One of my first indie author purchases for my new Nook was Free Fall by Carolyn Jewel, a novella set in her My Immortal series. I chose a novella because I wanted something shorter than a novel to test for my initial reading experience. I also happen to like the author's voice and the unusual characters in this series. The story was appropriate for a novella-length tale, and while it was a bit light on the plot side (one of the normal downsides of novellas) the characters were absorbing enough to keep me reading. I've heard the frequent gripes about how indie authors skimp on length, but at 240 pages (and there are an additional 62 pages of excerpts from some of her other works at the end) it's a solid read and to me definitely worth the $2.99 cover price.
It did take me a couple of days to read the novella; I'm still fiddling with the screen resolution and brightness, and until I find the right combination for the most comfortable reading experience I'll be reading on the Nook in short doses. Also, once you do have an e-reader I think you can go a little crazy buying e-books (after years of not being able to read so many books, it's pretty hard for me to resist a spending spree.) To keep my spending in check I decided only to buy something new once I'd finished the last e-book I bought for the Nook. This way I won't hoard stories or create a towering e-TBR.
After I finished Carolyn's novella I purchased The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel; mainly because I read on her blog her post on how long she struggled to get it published. Interracial romance is always a tough sell, but this one is an especially great read, and I applaud her for choosing to self-publish it. I think more readers would probably invest in it if it were a bit cheaper (I paid $10.15 for my e-copy) but I don't mind spending a little extra on an author I know for a fact is a very talented storyteller. Far as I'm concerned it's an investment in my future reading pleasure.
This novel particularly resonated with me because my first love in middle school was an island boy. Kevin and I were part of the first generation to be subjected to public school desegregation, however, and as a result our fearful parents put a swift end to that fledgling relationship. We certainly weren't together as long as the protagonists in this book, nor were we treated as badly, but even forty years after the fact I can still relate to their wretched situation.
Ten years ago Barbara's novel likely would never have been released; the author probably would have shelved the manuscript and moved on to write something she could sell to New York. Now that she has more options, she's exercising them to gain more creative control of her work while making more of it available to her readers. That she can do that while also paying her bills and making a living at writing simply provides extra insurance that she will keep writing; something we all want to see happen, yes?
I may be regarded as a traditionally-published writer, but people often forget that I started self-publishing my fiction online back in 2001. While I've always done it for purposes of promotion versus profit, I know exactly how tough it is to fly solo with the work. I've never cared about the hoopla surrounding self- versus tradish-publishing, or e- versus print-releases, which always seem to me to be fueled mainly by some personal agenda or poorly-disguised marketing campaign. None of that matters to me as a writer or a reader. As storytellers we have to make tons of choices regarding the work; how we publish is just another item on a very long list. As readers we all want great stories, and whether they're released by a publishing house or the author really doesn't factor in for most of us.
My largest problem with reading self-pubbed works has always been that 99% of them aren't released in print or aren't print-enabled. Until last month I've only read print or printed-out books for pleasure because I have to stare at a computer screen all day. Thanks to my family's birthday gift of a Nook that's now a non-issue (I also solved my inability to use a touch-screen by purchasing a Nook Stylus. Now if they'd just invent a wireless keyboard for the Nook I'd be very happy.) Having access to all those books I've not been able before to read means I'll probably be posting more about great indie reads here on the blog.
Now I'm curious -- which indie authors have you been investing in lately? Got any titles you'd recommend as great reads? Let us know in comments.