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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Our Favorite Self-Published Novels

September 1 kicks off Self-Published Fantasy Month, an initiative we love. 

The Indie fantasy scene is dynamic and rich. Each year, the quality of self-published books improves and we were lucky to find true gems. 

Hopefully, our biased list will help readers to pick excellent new reads that could go otherwise unnoticed. 

Each of us shares his favorite self-published books in alphabetical order.

Adam Weller

Cradle by Will Wight

Iconoclasts by Mike Shel

Manifest Delusions by Michael R. Fletcher

Spellgiver by Steve Rodgers

The Coraidic Sagas by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

The Dark Profit Saga- J. Zachary Pike 

The Raincatcher's Ballad by Steven McKinnon

The Raveling by Alec Hutson

The War Eternal by Rob J. Hayes


In the Vanishers’ Palace  by Aliette de Bodard - a f/f Vietnamese retelling of Beauty & the Beast where the Beast is a dragon. It’s strange, eerie, and beautiful and I need to read more of this author. 

Never Die by Rob J. Hayes - the book that showed me just how talented self-published authors could be. This adventure manages to capture the feel of a wuxia film and is full of a great cast of characters.

Snowspelled by Stephanie Burges - a quick fantasy of manners where a simple party in the countryside becomes a race to uncover a magical plot. Just the right blend of magic and period romance for a cozy weekend read.

The Ventifact Colossus by Dorian Hart - a group of strangers assembled by a wizard must work together to fight a rising threat to the kingdom. This book captures the feel of a D&D adventuring party in the best possible way. If you need an old-school romp as far away from grimdark as possible, jump in here.

Uncanny Collateral by Brian McClellan - I love a good urban fantasy, and Uncanny Collateral gets a lot done in a short amount of pages. A collections agent who deals in supernatural affairs gets hired by Death to find out who is stealing souls that belong in the afterlife. 


Ash and Sand series by Richard Nell - a masterpiece of modern fantasy. And Ruka is, IMO, one of the most memorable characters ever written. If you haven't read it yet, you should ask yourself what the hell is wrong with you.

Black Stone Heart by Michael R. Fletcher - it's addictive and compulsively readable, dark but also darkly humorous. I'm a fan. 

Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer - I've read Schaeffer's full bibliography. Basically, all of his books deserve a place here. That said, Daniel Faust series started it all. Plus, it's great.

Fortune’s Fool by Angela Boord - Well-written, smart, complex, it finds a good balance between the plotline, world-building, and character development. It demands a level of trust from a busy reader hesitant to start such a big book, but I feel it rewards the time-investment.

Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron - uplifting, addictive, and exciting. Amazing series. And Bob Heartstriker is amongst my favorite fantasy characters ever.

Sol’s Harvest by MD Presley - an excellent flintlock fantasy with memorable characters, exciting world-building, and clever twists. I can't recommend it highly enough.

The Half Killed by Quenby Olson - otherworldly, atmospheric, and memorable. One of the rare books I'm eager to re-read.

The Origin of Birds in the Footprints of Writing by Raymond St. Elmo - Raymond St. Elmo not only has a remarkable imagination but also the skills to translate that onto the page. His books tend to play with the narrative and blur the lines between reality and feverish dreams. They tell the story, celebrate the meaning of stories, and pay homage to literary heroes (JL Borges, Italo Calvino, Franz Kafka, Philip K. Dick, EA Poe) while making readers laugh. I enjoyed most of his books and was tempted to list his The Quest of The Five Clans series here, but I think The Origin of Birds in the Footprints of Writing is a better starting point (as it stands alone).

The Sword of Kaigen by ML Wang - a flawed masterpiece. Despite the slow beginning and plenty of exposition, it delivers a powerful emotional experience. Unforgettable stuff.

Yarnsworld by Benedict Patrick - a fantastic series based on folklore. 


Top 10 Indie series/saga 

Ash and Sand series by Richard Nell

First Earth Saga by Rob J. Hayes

Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron

The Dark Profit Saga- J. Zachary Pike 

The First Story saga by Craig Schaefer

The Paternus trilogy by Dyrk Ashton

Sol’s Harvest saga by M. D. Presley

The Heretic Gods series by Carol A. Park

Yarnsworld series by Benedict Patrick

Top 5 indie standalone titles:

Of Honey And Wildfires by Sarah Chorn 

Never Die by Rob J. Hayes

Timberwolf by Dominic Adler

Queens Of The Wyrd by Timandra Whitecastle

Top 10 Indie/SP books/series that were picked up by traditional publishing:

  • Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
  • The Shadow Of What Was Lost by James Islington
  • The Rage Of Dragons by Evan Winter
  • The Books Of Babel by Josiah Bancroft
  • The Shadowdance series by David Dalglish
  • The Reborn Empire series by Devin Madson
  • The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French
  • The Ex-Heroes series by Peter Clines
  • The Chronicles Of The Bitch Queen by K. S. Villoso
  • The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
Special hat-tip to Courtney Schafer & Kari (K. A.) Stewart who went indie to publish their final books (and not leave her fans hanging) after they were abandoned by their publishers.


Kermit Waller said...

Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your notes posted for more info: Best fiction books

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