The indies is where I used to live and I’m not talking about a place in southeast Asia.
For me the publishing landscape is analogous to the way things were in the eighteenth century. My story would be that of a man born in a small monarchy, Lichtenstein perhaps, who failed to make the heads of Europe turn and due to economic reasons set sail to the New World to make my fortune. It was rough, but I did well, and I made a name for myself. Then I was offered a royal appointment in London. London isn’t the sin city I was led to believe by all the talk in the colonies and of course I know the “rebels” aren’t backward, feral heathens either.
Having sailed the sea between, I don’t see the need for war. There are good and bad indie books just as the same can be said of traditionals. Too much is based on opinion to be definitive. The Big Six have a huge navy and control the seas, but the cost of living in England is high. You can make a fine living on a small farm in Virginia, but where is the theater? Both are fine choices and many people of means cross the Atlantic back and forth as the mood suits them.
So it would be remiss of me to ignore the many fine writers back in my old neighborhood, a fresh, and exciting world of inventors and entrepreneurs and finding quality indie fantasy books is really quite simple. Amazon is a great place for “author discoverability” and provides lists for Bestselling, Top Rated, Most Wished For, and Hot New Releases. The number of sales it takes to rank onto these lists ensures that a lot of people have purchased the books, so high sales + lots of reviews = a pretty darn good bet.
My wife and I know, or at least have spoken with, many of the following authors, and although I’ve not had a chance to read their works their records speak for themselves and I hope you’ll give them a try.
David Dalglish is a hugely popular indie fantasy author. He was really becoming popular just as I was exiting the indie world, and I think of him a bit as a younger brother who has since grown taller than me. He’s an example of the new indie author—having never bothered to even submit his work to the Big Six. He has three series including: Half-Orcs (1-5), Shadowdance Trilogy (1-3), The Paladins (1-3). He’s also has short stories in collections: A Land of Ash, The Gate: 13 Dark & Odd Tales, Lessons III: Demonic Dolls and Other Morbid Drabbles, and a short story he co-wrote with Sean Sweeny: Refugees: A Short Story of Survival. In general his books range in price from $0.99 - $4.95and you can tryout The Weight of Blood (The Half-Orcs, Book 1) for free. He sells ebooks and a number of the titles are available in print as well. He has more than 410 Amazon Ratings and 1,404 Goodreads ratings. On Amazon’s Epic Fantasy Kindle Bestseller List he has books ranked at: #20, #21, #30, #82, and #96.
B.V. Larson is an indie author, who like me was recently picked up by a major publisher, but one of those who straddles the ocean between. The science fiction and fantasy imprint of Amazon will be putting out his Technomancer book in the summer of 2012. In addition he has numerous indie titles in both fantasy and science fiction including: Haven Series (6 books), Star Force Series (5 books), Hyborean Dragons (6 books), Imperium Series (2 books), Seeker Series (2 books), Shifting, Velocity, The Vampire’s Image, Creatures, Spyware, and Lost Shores. Not only does he routinely top the fantasy and science fiction lists, but he has made the Amazon Top 100 Lists with several titles. He also prices his books from $0.99 - $4.95. He has almost 990 Amazon Ratings and 1,182 Goodreads rating. On Amazon’s Science Fiction Kindle Bestseller List he has books at: #12, #64, #74. On Amazon’s Magic and Wizards Books Bestsellers List he has books at: #26, and #62.
Daniel Arenson’s “Requiem books (the Song of Dragon Series)” have been tearing up the chart – bumping my books out of a few choice spots…thanks Daniel. His works include: Song of Dragons Series (1-3), The Gods of Dream, Eye of the Wizard, Firefly Island, Flaming Dove, and a writing tips book entitled: The Word Weaver’s Grimoire. Daniel started his career, as I did by publishing through a small press and then decided to go out on his own. He has 200 Amazon Ratings, and 543 on Goodreads. His Light of Requiem is #2 on the Hot New Releases in Epic Fantasy (two above Rise of Empire at #4). On Amazon’s Epic Fantasy Kindle Bestseller’s list he has books at: #13, #15, and #17 (my books are #26, #41, and #74 so he’s currently outselling me). He also can be found on the Magic and Wizards List at #22. His ebooks range from $2.99 - $3.99 and some titles are also available in paperbacks).
Michael G. Manning is proof that you don’t need dozen’s of books to make a splash on the indie scene. He has just a single series with two books published so far: Mageborn: The Blacksmith’s Son & The Line of Illeniel, but both have, I believe, hit the Amazon Top 100. I know for sure one has. The first is priced at $0.99 and the second for $2.51. The books can be found on Amazon’s Epic Fantasy Kindle Bestsellers list at #8 and #12. He has over 230 Amazon ratings with just these two books.
I could name dozens of others, who are either indie or published through small presses and selling well such as: K.C. May, Aaron Pogue, J.R. Rain, Deborah Geary, Joseph Lallo, Christopher Bunn, Brian Rathbone, Michael R. Hicks, M. R. Mathias, Lindsay Buroker, Thomas DePrima, Vaughn Heppner, Gregory J. Downs, Brian S. Pratt, Michael Foster, Christopher Williams, and even some well selling author’s from my wife’s small press: Nathan Lowell, Marshall S. Thomas, and Leslie Ann Moore. Many of these authors offer free or deeply discounted books so they are painless to tryout.
So I suspect when I visit the salons in Paris this spring, there will be both Old World and New World authors, and thankfully, art—like science—have never noticed borders.