Every year readers are faced with “best of” lists of books, from outlets ranging from GoodReads to NPR. And every year they all pretty much feature the same titles (“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini, “Inferno” by Dan Brown, “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King). We’re not saying those books aren’t good, but really, is that all there are? What about the indie titles? The graphic novels and off-beat memoirs, the cool science fiction, fantasy and YA, worlds created and envisioned by one person, the indie author.
Perhaps we’re being overly optimistic but we hope that this time next year a self-pubbed book or two will be included. After all, according to Amazon, eleven of the top 50 titles and 25 of the top 100 adult ebooks first published in 2013 were originally self-published. Kinda makes IndieReader’s tagline, “If you read it here you read it first” all the more prescient.
So get out your gift lists and your Kindles and Kobos, or order them in print.
Presenting IndieReader’s list of the best indie titles of 2013.
By Ingrid Ricks
(since signed by Penguin)
A young girl’s coming of age story showing her struggles as she grows up with a religious fanatic mother, a step-father she can’t stand and the man she idealizes – her father.
By Hugh Howey
SHIFT is the sequel (or prequel, or alternate perspective) to WOOL. Like that series, SHIFT is set (partly) in a post-apocalyptic future where humans live in underground silos, protected from a toxic world outside, governed by the Pact that tells them the rules of living.
DUST is the conclusion to the series–beginning with WOOL and continuing with SHIFT– concerning silo dwellers in a post-apocalyptic United States.
By Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of trad pubbed title, Pay it Forward)
Set against the backdrop of the American Southwest, Walk Me Home and its resilient heroines will inspire readers and renew their faith in recovery and redemption.
By Mark Sroufe
Sleek, stylish, realistic and ominous, “2084″ is an Orwellian world on steroids.
By Wickedly Sisters, aka Marie Davis and Margaret Hultz
SPOON and the MOON leaves behind the realm of children’s nursery rhyme becoming a seductive and fanciful tale about protagonists longing for fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives.
By John Isaac Jones
Set in Alabama over a period of about forty years beginning in the late 1940s, this exquisite collection of fifteen short stories provides snapshots into the lives of different characters.
By Elizabeth Dougherty
The year is 2063 and 40-year-old Angela Anselm is a reporter who writes a nutrition column for a publication called “The Well.”
By Mark Tullius
Say goodbye to the Zombie Apocalypse and take a good look at a far more frightening alternative.
By Joseph Hillenbrand
THE SEED & OTHER FAIRY TALES is a collection of nine original fairy tales. While these stories contain all the traditional elements of fairy tales, Disney this collection is not.
Grade A Baby Eggs (IRDA Winner)
By Victoria Hopewell
Readers will be inspired and entertained by the author’s journey–and by the way she gracefully learns to fully appreciate the gifts that are already hers.
By Julie Mannix von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield
After giving up her baby for adoption, a Pennsylvania debutante spends her adult life wondering what happened to her daughter…until the two reunite.
By Misa Rush
There are two protagonists in this engrossing, touching story about family and secrets. First up is twenty-one-year-old Karsen Wood, whose fairytale world is falling apart.
By Michelle L. Whitlock
At 26, author Michelle Whitlock was living a “normal” life; she had a job in retail, great friends, and a loving family. Then, with the discovery that she had invasive cervical cancer, everything changed.
By Kristin Louise Duncombe
A wonderfully realized memoir about a woman’s struggle to obtain a stronger sense of self, save her marriage and her family, but more than anything, to save herself.
The Romanov Stone (2013 IRDA Winner)
By Robert C. Yeager
Just before she dies from injuries from what looks to be an accident, Kate Gavrill’s mother, Irina, whispers something to Kate that sets her on a journey delving into the secrets of past generations.
By Doug Richardson
What begins when trucker, Greg Beem, is pulled over to assist a patrolman at the scene of a car accident, becomes an entangled web of decoys and deception involving state and government personnel and private parties each with their own personal agenda for taking part in the manhunt.
By Richard I. Levine
Hounded by a powerful congresswoman determined to prove him a willing participant in a conspiracy, Dr. Ray Silver finds himself defending his role in what he contends was simply a trip to the Philippines.
By Coral Russell
SACRIFICE immerses us into the edgy world of gang warfare and Mexican drug cartels where the tension and stakes run high.
By Don O’Melveny
The book is constructed so cleverly, seamlessly incorporating a plethora of theories surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s death, one wonders if indeed it could be factual.
By Aaron Cooley
A spellbinding fictional account of Ian Fleming’s early intelligence and writing career during World War II.
Girls Love Travis Walker (IRDA Winner)
By Anne Pfeffer
Travis Walker in finishing up with his senior year of high School – again, and running into some problems.
By Lori L. Otto
Sixteen-year-old Olivia Sophia Holland seems to have it all: devoted, millionaire parents; the attention of every paparazzo in New York; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a unique talent for art.
By Tracy E. Banghart
A thoughtful, funny, intense work of young adult fiction that takes the reader on a journey through the streets of Oxford, exploring everything from the passion of summer romance to the mystic appeal of the ancient druids.
By Peggy Kelsey
Lifts the veils from all of Afghanistan’s female population through conversations with a cross-section of Afghan women from her visits to the country in 2003 and 2010.
By Troy Bond
Once an aspiring academic at Oxford, he has been driven by personal tragedy to an Italian seaside village where he ferries tourists to the local sites. The murder of his friend and former colleague in Oxford draws him back to reality.
By Lorna Dounaeva
From the beginning, Isabel cannot seem to get her act together. She is all over the place, including the road, where she almost runs over drifter Alicia. She feels horrible and takes Alicia in like a stray cat. Before anyone gets settled, a series of arsons starts burning up the small seaside town.
By D. Hart St. Martin
A unique, refreshing work of fantasy following the tumultuous life of Lisen, a seventeen-year-old self-proclaimed “valley girl,” as she is torn from her old life and thrust into an alternate dimension.
By Kaitlyn Cross
FATE INTERRUPTED offers a smooth narrative with a tempting blend of appealing characters, sexual tension and lascivious love scenes.
Cyberslammed (IRDA Winner)
By Kay Stephens and Vinitha Nair
A manual designed to help parents, school administrators, and kids deal with the risks and results of online bullying.
By Dorothy Foltz-Gray
In this poignant and uncensored memoir on life, love, family and the ultimate tragedy, Dorothy Foltz-Gray bares her soul to us about losing her twin.
By Leigh K. Cunningham
A delightful story with just the right mix of whimsy, sarcasm, a pinch of heartbreak and a smattering of Oscar Wilder wisdom.
By Mark A. Rayner
Blake Given’s web-enabled fridge has pulled the plug on the Internet, turning its owner’s life – and the whole world – upside down.
The Burning of Cherry Hill (2013 IRDA Winner)
By A.K. Butler
A tale set in a dystopian future, but it begins in a pastoral paradise.
By Dennis Hart
How exactly does someone who could pass for any ordinary office worker steal millions of dollars and gamble it all away? The explanation comes in three hundred some pages of losses, lies, and brushes with elements ranging from the IRS to Boston mobsters.
Loving Andrew: A Fifty-Two Year Story of Down Syndrome (2013 IRDA Winner)
By Romy Wyllie
A biography of the author’s oldest son, Andrew, who was born in 1959 with Down syndrome.
By Taona Dumisani Chiveneko
The last hangman in Zimbabwe retired in 2004, but since the death penalty seemed on the verge of abolition, there was no real effort to hire a new one.
By Peggy Troupin
A collection of poetry on topics both major and minor, from avocados and painful breakups to Passover.
By Jackie Townsend
The mystery, beauty and complexities of culture, family and love are revealed through the relationship between a seemingly mismatched American woman and an Italian man.
By Joanne DeMaio
In her second novel, Joanne DeMaio takes readers to the Connecticut shore, where she introduces an intriguing cast of characters, all of whom are searching their pasts for both release and solace.
By Chris Orcutt
Author Chris Orcutt serves up a deliciously cheeky and ironic collection of short stories that offer glimpses into the perilous lives of ten men from vastly different walks of life and eras.
By John Mitchell
John Mitchell grew up in 1960s England in a run-down and filthy home devastated by poverty, with an alcoholic father who abandoned the family, a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a twin sister, and an older paranoid-schizophrenic sister who physically abused him all of his young life.
By Kieran Doherty
The autobiography of a man who fought a turbulent battle between a life with joy and triumph and one life filled with alcohol and darkness.
By J.F. Penn
DESECRATION, from opening to climax to ending, is superbly written, well researched and each character is presented in a totally human light. It is the kind of thriller that depends on the intelligence of the reader rather than purple prose –a gamble that only a skilled writer would undertake.
By Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
Kawasaki, the author of 11 previous books, and Welch, an author and developer of several iOS apps, look at self-publishing from every angle, leaving no stone unturned.