Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Stand Up For Indies

Stand Up For Indies

I’ve read a couple of blog posts recently from traditionally published authors venting against Indie publishing, basically viewing it as inferior and too much work for the minimal return. As far as they’re concerned, writers should focus on writing, not on marketing, or anything else that takes time away from producing the goods. They ask why should writers pay through the nose for services provided ‘free of charge’ to prospective authors on the trad’ path?

I’m afraid their argument is ill-informed. For a start, beyond their advance and low-percentage returns, where do they think the money from their sales goes? Their book pays the agent and editors, the designers and marketers, and then there’s the sizable chunk taken by bookshops. Indie authors are well aware of how much stores ask in return for shelf space – up to half for what can be a rarely viewed slot in a distant corner.
Where trad’ published authors may be guaranteed access to the best of bookshops, the balloon often bursts after one month when the book is taken off the ‘Just Published’ shelf and sidelined to the back shelves or, worse, to the discount pile. In the indie world, the author’s novel is always reachable - and not just the most recent work, but all previous publications are there to be accessed at the touch of a button.

And what’s the problem with doing your own marketing? I know many indie authors who are now masters at it, managing to portion off their marketing time without detrimentally affecting their writing time. All right, they may not have the resources for major poster or radio campaigns, but the broad world of social media provides a network that can be far-reaching with the minimum of financing.
They also blathered on about the inferior quality of writing in the Indie world – that there’s a solid reason they’re not traditionally published. I accept that I’ve encountered badly written and badly edited (if at all) indie novels along the way, but such occurrences are in the minority, especially now where authors know that word of mouth dictates that quality wins the day. Which is why indie authors go to so much trouble to exploit the services of beta-readers, professional designers, formatters, and editors, ensuring their product is the best it can be.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s wonderful that we no longer have to suffer the long wait to be accepted by an agent or publisher, and that our stories are making their way to the world at large. We’ve cut out the middle elites and are making our way independently, collaborating to provide so many readers with quality writing they might otherwise not have seen. We write, we edit, we market – constantly pushing against the boundaries, knocking down walls, bringing our work to the people. Long may it continue – it’s high time Indies got the support they deserve.

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