Can I be honest with you? I love books. All books. The fact that there are entire stores dedicated to housing these amazing word-holders kind of blows my mind. I mean, don't even get me started on libraries.
But this year? My book-reading will take a narrowed focus. This year will be a year dedicated entirely to self-published books. Here's why.
1. TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT AUTHORS
When I first created this blog, I had a very limited view of the publishing world. I thought that if I wanted to write books, I would need to spend hundreds of hours perfecting my query letter and spend years waiting for a literary agent. And getting a publishing deal? Might as well be decades.
This reality was not exactly accurate for a couple of reasons:
Traditional publishing doesn't necessarily take eons. It's part luck-of-the-draw, part talent-based. (I can only comment so much on this platform because *spoiler alert* I self-published.)
Self-publishing exists. And it's awesome. (You can find a list of resources on self-publishing here.)
This year, I self-published my first book called These Are the Moments. (You can read the first ten chapters fo' free over here. I need to stop having side conversations with parentheses.) I completely fell in love with the process and made incredible friends that were starting their writing journeys the same was that I was.
This year is a year I want to dedicate to my friends and their stories:
I want to help dispel some of the outlandish self-publishing myths.
I want to write reviews and cheer on the people who have come to mean so much to me, while making new friends along the way.
I want to drink coffee. (I think I lost my point here. I also forgot the stop the side conversations.)
2. TO CONNECT READERS TO NEW AUTHORS
Let's test a theory, shall we? Open a new tab and head on over to Pinterest. In the search bar, type in "best books to read." Now, scroll down until you see the same book twice.
I bet you didn't get very far, did you? I was halfway through my first scroll when I saw Gone Girl for the second time. What's wrong with this picture? In 2016, let's usher in a new wave of authors. Let's play matchmaker with little-known authors and bright-eyed readers.
This year, I'll be tracking my reading journey in a few places. You can keep up with me here:
Instagram. I love posting photos over here. This year, I'll promote these self-published books as I read them via pictures. And maybe a little bit of review, too.
Goodreads. I don't know how I read books before Goodreads. I love that I can track what I've read each year, while setting a goal for myself. Be my friend!
Twitter. Who am I kidding? I spend the majority of my life on Twitter. So you're bound to see updates over there.
3. TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS
If I only read self-published books in 2016, will the world dissolve into a book-less existence and I will be blamed for singly-handedly destroying the written language? Uhh, no. I don't expect anything drastic to come from this challenge, but I would like a few answers to questions I have:
What makes a book, well, a book? Do you need a movie deal in order to be considered successful? Do you have to sell 1,000,000 copies to be valid? (I know the answer to this, but only from personal experience. I want exposure to other people's journeys too, because I'm nosy.)
How do we encourage future writers? Is buying an author's book the best means of support? What does it take to be a true fan? (Again, I may know this answer.)
How many people can I get on board with this?
THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN.
Reading challenges are fun, but they're way more fun when you have people to share in them.
Discussion Time: What books are on your to-be-read list for 2016? What are your thoughts on independent publishing?