Best of Self- and Indie-Published

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It has occurred to me that as a blog that has spoken to self- and indie-publishing over the years and written largely about its pros, its bright side, I do not read very many self- and indie-published books. Years ago, I did that on purpose because I didn’t want to read and get stuck giving honest reviews to fellow self-publishers—even people who had invited me on their blogs and such. It sounded very unappealing. I read a few. I never breathed a word about it. (I remember specifically Winnemucca by Laura A. H. Elliott and Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park). Now that I am far removed from that world (largely by time and also partly because I am seeking traditional publication), I don’t mind reading and reviewing (though I might be nicer to these authors because, let’s face it, one review matters a whole lot more to them than it does for someone who has tens of thousands to balance things out).

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I pulled the second half of the following list almost completely from Book Riot. The different recommendation lists that I found (and there weren’t many) each had a different idea behind them. Self-published or indie-published or even small press published. Books you’ve heard of versus completely new and exciting finds. A history of self-publishing versus modern, boutique books. So you have all of that here (including an extra heavy dose of books that tend to be under-published, like poetry, short story compilations, essays, and even minority and world literature). I’m sure the list is clumpy though—besides those titles that we will all recognize (and go What!? Incroyable! That was self published?!)—I have not heard of most of these titles and so was unable to edit the list in any helpful way. There is a part of me that thinks, I’ll never get to these. I have so many titles to read already. And what if they’re terrible and a waste of time? And then another part of me says, Shame on you, First Part! There could be some of the best reads of your life on here! You know how difficult it is to get something decent published and READ. Give indies a chance. And then I get a little excited, because finding some excellent books on these lists would be like finding hidden treasure. And then I could share that hidden treasure with you.

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  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
  • The Martian, Andy Weir
  • Fifty Shades of Grey, E. L James
  • Still Alice, Lisa Genova
  • Legally Blonde, Amanda Brown
  • The Celestine Prophecies, James Renfield
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini
  • The Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
  • The One You Love, Paul Pilkington
  • Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire
  • Theft of Swords, Michael J. Sullivan
  • Wool, Hugh Howey
  • Whiskey Sour, J. A. Konrath
  • Worm, Wildbow
  • No Thanks, E. E. Cummings
  • Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust
  • The Shack, Wm. Paul Young
  • My Blood Approves, Amanda Hocking
  • The Brass Check, Upton Sinclair
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
  • Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar
  • Paradise Lost¸ John Milton
  • Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, Maria Sybilla Merian
  • The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, Emilie Autumn
  • Nikolas and Company, Kevin McGill
  • Renegade, Joel Shepherd
  • We Ride the Storm, Devin Madson
  • Beyond the Starport Adventure, Richard Fairbairn
  • Dogs with Bagels, Maria Elena Sondovici
  • Switched, Amanda Hocking
  • A Naked Singularity, Sergio de la Pava
  • The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth
  • Double Persephone, Margaret Atwood
  • The Rozabul Line, Ashwin Sanghi
  • Your Erraneous Zones¸ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • What Color Is Your Parachute?¸ Richard Nelson Bolles
  • The Crown Tower, Michael J. Sullivan
  • Milk and Honey, Rapi Kapur
  • The Extended Summer of Anna and Jeremy, Jennifer Ann Shore
  • The Long Goodbye, Anthony de Moignan
  • Between Two Minds¸ D. C. Wrighthammer
  • Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse¸ Arthur D. Hittner
  • The Unfortunate Expirations of Mr. David S. Sparks¸Willian F. Aicher
  • White Dancing Elephants, Chaya Buhveneswar
  • Coyote Songs, Gabino Iglesuas
  • Against Memoir, Michelle Tea
  • Eightball, Elizabeth Goegheagan
  • Volcanoes, Palm Trees and Priviledge, Liz Prato
  • Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, Sarah Pinsker
  • Where We Go When All We Are Is Gone, Sequoia Nagamatsu
  • How to Sit, Tyrese Coleman
  • Mostly Dead Things, Kristen Arnett
  • The Body Myth, Rheea Mukherjee
  • Water & Power, Stephen Dunn
  • Great American Desert, Terese Svoboda
  • Inukshuk, Gregory Spatz
  • Girl Gone Missing, Marcie R. Rendon
  • Shelf Life of Happiness, Virginia Pye
  • The King of Lighting Fixtures, Daniel A. Olivas
  • The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish, Katya Apekina
  • The Perpetual Motion Machine, Brittany Ackerman
  • Mouths Don’t Speak, Katia D. Ulysse
  • The Private Lives of Trees, Alejandro Zambra
  • Fifteen Dogs, Andre Alexis
  • Only the Strong, Jibari Asim
  • We Show What We Have Learned and Other Stories¸ Clare Beam
  • The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine¸ Alina Bronksy
  • Chronicle of the Murdered House, Lucio Cardoso
  • The Last Horror Novel In the History of the World, Brian Allan Carr
  • I’ll Tell You In Person, Chloe Cardwell
  • The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington, Leonora Carrington
  • Florence in Ecstasy, Jessi Chaffee
  • Home, Leila S. Chudori
  • Alice + Freda Forever, Alexis Coe
  • The Complete Lockpick Pornography, Joey Comeau
  • Why Was Changed and Who Was Dead, Barbara Comyns
  • The Redemption of Galen Pike, Carys Davies
  • Grace, Natashia Deon
  • Even Out of Her Ruins, Ananda Devi
  • A Spare Life, Lidija Dimkovska
  • This Must Be the Place, Sean H. Doyle
  • The Folly of Loving Life, Monica Drake
  • Margaret the First, Danielle Dutton
  • Black Cloud, Julia Escoria
  • Windeye, Brian Evenson
  • The Days of Abandonment, Elena Ferrante
  • The Gloaming, Melanie Flynn
  • Cottonmouths, Kelly J. Ford
  • Patricide, D. Foy
  • Old Filth, Jane Gardam
  • Fat City, Leonard Gardner
  • The Gilda Stories, Jewelle L. Gomez
  • Kalpa Imperial, Angelica Gorodischer
  • We Are All Completely Fine, Daryll Gregory
  • Guapa, Saleem Hadad
  • The Widow Nash, Jamie Harrison
  • Elegy on Kinderklavier, Arna Bontemps Hemenway
  • All Blacks Were Turned, Marek Hlasko
  • What Narcissism Meant to Me, Tony Hoagland
  • Turtle Diary, Russell Hoban
  • Falling in Love with Hominids, Nalo Hopkinson
  • Escape from Baghdad!, Saad Hossain
  • A High Wind in Jamaica, Richard Hughes
  • Escape Velocity, Jay Jennings
  • Skullcrack City, Jeremy Robert Johnson
  • Prelude to Bruise, Saaed Jones
  • Vow of Celibacy, Erin Judge
  • Almost Crimson, Dasha Kelly
  • Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi
  • Gate of the Sun, Elias Khoury
  • The Man Who Spoke Snakish, Andrus Kivirahk
  • The Alligators of Abraham, Robert Kloss
  • Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace
  • The Last Wolf & Herman, Laszlo Krasznahorkai
  • Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, Eka Kurnaiwan
  • The Home Place, J. Drew Lanham
  • How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others, Kiese Laymon
  • Not Your Sidekick, C. B. Lee
  • Preparations for the Next Life, Atticus Lish
  • The Complete Stories, Clarice Lispector
  • Sidewalks, Valeria Luiselli
  • Brown Girl, Brownstones, Paule Marshall
  • The Sarah Book, Scott McClanahan
  • The Book of Harlan, Bernice McFadden
  • McGlue, Ottesa Moshfegh
  • Here Come the Dogs, Omar Musa
  • Kintu, Jennifer Nansabuga Mukambi
  • Lions, Bonnie Nadzam
  • Sins of Our Fathers, Shawn Lawrence Otto
  • Bruja, Wendy C. Ortiz
  • Let Me Clear My Throat, Elena Passarello
  • Red or Dead, David Pierce
  • Quicksand, Malin Persson Giolito
  • Freeman, Leonard Pitts Jr.
  • Grief Is the Things with Feathers, Max Porter
  • Black Sheep Boy, Martin Pousson
  • Citizen, Claudia Rankin
  • The Free-Lance Pallbearers, Ishmael Reed
  • The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman, Bruce Robinson
  • Oreo, Fran Ross
  • Madness, Rack, and Honey, Mary Ruefle
  • Thrown Into Nature, Milen Ruskov
  • A Stranger In Olondria, Sofia Samatar
  • Problems, Jade Sharma
  • A Jello Horse, Matthew Simmons
  • A Questionable Shape, Bennett Sims
  • Glaciers, Alexis M. Smith
  • Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith
  • Life on Mars, Tracy K. Smith
  • The End, Fernanda Torres
  • The Clay Girl, Heather Tucker
  • Zazen, Vanessa Veselka
  • Birth of a Dream Weaver, Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  • Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner
  • Where Women Are Kings, Christie Watson
  • The Border of Paradise, Esme Weijun Wang
  • A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause, Shawn Wen
  • The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, Chris F. Westbury
  • Stoner, John Williams
  • Ninety-Nine Stories of God, Joy Williams
  • Damnificados, JJ Amawaro Wilson
  • A Planet for Rent, Yoss
  • The Private Life of Trees, Alejandro Zambra

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