Indie writers: hang’em all!

The other day, I was browsing a Scifi/Fantasy forum, and I found a rather sharp opinion on indie writers. Some guy basically stated that he refused to even look at a book if it was from an independent writer. His post was quite soundly argued, though, it wasn’t one of these trollish statements we’re used to see on the Internet on a regular basis. He pointed out that indie writers didn’t have professional proofreading and editing, that their cover art was most likely amateurish, and that publishers were a filter protecting the poor vulnerable readers from books which should never be printed/published.

I can appreciate these points. However, it’s totally short sighted, as well as totally oblivious at the evolution of the artistic world, as the music and film industry are starting to experience it.

Short sighted? Even if you blatantly decree that 99% of indie writers aren’t even worth the paper their works are printed on (even for ebooks), there is still a chance to discover a rose on a manure heap. Refusing indie books on principle comes to say that you can’t make discoveries on your own, and even if some of your friends (at the broadest Facebook meaning of the word) read such a shameful book and recommend it because they happened to like it, you will ridicule them, brand them with a scarlet letter and turn your back at them scornfully.

Oblivious at the evolution of our cultural world? Look at the music industry. Before the Internet, record companies were free to decide what would be the next hype. Remember, these publishers are also responsible for airport novels and elevator music 😉

Now, everyone has a chance to have their work broadcasted in the whole world, through Youtube and other similar channels. Does it mean that there are millions of unknown talented artists around? Probably not, but at least, everyone is free to show off their work, and if they’re lucky, to be noticed. It’s an open market. Amazon and iTunes lead the way, deeply changing the distribution landscape. It’s a fact, publishers, as record companies, have to adapt or disappear.

In such a changing world, indie writers are lucky to have a whole world at their doorstep, when in the past they could only sell their self-published books in their area. It’s a different way of seeing things, some just don’t want to handle the letters-manuscripts-rejection-waiting publishers’ cycle, they just want their books out in the market, right now. If you don’t know anyone in the business, it’s tough to get noticed, even if you have the best ideas, but we keep trying, and expose ourselves to the world instead of keeping our manuscripts in a cold drawer.

As indie writers, our main problem is marketing, finding our audience. Of course, our books are probably often in the need of some more polishing, especially if we can’t afford a professional editor, but it doesn’t mean that readers won’t enjoy them.

If a good agent or publisher knocks at my door, I won’t reject them and I’ll even be quite happy, but in the meantime, my books are out there. I keep writing. I keep trying to get them known, to have feedback, and, hopefully, happy readers, even if there aren’t many of them … yet.



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