Discussion: Do You Read Self-Published Books?

As a book blogger I do accept self-published books and I’m one of the dwindling bloggers that does, it seems.  I’ve been burned by self-published authors before (see this lovely incident) but overall they’re a great bunch of people trying to get their unique stories out into the world.

That said, of course self-publishing has its downsides and these are the common stereotypes that you find in the media.  There’s poor grammar, spelling, pacing, badly developed characters, etc.  And that’s why some people choose not to read self-published books.

What I want to know now is this: Do you read self-published books?  Why or why not?


  1. The Masquerade Crew (@MasqCrew)

    With a blog like The Masquerade Crew, I’d better read self-published books. Actually I haven’t read a traditionally published book since I started the blog. There’s a traditionally published series I want to finish, though. Don’t know when I’ll get around to it. At this point it might be better to start the series over.

    In regards to the self-publishing stereotypes, they are true but not across the board. Some books could use another round of editing, but it doesn’t mean the average person shouldn’t give it a chance. For some people whose standards are so high, just about any book—self-published or not—will not meet their demands. I think they blame self-published books just because there are more of them that meet the sub par criteria, but I see those type of people complain about Trad books too.

    There are bad books everywhere. Learn to shift through them to find what you like. Of course, not reading self-published authors isn’t just about lack of quality but author behavior, which is why I think outfits like The Masquerade Crew come in handy for reviewers who don’t want to deal with that sort of thing.

    • Carrie Slager

      You’re absolutely right. Some self-published books are pretty awful, but there are some pretty great ones as well. And there’s this sort of perception still in the mainstream book industry that all self-published books are horribly written self-aggrandizing fantasies of a lonely ‘author’. That doesn’t help. But blogs like yours and mine do come in handy if you want to try self-published work without having to take the bad with the good.

  2. Jemima Pett

    Probably something like 80% of the books I read and review are indie published. But then I’m an indie author, and I network with other indie authors and bloggers who are kind enough to read us, like you and the Masquerade Crew!

    I have been shocked by the standard of editing from some really big publishing houses, so while I haven’t come across any truly awful indie books yet, I tend to think its a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    You experience a wide variety of indies and the behaviour of some of them is shocking, but they won’t last long. I expect that once people realise that self-publishing is not an easy way to riches the phenomenon will slacken off a bit..

    • Carrie Slager

      My personal percentage is definitely below 80%, but I can see why yours is so high! You’re also right about the editing from big publishing houses. Harlequin can be particularly horrible, as can other big name romance publishers. I hope you’re right about the phenomenon losing some of its momentum for get rich quick types of people.

  3. adtrosper

    I read indie almost exclusively any more. I have found so many wonderful stories and authors. Have a found a few not so good books? Of course. I found them in Traditional published books too. But for the past year, I’ve read 99% indie books and plan to continue to do so.

    • Carrie Slager

      That’s awesome! I would eventually like to have a much higher indie book percentage on my blog (ah, pipe dreams) and that’s precisely why. I read some awful indie books, but I read some pretty awful traditionally published books as well.

  4. Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss.

    It’s funny, but the reason why I usually don’t read indie is related to marketing. The author has obviously cheaped out on cover design, sends demanding or weird query emails, uses social media poorly… I take these as signs of a train about to fly off the rails before I’ve even looked inside the book.

    The irony is that I’m an indie author. But it’s getting harder to be one these days, so I don’t plan to publish my future books that way.

    • Carrie Slager

      Yes, those are definitely some things that turn me off of certain indie authors. Usually (and I’m generalizing here) authors that don’t care enough to get a semi-decent cover, send out proper queries and haven’t the first clue about social media are the ones you’ve got to watch out for.

  5. DoingDewey

    I’m Abria – if it doesn’t look like an author has put time into their book, I’m not going to put time into it either. And if you can’t write an e-mail without typos, I’m not going to trust that you’ve written a good book.That said, I do like to support indie authors and I will absolutely read an indie book if it checks out. In particular, if I find an excerpt and it seems well written, I’ll definitely give a book that interests me a try 🙂

    • Carrie Slager

      That’s a more than fair stance to be sure. Basically in my experience, if the author has a dozen typos in the email the book is going to be exactly the same. Even if it has supposedly received professional editing!

      (Also sorry for the long response time. Your comment got buried.)

    • Carrie Slager

      That’s perfectly acceptable as well. If not for my stubbornness, I probably wouldn’t still read indie authors. But I am stubborn and even though I’ve experienced some pretty horrible authors and some pretty horrible books I won’t give up because I know there are good indie authors out there. I find it’s actually best to find a blog that you like and trust and go off their recommendations when it comes to self-published novels.

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