Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guest Post- S.R. Johannes "How to Find Great Indie Books"

Today I have S.R.Johannes here to share some insights on how to choose a good Indie Book. She should know. She exploded onto the Indie scene with her first book Untraceable back in 2011. Since then the series has had two more books with Unstoppable just releasing in the beginning of June. Shelli published as an Indie author when it was still a little harder to do it, when Indie still had a bit of a bad reputation. But her Nature of Grace series has proved Indie books are going strong. Here's what she has to say about choosing your Indie book.

How to Find Great Indie Books

Over the years, the term self published author has taken on many folds of meaning. It used to mean "bad quality". But over the years that has changed some. Yes, some are still bad, unedited, and not worth the money spent; but many indie books are very good. The quality of indie books isn't as much of an issue as it has been in the past.

Indie books spread over all genres: romance, teen, new adult. There is something for everyone but it is hard to know what is good and what is not.
It is estimated that, in 2013, over 500,000 were self-published. So it can be tough to find the ones worth paying for in a sea of so many.

I love indie books... and I love supporting them. Why? Because I think a lot of indie authors not only write well but work hard. They deserve a chance.

What to look for:
1. Ratings - look at them closely (the number of them and the ratings)
2. Awards - have they won any and if so - are they reputable.
3. Reviews - if they have mainstream reviews - it shows
4. Cover - is it professional
5. Editing - read the sample. Is it clean or riddled with typos.
6. Other indie authors - if you read one see who they are promoting and you may be able to find others. I know I try to promo books I am proud of.

A few places you can trust
• The Indelibles - I know all of these girls personally and they are not only bestselling but award-winning.
• The Alliance for Independent Authors (Alli)
• Indie Book Awards
• IPPY Awards

I actually did a post today on June indie books if you want to check out some great new titles.

UNSTOPPABLE (Nature of Grace #3) SR Johannes

After everything that has happened, Grace moves to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee, and hang out with old man Rex, Birdee's "friend with benefits". Grace quickly befriends Dylan, Rex's nephew, and Dylan's girlfriend, Sadie, who is a die-hard teen activist. Sadie spends her time leading protests against the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for animals or the flimsy law.

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace and her friends rescue an abused—and endangered—Florida panther. She and Birdee spend time rehabilitating the animal. But when the panther runs off, Grace follows it to Uncle Bob's, a large roadside zoo they all have been protesting. One that is illegally filled with a variety of endangered and exotic animals. Before she can rescue the panther, she and her friends are kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. 

Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace and her friends are offered one chance at survival, but only if they reach civilization before being caught. With a small head start and very little supplies, only time and skill stand between the hunter and the hunted. But out in the Everglades, there may be more dangers than Grace realizes.

Against all odds, Grace must make it out alive and win, or everything she holds dear could be lost.

Unstoppable is on sale in ebook. The paperback releases later this month. 

(Note: if you have another ereader device - see these instructions for getting a Kindle ebook converted to your ereader. It's easier than you think.)

If you haven't read Untraceable or Uncontrollable, you can get them in paperback and ebook at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords, and BN.


16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.


As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 

I plan to read all three of these this summer. I live in North Carolina somewhat near the mountains and I was born in Florida, not in the Everglades. But I've driven over them. And that novel interests me the most. You know people have introduced all kinds of non native species of reptiles into the Everglades when their Boa Constrictors get too big to handle. They dump them there in the glades. And those and other reptiles thrive there. T-H-R-I-V-E! I want to read UNSTOPPABLE right now!!! Thanks Shelli!


  1. It's so exciting for me to see how far indie books and self published authors have come in a short amount of time. I remember the stigma attached to them a couple years ago when self-published meant "couldn't get picked up by an actual publishing house" and I love seeing the market flooded with all sorts of new and amazing talent now. Thanks for all the resources Shelli!

  2. This is a great post!

    As a blog that reads and reviews a good amount of indie authors, I can testify that these are some great tips. You can find some amazing gems in indies, but sometimes you have to sort through a few poorly edited frogs.

    It just takes some more research on the front end, I have found.

    Side note: the everglades are practically my backyard ;)

    Great Post!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  3. Great tips, Heather. I think as bloggers we have all been caught a time or two by a bad indie book. I go to reviewers I know and trust when looking for one, but I will certainly look into the sources you suggested next time. I am downloading my freebie copy right now of this series and I will watch for your reviews.

  4. I love this post! I have a penchant for seeking out indie books, but I've struggled with some in the past couple years. I want to make certain the books I read still maintain that high standard of publishing integrity, you know?

  5. Thanks for the info. I want to read more indie books, and it's good to have a little guidance on how to find ones I'll love. :)

  6. I've read some AWESOME indie books. It's sometimes hard to find the good ones. I trust a lot of other bloggers opinions.

  7. I also want to read these books. Just need the time. :) I usually find my indie books through other book bloggers. I usually get my best books that way! Great post Heather!


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