Well, shame on us.
I say that factiously. All indie authors (and authors represented by small presses) know that the traditional publishing industry looks upon us with distain because they’re just that: traditional. Where books are concerned, they’ve held the keys to the kingdom for over a century, and those doors of brass were supposed to stay locked against “outsiders” who didn’t have connections to the Big Five Publishers through agents or personal connections who served as gatekeepers to the industry. Small presses irked them enough. Ten years ago, they were the problem. Since then, Amazon ushered in an age that was completely unexpected. Ebooks didn’t have to break the doors down. They simply removed the hinges and opened publishing to authors from an unexpected direction. Goodbye, slush pile. Now the field is wide open, giving readers overwhelming options for their reading pleasure that weren’t available to them before.
Certainly, there are some who abuse this opportunity. I’ve reviewed enough books to know there are some who clearly don’t do their “due diligence” by getting a professional proofreader, beta reader, or graphic artist to make their work the highest quality it can be. Time, experience, and a passion for the art of writing usually remedy these problems. One thing I’ve noticed about indie authors is that they’re passionate about their work, and are dedicated to doing their best. They’re self disciplined, internally motivated, receptive to suggestions, and eager to learn. If people were as driven as writers in all they do, then the world would be a better place and life would be a lot easier. Indie and small press authors deserve a chance from readers, and the main obstacle they face now is finding readers among the millions of other books vying for attention. But that’s a problem that all writers face, regardless of how they’re published. Book promotion is and always has been the responsibility of the writer. Even the big publishers don’t do much to promote work. They leave that to the authors.
Is the traditional book industry dying? It doesn’t have to. It can survive and thrive if it will embrace the changes in the industry instead of attacking them. Ebooks have sparked the first revolution in the publishing industry since the improvements to the printing press, and it’s brought about a new day. We can’t go back, but there are things we can learn from one another to make the face of book publishing better in the 21st century. The question is; are the traditionalists willing to embrace more modern ways, or will we renegades embrace this revolution on our own?
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.