What is Tim’s Discovery List?

We all want to support independent authors, but let’s face it: it’s not easy to know which self-published books are worth the read.

So I set out to find—with your help—every self-published book worth reading, and keep a running list of them.

I call it Tim’s Discovery List.

The Discovery List is an Excel spreadsheet full of self-published books, ranked by how much praise they’ve received.

To see how much fun this can be, first download the Discovery List.

Then open the spreadsheet, browse through the books, and check out all the reviews.

Then sort it: Sort by your favorite genre. Sort best first to find the Top Dogs. Sort in reverse to dig for buried treasure. So many possibilities, so many discoveries to be made.

You could be the one that finds that hidden gem … and launches it to the top of the bestseller list.

And … you can also help us build the List!

If you discovered (or wrote) a book that’s not on the List, add it.

If you wrote a review of a self-published book, please share it.

And if you have a few words of praise for a book, you can submit a Love Note.


A hat tip to the indie author
Good books are everywhere, and you can find one just about anywhere you look. You’ll find mentions on blogs, book websites, and social media. Newspapers and magazines. Friends will happily tell you about novels they’ve enjoyed.

And you wouldn’t have to wander around a bookstore for more than a few minutes to score a great find.

Most of these books are written by well-known authors … and promoted by the well-oiled marketing machines at the most well-to-do publishing houses.

But what about the independent author?

You know, the prolific novelist who is quietly building her Amazon publishing empire …

… the sci-fi writer who works tirelessly to promote his own books …

… or the kitchen table warrior who spent a year at home typing up her first manuscript, and is now ready to publish.

To you, we tip our hats!


Gems hiding in plain sight
Of course we all want to support indie authors and discover their books, but finding the good ones is not always easy.

There’s a vast sea of self-published books out there, but for every top-notch book, there are many more that are mediocre … at best.

However, because of the sheer number of self-published books, there are still so many that are must-reads. I know this because I’ve helped publish some of them myself.

So how do you find these books?

It’s simple: go directly to the source, and ask the people who have already read them.

To do this, I started putting together a list. It’s a spreadsheet full of books, book reviews, and what I call “Love Notes”—short blurbs of praise that give credibility to a book as they stack up.

This is how Tim’s Discovery List was born.


The opposite of Amazon
Since many indie authors sell through Amazon, couldn’t you just look at the Amazon bestseller chart to find good books?

Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, you can be pretty sure that a #1 bestseller is going to be good.

On the other hand, since the chart is based on sales, it means that for a book to rise to the top, it must already be selling well.

Amazon, of course, makes money from book sales, so it makes sense for them to promote the bestsellers.

But this profit-driven model cheats us out of the best parts of discovery.

There are plenty of excellent books that haven’t soared up the charts yet—simply because nobody knows about them. They’re books that could be bestsellers, but haven’t achieved liftoff yet.

That’s what the Discovery List is for.

You could say it’s the opposite of Amazon, because it’s praise—not profit—that pushes a book to the top of the List.

Also unlike Amazon, all the books are right there on the List for you to see. And because it’s a spreadsheet, you can sort them any way you like, which means you can easily find a great book that has flown under the radar.

This boost in visibility can give the book a chance to become a #1 bestseller.

Bottom line: if the author isn’t out there actively promoting his or her book—or it just hasn’t had a chance to catch on yet—you aren’t going to know about it, even if it’s a really good book.

But with the Discovery List, now you will!


A way to get everyone involved
To build the Discovery List, we need your help! We all benefit by sharing, so this means getting everybody involved.

How can you get involved?

If you are an author, you can let us know about your book by adding it to the list

… and if you’re a book reviewer, you can write a review and give us your insight on what makes the book great …

… and of course …

If you’re a reader, you can share that book you discovered—and even write a Love Note about it.

Become an insider when you join our secret book society on Facebook.
About me
I’m Timothy Pike, copy editor and self-publishing coach, and I’ve been in the book business since 2014.

I created the writing and reading community ChapterBuzz to help authors publish their books affordably, and founded Books & Buzz Magazine to showcase prominent authors, reviewers, and books.


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