To be or not be an Indie author

346199_0jbrYXq4Today’s publishing industry has become a paradoxical contradiction. The resources that are made available by a multitude of publishing platforms make it easy for just anybody to publish a book. That is a veritable miracle for writers all around the world, but at the same time, it may be a huge inconvenience. Why? Simply because everybody can publish a book, no matter how bad, and by doing so they increase the competition and reduce the visibility of good books.

But what other choice do writers have? The big publishers seem as unreachable as the moon. They all discourage writers to submit to them, unless it is by a reputable agent. Reputable agents are, in turn, difficult to approach. It seems the elite of the publishing industry has forgotten its mission and is, in fact, a closed circle. I personally know dozens of extremely talented authors who get rejection letter after rejection letter, with no concrete explanation. What do big publishers look for, I wonder?

The immediate answer that comes to mind is great books. But unfortunately, great books means commercial books, in today’s publishing jargon. The actual value of the writing is overshadowed by its marketing potential. Writers have to be more salesmen than creators of art. Editors are obsessed with the mechanical correctness of the text and fail to see the story behind it.

I have read thousands of books, and not once did I stop to analyze the benefits of “show versus tell”, or check the word count of a chapter. I’m sure the dozens of editors and publishers who rejected writers as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King bitterly regret it until this day. And why did they do it? Because they didn’t see great stories, but books with a low selling potential. They were afraid to take a chance.

So in the end, after analyzing the problem from all angles, there seems to be no choice for a talented author other than to be an Indie. If there is a way to get inside the fortress of the big publishers, I haven’t found it. This question will remain forever a mystery for millions of talented writers all over the world. And even when some of them will become famous posthumously, it will be too late, and no consolation to them. Not to mention the thousands of exceptional stories that will never see the light.

It’s sad when beautiful art dies in anonymity, to make room for bad scribbling that appeals to a twisted, perverted society.

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2 comments

  1. I was told by more than one publisher, regarding my first Renaissance Murder Mystery ‘yeah, luv, but make it Elizabethan because everyone has a cultural reference to that, and stick some sex in’. Well, apart from the fact that I wanted the series to include a figure from history from my home town, I have an aesthetic objection to trunk hose, and sex was inappropriate. They are not going out of their way to accommodate writers and to compete with Indie publishing. And as for small publishers, so many of them seem to operate on a total shoestring, expect their writers to do their own marketing, and tend to go belly up, tying up the rights to a book for the blameless author. And frankly, the only point i can see in trad publishing is to have a big company doing the marketing.

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    1. I totally agree with you, Sarah. High scale publishing is a closed circle. Even author-friendly platforms like Amazon have their own games and favoritisms. But we can only move on. I’m glad you are among those who do so well as Indie authors. Best of luck!

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