12 self-published LGBTQ books to bring to the beach this summer

Going to the beach this summer? Here are some self-published LGBTQ+ books to pack in your beach bag. Please note that these are primarily romance novels. Most of these titles were selected because they read quickly.

If you’re looking for something sweet, steamy and contemporary

Starting this list strong with the short and raunchy news, so sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Novels are perfect for hitting the beach. They’re quick reads but long enough to give you a satisfying story arc. This one is a romance between a bisexual black woman and her billionaire sugar daddy. It will be perfect for reading while you indulge in that sweet strawberry daiquiri on the sand.

almost maybe by Anna P. is a sweet and fun first romance. It has a bit of insta-love, a gorgeous female lead character who is both shamelessly fat and shamelessly bi. It’s a fairly light read but doesn’t shy away from heavier subjects. This book also features a food truck date, including a food truck specializing in fancy milkshakes. What better way to end your day at the beach?

bottle rocket by Erin McLellan seems like an obvious choice for this week. It’s a 4th of July themed romance and even if you haven’t celebrated the holidays this year, there’s a lot to enjoy in this short, steamy and fun romance about a teacher who reunites with an old flame while she tries to try new things. McLellan is consistently great at sex toy positivity in her books, and all of her main couples are gay.

If you want some kink with your steam

The cover of Anna Zabo's Cinnamon Roll features a man looking to the side wearing a popped collar shirt.  The cover of Queen Takes Rose by Katee Robert features a crown and a rose.  The cover of The Sea Witch by Katee Rovert features a woman standing between another woman and a man.

Cinnamon bun by Anna Zabo is excellent. This one comes in the s/D game and the pain, so be prepared for that. There is also an arospec representation which we like to see. This is part of a multi-author series, so if you like this one, the rest of the series is great fun too! It’s great for the beach because even though it’s part of a series, each book reads pretty quickly and works great as a standalone book.

The bad bad guys Katee Robert’s series offers several interesting options. Katee Robert caught the attention of the traditional publishing side with her dark olympus series, but his self-published books are a great introduction to his work. wicked wicked is a romance novel series rewriting Disney villains as members of a BDSM club. They can be played in any order, but for the sake of variety I will recommend The queen takes rose who is F/F or The sea witch, which is F/F/M. All of her books are just plain fun, making them perfect for the beach.

If you want something that will keep you on the edge of your beach blanket

Layla Reyne's Prince of Killers features a man with his shirt unbuttoned holding his chest and staring at a horizon

Layla Reyne writes a fantastic romantic thriller. prince of killers is the first in his Fog City series with an assassin falling in love with his target. These books are fast-paced with a ton of great LGBTQ+ characters.

If you want some kind of escape but would like to ground yourself in reality

The Sumage Solution by GL Carriger and A Ferry of Bones & Gold by Hailey Turner

A ferry of bones and gold by Hailey Turner begins with the main character getting ready for the holidays and dreaming up drinks with umbrellas. Treat yourself to your own drink-topped umbrellas to bring the whole theme together as you read this one. It’s the start of a seven-book series that’s an unbroken, page-turning adventure filled with an incredible cast of characters.

If you want paranormal but with a lighter touch, try The Sumage Solution by GL Carriger. The entire San Andreas Shifters series is a complete delight. Carriger specializes in hilarious stories filled with charming LGBTQ+ characters. This series can get a little scary, but will always leave you feeling lighthearted. Plus, one of my favorite characters is a newt and you can’t get more beachy than that, can you?

If you want to cut directly into monster territory

Feed by Aveda Vice features a monster blowing smoke into the air.  Ellie Mae MacGregor's The Witch's Wolves features a red-haired witch looking out to the woods.

Another news to try is The Witch’s Wolves by Ellie Mae MacGregor. It’s a sweet, sweet romance between a witch and two wolf-men. Basically, think cottage core mixed with healthy monster coal and you’ve got a good idea. It’s perfect if you want a quick read that puts you at ease. Arguments could be made that this is more of a fall read, but comfort is important all year round.

Feed by Aveda Vice penetrates more firmly into the territory of the monsters and also penetrates into some evil areas. But like the recommendation above, it’s a good, short (albeit less sweet) read and perfect if you want something steamy while you smoke on the beach.

If you fancy something more historical

Sarah Wallace's Letters to Half Moon Street features a desk under a window.  The gentle art of fortune hunting features two people in silhouette and playing cards around them.

KJ Charles excels in queer historical romance. Lily The gentle art of fortune hunting for a solid self-contained romance. His books have humor and heart and a ton of well-researched detail.

Want a little magic to accompany your historical romance? try my book Letters to Half Moon Street. Told entirely by letter, most chapters are fairly short, making it perfect for reading between cooling off in the water or pouring yourself another drink.

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Lucas E. Kelly