A Good Home, Books

Buy Indie, Borrow the Big Bestsellers

A few Christmases ago, when my loved ones asked what I “really” wanted for Christmas, I gave them a list of book titles.  All were by Indie authors, or published by Indie/small presses. Some had multiple reviews, some only one or two. 

blog photo - what we hold in our hands by kim aubrey
What We Hold in Our Hands
blog photo - book cover teresa madeleno
“Girl Power” by Teresa Madeleno
blog photo - book cover valerie wint- the longer run
The Longer Run by Valerie Wint

And when I chose gifts for special occasions, it was either a potted bulb or a book by an Indie author, or both. (Sometimes, a bottle of wine replaced the plant.)

I’ve continued that pattern.

blog photo - crossing limbo by shane josephs
Crossing Limbo by Shane Joseph

Where suitable, I also read excerpts to the Memoir-writing group that I coach. It’s important to celebrate strong, but lesser-known writers.

Oh, I read the big bestsellers by the famous authors. But I’m not part of that club and they won’t miss my purchase. I have limited funds; I choose to support authors whose books are published by tiny presses, or by themselves.

blog photo - fortunate isle book cover
Fortunate Isle by Ronald MacKay

The way I see it, the bigtime authors will still get my support, via the public library.  Local libraries are among my favourite places on earth and librarians are stars. I borrow the famous books there.

But Indie authors and presses need my money. 

blog photo - book cover shirley harris slaughter

blog photo - shirley harris slaughter
Shirley Harris- Slaughter

I don’t buy any-and-all Indie books, of course. I pass over badly-written books, ones with too many typos, or whose subject or plot doesn’t appeal to my taste. 

But I buy books by bloggers whose writing I admire, books by members of my authors’ group, or ones whose reviews (often by other bloggers or word-of-mouth) make them worth the money.

blog photo - dog bone soup by bette stevens
Dog Bone Soup by Bette A Stevens

I need to do more reviews, though. One night recently, I remembered: I hadn’t reviewed some of the Indie books I had read earlier. So I reread them and posted the first reviews online. (More later.)

As I write, I’ve just finished reading two books, one borrowed from the library (Julian Barnes’ prize-winning The Sense of an Ending) and Laurie Graves’ Indie-published Library Lost, which I bought. Both compelled my attention; both were superbly written.

blog photo - library lost by laurie graves
Library Lost by Laurie Graves

Library Lost is the second in the Maya and the Book of Everything series. Brilliantly plotted with well-drawn characters, both books have delightful twists and turns. 

I love a well-written book, and I know how difficult it is to produce one. When a good book is also produced by an independent author or small press, I appreciate it even more.




57 thoughts on “Buy Indie, Borrow the Big Bestsellers”

    1. I’m glad to, Brad. So many Indie gems pass unnoticed. And though my own books have done fairly well, I know that many others, equally deserving, don’t get the support they need.

    1. Yes indeed, Jina. It’s also a way of making sure that we support those authors and small publishers who need it, while also supporting the big-time authors and publishers.

  1. I’ve never read so many indie books since I started blogging and it’s been lovely to discover some of those authors. I think this is a good way of reading both while supporting those indie authors.

  2. What good advice you give in your blog, Cynthia! In these days of distorted markets, small publishers and indie authors need our support. You posted a picture of the cover of my Fortunate Isle, a Memoir of Tenerife. Thank you! Viviana and I are currently in Tenerife, back in the village of Buenavista del Norte where I lived and worked from 1960 to 1961 when I was 18 years old. This time, in addition to reconnect with old friends we’re presenting the Spanish edition of Fortunate Isle. It’s called A Tenerife Con Cariño — (To Tenerife with Love) and it’s my “Thank you!” to the village and its inhabitants for having taken me in all these years ago and allowed me to become part of their community. I found it easier to re-write the stories rather than to translate them, so this Spanish edition is not identical to the English one. Fortunately, Viviana is a native speaker of Spanish and her eagle eye has ensured that there are, now, no mistakes! We’ve managed to include well over 100 photographs taken , mostly by me, at that time. Best wishes, Ron

  3. Reblogged this on e-Quips and commented:
    Indie is a strong, positive word (much less pejorative than the old Vanity Press) label to describe to the works of self-published authors. Indie author Cynthia Reyes, author of An Honest House, A Good Home, Myrtle the Purple Turtle, co author of the sequel Myrtle’s Game, and lover of libraries and librarians has written a compelling post on why we should support Indie authors

  4. Great posting. I’ve reblogged on equipsblog. Librarians really appreciate what you say about us (I say that as a retired, but still volunteering librarian.)

  5. This is an excellent article containing excellent advice Cynthia – thank you! I have discovered so many good writers through blogging that I am almost overwhelmed by the amount of reading on offer. But I shall soldier on! 🙂

  6. You are so right Cynthia and how good you are to buy these books. I recently brought one from a local lady who put in a huge amount of research into a biography. Mostly though for my own reading i use the library, though i love buying books as gifts, so would love to read more of your reviews.

    1. Glad to hear you bought a copy of the local lady’s book. I bet she really appreciates the support! I appreciate every single purchase of one of my books. In fact, I am even taken by surprise. Perhaps we all think we are imposters!

  7. Cynthia, thank you for supporting Indie authors and for including my short story collection, What We Hold in Our Hands. I’m delighted that my book recently received an Honourable Mention in The Bermuda Literary Awards. I was born in Bermuda, grew up there, and lead an annual writers’ retreat on the island. This year will be the tenth anniversary of the retreat (April 7 – 14, 2019). I’m grateful for the chance to reconnect with my island home each spring and to share the beauty and culture of my homeland with Canadian and US writers.

    1. Welcome, Kim and thank you for replying and telling us a wee bit about yourself. Our blogging community is kind and interested in others. Can you please tell us about your retreat?

      1. Thanks, Cynthia. During the retreat we get together to write and share our writing during four morning workshops, and spend the rest of the week exploring the island. The group is small, no more than a dozen people. We stay in homey guest houses on Hamilton Harbour and take the ferry into town. One evening, we meet with local writers for an informal reading. It’s a lovely, fun week.

  8. This is a great way to get all your books in, Cynthia. And the library is so nice because you don’t have to budget. I think I will look at this in the future to guide my reading/spending patterns.

  9. Thanks for the list and I do appreciate the Indie authors as well. Even have a few signed copies. I like Indie bookstores as well but they are dying out here. Makes me sad. I’ll go to anyone that I find and buy whenever possible. We need to keep them in business.

      1. There is a tiny book and gift store in Buenavista del Norte (the village in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, Spain that inspired Fortunate Isle) that sells books by local and regional authors https://libreria-jugueteria-koraki.negocio.site/ I am honoured to be regarded as a ‘local author’ and an honorary member of the village having lived here for a year when I was 18. Such small bookstores need all the help that they can get. Your blog really strikes a chord, Cynthia!

  10. I hope your friend has a wonderful time with her bookstore. Book lovers, meaning everyone involved with books from seller to writer et al, are a wonderful and diverse bunch.

  11. I love this post, Cynthia, and completely agree! Last year I started to make an active effort to seek out work by independent publishers and have found some real gems. Current favourites are Peirene Press and Fitzcarraldo. I am lucky to have access to an amazingly extensive library system here in Edinburgh, so there is never a problem getting hold of new releases, even if you have to wait a little while – and that’s not even a problem given the size of my ‘waiting to be read’ pile!! Thank you for championing the work of these small businesses – we all benefit from access to lesser known publications. 🙂

    1. I’m glad to shine a light on them, Liz. They are fighting an uphill battle and need all our help. I’ll check out the two presses you mention here. And yes, we are lucky to have great public library systems. Every so often, I have to pinch myself at the great privilege of having one nearby. p.s. I was once number 1341 on the waiting list for Death Comes to Pemberley. This hilarious misfortune led me to bond with my local librarians even more, and ended up being featured in my book An Honest House.

  12. That’s a great idea and characteristically generous spirited of you! I usually recommend almost exclusively indie books but that’s because they are what I mainly end up reading. I need to give more of them as presents though. 😁



  13. I, too, believe in borrowing the big-name authors from the library. If I want to have it for my own, I try to find it at the county library’s huge annual book sale for $1 or $2. What I buy for me – whether children’s or adult books – are stories I know I will want to read again. (I do have a lot of children’s books!) And yes, they all must be well-written (and illustrated.) So many books … so little time!

  14. in addition at my precious comment, I read at this moment book of a famous French writer from before the war two: Georges Bernanos but i am a bit deceived because the style is on a slow mode and I thought it was more active . This confirms every time has its style like in architecture, music or painting .
    Love ❤

  15. This is fantastic! I wish more people gave serious indies and small presses a chance. I may need to start doing the same. I never know what to tell people I want when they ask for gift ideas.

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