ISO Excellent Self-Published Books
January 1, 2022 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I know that self-publishing has changed a lot over the last few years, and that many high-quality fiction and non-fiction writers are choosing to go this route. But there is so much to wade through! Please help me find some good stuff

I'm open to pretty much any kind of fiction, but tend to lean towards crime/mystery/psychological thrillers, fantasy, non-sappy romance, and what is sometimes described as "book club fiction." On the non-fiction side, I like crime, social commentary, feminism, psychology, and leadership.

I do realize, though, that these are pretty mainstream categories, so bonus points for recommendations for great writing that falls outside these categories.
posted by rpfields to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Romance is the bulk of self-publishing turn-over and while I am personally really interested in the machinations of the romance market, I'm not really a romance reader but I'm sure someone else will know what's what there.

In terms of mystery, Dana Stabenow was traditionally published when she started in 1993, became self-published and I think she's now with a hybrid press. Her Kate Shugak murder mystery series is superlative. The world expands to include a series for a sub-character, Liam Campbell, if you want more.

If you like vampires (not the Twilight kind!) Elizabeth Hunter has an excellent multi-book mystery series. There are several Elemental series but they all share the same world. She is also a successful self-published romance writer.

Jodi Taylor also started self-publishing but is now published by Headline. Her St Mary's series is about time travel and is great -- smart and funny -- as is the Time Police spin-off.

Jodi Taylor also has two unrelated books about Thomas the Horse are just absolutely perfect. Dana Stabenow has some unrelated historical novels that are brilliant.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:37 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

Celia Lake's mystery romances, and Rosemary Kirstein's speculative procedurals starting with "The Steerswoman" (the Kirstein books are a series to be read in order).
posted by brainwane at 6:33 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

Courtney Milan self-publishes, and can be described as non-sappy romance. A review.

Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy series, Penric and Desdemona, starting with Penric's Demon, is self-published, although she is also traditionally published. The books in this series are novella-length.

Clare Ashton, romance, has been recommended to me and looks good from this review (the Brexit mention put me off reading it but may not apply to you).

I've only just started reading Tea & Sympathetic Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts, but it's good so far. Regency romance / fantasy. She also has a non-fiction book of essays about women in Pratchett's books.

I like the Daisy Gumm Majesty series by Alice Duncan, 1920s gentle mysteries, but it depends on your tolerance for cosy mysteries.

Not sure if you'd count Tom Cox, whowas previously traditionally published but now publishes through Unbound (crowd-funded publishing). If so, I would recommend 21st Century Yokel, non-fiction, hard to describe, memoir-y nature fiction is probably the least worst way to do so. Also via Unbound by a different author, I enjoyed Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines by Henrietta Heald, non-fiction about women engineers.

Alice Degan's From All False Doctrine, also a bit hard to describe - fantasy / romance.

Possibly a bit niche, but might fall under your social commentary category: Pauper Children and Poor Law Childhoods in England and Wales 1834-1910 by Lesley Hulonce. Used to be on Kindle but doesn't appear to be now. Free from, registration required. More info here.
posted by paduasoy at 9:55 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

Ursula Vernon, a Hugo-winning writer, self-publishes a lot of her books under the T. Kingfisher penname, including all the Paladin fantasy romance novels, and the Clocktaur War duology in the same world. They're excellent fantasy fare that really digs into worldbuilding and the characters tend to be Actual Grownups.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:39 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]

James Fell's On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down is excellent, but be prepared for your history to served up with a healthy dose of snark and liberal use of the F word.
posted by COD at 7:06 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everybody, these are great! I will definitely be looking into all of them.
posted by rpfields at 10:20 AM on January 4

Came back to add Ray and the Cat Thing by Masha du Toit. Described as a cosy fantasy - I'm not sure I'd call it cosy exactly, at times it is unsettling but in a good way.
posted by paduasoy at 10:21 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]

And had forgotten that I heard about it through MetaFilter!
posted by paduasoy at 10:34 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]

« Older Good calendar for a MacBook?   |   Another person in search of another perfect bag. Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments