There’s been a lot of negative light shed on the indie community lately, from a range of sources. I’m not going to source them here, because I refuse to give them the attention they crave for being the ones to “speak out.” Suffice it to say I’ve read the blogs, reviews, articles, and I’m disappointed in both parties.
What I am going to do is give my take on this negativity, and provide my own look into the industry. Please know that any use of “you” or “your” is strictly in the general sense, as it’s easier to use that rather than “an author” over and over again.
First, let’s take the outsider looking in. I’ve read many a hate post trashing indie authors. We don’t take pride in our work. We don’t put time or effort into each manuscript. Writing is sloppy, full of mistakes, unoriginal. We are too lazy to get published the “real” way, or, our writing isn’t good enough for the Big Six. Anyone could write a book, so what makes indies so special? All we’re looking for is a quick buck.
Let’s clear up a few things.
Writing in any form, for any publication preference, is hard work. Some authors put more work into their craft than others, yes, but this is true for those on both sides. There are fantastic indie books and incredible traditional books. There are also awful indie books and horrible traditional books. No one book will please every audience and reader. No one book will be free of errors. No one cover will be considered perfect by all. Get over it.
Anyone can write a book. This much is true. But why does this condescending statement only apply to indies? I can think of plenty of traditional novels where I thought that same thing. Anyone can write a book – and you know what? Anyone who does write a book deserves credit for being willing to put their work out there for the entire world to see and judge – traditional or indie.
Authors can’t get published the “real” way. True, some can’t. And false, some can and turn down representation due to demands to change their work to fit popular demand. Some authors choose to take total control over their work and represent themselves; others are perfectly fine adapting their books to fit demands. And both ways are perfectly fine. But, let’s face it. The traditional publishing industry is failing. To dispute this is to be in complete denial. Something needs to change for it to keep up with the way the writing industry as a whole is growing, and instantly snubbing indie authors as sub-par is not the way to succeed.
Second, let’s take the insider looking out. The indie author who can’t stand another’s success. Famous authors are stuck up. Popular indie authors only write fad crap that sells. Traditionally published authors are just in it for the money and don’t understand real passion for writing.
Let’s clear up a few things.
It’s hard to be an indie author. It takes a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of frustration. Some “make it” and some don’t, or some faster make it than others. Those who find success have found it in one or many ways, and it doesn’t matter what those ways are. The authors do not deserve to be torn down simply because another is still on the bottom rung. Coming up with all sorts of conspiracy theories as to that success (because clearly that author doesn’t actually have talent) is juvenile and petty.
Fads sell. It’s just a fact. If you (general “you”) want in on the cashflow generated from those fads, then write books you know will fit with those particular audiences. If you don’t want to write what’s popular, then just do you – and know that in doing so, you are willingly putting yourself on the outskirts. That is your choice and not anyone else’s, so don’t get huffy when your book isn’t on the best-sellers list.
Big Six authors are just in it for the money. Says who? Does getting a higher paycheck mean that person is less worthy of respect? To anyone who says yes, I say you’re in the wrong business. I’m not sure why so many indie authors take another’s success as a personal insult, but again, I say – get over it.
So where does this leave us?
It doesn’t matter how you’re published. It doesn’t matter if someone makes more money than you or has more fans or gets more exposure or, god forbid, has a longer line of readers at their table for a signing. You do your job and let others do theirs free of your hate, jealousy, and/or bitterness.