Two of my new blogging buddies–Bunnygirl and Zoe Winters–have got me all fired up. I feel just like Pat Benatar, only without the big hair and mullet backup band. Not that I’d turn down a mullet backup band right now. I’d love to have one following me around everywhere I go…but I digress.
Wednesday’s post led to quite a discussion of traditional vs. independent publishing. Actually, Zoe’s been talking about it all week long and Bunnygirl stirred things up at Mr. Nathan Bransford’s blog last week with this comment:
What I find interesting is how many people think the only reason to write is to be published, and that publication legitimizes ones efforts somehow.
Why is that, exactly? I suppose it’s validation. Before a book hits the shelves, smart people with pretty degrees on their walls have all had to give it a thumbs up. That’s gotta feel pretty good. But what makes them do so? Artistic merit? Puh-leeze! You only have to browse your local Barnes and Noble to know that’s not necessary. Nope, the publishing industry is just that…an industry. It exists to make money. Peruse any agent’s blog and they’ll tell you that what they’re looking for is What Will Sell. That’s cool. That’s their job. But it means there’s a lot of good writing out there that’s being overlooked, and that sucks. In fact, it fucking sucks like hell.
That’s why so many of us have turned to self-publishing, a world where there’s no money to be had and even less respect.
Bunnygirl: POD and e-pub get a bad rap because there is so much awful and unedited dreck out there. To publishers’ credit, at least when they put out something bad, it’s well-edited for common errors. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any gems out there in indie publishing formats and I think a movement is growing to support more indie work.
Zoe agreed, adding:
Indie Bands and filmmakers are seen as “cool.” Indie authors are seen as “writers not good enough to get a publisher.” It’s time that perception was overturned.
Exactly! So how do we do that?
1. Write well, edit well, and polish. Let an honest crit partner check it out. Listen to that feedback and polish your work again. If it isn’t good enough to submit to an agent or an editor, then it’s not good enough to put into your readers’ hands.
2. Get your words out there. Post excerpts of your stuff on your blog or website. Offer free e-books and free audiobooks, even if you’ve got hard copies for sale.
3. Get your name out there. Submit your work to e-zines and other websites that support talented unknown writers, whether or not there’s a paycheck involved.
4. Support those e-zines and websites by reading them regularly and by spreading the word about them. Support and encourage other good indie writers. Comment on their blogs, buy their books, tell others about them. Let’s build a community.
Personally, making lots of money has never been a goal of mine, and it’s certainly not the reason I decided to try for publication in the first place. I just want my work to be read by as many people as possible. I love the feeling I get when someone has been moved or entertained by my words. That is why I write. It’s the only validation I need. If that’s why you write, then chime in here. Let your voice be heard.