Self Published Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

I personally do not read many e-books, I still prefer print books, but I did start an e-book series by J. R. Rain- the Vampire for Hire series. This series is about a P.I. named Samantha Moon, that solves mysteries. She also happens to be a mother of two children and a vampire. I was hooked right from the beginning. But how did I find out about this originally self-published author and series? I downloaded the first book in the series for free from the Kindle app on my iPad and then bought the rest of the series. I’ve gone into the Kindle app on my iPad a few times to see what free books are there and download some. Most just sit on my iPad, unread, unlike the J.R. Rain book.

What does this mean for librarians? Do we need to start collecting self-published e-books? How do we know which books are worthwhile to add to the collection when so many self-published books do not have reviews? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but hopefully we can at least think about them. While there are a lot of unedited self-published e-books, there are many similar to J.R. Rain’s series that our patrons would enjoy discovering and reading through the library.

My husband told me about a website called Smashwords, which is just one of many self-publishing sites. This one allows an author to publish something once and then choose where they want to sell their e-book, including places like Amazon. I would recommend librarians check out Smashwords for self-published e-books. I can heartily recommend The Princess who Wouldn’t Die by J. Kirsch. Yes, its by my husband, also a librarian, but it is a great fantasy adventure with a strong female lead. The only downside is that it is too short- novella length. He is working on the sequel now at least. Besides plugging my husband’s work, I think it’s a good introduction to Smashwords.

Do you have any self-published e-books to recommend? Do you think libraries should collect or review self-published e-books? Please comment below.


  1. kgmcabee says:

    This is so true! There are good books and bad books in both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Unless you read them, or have them recommended by someone you trust–cough librarian cough–then how can you tell. Brave new world, anyone?
    Also, I’ve read The Princess Who Wouldn’t Die by J. Kirsch and it is every bit as good, if not better, than the MANY traditionally published fantasies I’ve read.

  2. Dena says:

    Overdrive just inked a deal with Smashwords so libraries can start buying self-published books. I’m not sure what the vetting process is – whether everything on Smashwords is available (I’ve been unable to find a few titles that were free on Smashwords on Overdrive) – but it’s a good foot in the door for libraries and self-published works.

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