Indie Books Worth Reading

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 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.

AuthorTitleGenre RatedLinksComments
Brian MeeksHenry Wood Detective Agency historical, mystery, SF, time travel **** ReviewAmazonCharacters that grow beyond the noir tropes, and a mysterious closet that brings woodworking tools from the future.
Brian MeeksHenry Wood: Time and Again historical, mystery, SF, time travel **** ReviewAmazon
Brian RushThe Order Master contemporary, fantasy, SF, urban **** ReviewSmashwordsAmazonThe 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 DolleyResonance SF, thriller ***** ReviewSmashwordsAmazonYou'd be OCD too if your whole world changed every time you varied your daily ritual.
Christiana EllisSpace Casey humour, SF, space opera **** PodiobooksSmall-time space criminal in big-time space trouble.
L.J. CohenDerelict SF, space opera, YA **** ReviewAmazon

Old-style space opera with a well-motivated YA cast and a plot like a Swiss watch.

Lindsay BurokerTorrent contemporary, fantasy, SF, urban ***** ReviewSmashwordsAmazonNerdy young archaeologist/treasure-hunters battle an alien monster in contemporary Arizona.
Mary HollandMatcher Rules SF, utopian **** ReviewSmashwordsAmazonPodiobooksWhat if an alien artifact could match you up with the people you'd most get along with?
Mary HollandThe Bone Road fantasy, secondary-world, SF **** ReviewSmashwordsAmazonPodiobooksStrong, 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.
Nathan LowellFull Share SF, space opera **** AmazonPodiobooks
Nathan LowellHalf Share SF, space opera **** AmazonPodiobooks
Nathan LowellQuarter Share SF, space opera **** AmazonPodiobooksA young man without choices still manages to improve others' lives.
Robin SloanAnnabel Scheme alternate-history, cyberpunk, fantasy, mystery, SF, thriller, urban **** ReviewAmazonAI detective's assistant observes from her earring.
Sabrina ChaseThe Scent of Metal SF, space opera **** ReviewAmazonAlien spaceship (disguised as Pluto) takes off unexpectedly with researchers aboard. How do they get home?

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.

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