Thoughts About the Reception of Indie Authors

As the market for e-publishing and easy access to doing so independently is constantly emerging in today’s age, it’s hard to for people to consider any inequality of any sorts when really us indie authors have the upper advantage over authors who are signed to a publishing house.  We have more control over the content of our books, we have control over its distribution, we get to keep more of the money that’s made from it, etc.  However, based on my observations throughout the past few months of being an indie author, there are also some negative side effects that come with being an indie author that’s more so of how we’re viewed and received by the general public, in comparison to our not-so-indie counterparts.

Platforms like Smashwords and Amazon Kindle are great for publishing and distributing books and I’ve said overtime, they’ve been very helpful to me when I released A Moment’s Worth.  Unfortunately, the only disadvantage is that even when they make the book available, they make it very clear that they cannot market it.  That is something the author has to do on their own.  They offer tips on how to go about what is definitely the hardest part of being an indie author, but other than that, unless if the book becomes a miraculous success, the author is on their own.  (You can therefore see why I’ve been trying to get people I already know to read my book and help spread the word about it.)

I remember explaining this to my dad, and he found it very odd that the platforms who’ve helped you become a published author won’t assist in any way with the marketing aside from giving you a few tips that may or may not work.  Honestly, who can blame him?  I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that marketing is the hardest part of being an indie author, and I therefore would like to think that this can be improved by having representatives from these platforms actually check out what books are being published through them, and take the initiative to give them the time in the spotlight that they deserve.  Such platforms- in particular Amazon- are already global giants in their given respect anyway, so I therefore don’t see why this wouldn’t be possible.  We’re indie authors, so odds are that we’re not going to have a PR team backing us up.  Not everyone is as famous as J.K. Rowling.

It’s not even just the platforms where I feel the absence of acknowledgment, but it’s outside that circle to; in the general public.  You look through the weekly New York Times Bestseller list and see which books are making it on there in their respective categories (middle grade books, young adult books, etc.) and you’ll notice… even in a time where independent publishing is becoming more accessible and doable, they don’t have a section for indie authors!  We’ve definitely reached a time where such a category can exist on the list.  It’s as if indie authors are being told a similar message to the publishing platforms; that they will not acknowledge your book’s existence unless it does miraculously well.  I personally think the curators of the lists should create a new sector specifically oriented for independently published books.  It’s no good leaving them in the dark when more and more of them are being published by the day.  Honestly, an indie artist has a much more open chance of charting the iTunes Charts than an indie author making the New York Times Bestseller list.

Then there’s also the case of people thinking that indie authors aren’t legitimate authors, because of the fact that we don’t have the essentials- editors, PR teams, agents- that otherwise accompany such on their journeys.  There are people who think that just because we’re not signed with a publishing house makes us nowhere near as legit as the authors who are.  There are people who think that because we published our books on our own aren’t real books.  And to people who think that, hear me when I say that that’s a load of bull$#!%.

We are just as legitimate as any author you’ll find coming out of your nearby bookstore.  Just because we’re limited in resources or do things a little differently than the mainstream authors doesn’t mean we’re any less legit.  We have copyright pages and About the Author pages.  We’re being distributed through forums alongside our mainstream peers.  You can go onto Amazon right now and buy my book, as well as any book by one of my favorite authors, David Mitchell.  WE’RE JUST AS LEGIT.  (I don’t get deeply involved in people like this, for often times, these are opinions coming from people who haven’t done much with their own lives.  It takes WILLPOWER to write a NOVEL y’all!)

I have to consider the benefit of the doubt that because e-publishing and the accessibility to indie publishing are emerging industries, it may be a while before propositions and ideas that I’ve named can be even considered to go into fruition.  All I hope for is that one day, they are considered, and perhaps one day soon, indie authors will be recognized for their efforts, just as much as our mainstream counterparts.

A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunesPlease leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 5 reviews so I’m already a quarter of a way to my goal).

Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts About the Reception of Indie Authors

  1. I think there are obviously two types of indie authors out there – the type who are mavericks, who see through the red tape Ponzi scheme that is traditional publishing, and who desire to take hold of their own careers…..and then there are people who should never be published, and who simply cannot write.

    In a perfect world, the second category would not even matter. They’d never sell a single book and they’d give up on their self-publishing experiment. The former group would rise to the top and become the face of the movement. Unfortunatly, due to sheer volume, the latter group is overwhelming the market. For every Hugh Howey struggling to get their honest talent heard, you’ve got ten Stargirl NoNames piling their barely edited crap onto Amazon.com.

    So I 100% agree that more authentic marketing support from Amazon or these indie platforms should be encouraged. Something like an Amazon “review of the day,” could have actual critics review and promote indie books they enjoyed. You need to have someone actually READ the stuff out there and help the cream rise to the top.

  2. Oh wow, I’ve never thought about cracking into the mainstream like that before — in terms of having an “indie” list like the iTunes chart. I guess I kind of see it in the way like, indie authors could potentially be traditionally-published authors, but they just haven’t yet been “discovered”. This is, in terms of the “quality” of work output… it’s just that, as you said, people automatically think that you’re not as good of a writer, etc. if you self-publish. Some published authors are so shit I honestly don’t know how they ever got anything to the press!

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