How I Choose a Good #Indie Book

Never bought an indie book before? Try it. A lot of readers haven’t, but it’s a low-risk adventure. I’ve paid as much $14.99 for a traditionally published e-book that I didn’t like, and I just paid $8.49 for one that’s only 67 pages. (Fortunately, I like it so far.) The most I’ve ever paid for an indie e-book is $4.99 and I’ve liked almost all of them. The only way I take traditional or indie publishing into consideration as a factor in choosing a book is that I love indie prices. Of course, there are a lot of other factors that go into my choice of a book, and this may explain why I’ve had such a satisfying indie reading experience. The following criteria have helped me find some great writers.

  • Have people whose opinion I respect given it good reviews? These might be people I know well on Goodreads, reviewers I follow on Booklikes, or personal friends, but they are all people who care about quality. I found Martyn V. Halm’s compelling Amsterdam Assassin Series this way. I’ve reviewed on one of the short stories in this series on this site, and all the books and singles on both Goodreads and Booklikes.
  • Is the author a member of Sisters in Crime? This has been a 100% reliable way for me to find good mystery authors. (By the way, though Sisters in Crime started as an organization to support women writing in the mystery genre, we have male members.) The organization educates its members with classes and workshops and discussion groups, and local and national chapter meetings. SinC’s “Guppies” group—short for the Great Unpublished—has many published authors who continue their membership because of the support they get and can give to new Guppies. I’ve never read a SinC member’s book that let me down. SinC members whose books I’ve reviewed on this site include J.L. Simpson, DV Berkom, Anna Castle and Diane Vallere. I’m currently half-way through SinC member Lois Winston’s hilariously inventive cozy mystery, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. Even the title made me laugh. Look for a favorable review coming soon.
  • Did the book earn a B.R.A.G. Medallion? This award for the best in indie writing isn’t a contest—it’s an ongoing process. Books submitted to the Book Readers’ Appreciation group are read and evaluated by numerous people, not just one or two judges or critics. I’ve never read a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree book that let me down. DV Berkom’s and Anna Castle’s books mentioned above earned B.R.A.G. medallions. (So did my murder-less mystery Shaman’s Blues, but of course I haven’t reviewed my own work.) If you’ve never read an indie book before and you like #mysteries and thrillers, you could start with one of these books. I think you’ll get your money’s worth—probably more.


To find the books not linked to reviews, Shaman’s Blues and Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun (and many more) go to

I’m Reading a Twenty-Six-Dollar Hardcover …

… and my thumbs are tired. They are out shape for reading heavy books in bed. I find that funny—I’m such a fitness fanatic, I think every muscle in my body is shape, but apparently not. I used to read a lot more hardcovers, and not exclusively from the library. I used to buy them without a second thought. Those days are gone. This book belongs to a friend in my book club. Is she a member of an endangered species—the full-price book buyer? According the data I looked up, she’s not, but I’ve gotten frugal since I got my Nook, and even more so since I discovered indie fiction. What do I call frugal? To me, anything priced at $4.99 and under is a bargain. It’s less than the cost of eating out, and the enjoyment lasts much longer. My book club members say they’re accustomed to paying $7.99 and up for e-books, and they think that price is a bargain. We read an indie book once as our selection for the month—they don’t normally buy indie—and the price tag blew them away. An e-book for $2.99?

To some people, though, that’s expensive. A fellow writer recently confided that she seldom pays full price for a book anymore, but looks for e-books that are on sale. She hasn’t gotten as frugal as some people, though, who won’t pay for books at all—and I don’t mean they borrow them from their local library (which I somehow don’t think of as free since the library bought the books and the community supports the library). They claim they only read free downloads.

My friend who occasionally buys hardcovers isn’t rich, and the one who primarily buys discounted e-books isn’t poor. Some of the free-only readers are on tight budgets, and some aren’t. I won’t make generalizations or draw conclusions about why some people are changing their perspective on the “right” price for books or where the trend is going, but if you’re curious, here’s plenty of data on the subject.

The Publisher’s Weekly article looks at sales. The Author Earnings reports look at earnings. (I selected the Barnes and Noble report for attention along with the whole report page since this blog is dedicated to indies who publish everywhere.) What are your thoughts and book-buying habits? My thumbs salute you if you’re still reading a lot of hardcovers.