Why go indie?
This question was asked in one of the writer’s loops I belong to, and I thought it might make a good post, since I don’t know that I really spelled it out in any previous blogs, nor really put it all together in one place. Apologies for all this “Indie This/Indie That,” and I do promise to post some other topics, soon, but here, I present my response to a writer’s loop question, in its near entirety, plus-or-minus some:
Why did I go indie?
Well, I got tired of banging my head on the brick wall of the traditional route. Tired of all the “have-tos” thrown around like so much confetti at a New Year’s Eve party. Tired of the attitudes of many of the Gatekeeper’s out there (not all, but I’ve been at the receiving end of smirks, disaffection, arrogance—an industry professional picking up my one-book-at-the-time, casually flipping it over in their hands with obvious prejudicial attitude [most of you surely know what I’m talking about—the cover clearly not a “New York job” kinda thing] before placing it back down on the pile without even opening it, and I was this person’s driver from the airport, so they “knew” me, but this person didn’t even have enough energy to crack open the book—as I’m standing directly beside him/her); sure, you get that anywhere, but at least by this route, I don’t have to deal what that particular aspect of things…
I got tired of the wasted time.
It’s not that I harbor anything “against” these people, in and of themselves, it’s just that it’s a different world out there these days, with everyone grabbing for work, trying to stay afloat, trying to remain germane and “important” in their own industry (at least that’s what I hear talked about, but I don’t really think this is a problem)…and you throw into this mix the apparent proliferation of what I perceive as growing attitudes where writers seem to be there for the Gatekeeper’s, where authors are no longer grown, but plucked with expectations of immediate ripeness.
I just don’t want to be part of that, if there’s another route.
And, now…there is. I mean there really is! And it’s finally gaining acceptance. At the publishing house level, if you believe all the ground-level noise, there no longer seems any real respect for the writer…for the awe of their ideas, their words. It’s all about money and profit and immediate financial-gratification. Sure, I’d love to have a traditional publisher for many reasons (and not, for other reasons)…but everything’s so frigging “weird” now. Agents have to be pickier because publishers are being weird-pickier because of the “sure-fire” hits requirements. Can’t really go that far out on a limb, anymore. Heaven forbid you have a “thinky” story that makes someone consider their world, their soul, rather than rehashing yet another formulaic plot with different plot apparel. Sure, nothing so much against those kinds of books (I really don’t have any)…but at the exclusion of other material, yes, I do take exception. My ex-agent thought highly of my efforts, but because NY didn’t, we had to part ways after 4 1/2 years. My ex-agent who is a huge reader, has been in the business a long time, has all the contacts, thought sure [as well as any agent can think “sure” in this biz, in that, nothing’s truly a “sure” thing, however, this has a damn good chance at being picked up kinda sure…] certain “elements” would take on my work…then didn’t. Sure, you could say all kinds of things, one way or the other, including my work just plain sucks…but I still see “sucky” stuff getting traditionally published. I don’t really like to honk my own horn, but my wife told me the other day that one of her Facebook friends who’d read ERO thought it should be on the bestseller list. Wow, do you know how that feels to hear something like that when you’ve been laboring in the damp dark for so damned long? Getting dissed by agents and publishers and even some of your peers who have been published and made to feel as if you’re not fricking worthy? Questioning your own worth? Damn right I’m gonna honk that horn! Thank you, whoever that was! But, that’s a reader. A buyer of books. A human at the distant end of the publishing food chain. I often say that if one person feels one way, you know others do (or will), too.
So, go ahead, define “sucky.”
Additionally, I’m older than when I started. I no longer have the time I did when I started out.
I also have stories where timelines have gone against me, in that I can only extend JFK’s age so far into his 90s in the present-day alternate history, or the effects of 9/11 in the story (had to severely change that plot line in The Uninvited).
I’ve read that many readers don’t care who publishes a book, just that it’s “good,” however that’s defined. The “new indie” has far more flexibility than the “old indie” of plunking down $3K for a POD book, or the “old, old indie” of plunking down far more, then getting a garage-load of hardcovers you could foundation a house with (yes, you can end a sentence thusly). I love the flexibility, and, yes, as others mentioned, the control. It’s just another way of doing business, and I have several books still to release, and, now, several out there.
I love having the control for the cover, ooh, boy do I! And when you find cover artists like Karen Duvall and Lon Kirschner, formatters like Pam Headrick, out there willing and qualified to work with you, man, you just wanna write more just so you can work with these kinds of people again and again! It’s actually a fun process, it really is, but very time-consuming, especially for creating the physical books [v. ebooks]. Oh, but when you finally get them into your sweaty little hands….
And…I now have books (plural!) out there…an actual growing body of work…to answer the question I’ve frequently received over the years: “When’s your next book coming out?” I will soon also have an answer to “When is your next ‘Sleepwalkers‘ book coming out? (hopefully by year’s end).”
And…I no longer feel rushed. Now I write…and when it’s ready, I publish. I still have much promo and marketing to do, but my plan was and is to get these already finished books out there, then promote the hell out of them. Working a full-time day job, there are only so many hours in the day—and that’s another thing about choosing to go indie, but there’s no rush to “make it big,” or profitable in the first two weeks or you’re sunk! It’s up to you how much time effort and profit you wanna make, unless, of course, something catches a tasty wave, and off it goes on its own. Hang ten! The strangest event can launch already published indie books into the national forefront. They’re also out there forever; no one’ll pull them from retailing because they’re not making billions.
There will always detractors out there. Sure, my arguments can be ripped a new one, and so can other arguments against mine. It’s not about finding fault with things…it’s about finding another way and finding the positive in one’s life.
To be a writer is to write. To be a writer is to be read.
This is all just my opinion. I am who I am and have done what I’ve done.
I’m quite happy with my decision!
- ERO – Trade Paperback Now Available! (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Wailing Loon (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Going Indie – What I’ve Learned (So Far) (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Going Indie – What I’ve Learned (So Far) – Part 2 (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Going Indie – What I’ve Learned (So Far) – Part 3 (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Going Indie – What I’ve Learned (So Far) – Part 4 (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Going Indie – What I’ve Learned (So Far) – Part 5 (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Going Indie – What I’ve Learned (So Far) – Part 6 (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- House Of The Fatted Penguin (http://tomdup.wordpress.com/)