Why Support Self-Published Authors?
Self-published authors have done more than write a book. They believe in what they have written so much that they plunged into the publishing industry head first and on their own have done what was required to get their book published—editing, formatting, cover design, promotion, marketing, and distribution. No advances, no one showing them the ropes, no one holding their hand.
But self-published authors are no different than traditionally published authors in that they have great stories to tell. And while it may have taken a while, they are now being recognized for their work--there are more self-published books on the New York Times and Amazon best-selling lists than ever before.
So please support self-published authors by checking out the fully vetted books listed on the websites to your right.
You'll find some great reads out there.
Scroll down for a little history on self-publishing.
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Where to Find the Best Self-Published Books
Listed below are several sites where you can find self-published books that have been reviewed using strict criteria or have won awards, making them top-rated self-published books.
My favorite list of self-published books comes from the indieBRAG organization. The books listed on their website have been reviewed by at least three of their reviewers, all of whom have given the book a "thumbs up" based on the organization's proprietary critera, the most compelling of which is whether the reviewer could recommend the book to their best friend. Less than 15% of the books they receive meet the criteria and are honored with the BRAG Medallion.
Here are some sites where you can find quality self-published books that have been vetted according to each organization's individual standards.
A Little History
First some very basic stripped-down definitions.
In traditional publishing, the author creates a manuscript and submits it to a publisher (or through a literary agent to a publisher) for consideration. If the publishing house decides to publish the book (and they accept just a tiny percentage of books submitted) , a contract is drawn, they buy the rights to the book from the author, and pay him an advance against future royalties. The publisher assumes all responsibility and costs for preparing the book for market in exchange for a percentage of the royalties. This includes editing, cover design, formatting, printing, promotion, marketing, and distribution.
Someone who self-publishes takes on the role of a traditional publisher and is responsible for all aspects of publishing the book. The self-publisher may do the work himself or farm it out to freelance service providers. The author owns all rights to the book, bears all the up-front costs, and provided he has done all the work himself, enjoys 100% of the royalties.
Self-publishing Is Not New
Most people don’t realize that self-publishing has been around for a long time. Consider these authors who self-published their work:
Ben Franklin – The Way to Wealth, 1758
Mark Twain - Hckleberry Finn, 1885
Virginia Woolf – The Voyage Out, 1915
Irma S. Rombauer – The Joy of Cooking, 1931
A Rocky Start
It wasn’t until the 1990s, when online vanity presses came into being, that the self-publishing trend became more mainstream. But because anyone can self-publish a book—there is no quality control beyond what the author imposes upon himself—the market started to get flooded with poorly designed, poorly written books. Consequently, the general perception of self-published authors was that they turned to self-publishing because they weren’t good enough to get a traditional publisher interested in their work.
But things have changed, and thanks to many successful authors who got their foot in the door, that negative stigma is being shed. Two contempory highly successful self-published authors stand way out in front.
Amanda Hocking – Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 1997
E. L. James –Fifty Shades of Grey, 2011
It’s an evolving industry. Traditional publishers are now losing a percentage of the industry business having to compete with indie authors. As a result, many of them have scaled back services previously offered to their authors, such as book promotion and marketing. Consequently, some previously traditionally published authors have swung over to the self-publishing side where the royalties are greater and they have total control over content and timelines.
Self-publishing is here to stay.