It can get rough being a voracious reader. Your wallet is rarely as heavy as your desire for content to devour, and you can only reread your favorites so many times. What are you supposed to do when everything you’ve read before seems stale and all the new books on Amazon and in the bookstores are too expensive?
Why, you go read books online, of course! Since publication costs are so much lower on the internet, indie authors are able to offer their books at a much lower price—and sometimes even for free! When you frequent fiction platforms online, you also get the chance to discover the next big thing. Instead of reading the Harry Potter books for the millionth time, you may encounter the next J.K. Rowling when that author is just starting out.
You might be wondering how to find new writers online. Well, here are some sites chock full of exciting authors, as well as some tips and recommendations to get you started.
You have probably already heard of this self-publishing platform—it is one of the most popular of its kind, and has landed several authors book and movie deals. The site makes it very easy to track down new authors. You can browse by different genres like fantasy, horror, and adventure. There are also lists of Editor’s Picks and books that have won a Watty, which are awarded each year.
Here are a few great Wattpad authors:
ccreator: Summer Angeles (pen name ccreator) is a Filipino-Canadian, as well as a self-proclaimed “certified lab hazard” and “future pageant mother”. Despite the fact that she is only a college student, her humorous novel How To Be The Best Third Wheel already won the 2020 Watty Award for YA fiction and has been read by 2.2. million readers.
LittleVee: Vee Lozada (pen name LittleVee) is a multi-genre writer with “an obsession with cyborgs, aliens, and stories that make you grab a box of tissues”. Her novel Human Code is another Wattys 2020 winner and revolves around an android named Javier who was created in the image of two bereaved parents’ deceased son.
I know I just mentioned earlier how expensive the books on Amazon can be. But you can definitely find cheap and even free books by self-published authors on Amazon. All you need to do is type the words “independently published” into the search field, and from there click “Kindle eBooks” or the left sidebar. Then you are free to peruse thousands of books by indie authors. You can narrow things down by genre or sort results by average customer review. The best part is that these books tend to cost only a few dollars, or even free. This isn’t a foolproof method—some titles by traditionally published authors tend to find their way into the search results—but with some digging, you can discover some truly fantastic new writers.
Here are some exciting indie authors on Amazon:
Colleen Hoover: This #1 NYT and international bestselling author shows that self-published writers can have just as much success as traditionally published ones. Her 2018 romantic suspense novel Verity was an instant bestseller and you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Sarah K.L. Wilson: Another bestselling self-published author, Wilson writes young adult fantasy. In July 2021, she began publishing the Phoenix Heart series, which she releases in “episodes” that cost $0.99 each (free with Kindle Unlimited) and take about two hours to read.
Fictionate.Me is a newer self-publishing platform, and that means you will have an even better chance of discovering new talent there. There are a bunch of different ways to track down your new favorite indie author—you can browse by genres like fantasy, romance, and post-apocalyptic. You can also peruse the site’s Consistent Writers, New Books, Top Paid Books, and Trending titles.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few great Fictionate authors to check out:
shadowmuse: Al Nelson (pen name shadowmuse) is a fantasy author and a fan of RPGs, light novels, and strategy games. They try to bring those elements to their stories, which is apparent in Assassin’s Choice, an exciting fantasy novel about a female assassin. You can read the first 7 chapters for free, and purchase the whole book for $0.99.
Kate Seger: This Trending author is a “dog mom, introvert, and whiskey connoisseur”. She has two different novels on the site—a post-apocalyptic zombie novel called Out of New York City and Haven, a lit RPG. You can read the first 6 chapters of Out of New York City and the first 3 of Haven for free, and purchase each novel for $0.99
Okay, so you probably already know that Project Gutenberg is not the site for contemporary books. Considering that its offerings are generally in the public domain, you’re not likely to find many books that were even written in the past hundred years. But just because the books on Project Gutenberg aren’t new to the world, doesn’t mean they won’t be new to you. This site will give you the chance to familiarize yourself with the authors of classics you always wanted to read but never got around to. A huge bonus is that every book on this site is 100% free.
There are a lot of authors on the site to choose from, so here are a few classic writers to get you started:
- Scott Fitzgerald: With lyrical wit and a keen observational eye, Fitzgerald chronicled one of the most fascinating parts of our history—the Jazz Age. You can read 7 of his books on the site, including The Great Gatsby and The Beautiful and Damned.
Jane Austen: Just as reading Fitzgerald whisks readers away into the glamor of the 1920s, Austen will take you even further back into the elegance of Georgian England (with plenty of clever social commentary along the way). You can find various text and audio editions of her most famous works like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, as well as The Letters of Jane Austen.
Author’s Bio: Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jill has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com, and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jill has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.