Getting over the indie stigma is a daily challenge. Everyone assumes we self-publish because we were rejected by people who know better than to let us publish our books. Clearly, that’s not always the case, as I am one who chose this as my preferred path. I’m too much of a control freak to allow others to tell me what to do with my own ideas. And so what if it had been the result of facing countless rejections? Indie authors have proven their resourcefulness. They have proven there is more than one way to skin a cat. Oops, sorry for that terrible cliche’. But you know what I mean. Bottom line–the indie revolution is here to stay, and I’m happy to be part of it.
Sometimes I’m just too doggone irritated by the snide remarks and obvious biases. Take this blog post written by an indie author about other indies, for instance. He is definitely highlighting some of the negative aspects of being an indie author, or at least the negativity of being associated with other indies who have questionable practices. Some of these things occur by SOME authors that give us ALL a bad name. It in no way should be taken as gospel for ALL indie authors. And I refuse to believe NOBODY likes us.
I will only list the heading of his points without regurgitating his reasoning. You can click on the link and read them for yourself. These are my thoughts on each:
1. The Endless Self-Promotion. I do my best not to self-promote all over the place because that’s just annoying for others AND myself. I have so much more important stuff I like to talk about…like my favorite shows and movies. On the other hand, if I don’t tell people about my work, no one will know. Sometimes I get irritated being in groups where I can only shout out other authors. What about my books, dammit? The same big name authors are mentioned over and over again. I talk about them too. But if all I do is talk about them, how will I spread the word about MY books? Those authors have built-in marketing/promotion. Indies do not. I do, however, agree that the self-promoting abuse by some authors has made it harder on us all.
2. A Lack Of Gatekeepers. My gatekeepers are my beta readers. If they are impressed, I let it roll. If something stinks to them, I rework it until they are satisfied. My OCD also helps with editing. Errors jump out at me like red hot coals. But c’mon. Agents/Publishers/Reviewers think they are the authority on books, and they aren’t. They are the authority on their own opinion of a book. Someone else reading the same book may have a totally different perspective. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on official gatekeeper opinions about our books before publishing them. We can let readers decide their worth. Of course, making sure the editing is good is a must. BUT I have noticed people don’t rag on the errors in books by big name authors. I have yet to read a book without a typo, misspelling, or punctuation error. The only books I see readers complaining about in this regard though are indie books. Even though that is not the case for my books, I think it’s truly unfair for others.
I have also noticed countless authors getting ripped off by paying for “editing” from someone who can’t freaking edit. Most indie authors ARE trying to make sure their work is up to snuff. They keep running into wolves in sheep’s clothing. So-called “editors” need to stop preying on an indie’s desire to be taken seriously. Readers need to stop holding indies to a higher standard than they do Big 6-published authors.
3. The Scamming. Yes, the scamming sucks. People can just be opportunistic jerks. That’s in any industry.
4. Writing As A Business. I don’t know why the hell people assume just because you write about vampires, you’re trying to mimic Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Or if you write BDSM, it’s because 50 Shades is popular. Why can’t it just be because you LOVE the genre and they inspired you to go for it? I saw that Twilight comment in a review of my book, and it peeved me greatly. You don’t know my story. You don’t know my inspirations, motivations, and aspirations. Don’t assume you do. I love vamps. I love writing. I love writing vamps. It is art AND business because I take it seriously. End of story. And for those authors who write certain things to follow market trends–who gives a bleep? Let them be. At least it gives readers more options in the same genres they love. Everybody wins.
5. The Successes. I knew when I took on this risque’ brand that I would not achieve mainstream success, so eff it. I may not make millions or retire from my day job within this decade, but I’m following my passion. So what if I’m inspired by the few that branch out and achieve mega success? Everybody has someone to idolize…at least they should. You need to study the folks who have succeeded in the areas you want to succeed and learn from them. If an indie author made it big–great. I’m going to figure out how they did it. So far, I know they haven’t written the types of books I write. Maybe that’s indicative of the level of success I will reach writing what I do. But it at least provides a certain formula, you know, in case I change my mind and decide to write for mainstream audiences. And for the record, I believe those breakout authors had received countless form rejection letters and lots of people telling them they were not J.K. Rowlings. Good thing they didn’t let that stop them.
***What are your thoughts on Jason’s Top Five Reasons Nobody Likes Indie Authors?***