Lucia Tang is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. Reedsy also provides tools to help authors write and format their books, as well as free learning courses and webinars to help them learn more about writing and publishing.
Last year, a 95-year-old woman delighted book-lovers by becoming a published author for the first time. Delana Jensen Close proved it’s never too late to fulfill your literary ambitions. The former Rosie the Riveter — who spent the ‘40s building howitzers in a California factory — started drafting her historical romance novel just a decade after World War II. Almost 70 years later, she finished it, using Amazon self-publishing services to bring it to the reading public.
Clocking in at 809 pages, Close's The Rock House is an epic drama steeped in sin, stigma, and second chances at love. And the newly minted author isn’t stopping there — she’s got two more novels in her pipeline and even picked up an Independent Book Award for Historical Fiction just this year. Close’s tenacity is being rewarded, and a host of other female authors are using self-publishing to see their words in print — both literally and, well, digitally. Overall, 2019’s looking to be another great year for women in indie publishing. From sweeping noir sagas to sleek, hundred-page memoirs, here are just 5 of their amazing books.
The Cufflink: A Novel by Susan Bolch
In her debut novel, The Cufflink, Block draws on her legal background, portraying a Jewish American lawyering family — as rich as they are troubled — and the darkly glittering world they call home. This sprawling family drama homes in on the thorny emotional lives of its well-drawn characters, whose ambition and success can’t save them from heartache. Kirkus Reviews praises its “rich assortment of fraught relationships,” while Self-Publishing Review dubs it “a meaningful family tapestry.”
Snapshots: Say Cheese! The World Is Watching by Cara Cilento
At 108 pages, Cara Cilento’s slim, lyrical memoir defies genre. This first-time author weaves together verse, prose, and even photos to tell her story in Snapshots. The result: a textured portrait of a lesbian woman’s coming of age, and her relationship with her assimilation-obsessed, Italian-American family. Above all, the book makes use of Cilento's artistry to illuminate the motif of motherhood. It digs into Cilento’s complicated relationship with her own mother, and, in turn, the parenting of her own two adopted, black sons.
Bulwark by Brit Lunden
Unlike the first-time authors mentioned above, Brit Landen’s no stranger to publication. She’s actually made a career out of writing books — through her mild-mannered alter ego Carole P. Roman. Of course, those are educational picture books, which Bulwark is not. This year, she's making her debut in adult fiction with a twisty, grown-up take on Hansel and Gretel. A paranormal thriller, Bulwark follows a small-town sheriff with marital issues. He stumbles into the spine-chilling world of werewolves and witchcraft, fleshed out with a creepy atmosphere and a plot that keeps you guessing. That fairy tale motif might come from Lunden's background in children's lit, but Bulwark proves that she's got range.
Good-Time Girl: A Novel by Leslie M. Rollins
This witty, irreverent beach read shows us what a midlife crisis looks like on a woman smart enough to know better. Its super relatable protagonist, Leah, is a perennially single Law and Order junkie who hates her annoying colleagues and uncomfortable underwear. Approaching her 50th birthday, she impulse-buys a gun that somehow changes everything. But this isn’t that kind of novel. Instead of sending her on a violent rampage, packing heat gives Leah a confidence boost. Soon, she's hooking up with her cute college-aged neighbor and finally doing something about her anti-Victoria's Secret stance. But when does "confident" become, well, "out of control"?
Skinny House by Julie L. Seely
Trained as a physician, Dr. Julie L. Seely tackles family history in this “flawless” memoir. At its center is the grandfather she never met. Nathan Seely was a carpenter who made his fortune building houses for African-American families in the ‘20s. His ambition and skill propelled his own family into prosperity. But when the Great Depression hit, Nathan lost it all — except for a tiny strip of land between two houses. There he built, with reclaimed materials, the skinny house of the title. Weaving together both memoir and black history, his granddaughter sifts through the complicated legacies of his work, crafting a story of pain and resilience. Nathan's skinny house still stands today, and Dr. Seely's prose is just as sure to leave a lasting impression.