Before I chose to go indie, I put a lot of thought into the decision, researching the pros and cons. Since my books exceeded the standard word count for popular fiction and blended genres rather than conforming to one, my research told me it could be hard to get an agent. So, after getting positive feedback in some contests, and spending years in the critique and revision process, I had my first book professionally edited and proofread, and I self-published. I figured other people self-published for similar reasons: writing off the beaten track, or coloring outside the genre lines–or wanting the 70% royalty and full creative control. It never occurred to me that some writers might self-publish because they didn’t want to go to the trouble of producing a professional product.
Then I joined Goodreads. On my first day as a participant, I read a forum post in which an author said she thought of bad reviews as free editing. What? Did she really sell books and expect readers to find the typos and plot holes? Free editing for her—but it cost the readers. Finding out that a number of writers published without the services of a qualified editor scared me off reading my fellow indies. Then I got involved in a short-lived but fascinating group, The Source, a project for screening and reviewing indie books. Through it, I discovered some great authors—and got hooked on good indie fiction. There are reviewers who seem to get a kick out reading a book they dislike and trashing it, but I’m not that kind. The “prematurely published” are easy to avoid with a quick perusal of the online preview. The more I buy and explore independent authors’ work, the more I realize, the problem isn’t that there are too many bad books out there; it’s that there are too many good ones, and I may never find time to read them all.
You can find some of the books I’m working my way through, and the ones I wrote, at