Indie authors should give it their Best

I suspect that there is a sense out there among many people that if a book is written by an indie author then it probably means the book wasn’t good enough to get published by a legitimate, traditional publishing house.

Well, let me tell you about James D. Best’s “The Shopkeeper.”

Author James Best

Author James Best

A few months ago I decided to purposely try to find some indie authors to read. I feel compelled to support fellow indie authors because we share a struggle.

After searching around a bit, I landed on the Steve Dancy novels by James Best. I clicked on the “Look Inside” button and after perusing the first couple of pages of the first book in the series, I bought all three of the Steve Dancy novels. I couldn’t wait to get into the first book in the series when “the box with the smile on it” showed up at the door.

Seriously, “The Shopkeeper” is what every indie author should hope to be writing. It’s compelling fiction. It’s well written. Nothing about the book suggests that Best is an indie author. Best (who I’ll soon be interviewing for a post on the blog) has published the Steve Dancy series through Wheatmark.

I’ve only seen the print books and not the ebooks, but Best’s print books are professional in design and layout. There are not weird formatting problems that leave the impression the author has never seen the way a book is laid out before.

Also, the books are well edited, avoiding another complaint readers often have of the self-published and indie authors: There aren’t a lot of typos or mistakes that will hang up a reader.

But more important than the layout and design of a book is the content. If it’s a good story, I can get past a widow here or an orphan there.

“The Shopkeeper” is great on content. Best’s characters are well-developed, his plot is unique and engaging. At no time reading his book did it cross my mind that I was reading a book by an indie author. I found myself caught up in the story to the point that when I got to the last few chapters I abandoned all other plans for the day and just read until I finished the novel.

Best’s “The Shopkeeper” is the quality we should all be aspiring to. It’s a good story and it’s well told, and it will disabuse readers of the notion that indie authors aren’t good enough to be published by traditional publishing houses.

Let’s face it, publishing, like any other business, is driven by trends that produce dollars, and not all books – no matter how good they might be – are going to hit the bestseller lists. Publishers aren’t looking for a good book as much as they are looking for a book that will sell.

If you don’t believe me, then explain how it is that the pop star Ke$ha has a book published by Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint. Is this quality literature or is it something that offers Simon & Shuster guaranteed dollars because Ke$ha brings a fan base?

So, as an indie author, I love it that there are books out there like James D. Best’s “The Shopkeeper” that dispel the notion that indie fiction can’t be good fiction.

If you enjoy a good Western, do yourself a favor and order “The Shopkeeper.”

First three in the Steve Dancy series. Read these.

First three in the Steve Dancy series. Read these.