I'm an indie writer, and a reader of indie fiction (mostly fantasy and science fiction). So I'm well aware of the wild-west reputation that indie fiction has.
Deservedly so, in many cases. The thing about publishing being easy is that you get a lot of crap published. But then, Sturgeon's Law states that 90% of everything is crap, and that's true of traditionally-published books too (they're just a bit more... processed).
Here's my list of indie-published novels that I have personally read and think are worth reading. (I've read a bunch of crap too, so you don't have to.) I've given these books four or five stars on Goodreads, and I'm a harsh reviewer. Not all of them are without editing flaws, or other flaws, for that matter, but they have other virtues that, in my opinion, make up for those flaws. (Also, I'm a kind of quantum observer of the editing of indie books: I send the authors lists of edits, and most of them get back to me very quickly and say they've fixed them, so my review often alters the thing reviewed.)
Many of these are also available on Podiobooks.com as free audiobooks in podcast format (usually read by the author). I've linked them accordingly. In most cases, where there's a Podiobooks link that's how I consumed the book, so I can't comment on how well edited the ebook version is. I can tell you, though, that I enjoyed the story.
The links to Amazon and Smashwords are not affiliate links. My motivation here is to connect readers to books I think are good, and support indie authors.
Tip: The genre tags are also links. If you click a genre, it will reload the page, filtered just to the entries tagged with that genre.
If you find this list useful, and want to be notified when books are added, sign up using the form in the sidebar and I'll email you whenever I find a new indie book I recommend.
|A.E. Marling||Brood of Bones||fantasy, secondary-world||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Enchantress with a sleep disorder must defend her city from several natural and supernatural threats, including one that unfolds as a horrifying mystery.|
|Andy Gavin||Untimed||alternate-history, time travel, YA||*****||Review||Amazon||Believable YA characters have to fix history after accidentally breaking it.|
|Ben Rovik||The Wizard that Wasn’t||fantasy, secondary-world, steampunk||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||Dieselpunk done right.|
|Ben Rovik||The Mask and the Master||fantasy, secondary-world, steampunk||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Two well-intentioned groups. One tragic incident.|
|Blake M. Petit||Other People’s Heroes||supers||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||What being on a super-team is really like.|
|Brian Meeks||Henry Wood Detective Agency||historical, mystery, SF, time travel||****||Review||Amazon||Characters that grow beyond the noir tropes, and a mysterious closet that brings woodworking tools from the future.|
|Brian Meeks||Henry Wood: Time and Again||historical, mystery, SF, time travel||****||Review||Amazon|
|Brian Rush||The Stairway to Nowhere||fantasy, thriller, urban||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Near-future urban fantasy in which two opposing orders of mages must cooperate to survive, led by a pair of conflicted ex-lovers.|
|Brian Rush||The Order Master||contemporary, fantasy, SF, urban||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||The leader of a 700-year-old order of assassins wants out. His chance comes when he discovers that the enemy the order has been fighting are aliens, not demons.|
|Chris Dolley||Resonance||SF, thriller||*****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||You'd be OCD too if your whole world changed every time you varied your daily ritual.|
|Chris Dolley||What Ho, Automaton!||humour, mystery, steampunk||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Steampunk Wodehouse.|
|Chris Dolley||Reggiecide||humour, mystery, steampunk||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon|
|Christiana Ellis||Nina Kimberly the Merciless||fantasy, humour, secondary-world, sword-and-sorcery||****||Review||Amazon||Podiobooks||Barbarian princess wants to kill her suitor. You will too.|
|Christiana Ellis||Space Casey||humour, SF, space opera||****||Podiobooks||Small-time space criminal in big-time space trouble.|
|Christine Amsden||Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective||contemporary, fantasy, mystery, urban||****||Review||Amazon||Non-powered daughter of a sorcerous family attempts independence as a PI, and must solve the mystery of the vampire attacks that threaten her town.|
|Debora Geary||A Modern Witch||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Review||Amazon||Amazon-exclusive|
|Debora Geary||A Hidden Witch||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Amazon|
|Debora Geary||A Reckless Witch||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Amazon|
|Debora Geary||A Nomadic Witch||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Amazon|
|Debora Geary||Witches On Parole||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Amazon||Witches, personal growth, creativity and baked goods.|
|Debora Geary||Witches Under Way||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||*****||Amazon|
|Debora Geary||Witches In Flight||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Amazon|
|Debora Geary||A Lost Witch||contemporary, fantasy, suburban||****||Review||Amazon||Higher stakes than usual in this continuation of the successful suburban-fantasy series.|
|Elizabeth Hunter||A Hidden Fire||fantasy, paranormal, romance, urban||****||Review||Amazon||Free, first book in a series.|
|Heather Albano||Timepiece||alternate-history, historical, steampunk, time travel||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||When I say steampunk, it's not the usual 'Indiana Jones in a top hat with brass gears glued to it' stuff. It's the good kind.|
|James Calbraith||The Shadow of Black Wings||alternate-history, fantasy, steampunk, YA||****||Review||Amazon||Podiobooks||Steampunk dragonriders. Need I say more?|
|L.J. Cohen||The Between||contemporary, fantasy, YA||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Reboots the Fae.|
|L.J. Cohen||Derelict||SF, space opera, YA||****||Review||Amazon||
Old-style space opera with a well-motivated YA cast and a plot like a Swiss watch.
|Larry Kollar||Water and Chaos||fantasy, secondary-world, YA||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Loyal, brave, resourceful young sorcerer's apprentice goes on a mission to thwart rogue magic users.|
|Larry Kollar||The Sorcerer’s Daughter||fantasy, secondary-world, YA||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Determined young woman isn't going to let being heir to a noble house change her mind on what's really important.|
|Lindsay Buroker||The Emperor’s Edge||fantasy, secondary-world, steampunk, thriller||*****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||First of the series of the same name. Free on Amazon and Smashwords.|
|Lindsay Buroker||Dark Currents||fantasy, secondary-world, steampunk, thriller||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks|
|Lindsay Buroker||Deadly Games||fantasy, secondary-world, steampunk, thriller||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks|
|Lindsay Buroker||Blood and Betrayal||fantasy, secondary-world, steampunk, thriller||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon|
|Lindsay Buroker||Torrent||contemporary, fantasy, SF, urban||*****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Nerdy young archaeologist/treasure-hunters battle an alien monster in contemporary Arizona.|
|Mary Holland||Matcher Rules||SF, utopian||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||What if an alien artifact could match you up with the people you'd most get along with?|
|Mary Holland||The Bone Road||fantasy, secondary-world, SF||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||Strong, determined characters break out of their culture's prejudices and defeat a threat that nobody knew was there in this Le Guin-like social SF/fantasy.|
|Masha du Toit||Crooks and Straights||contemporary, fantasy, YA||****||Review||Amazon||Set in an alternate South Africa, with magical people and beings and a sinister political movement that wants to control or eliminate them.|
|Matt Posner||School of the Ages: The Ghost in the Crystal||*****||Review||Amazon||If Harry Potter were more serious and less whimsical... In a good way.|
|Matthew Wayne Selznick||Brave Men Run||alternate-history, supers||****||Review||Amazon||Podiobooks||Youthful super is part of an X-Men-like emergence in the Reagan era.|
|Matthew Wayne Selznick||Pilgrimage||alternate-history, supers||****||Review||Amazon||The sequel to Brave Men Run is stronger, darker and more tragic.|
|Michael J. Parry||The Spiral Tattoo||fantasy, mystery, police procedural, secondary-world||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||A smart troll and a smart-mouthed pixie. Together, they fight crime.|
|Michael J. Parry||The Oaks Grove||fantasy, mystery, police procedural, secondary-world||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||Philosophical troll investigates country house mystery.|
|Morgan Alreth||Athame||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Fun, funny, with great characters and an original plot.|
|Morgan Alreth||Wrath||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||Real-feeling characters navigate the pitfalls of a fantasy world with determination and integrity.|
|Mur Lafferty||Playing for Keeps||supers||****||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||Low-powered supers take on high-powered supers, who are jerks.|
|Nathan Lowell||Quarter Share||SF, space opera||****||Amazon||Podiobooks||A young man without choices still manages to improve others' lives.|
|Nathan Lowell||Half Share||SF, space opera||****||Amazon||Podiobooks|
|Nathan Lowell||Full Share||SF, space opera||****||Amazon||Podiobooks|
|Philippa Ballantine||Chasing the Bard||fantasy, historical||****||Smashwords||Amazon||Podiobooks||Shakespeare meets the Fae.|
|Richard Levesque||Take Back Tomorrow||historical, mystery, thriller, time travel||****||Review||Amazon||Time traveler steals ideas from the SF greats of the 1930s.|
|Ripley Patton||Ghost Hand||contemporary, fantasy, YA||****||Review||Amazon||Pitch-perfect teenagers dealing with strange powers and sinister men who hunt them.|
|Ripley Patton||Ghost Hold||contemporary, fantasy, YA||****||Review||Amazon||Book 2 in a series (read Ghost Hand first), in which things get very dire for our snarky heroine with the bodyless hand.|
|Robin Sloan||Annabel Scheme||alternate-history, cyberpunk, fantasy, mystery, SF, thriller, urban||****||Review||Amazon||AI detective's assistant observes from her earring.|
|S. A. Hunt||The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree||contemporary, fantasy, secondary-world||****||Review||Amazon||Epic portal fantasy with an Old West twist.|
|Sabrina Chase||The Last Mage Guardian||alternate-history, fantasy||****||Review||Amazon||A bit cinematic at the end, but some people like that sort of thing. I do.|
|Sabrina Chase||The Scent of Metal||SF, space opera||****||Review||Amazon||Alien spaceship (disguised as Pluto) takes off unexpectedly with researchers aboard. How do they get home?|
|Scott Meyer||Off to Be the Wizard||****||Review||Smashwords||Amazon||If you don't mind a tissue-thin and handwavey version of medieval England, this makes up in funny what it lacks in authenticity.|
Indie authors may be asking "How do I get on this list?"
I'm afraid the answer is "write a good book, make it known by the usual legitimate channels, and wait for me to discover it for myself". I'm not currently doing reviews by request, because I was getting too many requests, and most of them were for books I wouldn't have chosen to read and didn't like much. Sorry.