8 Female Indie Authors Who Are Killin’ It

It’s no surprise that girls rock. They rock so much, in fact, that I featured eight female indie authors who are killin’ it in the self-publishing world. Are you ready to meet your next favorite author?


The Mason List, S. D. Hendrickson

Genre: Young Adult/New Adult/Coming of Age
Tagline: An epic love. An epic hate. An epic story that would last a lifetime.

It’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of The Mason List and S. D. Hendrickson herself. I had the honor of providing a proofread for her book, and I couldn’t get over how beautifully written it was.

One look on Amazon, and you can see her book is quite popular. What I love about Hendrickson is that she had an in-depth marketing plan months before the book came out. She knew exactly who to target, and it paid off in dividends. For example, The Mason List was just featured in a Buzzfeed post called 10 Contemporary Romance Novels That Deserve to Become Films.

The most important thing to a great story is great characters, and I fell in love with Alex and Jess, the childhood sweethearts of the novel. The author's characters were deep, relatable, and realistic.

What are you up to now? I am currently working on Waiting for Wyatt, the story of Charlie who deserved a chance and Wyatt who needed a second. 

1929, M. L. Gardner

Genre: Historical Fiction/Family Saga
Summary: As Black Tuesday triggers financial despondency, three young couples in New York City must trade their lives of luxury for poverty, tragedy, and setbacks. When Jonathan Garrett’s brokerage firm collapses on the day of the Stock Market Crash, he unites with his closest friends (and former business partners), Aryl and Caleb, to relocate, track down a low-paying job, and cultivate a new life. A story set in the past, 1929 is full of romance, drama, and humor. Vivid, expertly crafted characters make this novel more than memorable—1929 is unforgettable.

1929 is a heavy-duty novel that you can’t put down. One of the most noticeable traits M. L. Gardner has is a personal relationship with her characters. I’m talking, this woman knows every single thing about her characters, and it shines through in her writing. Aside from that, she knows her cliffhangers and she is not afraid to use them.

It’s hard to pick a favorite character in this novel, but my favorite has to be Arianna. She’s sassy and blunt and all of the things I want to be.

Gardner hasn’t slowed down since her debut novel; in fact, she’s published many more, including Elizabeth’s Heart, 1930, Drifter, Purgatory Cove, and 1931.

What are you up to now? I am working on a breakdown of season three of Purling Road, but, more excitingly, I am developing a new penname and will be writing romance under it, as I’m really wanting to branch out into other things. (Call me a glutton for punishment, starting the long slog climb all over again.) Other than that, just hanging out with my kitties, trying not to get too fat.

Awaken, Nina Soden

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Summary: Awaken is set in a world very much like our own, yet Atlanta isn’t just an ordinary city and Alee Moyer isn’t just an ordinary girl. Having barely survived her childhood, it will take the death of her father for the truth of her true bloodline to come out. Even if it means losing her life, or at least her identity, she won’t be able to escape her true destiny as the first surviving Dhampir in history. Surrounded by a new world where the horror films she grew up watching have become reality and the most unlikely characters have become her lifeline, Alee will struggle to find herself and her purpose.

When I think about an author who is always hustling toward her author goals, I think about Nina. This girl does not slow down. She is constantly working hard to push out one more book—she’s a no-excuses kind of gal and we could all learn something from her.

One reader reviewed the book, saying, “I quickly inhaled this story. The author has a very easy-to-read talent that engulfs the reader.” Ah! I pray that one day someone will read my novel and inhale it like this reader did.

What are you up to now? I am currently in the editing process for SECTOR C: The Hunted (book two in the SECTOR C Series). 

The Heart’s Journey Home, Jen Stephens

Genre: Contemporary/Romance
Summary: Three years after the unexpected death of Kate Sterling's husband, she moves back to Harvest Bay, Ohio, with her young daughter. She soon discovers that things have changed in the sleepy little community she grew up in. When she suffers another devastating loss, she finally understands that the One who loves and cares for her has given her a second chance at love. But is God leading her to a love linked to the past . . . or to one who will walk with her into the future?

I first met Jen Stephens in the summer of 2014 at a conference (where she spoke and did an outstanding job), and she was a genuine pleasure to be around. I could tell by the way she talked and the way she acted that she was compassionate, kind natured, and talented.

Jen grew up in a small Ohio town, where she developed a passion for writing at an early age. She participated in Young Authors contests in grade school, wrote her first novel in high school, and wrote dozens of poems and short stories in between.

What are you working on now? I’m working on the third installment of the Harvest Bay Series, The Heart’s Hostage, and I’m so excited about getting this book done and out to my readers. It’s a story about relationship issues, and I feel like in this day and age, it’s the most relevant work I’ve written. It is tentatively scheduled for release in spring 2016.

How to Get Out of Debt Living Paycheck to Paycheck, Camilla Kragius

Genre: Budgeting/Money Management
Summary: Discover everything from learning how to create a budget (using nine simple steps) that’s right for you and your family, how to beat the get-out-of-debt exhaustion syndrome, how to bring more money into your home without adding additional stress, and more. Combining lessons learned from her own journey and insight from her popular blog, No More Hamster Wheel, Camilla explores all of the nuances of getting out of debt and will inspire you to begin your own journey.

I love what Lorna has to say about Camilla’s book: “I have always struggled with budgeting paycheck to paycheck. I’ve read the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, listened to his show faithfully, took Financial Peace University, and had tried just about every budgeting technique out there. From fancy spreadsheets to pen and paper forms, I had had enough! Camilla’s method is so simple, so easy, and just makes sense. The rest of her book is very motivational and very inspiring! It’s such a great price as well! Definitely a MUST for those wanting to get out of debt and not make it crazy complicated!”

Wow! You know you’re doing something right when someone says you’re better than the King of Personal Finances. All hail Queen Camilla! Now, for those of you who stink at finances, it's time to stop. I've personally been there, and nothing feels better than to know that you're financially stable. That's why Camilla is killin' it: she's helping people live better lives.

What are you working on now? I’m putting together a short e-book on the steps I took to leave the rat race. I also started a 12-week Get Stuff Done accountability program where I keep people accountable for the things they want to accomplish so they can achieve more and knock out their goals. At some point, as a Lifestyle Accountability Coach, I’m sure I’ll turn some of that knowledge and experience into a book with tips and tricks on how to stay focused, productive, and how to achieve the kind of life you want.

Gold in the Days of Summer, Susan Pogorzelski

Genre: Historical Fiction/Coming of Age/Middle Grade
Summary: The summer of 1979 should have been a magical time of panning for gold in the creek and catching fireflies in a jar. Instead, nothing is turning out the way 12-year-old Annie expected: her best friend is away at camp, Connor Bartlett barely notices her anymore, and her parents and sister, trying to protect her from the reality of her grandmother’s illness, only seem to further isolate her. Desperate to find a sense of meaning in an ever-changing world, Annie turns to an unlikely confidant: a reclusive young veteran at war with his own past. As the summer days pass and her thirteenth birthday draws closer, Annie discovers that growing up doesn’t always mean leaving everything behind.

Susan self-published Gold in the Days of Summer back in 2013 under her business name, Brown Beagle Books, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. About two years prior, she was doing some research into publishing and determined that she wanted to self-publish it. She became very ill around that time, so that cemented her decision—the journey through self-publishing is part of what kept her going through her treatment; if nothing else, she wanted to accomplish this dream. She’s much better, and self-publishing has offered some amazing opportunities and knowledge about the industry (and it let her tell the story she wanted to in the way she wanted to while being able to control the packaging and marketing).

The book was favorably reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly Select, won the 2014 Children’s Fiction Category of the International Rubery Book Award, and was a finalist in the Children’s category of the International Book Awards this year. All the awards for Susan! 

What are you working on now? I’m currently finishing the final draft of my next book—an epistolary novel about a teenager trying to shape her identity and struggling with a chronic illness in the wake of 9/11. I’m looking to traditionally publish this one for greater exposure (and because I no longer have the energy to do all the work myself, to be honest), but I haven’t given up on self-publishing yet. Someday, down the line, I hope to self-publish some novellas and companion pieces I’ve got stored away.

Wisdom & Folly, Michele Israel Harper

Genre: Spiritual Warfare/Supernatural
Release date: September–October 2015
Summary: Wisdom. She may have crafted the worlds by the Maker’s design, she may have been by His side since the beginning, but her heart aches. Her sister is gone. Defected, to a group of rebels who hate their Creator with every fiber in their beings, who plot His downfall. Her new assignment? Fight them. Defeat them. Folly. Fury seethes within her. Jealous of the attention the Maker lavished on her sister, she turned to a new master. And became his favorite. Or so she thought when she joined him. Now he treats her like scum and belittles her every chance he gets. Determined to prove herself, to become invaluable, she realizes what Lucifer would enjoy best. Her plan? Engage Wisdom. Distract her, defeat her.

Michele Israel Harper spends her days as a stay-at-home mom and her nights typing away furiously on her laptop. Sleep? Sometimes. Who needs sleep, though, when you’re releasing two books? And after I read the summaries, I'm dying to read both.

Wisdom & Folly was originally released on Michele’s website as a weekly serial novel. At a writer’s conference, she pitched it to an editor of a well-known Christian publisher. The editor absolutely loved the idea and wanted the book—until she found out Michele had been posting the chapters on her blog. The editor said the only way a publishing house would look at it were if she pulled the story and rewrote it. Michele finally decided that if God wanted her to write it and offer it on her blog, so be it. She finished it, barely completing the final chapter before her sweet little daughter was born. Michele didn’t want to publish the exact same thing she posted to her blog, so she started writing new chapters, editing and changing what she already had, and commissioning a cover for both an e-book and print version. 

What are you up to now? I have two books coming out, Wisdom & Folly: Sisters and Zombie Takeover. Here’s an excerpt from Zombie Takeover: “I was the bravest, fiercest warrior, singlehandedly stopping the zombie apocalypse and earning the respect and admiration of those who fought with me. Just kidding. I pretty much peed my pants and wasted a ton of ammo. At least I know everyone else shot what they were aiming at. Me? Not so much. This is my story—me, Candace Marshall, the world’s biggest scaredy-cat, facing my biggest fear. Zombies. It was awesome. (As in, not at all.)”

Go Solo, Kelsey Humphreys

Genre: Entrepreneurship
Summary: Have you been waiting to leave your suffocating day job? Have you been wondering if you should turn your side hustle or hobby into your own business? Have you struggled with how or when to launch? Go Solo has your answers. This book is perfect for the aspiring freelancer, writer, designer, consultant, coach, photographer, counselor, event planner, interior designer or decorator, software developer, crafter or blogger, even plumbers, builders, realtors and developers, or insurance agents. This book is for you if you ARE your brand or want to become your own brand, long to live on your own terms and do work that really matters, all with little overhead.
Celebrity endorsement: “Life is too long to stay stuck! If you want to know how to hustle and do work that matters, listen to Kelsey!” —Barbara Corcoran, Shark Tank

Writing about Kelsey in a succinct manner will not be possible, but I’m going to do my best. I first met this gorgeous, ridiculously talented woman at a conference in Tulsa. She commanded the audience the moment she stepped onto stage, and I remember thinking, Well, this is the type of person you want to be around! This year in Nashville, I saw her take the stage again to emcee the event. She also brought us to tears with her speech and received a standing ovation—what. up.

I’m honored to call her my friend, and I’m blown away by how successful she’s been. Her first book, Go Solo, has had wonderful success with entrepreneurs and peaked at #1 in Entrepreneurship on Amazon, top 10 in all of Business, and top 10 in all of Self-Help. If you want to know how it’s done, son, then you need some Kelsey in your life.

What are you up to now? After the success of Go Solo, I began to travel for speaking engagements and decided to start interviewing today’s leaders as I traveled. The Pursuit was born. So far, in just about six months, my traveling talk show has been picked up for distribution by Success Magazine and I’ve been able to interview the Property Brothers, Michael Hyatt, Seth Godin, Chalene Johnson, Donald Miller, and many more! Aside from hosting and producing The Pursuit, I write and speak about success, entrepreneurship, and pushing oneself to greatness on major sites like Entrepreneur.com and Success.com. I’m at my best when I’m motivating and inspiring audiences to push beyond—WAY beyond—their comfort zones. I believe the key to writing and speaking effectively is to ask the right questions, which has also served me well as an interviewer. My goal is to take my show to mainstream TV, to inspire, motivate, and equip more people, and become The Ellen of Entrepreneurship! (Shoot for the stars, right?)

Shayla Raquel Bio Photo.jpg

An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.