I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to post this and not wanting to post this. On one hand, I have nothing to prove. I am who I am and my blog is what it is. I recently watched an interview with Billie Eilish where she said she’ll never tell her fans “No, I’m not this or I’m not that” because she feels it’s boring to define who you are as an artist. I get that and in general I try to be at least a little enigmatic. Particularly with music, the lyrics and melody can mean different things to different people. But I’m not a celebrity and this is just a little personal blog. I wouldn’t say I’m popular enough to have fans anyway. So I think it’s okay to confirm what my main message is here.
I’ve always wanted my blog to be a chill, snob-free place to share some of my life and publishing experiences along with some indie book reviews (and maybe a traditional book review per year if something catches my interest). I realize intent and tone aren’t always easy to convey online. Other people’s projections and/or misunderstandings can taint the original message of a post. It happens to us all; sometimes we see what we want to see even if the facts show otherwise.
As you probably have noticed, I’m a huge supporter of indie books and have been for years. Since I self-published my first book, I have purchased indie books to support other authors like myself. Since 2020, I’ve purchased at minimum 50 indie books per year. There’s just something special about supporting a less known author. You know they’re going to notice and appreciate that sale. Now, I’ve never done this to virtue signal to other readers that indie is better nor to shame others who prefer reading more traditionally published books. People have preferences and they are entitled to them. I genuinely feel that most indie books are better in story telling quality than many traditionally published books – and I personally like supporting smaller businesses and less known authors when I can.
While I am a known indie book blogger, I sometimes want to read something more mainstream. It doesn’t happen often, maybe once or twice per year at the most, but I have a right to read whatever I choose. I recently won a book giveaway by a fellow blogger (I unknowingly entered a contest since liking the author’s post automatically entered you into it) and was impressed by how professionally she wrapped her book; it was special knowing she was also an indie author. The thing I didn’t realize was that her book had won a couple of awards – perhaps they were from contests she entered. I’m not usually a fan of award stickers on books, but it was such a small detail to me since I was happy to have received book mail since I normally just buy e-books. On the same day, I Tweeted one of my favourite books was about an indigenous man who had overcome many hardships in life to become successful and it happened to have won many awards as well. It was one of the few traditionally published books I have read recently (At least, I think it’s traditional. Some indie books make it big! I didn’t really care how that one was published, because I wanted to support a Canadian author.)
Lo and behold, I got a comment from a reader saying that they’d rather support less known indie authors than books that have won multiple awards. It felt a little cold to dismiss a harmless book mail post that was meant to spread good cheer. Ironically, this book was actually self-published even though the author has other books represented by a publisher. I thought “How amazing it is for someone to comment negatively one one book that has won some awards when I’ve posted 50 indie book reviews on my blog this year alone.”
Book snobbery can go both ways. Some people are pro traditionally published books so they look down on self-published books (they can be much nastier due to the stigma of indie books). Other people only support indie books and they don’t want to be bothered with anyone who’s mainstream to the point where they’ll diss a represented author. Most people are somewhere in between those two extremes.
I’d like to point out that there are a significant number of authors who are hybrids of both traditional and self-published books (Much like the author I won a book from). Just because a book is indie, it doesn’t mean it won’t make it big – and another book by the same author could be traditionally published. If one of my books shot up in the ratings one day, I would hope my supporters wouldn’t just abandon me because I’d become too successful. It’s almost cultlike to think no self-published author should support or talk about traditionally published books. I did not join an indie book cult.
The point I’m trying to make is: Read what you want to read and don’t worry about people policing what you read. I don’t have to buy and read 50+ indie books per year, but I choose to because it makes me happy and I want to give back to the community who has supported me for years. If I do happen to read a book that’s won a few awards or a book that’s traditionally published, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern. I’m not turning my back on the indie author community. I will always read and support self-published books – and I will also read any book I choose.
Thank you so much for reading today. Have a good one!
You have no idea how much I appreciate this post.
Awh thanks so much for reading, and I am glad it resonated with you. It’s totally cool if someone has a preference for one thing or the other, as long as they’re not shaming someone else for writing a review for a more popular book.
That would never be my intention.
I believe you. ❤
“Read what you want to read” and no snobbery, I think that is good advice. I tend to read a lot of factual books and some of them are indy books but I haven’t paid much attention to whether it is indy or not. Lately I have discovered a lot of indy fiction books and I am impressed by the originality and quality so I am specifically seeking out indy books more. 50+ indy books in a year, that is impressive. Let’s what reading I can accomplish next year.
Yes that’s a good point with a lot of non-fiction books it can be hard to tell if it was by a small indie press or from a larger publisher.
I’m glad you’ve been giving some indie books a chance. I definitely appreciated you reading my book. 🙂 Yes let’s see if we can hit the goal of at least 50 next year. I hope so!
Indie authors want to make money as much as established writers, but I think the difference is when an indie author gets a positive review, or a comment from a reader saying how the book affected them, it means just as much if not more than a sale.
There are some pretty bad books from mainstream authors, and I have read stinkers from indie authors. I may not like them (I am a very, very picky reader) but putting your thoughts and creations out there for everyone to read is what writing is for.
Yes that’s very true indeed. And that’s so true. Indie authors see every sale on their dashboard and every review is such an accomplishment.
I think supporting all writers is important . I have seen mainstream books that “fail” and in the next decade soar. During my MFT study, I didn’t read a single novel of any kind. I missed that.
That’s a great point! And thank you so much for reading &commenting. 😊
Then , there are the books that you do not care for the first time around ,then a decade passes. For me that was Thomas Hardy.
That’s so interesting! Makes sense that your tastes and interests can change over time.
I read both Indie and published, although this year I have asked my children for charity books. Tesco have a charity box where you put money and get books. I have got some great books and I am looking forward for something new.
Ooh I really love that idea. It’s very kind of you to request charity books. 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading them!
I don’t know, maybe it’s because my blog topics tend to be all over the place — one day writing about a favorite childhood memory, another writing about something that happened at work last week — but my advice: read what you want to read, write about want you want to write. Unless the critic is paying you for your time, you have a right to write about whatever you want. “I don’t have to buy and read 50+ indie books per year, but I choose to because it makes me happy and I want to give back to the community who has supported me for years.” You’re doing a ton to support the Indie community, you don’t have to apologize to anyone. At least, that’s my two cents as an outsider. Thanks for sharing!
Awh thank you so much for your kind words. That’s so true though – unless someone is paying you for your opinion or sponsoring you to write about a certain topic, you can write what you like to write.
I appreciate you reading me today. ❤
I appreciate this post a lot – I have JUST got back into reading as an adult. As a kid I would get lost in my books and become attached to the characters and then when I became an adult I lost all love for reading. I think this had to do with my understanding that adults had to read adult books. My fiancée loves reading and when she told me to start reading YA novels like when I was a kid, I started looking outside of the “classic adult book” box and I LOVE reading now! Taking away that expectation of being a niche reader is so wonderful
Yes that’s a great point! It’s great to enjoy niches, but also totally cool if you like something that’s more popular.
I’m glad this post resonated with you. 🙂
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