What Are Indie Books and Why You Should Read Them

What Are Indie Books and Why You Should Read Them

Posted on June 2nd, 2022.

It seems as though everyone and their mother wants to be a writer these days. Everybody has this “great idea for a novel that’s never been done before”; but it’s usually not that great and has been done numerously. A ton of those writers never even get around to starting, let alone finishing, their work. Very few end up with a polished and exceptional work that gets represented by an agent and eventually makes it to the bookstores. However, the majority of finished manuscripts sit in writers’ desks until they either forget about them (and about the dream of being published) entirely, or they choose to publish their work independently. So who are those indie-published writers, and why should you read their books?

By definition, indie means not affiliated or belonging to a major company. When I say indie in this post, I mean those who have published their books completely on their own as well as those who used a small publishing company who shares some of the cost of publication and promotion. Even with major publications who pay thousands of dollars for publication and promotion, authors still have to do a lot of the work to push their book sales. Indie authors, however, even those who were lucky enough to find a small publishing house to share the burden of cost, have a very small budget to work with in order to promote their work. This explains why you haven’t heard about most of the independently published books out there.

After dividing the budget on printing, artwork, and shipping costs, there’s not much left to pay for ads. By ads, I don’t only mean the commercial spots on tv, radio, and newspapers. Publishing companies pay for their authors to be interviewed and to have their books reviewed by major newspapers and magazines. If you only pick books that are on the bestselling list, note that books that bestselling authors often have publishers who pay extravagant amounts of promotional dollars so those books can sell between 3,000 and 9,000 from the first week, not to mention the enormous fee those newspapers charge for you to be on the list ($20,000 to be exact for NYT bestselling list, according to Book Promotions Hub). Otherwise, an indie author would only make it to those lists if they have about $250,000 lying around, no biggie.

Don’t tell me that if the work is good enough, it would sell itself. With so much noise from advertisements, people mostly pick the products that are readily available to them, easily presented, and reliably advertised. Unfortunately for indie authors, with so many titles being published each year, very few readers seek out underrepresented authors to give their books a chance. Even with word-of-mouth, indie authors’ reach is very limited.

If it was so good, it would’ve been published, you say? Well, that also is incorrect. In fact, there is a plethora of great books out there that will never make it to publication. Reasons? Many. For instance, the publisher may have already decided on a book with the same theme. Publishers have an allotted number of books per genre to publish per year. Being selected for publication is like winning an award, or even the lottery. Therefore, much of today’s talent goes unrepresented.

Original Post: What Are Indie Books and Why You Should Read Them 

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