We’re on the cusp of a brave new world, folks! You’ve heard about the changes, read the blogs and articles, tracked the success stories and stats. Indie Publishing is here to stay. Thank you so much Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. But most of all, I would like to give a great big huge thank you to New York and the Traditional Publishing racket. Without you this never would have been possible.
That’s it. I’m coming out. After giving it careful consideration, weighing my options, sending out bunches of submissions, attending conferences, reading those blogs and testimonials, and most importantly writing for the past 26 years and completing 8 novels, I, Merry Farmer, am issuing the following definitive statement: I’m going to be an exclusively Indie Author.
Ah! The answer to that question is at the very heart of who I am and what I want from this world.
Indie Publishing is the most suitable option for me. It fits my personality and my goals for my life and my writing. Because for me writing is not about fame or money, book deals or prestige. For me, writing is about love. Once upon a time, many years ago, before Indie Pub was a thing, I remember saying to my friend that I didn’t really care so much if I was ever published as long as I could give my stories to a few people to read and they liked them. Sharing my novels is a way of sharing myself.
Okay, maybe that makes me a hippie-dippie Writer, and maybe there’s an element out there who doesn’t take something as emotionally based as my approach seriously. I can definitely see some people out there thinking that if you don’t have the drive or ambition or patience to grab the bull that is Traditional Publishing by the horns then you’re an untalented hack. Maybe there’s a correlation in some minds that says if you can’t stay the course and send out hundreds of submissions until you beat some poor agent and then editor into submission to be traditionally published then you’re just not that good.
Balderdash, I say!
Here is my biggest problem with the world of traditional publishing. It’s just so dang subjective! Okay, yes, I know there are such things as good writing and bad writing. Frankly, I’ve seen some really, REALLY bad writing between the pages of a book that I wasted money buying in a bookstore. I’ve seen some dreadful novels that somehow won awards. And I’ve read some wonderful things by friends and fellow Writers who couldn’t get the publishing industry to take notice. This has always bothered me. No, to say it bothers me is an understatement. It pisses me off.
Which brings me to the other reason I’m firmly on Team Indie.
I won’t say I have a problem with authority, but I have a problem with authority. I don’t feel the need to thumb my nose at them or to fight the Man or anything, but I also don’t feel intimidated by authority. Not even my bosses at work. Maybe it’s my aristocratic roots. Maybe it’s because I was raised as a poor kid in a town of rich people who ran everything but were still complete jerks. I only see someone as an authority, in a position of superiority to me, if they prove that they are worthy of my respect. And frankly, when I hear publishers talk about the hundreds of manuscripts they reject every day while rolling their eyes, and when I hear them say they can’t give feedback on every submission they get (not even one sentence? really?) it irks me. I have tried for years and years, really I have, but I just can’t convince myself that respect is a two-way street in this industry. The people at the top are very happy on their pedestals looking down at the struggling masses in distain. And dude, that’s just not right! I have never wanted to be published so badly that I was willing to subject myself to that subtle form of bullying.
Okay, maybe it’s not my aristocratic roots. Maybe it’s my smoldering proletariat roots.
Indie Publishing makes me weep with joy and relief because it is the true test of a Writer’s mettle. Direct to consumer, baby. Forget the middle man. Let the proletariat be the judge! If you’ve written something genuinely good that people want to read, people will read it. You don’t have to get anyone in New York City’s permission for those people to read it. And if your baby sucks like a Hoover, then you can hold your head up high and say “Those ignorant f@#%ers! People are such ignoramuses! They don’t see quality prose when it’s right in front of their face!” Of course you’d be wrong, but you don’t have to grow a stack of rejection letters pointing it out. You can continue on, safe in the assurance of your own superiority, content that you came, you saw, you distributed your work as best you could, and it’s everyone else’s fault.
Of course, if you’re savvy and care about writing the best book possible, Team Indie means that you can pour your blood, sweat, and tears into your work, hire a freelance editor, own your baby, and set it free into the world with the knowledge that you have CREATED and nobody could stop you from declaring it to the world. Did I mention hiring a freelance editor? Because that’s important. The only people who I have unwavering respect for in the industry thus far are the brave few professional editors who may very well be swimming against the big fish stream by offering their services to we, the new generation of Writers. Sure, they’re doing it to make extra money, but I can’t help but feel that at this stage of the game it’s just a little bit of a leap of faith for them. I also can’t help but feel that these freelance editors are the ones who will be in the best position in years to come as Team Indie becomes loud enough to make Team Trad nervous.
So there you have it, folks. I carry the banner for Team Indie and I carry it proudly. Because my goal is not to be Nora Roberts. My goal is to be Merry Farmer, to share my enthusiasm for the stories in my head and heart, and to do it on my terms. That’s all.
P.S. Since crafting this blog post I have decided that I would also like to support the Team Indie cause by becoming a Freelance Editor myself. Please check out the Freelance Editing Services tab at the top of my blog page for details.