The first surprise being just how difficult it still is for an indie published writer to be taken seriously: that the stigma of the ‘vanity press’ is still so prevalent. I suppose that I have been living in a jolly, bouncy little bubble this last two years when it comes to the indie press movement – as many of you know I am part of a vibrant, dedicated and above all, professional community of indie press writers.
Times have changed: the quality of indie writing is a serious challenge to the traditionally published works – and the big publishing houses know this. Authors are increasingly turning down contracts from the publishing houses to go indie. It’s no longer about being indie because nobody wants your work, or your work is rubbish, it’s about being indie as a choice – sadly there appears a large part of the reading community who is still failing to understand this.
It’s such a shame that some readers / bloggers are locking the indie writer out without consideration. I can understand a preference for traditionally published work (after all you know right from the start that it has passed a certain quality control) but that doesn’t mean you are going to like / love all the traditionally published works. A case in example is the Twilight Saga; traditionally published and yet loved and vilified equally by reviewers.
There was a time, and I grant you, not too far in the past, when ‘self-pubbed’ was not as it is now; a time when manuscripts were banged out, poorly edited, poorly considered and often poorly crafted – this is not how it is now. A lot of indie writers hire private editors, have a team of Beta Readers and employ graphic designers; taking their work, their craft and their art seriously.
Of course there are still those authors out there who write and press the button, but as the adage goes, “cream rises” and to be honest I think this kind of ‘self pubbing’ is pretty evident from first glance.
Today when you click onto the Amazon Bestsellers, you have a serious difficulty being able to identify the traditionally published from the indie published. The reader ratings indicate no difference; there are many indie pressed books with 4 or 5 star ratings averaged over a significant readership.
So a special plea to reviewers, don’t lock the indie writer out at the submission stage. Let them send you their e-mail, check out their Amazon page and webpage and then assess whether or not it is of the quality that you might want to read. You never know, you might just discover the next hidden gem.