Photo on the left: All the self-published physical books (except Beyond Redemption) that I own right now.
The title of this article is pretty self-explanatory already. As of November 28th, 2018, I’ve read and reviewed 52 self-published books; this number includes indie books that were originally self-published and now have been traditionally published. I’m making this post because some of my friends and followers on Goodreads have asked me to make one. But, more importantly, I’d like to stress the importance of two things before I get to the list. Feel free to skip this if you just want to go to the list immediately.
First, banish your doubts that “indie instantly equals bad.” Here are some of the complaints I receive the most—admittedly I have voiced them as well—regarding indie: “The covers are ugly.”, “the books suck.” “It lacks editing.” And “shitty behavior from the author”. Now, I’d like you to think clearly about it. Are you really 100% sure that these complaints aren’t in traditionally published AT ALL? This doesn’t mean that I have a certain bias towards indie books. No, it’s not that. My point is this: I’ve read more than two hundred traditionally published books, that’s about four times the amount of indie books I’ve read and I can guarantee you that all the good elements of traditionally published books are there in self-published books, and the bad elements of self-published books are there in traditionally published books, as well. Whether a book is good or bad for you is not determined by how it’s published. Books are books and when it comes down to it, it’s always a matter of subjectivity and knowing where to find the book that will best suit your reading preferences. This brings me to my second point.
Second, the importance of SPFBO (Self-published Fantasy Blog-Off). Yes, I know that the subjectivity of reviewers matters a lot with this competition, so it’s not 100% guaranteed that the book crowned as a champion will be the book for you. I won’t give an essay on this but I can only speak from my experience. Regarding every single book in this list, the authors were or are still participants of the competition, which means it shouldn’t be discounted.
Anyway, enough about that. On to the list itself. There are two rules regarding this list:
- One book per author.
- The top three are in the same top spot. Don’t make me choose. I loved them equally for different reasons.
All of the books listed below received at least a rating of 4 out of 5 stars from me. I’ll include a blurb from my review for each book, you can find the full review on my blog or my Goodreads page if I haven’t post it here. Here are my personal top ten self-published books I’ve ever read so far:
- The Path of Flames (Chronicle of the Black Gate, #1) by Phil Tucker
“If you’re a fan of epic fantasy with some old-school fantasy elements in it, this will most likely be a hit for you.”
- Faithless by Graham Austin-King
“It’s really ironic that for a book titled ‘Faithless’, it instead did the opposite by restoring my faith in self-published fantasy.”
- Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1) by Richard Nell
“I’m pretty sure that Nell’s career as an author will be a bright one… Kings of Paradise was a fascinatingly dark, original, and magnificent read.”
- Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension, #1) by Andrew Rowe
“An enthralling LitRPG-inspired high fantasy book with an intricate magic system and a magic school trope done right.”
6. Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas, #1) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke
“A superbly written, pulse-pounding, and evocative debut.”
5. Paternus: Wrath of Gods (The Paternus Trilogy, #2) by Dyrk Ashton
“A brilliant concoction of mythologies, cultures, and fantasy that fans of urban fantasy definitely must read.”
- One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2) by Rachel Aaron
“Seriously one of the strongest sequels I’ve ever read.”
- We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1) by Devin Madson
“Madson has become a grim goddess of infusing palpable tension into the scenes within each chapter.”
1. The Mirror’s Truth (Manifest Delusions, #2) by Michael R. Fletcher
“The Mirror’s Truth is grimdark fantasy at its best and it deserves only the highest of praise from me.”
1. Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
“Glorious, heroic, inspiring, brutal, at times hilarious, but most of all incredibly unforgettable”
Honorary mention to four originally self-published books that definitely would make this list longer and harder to rank if they were still indie published:
- Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1) by Josiah Bancroft. Now traditionally published by Orbit.
“A stunning fantasy steampunk debut.”
- The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands, #1) by Jonathan French. Now traditionally published by Crown (US) and Orbit (UK).
“Filthily fantastic. I never cared about pigs this much, and I’m not talking about bacon.”
- Percepliquis (The Riyria Revelations, #6) by Michael J. Sullivan. Now traditionally published by Orbit in Heir of Novron omnibus.
“definitely a high fantasy series with a great plot, friendship, grand adventure, and a really satisfying ending.
- Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1) by Anthony Ryan. Now traditionally published by Ace (US) and Orbit (UK).
“A masterwork you don’t want to miss; it is with temerity that I declare Blood Song as one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.”
I might update this list at the end of next year if there’s a lot of changes to the ranking but that’s it from me for now. Coming up in two weeks will be “The Top 20 books I’ve read in 2018” list! Thank you for reading this post! 🙂