Follow The Indie Route?

I can understand those who favour the Indie route to publishing and there are two main reasons for that…

Firstly: Who wants to hang around whilst dozens, perhaps hundreds, of agents wait three months to not even bother to read your submissions, query letters and so on? And many publishers seemingly won’t even open mail that doesn’t come from an agent.

Authors tend to be independent thinkers (the literal meaning of “Indie” is independent if you don’t know, as I didn’t until a while back), so it’s hardly surprising that they are not immediately enamoured of the stranglehold that the system has had on their livelihoods.

Secondly: The conventional agent/publisher setup has more and more moved towards making their authors do most of the work anyway and many authors now have to find, arrange and then attend their own book signings, lectures, talks, do their own advertising and more – so why would they want to give away ten to twenty percent of their meagre royalties to someone who’s doing damn all for them?

However, there is also a third reason: The publishing world has changed only in the last few years – very rapidly and dramatically. We are witnessing a revolution that has resulted from the rise of the Internet and the sudden explosion in communications that has engendered a desire for eBooks. What was once a fad, a niche, a trickle, has now almost magically turned into a mighty torrent in which conventional publishing is often close to drowning as it is carried along by the current. Of course, Amazon did much to kick it off, but now many of the big guys are scrambling to climb aboard and some of them have pretty certainly left it too late.

The problem that I see with all that (and it’s where I kind of think the big publishers have shot themselves repeatedly in the foot with their past arrogance and greed, which threatens to make them ultimately irrelevant) is that the Indie scene is not just about independence, but almost a way of life where often only the most diligent and tenacious of its believers are likely to succeed.

The reason I say that is because a whole lot of writers want to do just that: write! They don’t have any desire to be entrepreneurs, salespeople, marketers, advertisers and all the rest. By their very nature, writers are usually creative people and they are mostly happiest when they are just writing in the hope that someone, somewhere, will read what they turn out.

However, I suppose they could always seek a person or company who would be their agent in this and who… Ohw… Goddamn it!


2 Responses to “Follow The Indie Route?”

  1. Great post, Adam!

    Publishing is a fickle business and in most cases you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t (so-to-speak). What I find to be the most disturbing, like you stated, most publishers are placing increased responsibility on the author; marketing, book signings, editing etc. So of course this raises the question: ‘Why would any author bother with a publisher?’ And why would anyone bother with an agent who will take another cut off your profit margin. The big houses are dinosaurs, soon to become extinct. Small houses are no better. Their so-called editors, cover artists and marketing is terrible. Nowadays with the internet and computers you can do it all yourself. I’ve been there, done that and, that’s the direction I’m heading now, self-publishing. I’ve done my homework. I practically do everything all myself as it is, so why not rake in some real money for all your effort. Beta readers are awesome and so are good friends in the business. Just my thoughts.

    Something else that really disturbs me. Amanda Hocking (only an example) made it big on her own. Through determination or by sheer luck, this girl made a fortune. There are others who have recently done the same. So why sell out to a big house when you’ve already got it made? Wouldn’t it be wiser to continue to keep status quo? The publisher that signed her doesn’t care about her accept the money she’ll bring them. And when they’re done, they’ll spit her out. Again, just my thoughts.

    • Hi and welcome. Thanks for commenting.

      I find it really sad that I can’t argue with almost anything you’ve said… and the saddest part of all is that most writers, if they’re honest, really only want to write and the support network that publishers SHOULD be providing with all their clout would help to increase production and assist authors in learning, improving/honing their skills, which would then benefit both the publisher and the author.

      Agents too have a part to play, but so many of them simply don’t seem interested. If you regard the whole writing-agent-publishing thing as a community, a network, then it COULD be successful and beneficial for all, but in the main it sadly just isn’t.

      One thing I do personally think is that most of the people involved are driven by one of two basic motives (or sometimes both) – they are either ONLY interested in near guaranteed short term large profit (which means you need to be famous, or infamous, before you write a word), or they are so far up their own backsides that they can’t see a damn thing for their own personal prejudices that are dictated by outdated and elitist ideas of what THEY regard as “literary merit”.

      Of course, none of this applies to all, by any means, but I think it applies to a majority and without “insider knowledge” what chance has a newbie got in the conventional publishing world?

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