You rightly emphasized how readers benefit. The digital revolution has given readers new, original, and entertaining stories to try. As I say, “Exciting entertainment for a reasonable price.” We don’t exactly eliminate the middle man–my accomplices in book production do many things better than I ever could with 100% DIY–but I’m in control of the whole proscess. Moreover, I can focus on entertaining readers, not kissing up to traditional publishing’s agents and editors. With those economies that we can pass on to readers, traditional publishers will find it more and more difficult to compete, especially with their onerous contracts and royalties.
    I have no idea how this will turn out, but it’s quite an adventure to be part of a revolution!
    PS. What books haven’t you read? How dare you! 🙂

  2. Scott Dyson Post author

    LOL! Well, it’s been great finding lots of indie fiction, including yours, that entertains me just as much or more than the trad published choices from “before.”

    I think the two are SURVIVORS OF THE CHAOS and another, the name of which escapes me at the moment. Thinking…CUMBIA?

    I’m currently onto another Robert Crais novel from the TBR pile, called SUSPECT. Not an Elvis Cole or a Joe Pike novel. We’ll see how it holds up. I have always liked Crais.

  3. Steven M. Moore

    Sounds like you might have skipped the entire “Chaos Chronicles Trilogy.” I’ll admit that even Infinity’s ebook version of Survivors of the Chaos is expensive. You live and learn. I’m slowly rectifying those old mistakes (e.g. the second edition of The Midas Bomb, which puts it more in line with other books in the series).
    Let me recommend Susan Fleet’s Frank Renzi novels (I reviewed Absolution on my blog and Diva on Bookpleasures)–they should be “noir” enough for you and Renzi is a hard-boiled homicide detective. No creepy, crawly creatures but she delves into the black parts of human nature–her website analyzes some of the psychology. Absolution is a wee bit like your The Inn.
    All the best for you and yours during this holiday season,

  4. Scott Dyson Post author

    Thanks for the recommendations. I downloaded some samples so I don’t forget to buy them sometime soon.

    And I plan on reading your Chaos Chronicles at some point. They sound very interesting!

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