At the beginning of the year I posted about my 2019 Reading And Blogging Goals. I listed ten things I wanted to do this year. Wow ten. I didn’t realize it was that many until I counted it. Huh. Anyway, I listed ten things I hope to accomplish this year:
- Get caught up on my reviews
- Open the blog to review requests again
- Read more Self-pub/Indie Books
- Another Self-pub Fantasy Month?
- Finish up series I’ve started
- Warhammer 40K
- Star Wars
- Clean up the blog
- Reduce the size of my TBR
Because this isn’t simply a book review blog (I mean mostly yeah but not completely), it’s also my thoughts on books and reading and the blog in general, I’ve decided to take some time to address each one in more detail because I know you’re all riveted by it. OK, truth be told this is really to help me keep on task. Anyway, here’s the sixth deeper dive into my goals.
READ MORE SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS
Last year I discovered self-published fantasy. It all started when I posted about wanting to read more debut novels. What I meant at the time was new debut novels in 2018. I soon realized this plan would have to be modified somewhat. A couple self-published authors contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in their debuts, one of which was a couple years old, but was still a “debut.” You see I’d neglected to add the detail about the year.
Well, I was intrigued. Nobody had asked me to review their book before. I was nervous because, well, nobody had asked me to review their book before! I was hesitant, because I’d bought into this idea (wrong idea, bad idea) that if something was self-published that meant it had to be bad, because otherwise a publishing house would have picked it up. I went back and forth about it, knowing it would then obligate me to actually read and review them. In the end I said yes…and my understanding of what makes a good book was forever changed.
Of the five books I gave five star ratings to last year two of them were self-published, and one was formerly self-published and had been picked up by a major publishing house. I gave another six books a 4.5 star and of those two more were self-published. My point here is that I was pleasantly surprised just how many self-published books I rated so highly. But really I shouldn’t have been because the self-pub industry is filled with great authors and great books. The real problem is how many of us bought into the old stereotype that self-published = bad. I mean yeah some are, but there’s a lot of stuff put out by the big publishing houses that are bad too.
At some point during the year I also discovered the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off #SPFBO hosted by author Mark Lawrence. Once I started following #SPFBO I was hooked. If you haven’t been following it, it’s time you did. There are so many good authors and books in that contest that deserve to be read. There’s also some great reviewers who devote a lot of time to the contest. You should really check it out.
Anyway, last year I read a total of six self-published books. Not many I know. Here’s what I read with links to the reviews below:
Mannethorn’s Key by Simon Lindley: 3.5 Stars
Gedlund by William Ray: 5 Stars
The Great Restoration by William Ray: 4 Stars
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso: 4.5 Stars
Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft: 4.5 Stars
The Half Killed by Quenby Olson: 5 Stars
This year I want to up my game a bit. I want to read even more self-published fantasy. How many more I don’t know. My goal from this point forward is to read at least one self-pub book a month. For a couple of reasons I’ve neglected to read any yet this year (but I did review a couple so I’m not a total waste). But starting in April and May I have at least one scheduled and I plan to keep that up every month through December. So that’s at least nine self-pub books. I’m also debating another go at something I attempted on the blog last year which will be the subject of my next Reading And Blogging Goals post…Self Published Fantasy Month.
In the meantime I encourage everyone to check out a self-pub fantasy or sci-fi book. There’s a ton of good reads out there to choose from. If you can’t decide you can always check out one of the books I reviewed above, or take a look at the pile of great books being reviewed as part of #SPFBO. Do it. You’ll be glad you did, and you can thank me later.