Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Right this way! Don’t be afraid! Right behind this curtain lies the answers to all your….Indie….questions? Okay, so today’s Carni post asks the age old, well not so age old, maybe ten year old question, ‘Why Indie?’ And many of you may or may not really care why maybe because you’re the consumer but wait! Just hear me out!
You see, I am a Carni, an independently published author who ‘smells of cabbage and has small hands’. Well, I don’t own the latter traits. I’ll be honest, I just couldn’t stop myself from making the Mike Myer’s reference but I am an Indie. Now, I’m new to this whole game. I don’t really have a lot of experience and I am not a best seller, not yet, anyway. *wink, wink* But I have done my fair share of reading, novels and research alike.
When I decided to write my book, it never occurred to me how the industry works. The movies give a gorgeously, grandiose idea of what it means to become a published author but like so many movies, their facts are not facts at all. We can’t fall in love the first day we meet someone, forensic results don’t make it to the detective’s desk in a day, not everyone in the South is a horse riding, out-house using hick, and authors don’t get published by the first publisher they send their novel to.
In fact, I’ll give you the lowest low down of how it really goes down. Author writes amazing manuscript. They miss hair cuts, don’t eat right, become allergic to the sun, and all to pour their heart, their soul into their words. Then, voila’! This is where the movies get it wrong. They don’t create six packages worth of five hundred sheets of paper, set it nicely into a crisp manilla envelope, and send it to the big six. ie. Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Penguin, etc. No, their beautiful piece of art sits in their hands while they send e-mail after e-mail after e-mail of what we call an ‘agent query’ to literary agencies across the great United States, praying that they not only don’t get an ‘insta-rejection’ but that they also don’t get a, ‘Sorry, but your work lacks talent’ or ‘Sorry, we aren’t accepting new clients’ or ‘Blech! You just plain old suck!’ sort of response. Which, by the way, all authors receive. And we don’t just receive one or two rejections. Oh, ho, hooo! No! We receive them in droves. And it does something to your heart when you get them.
I think I read on Stephenie Meyer’s website, or maybe I heard it in an interview of hers, I’m not entirely sure, but she said that she received a rejection letter that was incredibly insulting. They told her that her writing was basically not worth anything but as we all know, that agent was stupidly, ridiculously, outrageously wrong. It was proven in her record sales. The American youth likes her stuff. Duh.
Which brings me to the point of the blog, ‘Why Indie?’
Okay, so, basically, like most corporate machines, the big six and a lot of well-educated agents are, unfortunately, completely out of touch with America and even Europe. This is a common attribute amongst many big companies and big government. They think they know us better than we know ourselves, which is, of course, ludicrous. I think Joe Konrath said it best in a blog he wrote back in March with fellow author Barry Eisler, “It reminds me of the golden age of television. You had three choices, ABC, NBC, or CBS. They dictated what you would watch. But that model no longer works for TV. Now there are hundreds of channels. And it no longer works for books, either. If you look at the current Top 100 bestsellers on Kindle, twenty-seven of them are self-published. Many of those authors were rejected by NY. Yet consumers are showing us what they want to read, and voting with their wallets.” (You have to read this blog. Firstly, because these two men explain ‘Why Indie?’ better than I ever could and it’s also the reason I chose Indie in the first place.) Ebooks and Self-Publishing – A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath
Anyway, but this isn’t the only reason the big six are considered antiquated. The big six are paper pushers, we all know this, but there is no denying the fact that people are no longer reading paper. People are reading electronically. Now, if the big six had jumped off their stubborn wagon and recognized the fact that people are changing with the technology they would have invented ereaders long before Amazon or Barnes and Noble ever did. Why? Because that’s what most money driven businesses do. They change the nature of their companies to fit their consumers. This isn’t the case with the big six. They actually think that the consumers should fit themselves around their needs instead of vice versa. It’s just such an unnatural idea. Which is why someone like Joe Konrath shut down a half million dollar offer from a big publisher in order to go Indie. He’s not an idiot. He knows where the money is. Paper is no longer the norm. That isn’t to say that there are those who prefer paper. Paper will always exist, but as Konrath so deftly points out in his blog, paper is no longer the norm.
So, the hundred million dollar question. Why push yourself through thousands of nearly impossible check points, to land at an agent’s doorstep, only to wait while they wade through miles of red tape to get a publisher to look at you, and if they accept you, wait a year before your book hits physical or virtual shelves, when you can just do it yourself?
Many say it’s because traditional publishers’ hands reach farther than anyone could possibly reach on their own. Which, for the most part, is true when it comes to physical shelves but let me ask you this? Where are the physical shelves, anymore? Borders is closing over two hundred stores. Barnes and Noble has the Nook, Amazon, the Kindle, Apple, the iPad. Physical shelves are now the minority.
Also, traditional publishers do little to no marketing for their authors. They expect the authors to do that. So, tell me, where’s the advantage?
Which is why I never sent one query out.
Many think I’m insane and maybe I am but honestly, I’m not afraid of a little extra work. I’m going to roll up my sleeves, write to my amazing book bloggers (whom, by the way, are the reason I sell books) and I will constantly stay aware of the industry and what my readers want.
And I will write. Books. Loads and loads of books…that I think will speak to the youth not what the publisher’s think the youth wants to read.
Plus, seeing the ‘Amanda Hocking/HP Mallory’ effect take place right in front of my eyes and reading Joe Konrath’s and Barry Eisler’s witty repartee was enough to convince me to try on my ‘Indie’ hat, which, by the way, fits quite nicely right now. Looks really good on a couple of others, too.
Try these mad hatters on for size,