OK, so a recent email conversation really got me thinking about this. Indie vs. traditional publishing. A friend brought up a good point about the stigma associated with Indie writers. Of course, as an Indie writer, I wanted to immediately protest that it’s an outdated view and there’s no reason for it. But is there? Well… yeah.
Here’s the hard cold facts:
- Some Indie writing does suck.
- Some traditionally published writing also sucks.
I have read a lot of comments online that go something to this effect: “I have read [x amount] of Indie books, and I am never going to read one again.” This is so, so sad. There are a lot of truly wonderful Indie authors out there who deserve a chance. *coughs- “Read my book!”*
So maybe here’s the problem: In traditional publishing, agents and publishers weed out a lot of the “bad” stuff. The reader then receives a filtered, though slightly canned, feed of “good” books to choose from. Easy peasy. Only, there’s no guarantee that those books are actually going to be good, or appeal to you. It’s still a bit of a gamble. I know I have read (or started to read) my share of traditionally published books that have then been discarded with a fling of my wrist and a choice exclamation of suckdom. <– Yes, that is a new word. You can add it to your dictionary.
And yeah, I have also started to read many, many Indie novels that didn’t make it past page one. There was actually one in particular that was so bad that the first incredible roadkill-of-a-line has become a quote in my family that signifies the epitome of all suckdom. My four-year-old quotes this book. I have no idea what book it was, or who wrote it. Only that it was bad. Really, really bad. The point is, I feel your pain. I understand the disappointment of settling down for a good read with your cup of tea and favorite pillow, and then being like, “WTF is this???” I get it.
So how do you find good Indie writing? A couple of things: Persistence is one, though I assume a lot of you won’t like that answer. The other is, be an active reader! Review things, for god’s sake. If it sucks, tell people. If it’s awesome, tell people. I know you’re busy and you don’t have time. Neither do I. But honestly, how many seconds does it take to click a star rating at the end of a book? Like, about the time it takes for your cheese toastie to warm up in the microwave. Or less. Think of it as a favor to humanity. If you really can’t be bothered with all that, then find a book blogger you trust. There are tons of people out there blogging genuine, honest book reviews. Find someone who shares your tastes. Problem solved.
Ultimately, your participation will help out Indie authors (like me) with the dreaded Indie stigma. So why should you? Aren’t Indie authors just writers who couldn’t get their books published traditionally? The recycled “bad” authors of traditional publishing?
No! No we’re not! …At least, not all of us. I think it is important for the public to begin to understand the Indie author “thing”. Think of it like this: Authors are entrepreneurs. There are two choices. You can buy a franchise, which, yeah, is a safer investment, and do the cookie-cutter thing, or you can go it on your own, retain complete creative control, and really “own” what you do. No one to answer to except the customer. Personally, I take option two. There might be those “recycled” authors who couldn’t get the franchise, so to speak, but there are a lot of us who never wanted it in the first place. Please don’t just assume that Indie equals “couldn’t make it traditionally”. For an author, Indie can make a lot more sense than traditional publishing. I have read numerous horror stories from traditionally published authors who have felt as though traditional publishing treated them harshly. Without going into all that, suffice it to say that I felt it was a bad business decision to sign over my soul to traditional publishing.
So, there you have it, my little rant. If you take nothing else from this, I hope you will give Indie a chance. And if you agree with what I’ve said, please show your support for Indie authors by taking the time to review their work. Go Team Indie!
(Please feel free to steal my “Go Team Indie” button.)