As we are approaching Pride Month, people on social media are starting to share their Pride Month book stacks, and book-related websites are posting their “books to read for Pride Month” lists.
And that’s great because with all the anti-LGBTQ+ laws, we need visibility more than ever.
However, as I’ve pointed out in previous years, I often see the same dozen or so books from big mainstream publishing houses being promoted, while books from small queer presses and indie authors are largely ignored.
It’s great that mainstream publishers are now publishing books with LGBTQ+ characters, and I’m happy for each and every author who managed to get such a book deal.
But please let’s not forget the small presses and indie authors who are publishing the majority of sapphic books and have been publishing them for decades, back when mainstream publishing houses assumed books with LGBT+ characters wouldn’t sell and refused to take a risk on them.
If you’re a reader, Bookstagrammer, Booktoker, blogger, or reviewer, please make sure you include books by indies & small presses when you share your Pride lists. Pride Month is the perfect time to look beyond mainstream-published LGBTQ+ books and give some love to books that have less visibility. There are so many good books out there that deserve some attention!
Top 10 places to find sapphic books by small presses and indie authors
What if you have no idea where to find these books (or you want to find more of them)?
Every now and then, I see someone lament online “there aren’t enough sapphic books.” People, there are thousands of them out there, and I wrote this blog post to help you find them.
Instead of just sharing my own favorite sapphic books (which I did in this blog post, by the way), I thought I would share my top 10 places to find sapphic books by small queer presses and indie authors:
1. Sapphic Book Bingo
I’m running the Sapphic Book Bingo, a year-long reading challenge for readers of sapphic fiction, featuring books by hundreds of authors. Even if you’re not into reading challenges, the weekly blog posts with book recommendations will help you find new authors and new favorite books.
2. I Heart SapphFic BookFinder
TB Markinson and Miranda MacLeod from I Heart SapphFic have put together a searchable database of sapphic books. You can search by genre, trope, setting, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. Right now, the database contains nearly 4,000+ books, and it’s growing every week!
3. Publisher websites
Visit the websites of small LGBT+ presses such as Bold Strokes Books, Ylva Publishing, Bella Books, Bywater Books, Desert Palm Press, BLF Press, Interlude Press, NineStar Press, JMS Books, Launchpoint Press, Triplicity Publishing, Affinity Rainbow Publications, Sapphire Books, Bedazzled Ink Publishing, Flashpoint Publications, Painted Hearts Publishing, and others.
You can check out their new releases, take a look at their backlist, or subscribe to their newsletters.
4. Facebook groups
A lot of readers and authors of sapphic fiction are still on Facebook, and with very few exceptions, you’ll find mostly indie-published books in these groups.
I’m proud of my own Facebook group, which is a safe and positive place for anyone who loves sapphic books (not just my own!). There are also many others, including a group for lesbian audiobooks.
MyQueerSapphFic is the Bookbub of sapphic fiction. Every Friday, they send out a newsletter with sapphic books that are on sale.
6. I Read Indies:
I Read Indies is a collective of indie authors of sapphic literature, run by KC Luck. Every month, they post their members’ new releases on their website and in their newsletter.
7. Literary awards:
The two biggest award programs for sapphic fiction are run by the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) and by Lambda Literary. Their lists of past award winners and finalists are a great starting place for anyone looking for well-written sapphic fiction.
8. Review sites and book bloggers
There are plenty of great reviewers out there who review mainly indie-published sapphic books. A few examples are The Lesbian Review, Sapphic Book Review, and Lez Review Books.
Book blogs such as LGBTQReads, run by Dahlia Adler, and ReadsRainbow, run by Charlotte & Anna, post curated lists of LGBTQIA+ literature. Their book lists also include a lot of mainstream-published books, but they have made an effort to include books by indie authors and publishers, and their book lists are very diverse, which I appreciate.
9. Amazon best-seller charts
I’d be remiss not to mention Amazon since many indie authors are exclusively in Kindle Unlimited, so you can’t find their ebooks anywhere else. The Amazon best-seller charts for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance are filled with sapphic books published by indie authors and small presses.
10. Websites featuring books by authors of color
Authors of color are, unfortunately, still very underrepresented in sapphic fiction. Of course, you will find books written by authors of colors at all the resources I mentioned above, but you’ll have to really look for them.
If you’d like to read more books by sapphic authors of color, check out the Black Lesbian Literary Collection, the Lesfic Author of Color Directory, and K. Aten’s list of BIPOC F/F fiction authors.
Don’t miss the upcoming Pride Month event!
For Pride Month, which starts on June 1, I’ve put together a fun month-long event for readers of sapphic fiction. Every day, readers get to answer a trivia question about sapphic fiction for a chance to win a sapphic book in a giveaway, download a free ebook, or get a book at a discount.
There will be 30 questions, which means 30 free books, discounted books, and book giveaways.
I’ll send a daily reminder email every time a new question is up on my website. Make sure you don’t miss it by signing up for the reminders here. It’s not part of my newsletter or blog, so you won’t get any other emails.
More resources to find sapphic books by small presses and indie authors
There are many more places to find indie-published sapphic books. I couldn’t list them all, and I didn’t mean to exclude anyone. If you are a publisher, reviewer, book blogger, or a reader who knows a great resource to help people find sapphic books from small presses and indie authors, please leave a comment and share a link below!
30 thoughts on “10 best places to find sapphic books”
Thanks for the shoutout and for doing so much for the Sapphic fiction community!
My pleasure! Thanks for many wonderful reviews!
Two small publishers that are almost always at GCLS were left off the list…Affinity Rainbow Publications and Sapphire Books….I know you said and others, but just wanted to continue to remind everyone as we are often overlooked. Thanks!
Thanks, Annette! I’ve added both of them to the list.
Thanks! Much appreciated! You’re awesome.
Another small press is Launch Point Press. We sell eBooks of all our authors directly with 10% off using the code LoveLPPAuthors!
Thank you! I just added them.
Just a friendly reminder that Triplicity Publishing is a lesfic only small publisher. We’ve been in business over a decade, but continue to be mislabeled as a traditional press, which causes us to be left off lesfic lists.
Hi, Alea. I just added Triplicity Publishing to the post.
Thanks so much for this! This is great! If I may, I’d like to throw my review blog site I with this fantastic collection—Women Using Words at https://womenusingwords.wordpress.com/. I’d also like to offer up a few other wonderful suggestions: https://rainbowreflections.home.blog/, https://judeinthestars.com/, https://www.queerlyrecommended.com/about-queerly-recommended/, https://www.queermediareview.com/, https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10160675-currentlyreadingbynat, https://instagram.com/fiction.bks, https://instagram.com/evereadssapphic, https://twitter.com/sapphicworldbkc, https://twitter.com/sapphbooklovers
I know there are many more. These are just a few…
I’ll put together a more complete list of sapphic book reviewers soon because, as you said, there are so many more than I can link to here. Thanks for adding these!
This is a great list! Yes yes to Jude in the Stars!!!!
Thank you so much for the mention ❤️
WLW who loves books is a relatively new FB group (created in Sept 22, now with 2.5k members). The idea for this group being 1 group where readers could get updates across all the sites regardless of Indie or Not, regardless of publishing house or not, audiobook or not etc.
On a DAILY basis you will find updates from BSB, Bella, Ylva, Sapphire Books, DPP, LPP, Bywater Books, Affinity Rainbow Publications, Painted Hearts Publishing, Butterworth Books, and Flashpoint.
In addition to this the group provides daily book reviews from TLR, Judeinthestars, Lesbireviewed, Lezreviewbooks, Rach LH reviews, Womenusingwords, queer_aussie_reviews and queermedia reviews.
It also shares posts from Lambda Literary, Lesfic Bard Awards, I Heart Sapphic and GCLS.
Its a group that aims to satisfy all readers.
Re FB group WLW who love books…
I would also add that every Sunday I post the Amazon.com Top 20 Best Sellers in Lesbian Fiction and the Top 20 Hot New Releases in Lesbian Fiction.
Also two Indie publishers that publish their own book are Erin Wade and Lise Gold.
I’d also like to give a shout out for Lee Haven and the comprehensive work she has been doing….
The Site Lesbian Audiobooks on Facebook is an extention of the website lesbianaudiobooks.com where she is trying to create a database for women loving woman audiobooks.
Due to copyright and GDPR laws in her country she can only list books she’s got consent/permissions for from the author or publisher. So the list isn’t quite complete but steadily growing. (If you are an author with an audiobook you like to get on the list feel free to get in contact with Lee.)
For the people who don’t know who is behind all this I’m Isabelle (aka Lee Haven when I write)
Your list is an excellent resource for new authors! Great information, thanks!!
Thanks for the great article. Don’t forget Bedazzled Ink Publishing and Nuance Books.
I added Bedazzled Ink. Is there a website for Nuance Books?
Thank you for these great resources, Jae! Greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the list Jae. I would like to add that Shadoe Publishing has an extensive list of lesfic authors.
Also, the Lesfic Bard Awards not only has the current winners of their awards but past award winners listed and extensively promotes those winners.
Would be great if you could add Butterworth Books to your list of publishers. We have a great stable of Indie authors working collectively to produce top quality LGBTQ+ literary works.
Is Butterworth a publishing house or a collaboration of indie authors? I’d love to know more about how it works.
Butterworth is a publisher, but Robyn Nyx also runs GlobalWordsmiths (www.globalwords.co.uk) with her wife Brey Willows, which provides author services. I hope I got that all correct.
Butterworth Books is a hybrid – so it’s a publishing house with all the trimmings of professional editing etc, but the authors are Indie and keep all their royalties. We’re a CIC (community interest company) and monies donated by authors fund our free mentoring programme and our Believe programme. For more info, here’s a link to FAQs :-)
(In a similar way as Affinity Rainbow Publications work)
Thanks! Much appreciated! You’re awesome.
Can you add the following publishers?
Wade Write Publishing (for Erin Wade)
Jaded Angels (for Jourdyn Kelly)
Butterworth Book (for Robyn Nyx and co.)
Painted Hearts Publishing (for Char Dafoe and Tiffany E Taylor
and Lise Gold Boooks or LiseGold.com (for Lise Gold)
Thanks for the additions! Some of these are imprints by indie authors, not publishers, and people will be able to find them on the I Read Indies website. But I’ve just added Painted Hearts Publishing, and I’m waiting to hear whether Butterworth is a publisher or a collaboration of indies.