In Honor of Indie, Unknown, and Mid-list Authors

… or “You Won’t Find These in the Average Bookstore

Photo © 2005 Justin Silles CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Looking at my “to-read” bookshelf for something to read after slogging through Nora Roberts’s Northern Lights… Would someone remind me: why exactly am I reading this? I’m nearing the end, but the end can’t come quickly enough. Right now, I’m rating it at about 2½ out of 5, because the prose needs momentum and the characters need personality. (All except for Bing, who actually does have personality. But he’s not even a secondary character.)

Looking at my “to-read” bookshelf, for an intelligent and engaging novel to enjoy, I discover that I have precious few books by the kind of authors I have most enjoyed: indie authors, unknown authors, and mid-list authors. These are authors of the kind who have blogs, and Twitter and Facebook accounts, who enthusiastically engage with fans, who would love for me to mention them here.

So I will.

Here are some of the authors whose work I have enjoyed, and which I expect to enjoy:

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a few big names I do enjoy reading. Kathy Reichs (for her vibrant characterization and edge-of-the-seat suspense). Janet Evanovich (one of my guilty pleasures; I also enjoy watching old episodes of the Love Boat). Stanislaw Lem. Robert Heinlein. Even Danielle Steel (at least the one novel of hers that I’ve read so far). And Twilight was recommended highly to me, and it’s sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to crack it open. (Do I dare? Paranormal romance is a saturated market right now in YA fiction, and that probably means it sucks. But Twilight was one of the early contenders, so maybe that means it doesn’t suck.)

But I’ve always been the rebel, always enjoyed doing what no one else was doing, reading what no one else has even heard about. For someone who takes such pleasure in breaking the rules, you’d think that I would find more enjoyment in discovering undiscovered authors.

So help me expand my list. What indie, unknown, and mid-list authors do you recommend for me to check out?