A friend of mine, Curry Walls—a real Go-Getter—has taken it upon himself (with the help of others) to put on an “independent book festival,” September 23 – 25, 2010, in Studio City, California, to help the self-published writer. Curry, along with René Ashton and Jackie Olson, have put together this conference/convention to allow those not traditionally published to sell and network and have their books entered into a contest and be judged by some big names.
The IBC’s stated mission is: “…to enhance the personal and professional realms of self-publishers everywhere, regardless of age, gender, culture or economics. Through multi-media sources, we are here to encourage, inspire, and educate and to help further an evolving community that supports the creativity and passion of writers everywhere.”
Though I’ve self-published (Sleepwalkers, AuthorHouse, 2001), I don’t follow the self-publishing circuit, so don’t really know much about it, but Curry and company’s effort looks impressive. In fact there are some well-known names as IBF judges: Lori Perkins (at least I thought she’d been around for a while, but her blog said “another new agent”…), Paul Levine, Andrea Somberg, Michael Larsen, Nancy Ellis, as well as a host of publishers, like Dragon Moon Press, and other media organizations, like The National Book Examiner. Authors select a Gold, Silver, Bronze package, or the less expensive Al La Carte package, to attend. Agents, producers, and publishers, oh my, are attending, Curry tells me. It should be quite an interesting get together, and I applaud those who are attending and giving the time of day to the self-published author. They need it.
Self publishing really has gotten a bad rap over the years, whether or not some can justify that rap—but bullying is, well, bullying, whether high-brow or not. Many have chosen to self-publish for whatever reason. Some have been extremely successful by it, but most…have not.
Same could be said of traditional publishing.
The fact is writing is writing…and as many people and organizations are finding, the traditional writing model is changing. There’s a lot more self-publishing going on, and lot more media upon which to put those books. Yes, perhaps more self-published books are not as good as the traditionally published, but perhaps Curry and the IBF can help change some of that. Perhaps it can give self-published writers a better standing in the community, instill a better sense of responsibility in them for their work, the role of better editing (or at the very least, another set of eyes), better cover design. Et cetera. There isn’t one book out there that could not benefit from professional editing, cover design, or any other facet of publishing that traditional publishers use. Maybe in self-publishing it’s harder to find those things, or trust the outlets pushing their services, because, really, no one is looking out for you. But there are places you can go to, like AuthorHouse.
And, now, perhaps, the IBF.