Over the past couple of years, I’ve read close to 200 books; 0 of these being self-published. That is until I recently read The Bee King by Mathilda Zeller, a spell-binging story of empowerment which follows Alice, a strong-willed character who would do anything for her sister and cousin when she arrives at the Apiary. Sat in my “designated” reading chair next to piles of books from well-known authors such as Brandon Sanderson, JRR Tolkein and Hilary Mantel, I turned the final page on a book that bubbled with creativity, and provided me with something more memorable and remarkable than my ever-growing mountain of books.

Getting the most out of self-published work, is recognising the unconstrained creativity that is at the heart of each book. That’s not to say books released through publishing houses are forced into Marvel-formula shaped boxes, but you can appreciate that feeling of a faithful perspective you gain from reading a self-published author’s work. This is valuable not only in pinpointing the creation of characters, ideas and themes, but also the whole creative process whether that be the cover art, marketing or even binding of the book. The energy radiating from writers who go through this publishing process, and come out the other end, is something to be admired and appreciated. This adds wholly to the enjoyment of self-published work as you sit and admire the complete picture of that creative ambition.

Appreciating self-published books can also make it easier to develop a personal connection with an author. Self-published authors can be incredible marketers who have a complete grasp on their audience and an enthusiasm to engage them. For example, I’ve started reading from an indie author who produces regular newsletter updates, not just his creative process, but all aspects of his publishing and business. Engaging with these personal and insightful commentaries provides greater perspectives on the author and can also help increase your enjoyment of their work, something that you can attribute to the hard work self-published authors put into connecting with their readers.

Finally, with indie authors often doing “everything”, the money you spend on their books will go towards lining their pockets (in the good sense) – supporting them, their careers, their families and their ambitions. Regardless of whether you support the big publishing companies or an indie novelist you are making a fantastic impact on the literary community; just consider which one to pick for that next read. My book shelves swell with household names and authors, but I know that I’ll be leaving space for self-published work moving forwards.

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