Columns > Published on August 11th, 2020

Best Self-Published Horror Books of 2020 So Far

The self-published category of horror fiction can be tough to navigate. There are a lot of talented authors who consistently put out quality horror. These individuals know the value of good editing, well designed book covers, and the importance of interior formatting. Here are my recommendations for the best self-published horror books of 2020 so far:

1. "The House on Abigail Lane" by Kealan Patrick Burke

This book takes the treads off the well worn soles of haunted house tropes and gives them new traction. In a "found footage" sort of way, Kealan Patrick Burke narrates the story of a house on Abigail Lane with a documentary style flavor. Readers will get a straightforward telling of what has happened to the people who dare to cross over the threshold into this unusual property. It's the indifferent storytelling that makes this one so unsettling.

Buy The House on Abigail Lane from Bookshop or Amazon


2. "Unboxed" by Briana Morgan

Morgan tells a compelling, modern story of a couple who are navigating their relationship through the lens of social media. One of the characters in the story is a popular YouTube star who is desperate to reach 1 million followers. He will literally do anything, including buying something dangerous off the dark web just to impress fans and level up his credibility. The stage play format makes this easy to read in less than an hour, but the chills will linger long after.

Buy Unboxed from Bookshop or Amazon


3. "Seeing Things" by Sonora Taylor

A young girl spends a few days with her uncle in a sleepy beach town away from the pressures of her parents and her awkward transformation into a woman. Along with physical changes to her body, she begins to develop a paranormal ability as well. This new found "gift" comes in handy when she runs across some small town mysteries and her uncle's secretive past. 

Buy Seeing Things from Bookshop or Amazon


4. "Criterium" by Tyler Jones

An emotional story depicting the consequences of generational substance abuse told through the storytelling voice of a young narrator. Readers will find that Tyler Jones' debut novella is a clear indicator that he has the writing chops to be successful in this industry for a long time; amassing a loyal fanbase. It's unfathomable how much emotional impact Jones is able to extract from so few pages. Highly recommend. 

Buy Criterium from Amazon


5. "White Pines" by Gemma Amor

As far as self-published authors go, Gemma Amor is among the most successful. Her previously released short story collections and Stoker nominated novella come highly recommended by just about every horror fiction reviewer in the business. White Pines is her first, full-length novel, and it does not disappoint. This story hits on many genre favorites: cults, interesting female protagonist, dark-fantasy elements, and an unpredictable outcome. 

Buy White Pines from Bookshop or Amazon


6. "The Neon Owl" by Chad Lutzke

Chad Lutzke is a household name. If you haven't heard of him, consider learning what everyone else already seems to know. Lutzke stories are what readers want out of books (and life). The Neon Owl is a departure from Lutzke's normal "emotional horror flavor" as he dips his toe into dark comedy. The characters are memorable and full of life; the dialog hilarious. As soon as the mystery presents itself, you won't be able to put this one down. 

Buy The Neon Owl from Bookshop or Amazon


7. "Dead Girl Blues" by David Sodergren

Readers looking for a pitch-black, brutal, crime-noir novel need to look no further than Dead Girl Blues. I admit: I did not see this one coming and it blindsided me. David Sodergren has two other self-published books that I loved and I was expecting that style of storytelling, but this one is different (in a good way). I could not stop reading. Every chapter presents a new hook to keep turning the pages. 

Buy Dead Girl Blues from Amazon


8. "Nightfall: Nightmareland Vol. One" by Daniel Barnett

This is book one of a dark fantasy, horror adjacent series that is showing tons of potential. Daniel Barnett has a unique storytelling voice that is able to manufacture so much atmosphere and drama—perfectly setting the stage for the books to come in the Dreamland Series. Horror fans that also like to tuck into magical realism and dark fantasy will feel right at home in this universe.

Buy Nightfall from Bookshop or Amazon


9. "Hunger Pangs" by Scott J.Moses

In this debut short story collection, Scott J. Moses impresses his audience with a flare for supernatural horror and tales of grief and loss. With a baker's dozen of stories here, there is story or two that will stick the landing for a wide variety of readers who enjoy genre-specific subjects. This was my first time reading this author and my personal favorite aspect were the author's notes before each story. I found those to be especially helpful in helping me connect to the stories. 

Buy Hunger Pangs from Amazon

All nine of these books could stand as the gold standard in what is available to readers in the self-published market for horror fiction. Once you begin to discover these "hidden gems" it's impossible to go back to only reading mainstream or traditionally published books. Self-published and indie published books are where it's at in 2020. Trust your Mother.

About the author

Sadie Hartmann, “Mother Horror” reviews horror fiction for Cemetery Dance Online and Scream Magazine. She is a co-owner of a curated, horror fiction book subscription company called Night Worms. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, kids and Frenchie.

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