My free reading challenge: independent writers oozing with talent

This week has been more reading, reading, reading to slim down my TBR pile. Most of the books I’ve read in the past couple of weeks have been independently published because it turns out independent publishers are mostly the people I know and thus their books are the ones I get to hear about.

All my friends are virtual

Megan Crewe’s A Mortal Song was an absolute stunner – click for my review.

A lot of my online time is spent in a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to authors who have all taken on the challenge of self-publishing and the purpose of the groups is to share experience of what works (and doesn’t) and keep morale up when things go wrong.

A lot of what I’ve read recently has been written by people in these groups because I’ve heard about what they’re up to and been interested to read their books. Maybe it’s also because they are all eager for reviews and happy to provide review copies which fits perfectly with my current free reading challenge. And it occurred to me as I was reading what an enormous amount of talent there is out there.

Oozing with talent

There is a lot of grumbling about standards in publishing (I know I’ve been guilty of it myself – don’t get me started on publishing houses that appear to have opted out of the requirement for proof-reading a book before publication), but I think a part of that is just because the pool of books is now so big that if you’re looking at the wrong part of it, all you can see is wall-to-wall typos and cliches.

An absolutely glorious, vivid and lively fantasy everyone should know about. Click for the preview.

But as I scheduled yet another 5* review on the Paisley Piranha site yesterday I realised how much excellence is also out there. I’m a very fussy reader (if it doesn’t look like it from my reviews, that’s because I only select books I’m pretty sure from the preview I’m going to love, and if I don’t have anything good to write about a book I won’t review it), and I’ve been constantly both impressed and delighted by both the nuts-and-bolts quality and the imaginative verve of what I’ve read recently.

My conclusion this week: don’t grumble that standards are slipping – find the authors whose standards haven’t. I promise you, there are plenty out there!