Three Reasons Why I'm only Reading Self-Published Books in 2016

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. Here are a couple of ways you can support this project:

Discussion Time: What books are on your to-be-read list for 2016? What are your thoughts on independent publishing?