SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Good Self-Published Books?

Discussion started on

I've been following this thread with interest, especially the talk about whether there is really a need for gate-keepers and whether well written self-published books will rise to the top and be noticed. I've read a lot of good arguments from many different viewpoints, but what I haven't heard much of yet are examples of self-published books that deserve more attention. Are we arguing from theoretical standpoints or does anyone have an actual self-published book in mind when arguing that good books aren't exclusive to major publishers?

Have you read a self-published book that you consider well-written? Something you'd love to recommend?
#1 - May 25, 2011, 08:33 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
www.parkerpeevyhouse.com

teri

Guest
I've just barely dipped my toes into reading ebooks, but I've read Katie Klein's CROSS MY HEART (out now--http://www.katiekleinbooks.com/), and I've read a beta of Jack Blaine's HELPER12 (out in June --www.jackblainebooks.blogspot.com), and I thought both were very good.  If I can find more like them, I think I will finally save up for a Nook or Kindle (I read the two I mention here on the free Kindle reader for computers), because the prices for them both were under $5--the kind I can afford.

That said, I've sifted through the previews that are available for a LOT of titles that I didn't try because they looked pretty bad.
#2 - May 25, 2011, 09:07 PM
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 09:29 PM by teri »

KenH

Guest
Here's a list from April that states 28 out of the top 100 eBooks are self-pubbed. 8 are from John Locke. 4 are Amanda Hocking. I've read a couple Hocking books and found them somewhat wanting in the editorial department, but clearly they've found an audience.

I was in ABNA's contest this year and read a lot of excerpts, many of which were self-pubbed already. I have to say I was both pleased to find such quality and chagrinned by it. It seems there really are a lot of very good writers going the indie route, whether because they're frustrated with the traditional route or see self-pubbing as both a credible and viable option.

A bit off-topic: I think this underscores an important point-- that different people are going to have different criteria for judging a book's value. Clearly, a book that looks unprofessional and suffers from poor or nonexistent editing will simply flounder, but the success of "halfway decent" books, despite the absence of traditional quality control can still be hugely popular. People may argue all they want that it shouldn't be so, but sales say otherwise. You just can't argue that a book that sells 30,000 ecopies a month should never have been published.
#3 - May 25, 2011, 09:16 PM
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 09:19 PM by pengwinz »

teri

Guest
You just can't argue that a book that sells 30,000 ecopies a month should never have been published.

Well (with my tongue sort of in cheek)  I would say that you can argue that, just like you can say that spandex should never be worn outside an exercise class or that art should not be bought because it matches your sofa, but people will always buy what they want, (think STAR magazine vs Scientific America). 
#4 - May 25, 2011, 09:22 PM

Danyelle

Guest
Well (with my tongue sort of in cheek)  I would say that you can argue that, just like you can say that spandex should never be worn outside an exercise class or that art should not be bought because it matches your sofa, but people will always buy what they want, (think STAR magazine vs Scientific America). 

 :yourock
#5 - May 25, 2011, 09:25 PM

Chronic
Member
Poster Plus
The only self-published book I've read (because I hate reading fiction from a screen so generally avoid e-books) is the fourth book in Kate Cann's Col and Art trilogy: Art's Story. She put it our in paperback herself because her publisher felt it was too dark but I thought it was just as good as the rest of the series.

Whether we're talking about movies, plays or books a good professional review will often sell me on something but a trusted blog reviewer can sell me on a story too and if I've already read and enjoyed an author's fiction I would pick up another of their works whether they'd self-published or it was released by a publisher.

Link to buy books from Kate Cann's web:
http://www.katecann.com/BuyBooks.asp
#6 - May 27, 2011, 03:40 PM
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 03:42 PM by C.K. »
Film school grad. Time traveller. Billy Bragg fan. Canadian/Irish novelist of character-driven fiction from sci-fi to slice of life.

Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger is self-published. There was a good review on a Chair, a Fireplace and  a Tea Cozy:

http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/teacozy/2011/02/22/review-jazz-in-love/

 
#7 - May 27, 2011, 08:39 PM
Stained Glass Summer, Musa Publishing
Weaving Magic, YA Romance
Finders Keepers--MeeGenius Publishing
www.mindyhardwick.com

Sharif

Guest
Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger is self-published. There was a good review on a Chair, a Fireplace and  a Tea Cozy:

http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/teacozy/2011/02/22/review-jazz-in-love/

 

I enjoyed JAZZ IN LOVE.

Another self-pubbed book that I devoured was Anne Riley's THE CLEARING.
#8 - May 28, 2011, 06:31 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI RA
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region switzerland
I read only self-published e-books in April and blogged about what I thought here: http://fictionforge.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/self-published-e-books-gifts-of-the-blood-and-glimpse/ and here: http://fictionforge.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/self-published-e-books-anathema-and-hush-money/. The best was Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel, with Hush Money by Susan Bischoff and Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire close seconds.

#9 - May 28, 2011, 09:20 AM
I tweet: @FictionForge

shana

Guest
I've just barely dipped my toes into reading ebooks, but I've read Katie Klein's CROSS MY HEART (out now--http://www.katiekleinbooks.com/)

I second CROSS MY HEART. I'm almost done with it and it's very well-written, well formatted and edited. I'm loving the characters and the story.
#10 - May 28, 2011, 11:12 AM

I work as a freelance copyeditor and have a lot of self-published authors as clients(several write books dealing with tax/finance/business issues that I won't mention here.)

There are three titles I can recommend:

For fiction, Belinda Kroll's "Haunting Miss Trentwood," which she calls a "quirky historical romance." http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Miss-Trentwood-ebook/dp/B0047GMI9Y/ref=sr_1_cc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306633945&sr=1-1-catcorr   Belinda never queried any agents or editors--she's completely committed to being an "indie" author, largely because  she wants complete control over the publishing process. I've found this is often the case with serious self-publishers--there's a real community of authors who have no interest in traditional publishers and who support one another strongly.  Belinda has a master's in computer design so she's very knowledgeable about certain aspects of self-publishing, such as interior formatting.

A non-fiction book that I love is called "Lesson Plans Ahoy!: Hands-on Learning for Sailing Children and Home Schooling Sailors" by Nadine Slavinski, http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lesson+plans+ahoy&x=0&y=0   Nadine has a PhD in education from Harvard and spent a year sailing around the world while educating her own child. This is a great example of a niche book that's too narrow for traditional publishers, but has been very successful among that homeschooling segment of the population. She's writing another version that will supplement homeschooling on land. The lessons are so well done that I'm using them for summer enrichment for my daughter.

Finally, another book that's probably too narrow for a traditional publisher but is really nicely done (and I believe has done well in sales too) is called "Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy: Rhymes, Songs and Touch-Play Activities to Stay Connected" by Martine Groeneveld.http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Rhymes-Touch-Play-Activities-Connected/dp/0982295901/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

(And just a note: If there are clients reading this that I didn't mention, please don't be offended. I'm just trying to give examples of self-published titles that I think are very solid, but it doesn't mean yours isn't!)
#11 - May 28, 2011, 07:08 PM

Danyelle

Guest
I'm reading Shana's THE BOYFRIEND THIEF right now, and am loving it. It's one of the best YA contemp books I've read in a long time. I really like that the characters all have flaws, but the flaws are part of who they are and work to make the story stronger (as opposed to making me want to smack the characters on the head :halo).
#12 - July 10, 2011, 02:30 PM

shana

Guest
 :blush Thank you for the kind words, Danyelle!
#13 - July 14, 2011, 04:28 AM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wpa
I'm one of those hoping/waiting for an e-book quality gatekeeper to appear/evolve/establish itself. I'd love to buy self-pubbed books, but I find blog and Internet browsing too time-consuming, so I'm hoping for more efficient ways to discover these books.   

However, I couldn't help noticing all the publicity about P. J. Hoover's e-self-pubbed SOLSTICE, so I loaded the sample onto my Kindle. Coincidentally, I downloaded Josephine Angelini's trad-pubbed STARCROSSED sample the same day.

I found them markedly similar in "hook" (both feature Greek mythological characters mashed into contemporary--or near-future--setting), voice (first person chatty female teen), and quality of editing. SOLSTICE may have the edge, when it comes to wit and foreshadowinig of the myth discoveries.

Haven't read either full novel yet, so I can't compare overall quality, pace, story power, etc. I'll let you know, when I  do.
#14 - July 14, 2011, 08:07 AM

Owl Princess
Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
My friend (Linda M. Au)'s book of humorous essays, HEAD IN THE SAND AND OTHER UNPOPULAR POSITIONS. I wrote a review of it on my blog.

http://boreal-owl.livejournal.com/101080.html

Funny book, great cover, expertly proofread and edited. 
#15 - July 14, 2011, 10:09 AM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
http://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

Website: http://barbaraetlin.com
Blog: http://owlsquill.blogspot.com

teri

Guest
I've been using this site lately--it seems new, but they give a good overview of the books.

http://notreesharmed.com/
#16 - July 15, 2011, 09:01 AM

Katrina S. Forest

Guest
I read a book entitled CHARLEY'S CHOICE, which was a historical fiction about Charley Parkhurst by a member of my local writers' group. (I didn't know the writer personally before I read it, I picked it up at the group's annual conference.) Anyway, it was very well-written and formatted, and I was surprised it wasn't professionally published.
#17 - July 20, 2011, 07:46 AM

This is a lot to keep up with! :)

I just downloaded Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks For Authors, which is an extension of Alexandra Sokoloff's blog. (Someone mentioned her blog on another thread as being helpful in examining structure and I agreed.) It's only $2.99 and has some great analyses of the structures of specific movies, like Sense and Sensibility.
#18 - July 20, 2011, 10:11 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
www.parkerpeevyhouse.com

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newengland
 :nothing

Just making notes of titles that sound good.
#19 - July 21, 2011, 06:55 AM

I'm going to second a vote for The Boyfriend Thief... a great, fun summer read.
Congratulations, Shana!
#20 - July 30, 2011, 10:51 AM

laura pauling

Guest
Boyfriend Thief sounds really good! Thanks for the suggestions.

If you like YA paranormal romance you'll love Addison Moore's series - Ethereal, Tremble - and Burn just came out. Addison has an agent but self published her YA. The series just keeps getting better and better. I've read the first two.

Anne Riley's The Clearing looks really good. I have the sample on my Kindle and intend to purchase it.

A second paranormal romance is The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto which I also found comparable to published books in that genre.
#21 - July 30, 2011, 12:36 PM

pretty pink princess poster
Member
Poster Plus
Between the Lines by Tammara Webber  is a good upper YA fun read. The writing is definitely good and I couldn't put it down. :-)
#22 - July 30, 2011, 12:51 PM
PBU
http://wwwpamcalvert.blogspot.com/p/picture-book-university.html

Brianna Bright Ballerina Knight series

Princess Peepers
Multiplying Menace

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.