Epic quests, fantasy romance, grimdark tales with morally grey characters, these books have something for everyone! Check out the best self-published fantasy books available right now!
Indie and self-published books really don’t get enough love. They don’t have the large marketing budget that books published at large publishers have. That’s why it is so important to scream from the rooftops when you find an awesome self-published fantasy book. So that’s what I want to do! I want to scream from the rooftops about some of the best self-published fantasy books that I have found in hopes that you will take a chance and pick a few of them up!
What is Self-Publishing?
Before we dive into the books, I want to do a little discussion on what self-publishing is. Simply put, a self-published book is one that the author publishes themselves outside of the traditional publishing industry.
They write, edit, cover create, and do it all themselves. Many self-published authors will use Amazon to publish and sell their books. They do all of the marketing themselves as well. While it may feel like more work, it can also be more rewarding than traditional publishing.
What is Indie Publishing?
Indie publishing is a little different than self-publishing. Simply put, these books are published by small independent publishing houses that exist outside of the big traditional publishers.
While there are people helping the author, they are still responsible for a lot of their own marketing. These small publishers don’t have big money, but they do have a lot of heart.
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The Best Self-Published Fantasy Books
Now that you know the lingo, let’s talk about some of my favorite self and Indie published fantasy books!
A Dragonbird in the Fern
The first book on this list is an Indie-published book. A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert quickly became one of my favorite books of the year when I read it.
It is a standalone fantasy book with light magic. The book almost feels like a mystery with some fantasy elements along with a decently strong romance pulling it all together.
In this novel, we follow Jiara, a princess who ends up betrothed to a prince of another kingdom when her older sister mysteriously dies. Through the book, she tries to find out who murdered her sister, while also learning the language of the new country she now finds herself in. It isn’t that simple though, because Jiara is dyslexic so learning a new language isn’t easy for her.
I really loved the romance and the murder mystery aspects of this book. Having a dyslexic female main character though was what really made it for me. Especially since I am the mom of a dyslexic girl myself.
I don’t read a ton of fantasy romance, but when I do I love the more sweet and fluffy as opposed to the dark and spicy. Air Awakens by Elise Kova is just that.
One of my absolute favorite fantasy romance books, this just hits every single box for me. We follow Vhalla, a library assistant in the palace. She is a quiet bookworm type. One day, she ends up inadvertently saving the crown prince, which sets the entire plot into motion.
This awakens her forbidden elemental magic. She is the first Windwalker to awaken in hundreds of years since they were hunted to extinction. The prince, a Firebearer, not only trains her but also falls in love with her.
The romance isn’t the entire plot though. There are lovely friendships, an intensely political plot, and a fantastically developed magic system within this series. Kova actually has a lot of different series set in this world, and this book is the place that you should start. It is almost similar to the cosmere when it comes to intertwined worlds ( though not nearly as in-depth and detailed).
If you are interested in reading this series, you can actually read it for free on Kindle Unlimited!
Though I am not a huge horror reader, I really enjoyed Nightmare by Chad Nichols.
This is a more psychological horror, but it definitely has some brutally bloody moments. Our main character is haunted by nightmares and crows ever since an incident when he was a child. Now as an adult, it seems his past has come back to haunt him and his family!
There is so much I can say but I think it will be a spoiler so I am just going to leave it there for now. Be sure to read up on any trigger warnings for this book before picking it up. Including child death, child abuse, death of an animal, imprisonment, etc.
Sword of Kaigen
Probably one of my favorite books, both self-published and traditional, Sword of Kaigen by ML Wang is a gem of the fantasy genre.
This adult fantasy standalone book follows a mom of three boys named Misaki as she simply lives her life. We also get to follow her oldest son on his self-growth journey. In this world, the magic is very Avatar-like with elemental specialties.
Misaki is a wife and mom and nothing else, though at one point in her life she was oh so much more. A warrior who has laid down her sword under the direction of her controlling husband to be a “good wife and mom”.
The themes of motherhood and growth, longing for the past and moving on from trauma to make a bright future are what really drew me into this story. Misaki is a badass fantasy mom and one of my favorite female fantasy characters of all time.
If you want an epic self-published fantasy book with magic, friendship, war, and dragons, then you NEED to read Dragon Mage by ML Spencer.
This is the first book in a series and the second book should be released in late 2022 or early 2023! We follow Aram, an “odd” child from a poor village. he has no real friends, save for one, and is either ignored or tortured by the other kids in his village.
One day his life is upended when it is discovered that he is actually an extremely powerful magic user. He is hunted, imprisoned, freed, tortured, and made to be a champion, all in the course of a few short years.
One thing that I really loved was that Aram is coded as an autistic character. This is handled with a lot of care. He is not a caricature, he is truly a deep and lovely character that you can’t help but fall in love with!
A friend sent me this next book, and I am shocked at how few reviews it had. It deserves a lot more love because it is a fun and fast-paced YA fantasy that fans of The Prison Healer will absolutely fall in love with.
Immortal Sands by McKenzie Maughan is a debut fantasy book from a lovely self-published author. In this book, we follow Phenna, a girl who was unjustly thrown into prison simply for defending herself against a member of the ruling family.
Phenna escapes and goes on the run. Along with two friends, she is determined to take down the ruling family of this world and save her twin sister who is destined to die within the year. On her journey, she learns the world is so much more than what she originally believed. The magic in this story is really unique and fascinating, and we even get some forbidden magic elements as well, which I adore!
There is a very small romantic element, but nothing that takes over the plot. The second book in the series, Forgotten Souls, is currently out as well and we will hopefully have the third book sometime in the near future.
A unique sci-fantasy, The Rave by JR Traas is an excellent book for anyone who wants to read something that defies genre.
We follow Alina, an amateur “raver” or monster hunter. When her grandfather abandons her, she is broke, alone, and lost without a real purpose. One day she hears of a large “rave”, monster hunt, that will be taking place in the capital. Whoever takes down the beast will get a heft sum of money. The problem is she isn’t registered, so, she has to forge it and fake it until she makes it.
This is such a complex story of magic and science, with politics, friendships, romance, and betrayals. Alina learns so much about her family and herself, and may even change the way the world views monsters and humans simply by doing what she was born to do.
This series has two chunker books out right now! I recommend picking them up and reading them whenever you get a chance because the world that has been created here is so fleshed out and unique!
Winds of Strife
If you are a fan of grimdark fantasy, Winds of Strife by UG Gutman is perfect for you.
In a world where the night threatens to overtake the day, witch hunters have scoured the land to hunt down the witch that they believe to be extending the night.
Nye, a witch hunter, is a truly disturbed man. He has been through immense childhood trauma and is determined to take down the witch hunters from the inside. While he works against them, he is still a murderer who hears voices.
No one in the world is “good” but everyone does have their reasons. The magic in this world is so unique and based on emotions and controlling your emotions to harness the power. This is a dark world with characters that are morally grey bordering on the darker side. If that sounds like something you enjoy, then you will enjoy this for sure.
Indie & Self-Published Fantasy Books
There are so many amazing self-published fantasy gems out there if you only look for them! These are just a few of my absolute favorites. I would love to hear your thoughts on these books and get some more self-published fantasy recommendations from you that I can check out.